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As a gamer, you can hardly go a day without seeing or hearing someone talk about eSports. In the past several years, the popularity of eSports has risen dramatically not only in Canada, but also internationally in places like South Korea, Europe, and the United States. It might surprise you, but eSports is now one of the world’s fastest-growing spectator sports. To further cement its place in history, an estimated 205 million viewers tuned into watch tournaments online or on television in the past year.

It is clear to see that regardless of your thoughts on eSports as a whole, it is here to stay and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. As popular as eSports is, there are still many gamers who are not that familiar with what eSports encompasses. If you aren’t caught up in the phenomenon known as eSports, I am here to help explain what it is, the types of games that are involved, how you can watch eSports competitions, and how you can participate in tournaments.

What exactly are eSports?

The literal definition of eSports refers to competitive play of a video game over the Internet or via a series of locally networked electronic devices. These electronic devices can encompass the use of a computer, tablet, or video game console. In a nutshell, eSports is the professionalization of video gaming. For the most part, eSports take place in a competitive leagues and tournaments that are organized all over the world.

Check out this amazing video below produced by SetToDestroyX to see what goes on at these eSports tournaments. Get ready to be amazed!

What are popular eSports games?

While there really is no decisive list of games that are good for eSports, the golden rule is that where there is competition to be had, gamers will find a way to compete. That being said, there are some titles that have become quite popular and provide a particularly good spectator viewing experience. Titles like League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Call of Duty, StarCraft 2, FIFA, World of Warcraft, and Halo are among the most popular.

With the eSports scene hotter than ever, Cineplex and WorldGaming are leading the eSports charge here in Canada in a big way with the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championships. This year we have seen the likes of Street Fighter V, The Show 16, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End multiplayer, Guitar Hero Live, and Injustice Gods Among US here in Canada become quite popular.

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How do I watch eSports competitions?

The easiest way to get in on the electrifying action is through one of the ever-expanding roster of sites that stream eSports content. Without a doubt, the biggest site with dedicated gaming content is Twitch. With over 1.5 million unique broadcasters, 100 million monthly viewers, and 11 million broadcasts each month, there really is no other service that can come close to those numbers. While not all of Twitch’s content is eSports, it does broadcast tournaments, and many pro players regularly stream on Twitch when they aren’t competing. Additionally, YouTube Gaming is gaining popularity and offers eSports content.

Aside from watching it on the internet, the best way to experience eSports is at an event. Cineplex and WorldGaming have taken a commanding lead here in Canada with a plethora of events in the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championships. These live in-theatre events connect the online gaming community so that competitors can experience the thrill of competing in front of a live audience. The live eSports experience is nothing like you have ever experience before, and is everything a gamer could want and more.

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Photo credit: Cineplex WorldGaming

The Cineplex WorldGaming events are intense, highly competitive gaming action displayed on a massive theatre screen, full surround sound theatre audio, stadium seating so you always have a great view, live commentary from eSports professionals, an energetic emcee, free noise-making thundersticks, and tons of prize giveaways.

Who can participate in eSports?

Beyond the professional leagues, anyone can participate in eSports. Organizations like Northern Arena enable all players to register their team and have fun games like DotA 2, CS: GO, Clash Royal and Heartstone. In a similar fashion, the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championships are open to Canadian residents who are 18 and older. All you have to do is sign up for a free WorldGaming account, then go to the Tournaments page and locate the Online Qualifier in your region.

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Each competition is different but to give you an idea, the recent Street Fighter V tournament that was heled in Cineplex’s flagship downtown Toronto location, the Scotiabank Theatre, had a total prize pool of $25,000.

Now that you are up-to-date on eSports, why not check out some other eSports coverage that we have here on the Plug-in Blog in the links below.

The World Gaming Canadian Championships feature Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, are here!
The Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championships 2016: Call of Duty Black Ops III Finals
Cineplex WorldGaming Street Fighter V Championship Finals event was electrifying
Red Bull Proving Grounds with Street Fighter 5

Let me know in the comments section below what games you think would make great eSports games.