Stryda logo

What is esports? Everything you need to know to start your journey

November 8 2022

What is esports? Everything you need to know to start your journey
Ace Missions, build your profile player, and make your GGs more rewarding with Stryda free Battle Pass!
Start Competing

Everywhere you turn these days, especially on the internet, you hear about esports. Even the evening news and top publications are starting to cover what has now become a behemoth of a market.

Video game competition has gained a ton of traction in a short amount of time with no signs of slowing down. So, what exactly are esports, and what is the hubbub all about really?

We’ve got all the answers right here! And we love gaming and esports, don’t forget to check how you can experience esports everyday thanks to G-Loot, and getting rewarded as you simply play your favourite games like Apex Legends, PUBG, VALORANT, and more!

What is esports?

To put it simply, esports means electronic sports, literally meaning competitive video games. The term was coined and popularized in the early 2000s but competitive gaming events were happening well before then.

It all started through humble beginnings. Internet cafes and arcades in the 90s would host local tournaments with modest prize pools. From these small events, local heroes would arise; players who were head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Such competitors gained fans and made their way to more prominent events such as mass LAN parties and multi-bracket tournaments held in hotel conference halls.

It would be several years before actual teams were formed and organizations were built to pave the way for what we call today esports. If this all sounds familiar, then you’re likely getting deja vu from the path real-life sports followed. Both have very similar elements, with only physicality being the core difference.

Esports are video games that have dedicated competitive scenes and communities. Players compete against each other for fame, glory, fortune, or all combined. They can be team-based or solo titles, ranging from the hyper-realistic to the goofy cartoony type.

But, there’s one thing that makes esports more advantageous than real-life sports.

Can anyone do esports?

More or less, yes! The beauty of esports is that you don’t need to be an athlete in top physical shape. All you need is a gaming device and you’re off to the races. Of course, some challenges and disabilities may prevent some from becoming fully accomplished but that’s all in the mindset.

Players like BrolyLegs, a Street Fighter competitor who used his mouth to handle his controller, have shown that anyone can compete in the big leagues with a bit of perseverance and ingenuity. Of course, time is a factor.

You can’t expect to be a superstar from day 1 of picking up your esport of choice. There are fundamentals to learn and mechanics to get to grips with. Even the most talented esports players had to start from somewhere. It all boils down to how much dedication and learning you can put into developing your game.

But being great at an esport isn’t even necessary. You can still enjoy playing esports without going through the grind. If you’re having enough fun, then that’s all that matters. Of course, it’s important to understand that playing competitive games means you’re rubbing shoulders with sweatlords who are likely putting in way more hours than you. Getting destroyed by stronger opponents is part and parcel of the esports experience.

But that shouldn’t discourage you from starting!

The Street Fighter player Broolylegs

How do I start esports?

How does anyone start anything? By diving in, of course.

It all starts by picking a game genre or title. If you’re already a gamer, this shouldn’t be too difficult for you, especially if you dabble in different kinds of games. If FPS games are your jam, then you’ll be spoilt for choice. The same goes for battle royales like  PUBG and MOBAs like League of Legends. Things get a bit more restrictive when it comes to action games, RPGs, and card games but there’s still some choice.

For those who are newer to gaming, starting out can be a bit trickier. A good option is to hit up some esport event streams to sample what high-level play looks like. These days, there are livestreams happening all the time on Twitch and YouTube. The idea here is simple: watch some ultra-skillful people doing amazing stuff in a game you find awesome and get inspired.

Once you’ve honed in on the game (or games) that interest you, it’s time to dive in head first. If your title of choice has a single-player mode and/or a tutorial, do all of it. They’ll be a low-stakes way for you to get to grips with its rules, mechanics, controls, and general feel. Of course, these solo experiences are going to be wildly different compared to battling against real players so don’t get too comfortable.

Most esports these days will have you play your first matches against bots, meaning AI opponents. They’ll feel super easy to defeat and will make you feel like a total badass but don’t be fooled. The point is to lure you in so you shouldn’t get complacent. Focus on getting comfortable with the tangible aspects of your esport of choice.

Once you start playing your first matches, you’ll start to understand the difference. Opposing characters will move with more intent. Games will feel like a struggle at times. More importantly, you’ll lose a lot more often and that’s normal. Esports are zero-sum games, meaning there’s always a winner and a loser. Treat every loss as a learning experience and you’ll be getting better in no time.

And if you are new to esports and you want have a feeling of what it means to experience competitive gaming, with G-Loot you can enter weekly competition called Brawls for some great games such as VALORANT, PUBG, Apex Legends, League of Legends, CS:GO, and Rocket League.

So, you’ve managed to play a few games and have narrowed down the one you like. Is there anything else you need?

What do you need for esports?

What you need for esports varies from genre to genre. It also depends on your personal goals. The one thing they all have in common is that they need to be played on a device - duh! These can be consoles, PCs, laptops, or mobile phones. Some genres are better suited to certain device types than others.

