Can Turkey have an e-sports future?

Can Turkey have an e-sports future?

Every politician likes to say that Turkey has great potential for everything due to its young population. The subject could be soccer or technology or literature or arts, it doesn’t matter; Turkey always has potential. The problem is that we never seem to realize the potential we have. 

Can e-sports be any different? 

According to Wikipedia, e-sports (also known as eSports, esports, competitive gaming, electronic sports or progaming in Korea) is a term for organized multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. The most common video game genres associated with e-sports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena. Tournaments such as the International Dota 2 Championships, the League of Legends World Championship, the World Championship Series, the Evolution Championship Series and the Intel Extreme Masters provide both live broadcasts of the competition and cash prizes to competitors.

In 2013, it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly, has become central to the growth and promotion of e-sports competitions. Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is approximately 85 percent male and 15 percent female, with 60 percent of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34. Related to this appreciable male majority, female gamers within the industry are subject to significant sexism and negative stereotypes. Despite this, some women within e-sports are hopeful about the general progress in overcoming these problems. 

In League of Legends, players assume the role of an unseen “summoner” that controls a “champion” with unique abilities and battle against a team of other players or computer-controlled champions. In the most popular game modes, the goal is to destroy the opposing team’s “nexus,” a building which lies at the heart of a base protected by defensive structures. Each game is discrete, with all champions starting off fairly weak and progressing by accumulating gold and experience over the course of the game. 

League of Legends (also known to the general gaming populace as LoL) was generally well received at its release, and has grown in popularity in the years since. By July 2012, LoL was the most played PC game in North America and Europe in terms of number of hours played. As of January 2014, over 67 million people play LoL per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. 

Last weekend, LoL had its Turkey Finals in the Ülker Sports Arena. It was an amazing thing to witness. More than 10,000 youngsters filled the arena to witness the event. In the end, the team “Dark Passage” won the title. 

China is the leader in e-sports, closely followed by Korea and the U.S. in total earnings. The players of these countries earn around $30 million each year in total. Turkey is 33rd with 122 e-sports professionals earning around $400,000. 

The current situation of Turkish e-sports is on par with Turkey’s place in many international ratings. However, seeing the enthusiasm of last weekend, I can say we should keep a close eye on e-sports developments in Turkey.