Vancouver’s burgeoning eSports economy

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For a long time video gaming has been considered something of a teenage activity. But in the past few years it has managed to overtake music and film as the world’s most profitable entertainment activity. And further to this is the fact that eSports, or competitive gaming, has grown into a massive industry that looks to place Vancouver at the centre of its gaming map.

Competitive gaming really took off with the arrival of broadband technologies at the turn of the 21st century, where a series of huge tournaments like Dreamhack were pioneered that saw teams of players engaging in fast-paced video games in front of thousands of cheering supporters.

As Vancouver has always held an enviable reputation for attracting some of the world’s top gaming brands such as Capcom and Namco Bandai to the city, it was no surprise that Vancouver should cement its gaming appeal by pioneering several key eSports competitions.

The much-missed LANcouver competition paved the way for Vancouver’s nascent eSports scene that has found its rebirth in 2016’s LANtasy tournament that saw gamers competing in pioneering titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.

But it’s the fact that a Vancouver gamer, Kurtis Ling, recently took part of a $6.6 million prize pool in the International Dota 2 Championships that really shows how profitable the activity has become.
The fact that video gaming has become increasingly monetized should be no surprise. As well as RPG and battle arena games, there’s also been the steady rise of online casino sites such as Royal Vegas Casino who have successfully simulated a series of traditional table games such as poker, roulette and blackjack on their site that offers the expected payouts of a standard casino, but can be played from the convenience of just a smartphone.

With Royal Vegas Casino keen to compete in the evermore competitive online gaming sphere, it has become increasingly important for the brand to feature a range of games that cater towards different playing styles and niche markets. This mirrors the rise of Vancouver-based entrepreneurs like Battlefry who aim to facilitate the lucrative, yet chaotic, competitive gaming market by providing a degree of organization for the rapidly-growing eSports events.

Furthermore, there have even been schools in the Vancouver area that have sought to guide the efforts of young eSports players by organizing their own high school competitive gaming tournaments that all goes to show just how far-reaching and embedded this new entertainment genre has become within British Columbia.