MOBAs are predominantly on computers and smartphones. FPS games are the same, primarily because they work best with a keyboard and mouse. However, controllers work as well though you may be at a slight disadvantage at higher levels of play. For the longest time, fighting games have been the domain of consoles due to arcade sticks and gamepads being the controllers of choice. However, PCs are a lot better with controller compatibility thanks to Steam and it’s turning out that keyboards are actually pretty good in this genre as well.

Another thing that’s highly recommended for esports is having a group of people who also play the game. It’s not a necessity but it helps for a variety of reasons. For one, a group will help support you in your journey. They can teach you new skills and assist you with leveling up. You can also spar with them when you’re not feeling like playing against strangers. More importantly, they’ll be the people that understand the challenges you face and will give you emotional support when you need it. If you are missing a game squad, you will certainly find some new friends to play with in our G-Loot Clans

Blog banner BE

On the flip side, there are certain things that you DON’T need for esports. Stuff like gamer drinks, gamer glasses, wrist straps, and other branded junk are all highly trivial and are simply designed to suck money out of you. So, don’t be fooled.

Instead, save your money for a decent PC.

What PC is used for esports?

As above, the PC you use for esports will depend on the game you’re aiming to play. A good chunk of titles is surprisingly forgiving when it comes to gaming rig specs as they’re designed to be played by a broader audience. Examples of this are Fortnite, League of Legends, VALORANT, and Hearthstone.

Some esports are also quite long in the tooth and were built for an older generation of hardware. Games like CS:GO and DOTA2 are good examples of this. Being older titles means you can run them on lower specced PCs and be fine.

If you’re looking to enter the racing sim or AAA game arena, then things get slightly dicier but not by a lot. The key factor is to shoot for performance rather than graphical fidelity. When you’re competing against other players, having buttery smooth 60 frames per second is more important than your graphics being set to Ultra quality.

One other key factor is obtaining the right monitor. More specifically, you need a monitor with a panel that has a low response rate and a refresh rate that matches your graphics card’s performance. A low response rate means that whenever you input a command, the game will translate that on screen fast. When it comes to refresh rate, you’ll want something at 60 Hz if you’re running your game at 60 fps.

Any other improvement and tech you add to your gaming PC beyond the above is just gravy and should only be considered if you’ve got loads of money to spare, or if you’re on your way to an esports career.


Can esports be a career?

Yes, you read that right. Esports can be a career for a lot of people. In fact, they’ve been a profession for certain enterprising individuals for long before the term esports arose. A good example is Daigo “The Beast” Umehara, the most legendary of legendary Street Fighter players in existence. Though esports players like him were making pittances in the early days, they still saw video games as a career path as they attended events across the globe and raked in prize money.

Today, you can have an esports career in a variety of ways, apart from attending events. The most obvious is becoming a streamer or content creator on Twitch or YouTube. A big chunk of people who watch video games on these platforms is there to see their favorite superstars do their thing. Even if you’re not a known player, you can still grow your fame or notoriety through smart content marketing to develop a following. Coupling that with a bit of skill and you can make a pretty sizeable income.

If content creation isn’t your thing, you can always dive into coaching and teaching. It may sound silly but there are people out there who’ll pay good money to improve their video gaming skills. Think of it like hiring a tennis or golf coach as an amateur. We see something like that as normal so it shouldn’t be so strange when thought of in the context of games. So, if you’re good enough and have an inclination toward teaching others, you could make a career out of coaching.

And then you’ve got esports media. Here, your skill level can be a bit looser as you mostly need to have the right knowledge to be an esports journalist or caster. As the market continues to grow, so does the number of people who want to be up-to-date with the latest esports news and developments. Whether you’ve got some penmanship or enjoy babbling on about sick plays, esports media can also be a solid career path.

So, what kind of salary can one expect from an esports career?

What salary do esports generate?

Keeping with the theme so far, the kind of salary that esports generates depends very much on a variety of factors.

One of the most important ones is the game of your choice. The most popular games typically command higher payouts for winners and bigger salaries for team rosters. It’s all proportionate to the size of the people who watch and play the game at all levels below pro. Both League of Legends and Street Fighter are popular in their own right, but it’s the former that generates the bigger bucks due to how much broader its appeal is.

You’ll also need to consider what types of arrangements esports players have in their respective leagues. CS:GO and DOTA2 teams behave more or less like professional basketball and football teams. Players are contracted with annual salaries and bonuses for performance. They’re also subject to trading and being sold to other teams. More solo-based games have different salary structures.

Finally, there’s the number and caliber of sponsors that inject investment into teams and events. When you’ve got big-time companies like Intel and Red Bull throwing cash all over the place, you know it’s for serious business. They know that there’ll be more eyeballs on their logos so they open up their wallets generously for big events and high-profile teams.

