Back in 1972, Stanford University made history by hosting an event called Spacewar!. Two dozen of Stanford’s computer nerds gathered around the University’s single computer to play a video game. Spacewar! pitted the gamers against one another for the prize of a year-long subscription to the Rolling Stone. There, the Spacewar! gamers together coined the term “e-sport”.
After Spacewar! the e-sports’ take-off fizzled out, gaining little interest in popular culture. Whether due to access to computers, cultural stigma of video games, or technological limitations, e-sports struggled to get traction for many years.
But, then, e-sports blazed into favor. E-sports holds competitions all over the world, and major news networks cover their events. Professional gamers now even gain loyal followings. What led to a significant shift in popularity?
The Blizzard Revolution
Blizzard took the world by storm, providing the necessary fuel for the e-sport rocket to soar. They’ve led the battle with incredible innovation and passion, Like the Disneyland of theme parks, Blizzard’s unbelievable quality is unparalleled in the e-sports universe. Check out the one hour documentary about Blizzard below.
Blizzard’s Three Central Innovations
- Battle.net. With the advent of the internet becoming available for many, Blizzard released Battle.net in 1996. Battle.net enabled automated matchmaking to allow competitions between users online. Such innovations exemplify how Blizzard popularized e-sports.
On Battle.net widely successful games such as Warcraft and Starcraft appeared.
- Leagues. As video game competitions came into the mainstream, Blizzard entertainment also created leagues for competitors to compete in. The leagues mirror the franchise approach of American soccer and football teams. As a result, Blizzard’s strategic approach to forming leagues attracted many investors. With solid money flowing into the e-sports ecosystem, the new sport continued to thrive.
In 2016, Blizzard created the first ever league called the Overwatch League based on Blizzard’s first-person team shooter Overwatch games. The Overwatch League includes 12 teams, and competitions take place in Los Angeles, California.
- Tespa. Under Blizzard’s wing resides the savvy and hard-working sister company known as Tespa. Launched in Texas, Tespa bolsters a robust and fast-growing collegiate e-sports organization.
Tespa leads the yearly collegiate e-sports championship which ESPN televises. Each year, student members of the Tespa clubs compete for the grand prize: full tuition. Overall, Tespa awards over 3.3 million dollars for student tuitions. Tespa’s mission helps students “find a path to their futures through gaming.”
Tespa and GUNNAR
With 270+ chapters and 120,000+ student members, Tespa’s collegiate efforts majorly influenced the rise and acceptance of e-sports nationwide. Perhaps just as important, Tespa provides not only tuition to students, but a huge community for gamers as well. While video games bring gamers together online, the e-sports competitors together in-person. In Tespa’s “The Heroes of the Dorm competition”, the winners in the 2015 and 2016 competition received Heroes of the Storm™ Siege and Strike as gifts from GUNNAR Optiks for their amazing accomplishments.
If the e-sports revolution doesn’t give you what Blizzard loves to call nerd-chills, then we’re not sure what will.
GUNNAR Optiks proudly partners with Tespa and Blizzard. We can’t wait to see the exciting advancements to come in 2017!