What is eSports and why is it the new craze for Nigerians?

There’s a chance you’ve heard the term before but to be safe, I’m going to assume you’ve all been living under a rock. So what exactly is “eSports” anyway?

The term which stands for “electronic sports” may seem a little confusing at first but it’s really not. Essentially, it is competitive gaming played by professionals and watched worldwide by gamers and non-gamers alike. Turns out humans enjoy watching the best of the best go at it. Go figure.

But how serious is this thing anyway? Well, the global eSports industry was projected to make $905 million dollars in revenue in 2018 and cross that billion dollar mark in 2019 and the following year as reported by the World Economic Forum. Furthermore, an estimate of 380 million viewers in 2018 alone shows that the relatively young industry is no joke and the explosive growth in the last decade has been unmistakable.

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Why is electronic sports suddenly making this much money? Well this part isn’t exactly rocket science. The explosive growth charts remain consistent when you switch over to its parent, the gaming industry. Market research done by expert analysts over at Newzoo put the gaming industry’s worth at around $137.9 billion. A number that’s expected to rise as high as $180 billion by 2021. Gaming in all its forms isn’t going anywhere. That much is certain.

But what does that have to do with Nigerians? Well, a good number of Nigerians (and Africans) are gamers. We always have been. PES, Mortal Kombat and even Contra if you will are some of the games we grew up playing and we have contributed to the massive numbers I mentioned earlier in no small part and yet we have been essentially absent in the eSports scene in all that time. Whatever the reason may be is a discussion for another time but for the first time, Nigerian gamers are excited and it’s not hard to see why.

With competitive leagues and organizations like DOX Gaming bursting onto the scene and price pools that are getting increasingly bigger that these ‘pro-gamers’ can compete for, eSports in Nigeria is finally picking up steam.

I had a short conversation with Daniel Osemudiame, the owner and founder of DOX Gaming (@DOXGamingNg), an organization dedicated to promoting eSports in Nigeria. He was pretty clear about some of the challenges facing the budding industry. “eSports in Nigeria has a very long way to go” he said but like every other one of these pioneers, he sees the potential and has a lot of gas in his tank.

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