At the mid-to-high end of the spectrum, you can expect a salaried esports athlete to make about $4000-5000 per month. Tournament prize money averages at about $50,000 for the number one spot, while streaming earnings can be about $1000-3000 per month for the semi-popular. If you want to know more and you're dying to watch a real esports Tournament streaming, you should check out our VALORANT Clash and check G-Loot for other opportunities like monthly Showdowns.

Regarding the prize money from esports tournaments, to summarise we can say that It’s not quite the millions you’d likely expect from superstars like Ninja but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

Still sold? Here are some esports games you can consider checking out.

What esports games can I play?

As we’ve mentioned several times in this article, there’s a smorgasbord of esports games which can be divided into distinct genres.


  • CS:GO


  • Call of Duty (whichever is currently popular)

  • Call of Duty Mobile

  • Overwatch

  • Rainbow Six Siege

  • Halo Infinite


Battle Royale


  • Starcraft 2

  • Warcraft III

  • Age of Empires 2

  • Age of Empires 4

Sim Racing

  • F1

  • rFactor 2

Sports Games


Fighting Games

  • Street Fighter V

  • Tekken 7

  • King of Fighters XV

  • Dragon Ball FighterZ

Card Games

  • Hearthstone

  • Magic: Arena

  • Legends of Runeterra

  • Shadowverse

  • Yu Gi Oh Duel Links

Who are the most popular esports teams?

Popularity of esports teams depends on the ebbs and flows of the general market, along with the game themselves. There have been tons of organizations that have come and gone throughout the years. However, a lot of them manage to stand the test of time and become near household names in the esports world.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the most popular esports teams and organizations:

  • Cloud9

  • Fnatic

  • OpTic Gaming

  • FaZe Clan

  • G2 Esports


  • Team Liquid

  • 100 Thieves

  • Natus Vincere

  • TSM

  • Evil Geniuses

  • NRG

  • Chiefs

  • Team BDS

  • XSET

  • Royal Never Give Up

  • LOUD

  • Spacestation Gaming

  • Team Spirit

  • T1

  • Ninjas in Pyjamas

  • Counter Logic Gaming

  • MOUZ

  • compLexity Gaming

  • Team Envy

  • Sentinels

  • EVOS Esports

  • Tempo Storm

What are esports arenas and centers?

You often hear these two words tossed around when talking about esports. They essentially are two different things but can often be used interchangeably because people like using language in non-standard ways.

Esports arenas will typically refer to the big stadiums and venues where big events like the VALORANT Champions take place. These can vary in terms of size but they’re not unlike sports arenas. They’ve got lots of seats and bleachers for fans to come and watch their favorite teams clash against each other. They’re also chock full of merchandise stalls and food stations. Naturally, there’s also space for the press and for casters to do their thing. You can expect a smattering of lights, lazers, and other showstopping components that enhance the spectacle of each event, as well as a stage where big announcements can be made by developers and companies.

Esports centers, on the other hand, are what have replaced the old-timey internet cafes of yore. These are establishments filled with PCs and consoles where players can spend some money to play their favorite esports among other like-minded people. You’d go to an esports center for one of two reasons. You want to play your game on a much more powerful PC with a more reliable internet connection than the one you have at home. The other reason is that you want to hang out with other people who play the same game as you. This aspect is particularly important as it ties into a point we made earlier about finding your tribe.

Regardless of the reason, esports centers can also be a great way to sample games while you’re still deciding which one you want to get serious about. These are often also run by established teams and organizations so there’s a likelihood that some scouting goes on as well. These centers may sometimes host tournaments for local competitors, making them a perfect place to test out your skills.

Should I play esports?

Esports can be a lot of things, from a fun hobby to a lucrative career. The answer to this question will greatly be determined by your goals. If you want to engage in a rewarding pastime that’ll leave you fulfilled then esports are an excellent choice. One thing to be aware of is that a lot of these games have been designed to be addictive and make you feel like you need to spend money. Always make sure you approach them responsibly and only buy items and stuff you actually like. In other words, don’t fall prey to their FOMO shenanigans.

As a career, esports can be a pretty compelling option as well. The key point to understand here is that you can’t be driven by making money quickly cause esports definitely won’t give you that. Even as a highly-skilled player, it takes time, effort, and a whole bunch of luck to get noticed. And even still when you’ve gained some fame, there’s a ton of work you need to put in to keep the income rolling in. 

For the TL;DR crowd, you should play esports as long as you have your priorities straight. If all you seek is tons of money and a bunch of likes, then you’ll be in for a rude awakening. However, for those looking to find some fulfillment and growth will likely enjoy being an esports player.

Want to take the first step into playing esports? Join G-Loot, where you can track your stats as you play while also having the opportunity to earn gift cards and other rewards, just from playing your favorite game!

Yannis Vatis author

Yannis Vatis
Yannis Vatis

Yannis is a veteran gamer with over 30 years of experience playing a wide spectrum of video games. When not writing about games, he's playing them, and if he's not playing them then he's definitely thinking about them.