E-sport is a world often unknown to the general public and even sports fans, when frankly it deserves a little more recognition (come on guys, make an effort for these big geeks (I’M LAUGHING)). In addition to that, know that the French are not so bad, even very strong. It can give you a new thing to support and a new reason to celebrate at the bar with your friends. No, people who play esports aren’t just big wankers who dreamed of being Neymar while sitting on their couch.
1. E-sport may seem simple, but it is not and just like athletes, gamers retire very early
The first thing to know is that being a professional in e-sport requires a lot of effort (but really a lot) and training, a bit like a “real” athlete after all and therefore careers are quite short.
You may have imagined the big, hardened 45-year-old single guy as an e-sports professional (and that’s bad because we don’t like clichés) well, that’s not really the case. . The gamers are quite young (an average age of 25 in 2020 in the 100 best players in the world) and the maximum age is around 31/32 for the oldest among them, not much difference with the world of professional sport that we know.
2. There is also doping in e-sport (yes even if it seems weird)
Spending hours and hours in front of the screens being ultra concentrated is very tiring (as you can imagine). Unfortunately, like some athletes (or like guys who work in finance) a little help from a miracle product is often welcome.
A controversy erupted when the Canadian Semphis, who is part of the Cloud9 team, admitted in July 2015 that he and his whole team took Adderall during competitions to perform better. According to him, this info was so obvious that it posed no problem for him (the guy was even on the verge of saying that people were stupid to think otherwise, nice). Adderall is a drug banned in France which is only sold by prescription in certain countries such as the United States. It is used to fight attention and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but if used by someone who is not affected by such disorder, it just exponentially increases the level of concentration and physical performance.
3. We clearly shit in training
To be world champion of anything, you need crazy training, and e-sport is no exception to the rule. For games like League of Legends the very regular rhythm of tournaments requires strict training. The teams then meet almost every day to train together and spend whole hours on the game. In the end, it’s a bit like a professional football season.
4. The French are strong, even very strong (if we promise you)
One would think France totally dropped in the ranking of the best e-sport countries and yet that is not at all the case. The French weigh a lot in the game (aha “game” as in video games, if it’s funny). For example, the French player Bruce Grannec, nicknamed “The Machine” (it gives a little idea) was FIFA world champion in 2009, 2013 but also world champion in 2006 on PES. France ranks 4th among the largest e-sport nations (in terms of the number of pro players and the amount of winnings accumulated during competitions) behind the United States, China and Korea. 4th place in the world and 1st place in Europe, it’s clearly not a loss.
5. E-sport is not just FIFA, Call of Duty or LOL
It may seem silly, but these are the games that we will naturally think of when we talk about e-sport and yet there are also major Mario Kart or Tekken competitions.
And besides, for a very long time the greatest Super Mario Kart player in the world was Frenchman Florent Lecoanet, six-time world champion. And know that in 2020, the Americans have decided to launch a very different competition, on the game The Sims 4. Yes, this game where we had fun locking Sims in a swimming pool (how awful) will have its own competition whose goal will be to highlight the creativity of the players in timed events. You can laugh if you want (in real life I understand you) but the winner wins a sum of $100,000 so it might be worth it.
6. There are also player managers and sponsors (in short, it generates a lot of money)
Well in fact you have understood, e-sport takes up almost exactly the characteristics of sport. Who says professional says sponsor, says money and says manager. Once again, we have to get rid of this idea of the guy (or the girl, even if it’s rarer) who plays in the back of his attic, e-sports professionals are richer than your young executives dynamic people who work at La Défense, I tell you.
7. The first esports competitions took place in the late 80s
The first e-sport competitions were born on games like Pacman or Snake, it was almost at the same time as the first Rugby World Cup which took place in 1987, so the competitive aspect of games videos grew very quickly after they were created.
The discipline then developed and democratized globally in the 2000s and 2010s with the appearance of games such as League of Legends or Counter Strike and the creation of professional leagues such as the Cyberathlete Professional League, created in 1997.
8. The most popular esports games are League of Legends, Counter-Strike and Dota 2
If you want to make a big splash, immediately stop playing FIFA or Mario Kart all the time with your friends (e-sports in which the French are the best, really, we are not strategic). The sports that are the most popular (with the largest number of professional players and spectators) are therefore LOL, Counter-Strike and Dota 2 which are respectively an arena type game and online battle, first person shooters and again a multiplayer arena/battle game.
Well if you really don’t like all that, you can try to train on Call of Duty, it’s the 4th most popular esports game, but forget about FIFA, the game only comes “at » the 10th place in the ranking (ok it’s not so terrible).
9. There are also injuries that esports pros get on a regular basis
The cruciate ligament excuse exists in all sports, and in e-sort it is often a fractured thumb or wrist. Yeah I admit it sounds ridiculous and yet it is true. Players are forced to retire a little too soon because they suffer too many repeated wrist or thumb fractures.
10. There are very few women
Very few women attempt a professional career in e-sport, while the share is relatively equal in the practice of video games for leisure. In France in 2021, there would only be 12% of e-sports. This is due to the fact that most (if not all) of the most popular esports games are “marketed” as male games (shooting games, fighting games or sports games) which builds a significant societal barrier for women who would try. There are a few women who manage to stand out and find a place for themselves in the very closed world of e-sport, such as the Canadian Sasha Hostyn or the Korean Li Xiao Meng.