Sweden and the history of eSports.

Esports are growing and becoming more and more available not only as a form of entertainment but also as a practice to see in more homes than ever before, and the technology is more affordable than its ever been.  Arguably the financial bubble of esports is yet to burst. Comparing this to the metaphorical bubbles we know as of today is troublesome, esports is considered to be a sort of entertainment and can not just be equated to providing and selling merchandises. The basic understanding of these bubbles is simple. When an objects price is higher than its intrinsic value, and when many of these items are bought in large volumes at an inflated price a bubble is created. In the event of a “Bubble boom” or “Bubble pop” these prices drop down again, and those buyers that stockpiled or invested has no way to retain value out of their investments. It might be far fetched, but I am thinking of a particular case where this is prominent to the success of the Swedish esport scene in particular.

The “DotCom” bubble in the late 90’s and early 00’s. The boom was a period where a large number of companies known a dotcom-companies began to grow. Amazon and Bitcoin were created during this era. However, the smaller companies of this era were quickly overvalued and forced into insolvency as a company. The idea was to run companies with the warped mindset of “Get Big Fast” and “Growth Over Profits.” Sweden was aswell incorporated in this event. To popular belief, most companies that widely saw complete bankruptcy were online shops where the demand was not expanding at the same rate as the inflated value were. In Sweden, a lot of these companies that got hit by this phenomenon were ISP’s or internet service, provider. The fact that the internet did evolve to be more than a fluke and it went on to be accessible in almost every home. Some of these companies went ahead to become leading organizations that are contributing to making the world wide web available all over our long and beautiful country.

Percentage_of_individuals_using_the_Internet_1990-2014

  Illustration the growth in the percentage of individuals using the Internet from 1990 – 2014.

From the illustration above, we can see the years that covers where the dotcom boom occurs. Post-2000 it’s notable that Sweden is in the front end of the world meanwhile other countries are lacking slightly behind. Couple this with the fact that 93 percent of the Swedish households own one or more computers connected to the high-quality network we host today. To me, this is a prime reason behind the success of Sweden as an esports nation after the worldwide technological boom. Not to compare to the Asian market that made it through to much greater success than any other country did around this period.

The Swedish flag has since the infancy of esports been sighted all over live streams and results found in forums that act like news sites. Between -01 and -03 the number of representative swedes on the top 100 most earnings list went from 2 to 20. Consider this the years of ignition in the Swedish prime era. At the time of writing, Sweden is ranked 4th in the world rankings over highest earnings trough tournaments, trumped by South Korea, The United States, and China, in respective order.

In the category of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive earings Sweden is listed as the number one scoring country with a cumulative prize pool of over $6.4 million. Awarded with $7.4 million, the Swedish Dota 2 team Alliance won the global tournament “The International” in -13. This tournament win contributed to placing Sweden third in the world rankings. A third place is prestigious. However, it is roughly $43 million behind the most decorated country in the Dota 2 title, China. Chinese players have made almost $50 million from playing a single video game through the years, Dota 2. Worldwide is China the country who has earned the most amount of money through playing video games, with total price earnings almost reaching $70 million.

Dreamhack

One cannot discuss the subject of Swedish esports without mentioning the phenomenon called Dreamhack, the most significant technological festival in the world. People travel to Coachella or Ultra music festival to hear their favorite musicians play their music and some people go to Dreamhack. Together with other with other global names. Dreamhack has held tournaments hosting great historical names like MC and White-Ra going head to head in Starcraft 2 tournaments. Three full days of esports, famous streamers, cosplayers and playing video games. The bring-your-own PC LAN party has gone down yearly since -94. The Dreamhack brand has since then been acquired by the media giant MTG that also owns 74 % of the ESL concern for approximately $29 million. I consider Dreamhack to have also played a significant part in our history of esports.

Skärmavbild 2018-03-09 kl

                                                Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi, 22. Jungler for ROCCAT’s League of Legends team.                                                  When asked why he went into esports.

 

The Honorable’s

 

What is it that made the young people in Sweden around the beginning of the 21st century so interested in esports? The narrative of the male athlete pursuing a career in a traditional athletic sport is substantially more common today than you might think. Emil “HeatoN” Christensen, one of the worlds best Counter-Strike players ever now gone manager for his widely great NiP lineup. Martin “Rekkless” Larsson, arguably the most famous esports athlete in our modern day Sweden. Martin who’s had an amazing career with the Fnatic organization with numerous first placings in the EU LCS and a 3rd place at the world championship in 2015. Now also confirmed that he resigned with the team for a 3-year contract, Rekkless is widely considered to be the best AD Carry player in the western region. There are names that other gamers and esports enthusiasts would argue are more known. However, the impact that these two has had upon the modern day esports is remarkable. One honorable mention is Christopher Alesund, also known as “GeT_RiGhT.” The way he played Counter Strike and how he standardized the “lurker” role made him invaluable for his teams. With over 95 separate 1st placings registered since the start of -07 on the liquipedia.net database. One of his most significant moments was the IEM Global Finals in -09 when he competed at the age of 18 with The fresh of the block Fnatic lineup that only had been practicing for a couple of months. Labeled as underdogs against the polish Meet Your Makers team Fnatic were able to clinch the win and the $50,000 prize pool.

While on the subject of honorable mentions I would like to bring up the -12 and -13 Ninjas In Pyjamas lineup where both Christensen and Alesund’s names make another appearance. This lineup with competing stars, Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, Richard “Xizt” Landström, Adam “Friberg” Friberg, Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson with Emil “Heaton” Christensen as their manager. This historical lineup went on to win 87 maps without a single loss in offline LAN tournaments. Eventually losing in the SLTV StarSeries Season V, to Virtus.pro, a Russian esports organization.

Perhaps our cold and dark winters make young people more attached to video games. To me, the reason is merely the accessibility of online games coming early enough to make Swedish players get a head start.

Trying to conclude the growing eSports spectrum. Together with the argument mentioned above. The Increasing numbers of game titles converting to esports, tournaments that are being held And the size of prize pools that grows significantly every year. The public is gaining interest, and the worlds top shelf is acknowledging it. I can say with certainty that Sweden as a representing country and Swedish players will continue to make significant accomplishments throughout the scene and together.

 

Patrik J. Svahnström

2018 12/04

 

Terminology:

 

  • Lurker  – A role designated for a player in the game Counter-strike: Global Offensive. Often related to the player “GeT_RiGhT.”
  • MC & White-Ra – Professional Starcraft players that have gone head-to-head for many titles through both Starcraft: Brood Wars & Starcraft: Wings of Liberty.
  • Starcraft –  RTS, Online Real Time Strategy Game developed and published by BlizzardActivision™.
  • Dota 2 – MOBA, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game developed and released by Valve™
  • Counter-Strike 1.6 ™ & Counter-Strike: Global Offensive™. First-Person Shooter video game developed and published by Valve™, major Esports title.
  • Jungler – One of the five roles inside the video game League of Legends.
  • AD Carry – One of the five roles inside the video game League of Legends.
  • EU LCS – The European League Championship is the medium where European teams compete and play League of Legends.
  • Zowiee & BenQ – A company that develops computer hardware inspired by esports.
  • ISP – Internet Service Provider.

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