A mass shooting Sunday at a Jacksonville, Florida, video game event being broadcast live online has brought new attention to the burgeoning world of competitive — and often professional — video games, known as esports.
Here’s what you need to know.
Where did the shooting happen?
The Madden NFL 19 Classic’s southeast qualifying round was held this weekend at the GLHF Game Bar in Jacksonville. In these in-person tournaments, competitive online gamers play against one another at the same location.
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The top two finishers at the Jacksonville event were set to win $250 and earn spots at a Las Vegas event in October, playing for a share of a $165,000 prize pool, according to the website. The winner of that event is expected to take home $25,000 and, along with a runner-up, play in the Madden Bowl in April.
The Madden Classic is part of the The Madden 19 Champion Series, which brings out the best Madden competitors in the world, according to EA Sports.
What are esports?
Esports turn a variety of video games into a professional sport, USA Today reported, mentioning that Call of Duty could be considered the “football” of the gaming world.
Esports — played by competitive video gamers and watched by spectators from around the globe — drew more than 258 million viewers last year, according to research firm SuperData, USA Today reported.
Esports has been rivaling all other sporting events since 2014, ESPN reported at the time. The competitive gaming industry is made up of players, fans, sponsors and tournaments — just like the sporting industry.
Data analytics service Newzoo considers esports the “biggest thing to hit (the tech) industry since the launch of the iPhone in 2007,” CNN reported.
What is Twitch?
Launched in 2011, Twitch.tv has become a premier live streaming service for entertainers and professionals, many of whom play video games live for online audiences, reported Newsweek. Twitch.tv users logged 355 million minutes watching 2 million “streamers” in 2017.
About 15 million people tune into Twitch each day to watch live or archived videos, which in addition to video game playthroughs include people live streaming their hobbies, music, comedy or everyday lives, reported Business Insider.
It’s owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon, reported Lifewire. The site’s supported by advertising and about 17,000 streamers earn money through the Twitch Partners program, which allows them to monetize their online content.
Twitch streams can be viewed on the official Twitch website, or on any of the Twitch apps for iPhone, Android, Xbox, Playstation and other devices.