‘Esports’ are video games that are played competitively all around the world. You might have heard of a few of the more popular competitive games like Dota, Starcraft, Counter Strike or League of Legends, but dismissed them as silly games. However, you’d be wrong: they’re just like traditional sports.

Esports are a very recent development. There have been small tournaments for some games since 1990, but esports have only began to go large scale just recently.

In the 2014 championships Riot Games hosted the championship for League of Legends in Sangam Stadium, in Seoul, South Korea which was one of the venues for the Soccer World cup. Thousands of fans cheered for their favorite teams while watching the game live on a gigantic screen. This is very similar to traditional sporting events like the Superbowl or World Cup.

Even the government is beginning to call Esports registered sports. They have issued sports visas to some international players so they don’t have difficulty coming to the United States for tournaments and have recognized them as professional athletes. ESPN has also began to broadcast esports. The Dota 2 world championships last year, otherwise known as The International 4, or TI4 for short, was broadcast on ESPN3. ESPN has also said that they are planning on working with more esports in the future.

Many professional video game teams are also getting sponsored by big companies such as Coke, Nissan and Red Bull, just like the way traditional sports teams are sponsored by those same companies.

Esports are getting bigger and bigger every year and will continue to grow for a long time. Being a professional gamer is now turning into a career as legitimate as being a professional athlete. Hopefully in the future esports will be considered to be not just silly games, but prestigious careers.