Video games have always been a competitive sport. Arcade boxes used to have their high-scoring pixelated graphics, and all the kids wanted to be the highest-scoring ones in their neighborhood. With the explosion of the internet and the launch of iconic first-person shooter games like Doom and Counter Strike, gamers around the world began to unite. In 1997, one of the first esports organizations, Cyberathelete Professional League, was established. Since then, the gaming world has taken a leap towards gaming and online streaming. Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon.

The rise of online gaming and streaming

In the past four decades, online gaming has grown into one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers reports, the global online gaming industry in 2010 was worth around $ 56 billion! This is larger than magazines or the music industry and about two-thirds the size of the movie industry. According to a 2011 report by the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of a gamer in the United States is 37 years old, and 42 percent of these players are women.

One of the biggest trends in live streaming today is not music (as you might have previously assumed), but competitive gaming. E-sports today attract thousands of viewers. Today, several sites, specifically targeting gamers and their fans, broadcast esports events. Various esports websites have exploded across the internet as live webcasts take competitive video games to a whole new level, transforming them into a sport that is watched by millions of one that was limited to only the insiders.

Video game streaming: the big players

Among the big players in video game streaming today are Own3D.tv and TwitchTV. Own3D.tv started streaming video games online in 2010, and today the website earns more than four million unique viewers per month for live streaming video games. In March 2011, the Electronic Sports League (ESL), the world’s largest gaming league, broadcast the Intel Extreme Masters event, which www.ufabet.com  is among the most popular gaming tournaments of the year, via Own3D. With $ 400,000 in prize money, the gaming tournament drew 75,000 simultaneous live viewers on single event days, while the overall audience reached several million players. In June 2011, more than 200,000 concurrent viewers watched a Dreamhack contest (which is based on League of Legends, another popular game) on Own3D, with approximately 250 GBps of traffic during the event.

And live video streaming provider Justin.tv witnessed esports video streaming grow at such a rapid rate that they dedicated an entire website to it. In June 2011, they launched TwitchTV after video game streaming reached around 3.2 million unique monthly views on their main website. TwitchTV now attracts more than 12 million unique viewers each month. It has also had a consistent month-over-month growth rate of 11 percent since its launch. On top of that, TwitchTV has over 1,000 premium partners. It has also received more than 80,000 downloads of its iPhone mobile app in less than a month since the app’s launch. Between October 10 and 16 the website received massive traffic as can be seen in the following figures:

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