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A Brief Look At The Popularity and Origins of Gaming Tournaments

4 min

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A Brief Look At The Popularity and Origins of Gaming Tournaments
Where did all of it begin?

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear of professional players making news by winning a gaming tournament. However, the origins of such events are far more humble than you might expect. Keep reading as we go through what caused their modern-day popularity along with how they made their start.

The Popularity of Gaming Tournaments in Modern Times

When it comes to how popular gaming tournaments are in modern times, it’s no surprise that the internet has played such a major role. One example we can have a look at is bingo tournaments, which were previously mainly enjoyed in bingo halls. Now, such competitions are also held on online casino platforms, with interesting variations like different motifs and bonus features. This has allowed the game, along with the events associated with it, to reach a wider audience thanks to the convenience brought on by technology. 

The same can be said about other genres of gaming, such as fighting and action games. All of this acclaim has basically led to the creation of esports, which has had a major impact on the gaming industry. People all around the world are taking gaming more seriously with some going as far as becoming full-time professional players. 

Another common attribute the popularity of such competitions is the increased number of convenient devices one can play on. Long gone are the days when one could only play on bulky devices like the ones found in arcades. Now, players have a plethora of options, from portable consoles to laptops, which can range from more affordable to expensive depending on one's gaming needs. 

The Origins of Gaming Tournaments

Back in the day, gaming events were less popular, but they were still a common occurrence. Typically, these were informal competitions, taking place in arcades or at home with friends and loved ones. The prizes were typically smaller, and more often than not the winner only gained bragging rights. 

While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact origins, many do name the game Tennis for Two, released in 1958, as what started it all. For the first time, two players could play against one another in a simplistic tennis game, with the aim of hitting the ball over the net. But it was in 1972 when the first officially recognized esports tournament was held. 

Stanford University played host to the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics, where 24 players met to play Spacewar!, with the winner receiving a year’s subscription to the Rolling Stones. From here on, the concept of playing against other gamers for a prize quickly began to gain traction, laying the foundation for modern-day competitions. 

Fighting games were especially crucial to this advancement, with players now competing not by getting the highest score but by actively going against each other. Their popularity rose in the 1980s, but it was only in 1996 that the first nationwide tournament was held called the B3: Battle by the Bay. 

From playing against friends at the arcade to playing online against hundreds, if not thousands, of other players for a chance at grabbing a prize — the dedication from gamers is no joke. It’s safe to say that gaming tournaments have played a major role in solidifying the fact that gaming is not just a frivolous hobby. And, since this is still a relatively new venture, we can only expect gaming competitions to grow as time goes on.

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