History of eSports – The Timeline

A billion-dollar industry now, eSports once started as making money by playing video games at small get-togethers with friends. Then, video games appeared on the screen and kept on entertaining us every day. The competitive nature of gaming explains the evolution of eSports. Players bet against one another in order to determine a winner and respectively a loser.

Who could have guessed, that video games can be played on a professional level, sponsored and with lucrative prizes? eSports continues to grow and its popularity can be seen on televised events. The channels supporting such events are TBS and ESPN, among others. Read on and you will be amazed by the exciting eSports history timeline.

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50s – The Beginning

History of eSports a.k.a. competitive computer gaming dates back to 1952. It all began with research by the Cambridge scientist Alexander Douglas. He was working on an idea about human-computer interaction. Douglas was the first to implement a board game as a computer one, which was the funding step into eSports history. The game he used was Tic-Tac-Toe or also known as XOX.

People started playing against the computer, but in 1958 the director of Instrumentation Higinbothan presented the first multiplayer game – Tennis for Two. We can all agree, that such game allowing two players to compete against each other was the boost for the evolution of eSports. Do you remember the joystick? Players willing to try tennis for two were using such early devices, enabling hitting the ball and adjusting its trajectory. Many say, that this title was the beginning of eSports history.

60s – The First Tournament in eSports History

Scientists and engineers didn’t stop at tennis and XOX. In a few years, an entirely computer-based project came to life. In 1962 the computer scientist Steve Russel and his colleagues created Spacewar. It came to life at the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT on a PDP-10 computer. The game emerged just in time for the first tournament in eSports history for which the best eSports betting sites can only say ‘thank you very much’.

Early Gaming Competitions

You have two participants playing against each other using one spaceship. The vessel already with a limited supply of ammunition and fuel. They have to fight against gravity. As simple as it may sound, it was used to form the first official competition in the history of eSports. It was organized in mid-October 1972 by the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University. They named it the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics. It included 24 players competing in Spacewar. The prize was an annual subscription to Rolling Stones magazine. When you compare it with the billion business nowadays, you get the scope of the evolution of eSports.

70s – Arcades and Home Consoles

In 1972 the first game console connected to a TV appeared. We talk about Magnavox Odyssey and its suitable for the mass digital playing. The period following that creation marked the next step into the history of eSports. Arcades marked that bright and loud starting with machines like Pong. That way, the general population could lay hands on the novelties in the gaming industry. The competitive character could be found in the permanent high score lists. This option was also implemented into the first vending machines from 1976 like the Sea Wolf.

Several years later, in 1979, Asteroids and Starfire emerged. They were the first titles to immortalize you in the high score lists by a personal name abbreviation. Atari and its Space Invaders continued the competition in the field. The Space Invaders Championships in 1980 brought over 10 000 contestants. The prize was a version of Asteroids and the one winning was William Heineman.

Arcade Games for Everybody

The next big competition came with Twin Galaxies National Scoreboard from the amusement arcade operator Walter Day in 1982. Steve Juraszek, a pioneer, 15 years old back then and winner of the Twin Galaxies founded the U.S. National Video Team just one year later. eSports history remembers him hosting the first video game masters in the US – North American Video Game Challenge.

80s – The First German Clan

Everything started in 1982 in Germany by Armin Stürmer. He founded the Atari VCS Bundeliga. Soon enough the event aroused the interest of Atari Germany. The huge interest and rapid members growth made the difference in Germany. The flow included different clubs competing against one another. They played different games in four rounds by set rules. Each player had to gain as many points as possible for a time limit of 15 or 30 minutes. The champion was determined at the end of each year. Then, after Atari left the event, eSports history said goodbye to the Bundesliga.

90s – The Better Technology

The 1990s were the Nintendo years. They also marked their presence in the history of eSports by organising the Nintendo World Championships in the USA. It had three age groups (a triathlon of Super Mario Bros, Tetris and Rad Racer), where the winners received golden Nintendo gaming modules.

In 1994 the American GamePro magazine and the video store chain Blockbuster Video organised a world championship played on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive. The main games covered were Virtua Racing and Sonic the Hedgehog.

The world realised that next steps in the evolution of eSports had to be done via networks and PCs. Households could afford the gaming hardware, which leads to the first LAN based parties in the middle of the 90s. That way, eSports history happened while players were at the comfort of their homes. More players organised smaller sessions with their favourite game titles. The same happened with web platforms. Development in technology made betting from home an easy and exciting adventure. Most of the online casino bonuses even remind us of the eSports tournaments’ agenda.

2000 – Worldwide Networking Success

History of eSports continues overseas in 2000 with the first WCG held in Seoul. Then, ESWC found place in Poitiers, France in 2003. The finals were played the same year but in Paris. Evolution of eSports was a fact and was doing great. 2004 marked a spot in the eSports history book with implementing the console games, starting with Halo 2.

When talking about prize value changes throughout the eSports history timeline, 2005 was the first year in the industry to host a million-dollar worth of event. We talk about the professionals’ league or the CPL World Tour. The event took place in ten cities worldwide with a final held in New York. It was broadcasted live by MTV.

The Last Chapter of eSports History

2007 and the Championship Gaming Series a.k.a. CGS caused a sensation. That was the first event for the year and announced a first-place prize of over a million dollars. When you add the players’ salaries the sum jumps up to about five million. eSports history remembers it to be the most expensive competitive gaming event till that year. About 70 years of eSport history, computer gaming spread worldwide with diverse competitions and prizes. Winners are getting more and more with each year passing by. Evolution of technologies had led this multi-billion market to be one of the main investors’ goals nowadays.

FAQ on the eSports History

We covered the main periods in eSports history timeline, summarising the great success of the niche. With the following questions and answers, we would like to keep it short and informative. Go quickly through the years that had shaped the history of eSports. Get familiar with the fascinating development of the billion-dollar gaming industry.

🏁 When did eSports begin?

Everything happened about 70 years ago. History of eSports started in the far 1952. Back then, a scientist decided to implement a table game into a computer version. He decided to start simple and used one of the most played games for that time the Tic-Tac-Toe.

⚔️ When was the first eSports tournament?

It was in the 60s, when XOX was not enough for the increasing number of players. eSports history marks the creation of Spacewar with the first gaming tournament for the industry. It was played by 24 payers, where the prize was given once per year.

🕹️ When were arcade games created?

Evolution of eSports include the creation of arcade games like Pong among others. It all started in the 70s together with the console and the possibility to connect the game to your TV. That made the industry think about how to make the hardware affordable for mass usage.

🎮 When did eSports reach Germany?

When evolution of eSports started climbing the ladder of championships and evolution took its course, foreign countries became interested in too. The phenomenon was introduced in Germany by Atari. They have organised the Atari VCS Bundeliga in the 80s but it didn’t last.

🌏 Where was the first worldwide eSports competition?

eSports history timeline made a huge step forward in 2000. With the technology leap easing players from different countries to compete, the first WCG became a fact. It was held in Seoul as a starting point of a world tour of championship stages.

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