If you’re a sports or gaming fan who is missing a bit of healthy competition, then esports tournaments are just what you’re looking for. Londoner Anjum Ali Saiyad is a big fan – here he gives us his guide to getting started in the world of esports tournaments.
First things first – what are ‘esports’? And do they have to be sports-based games?
“Basically, esports is any competitive video gaming,” explains Anjum. “We’re talking here about organised esports tournaments, where gamers get together to compete against each other. The games themselves are multiplayer, of course, but they don’t necessarily have to be sports games.
“Games like FIFA and Madden NFL are popular with sports fans. But if you’re more of an action gaming fan then titles like Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends and Call of Duty are hugely popular too.
“Esports tournaments are big business. And real-life, physical events where esports competitors get together to compete face-to-face are very popular,” says Anjum. “But just like every part of our lives, esports tournaments have been affected by the coronavirus crisis at the moment. With lockdown, these live events aren’t running – but all-digital ones still are.”
How esports tournaments work
So how do these tournaments actually work? Anjum runs us through some of the most common formats.
“Just like in ‘real’ sport, there are lots of different formats,” Anjum explains. “You often get ‘best of’ match ups, with longer formats (such as a ‘best of five’ series) reserved for the later stages of a tournament.
“Generally, most esports tournaments will have a group stage, where teams and individuals play against each other to qualify for the next stage. The group qualifiers then face off in the ‘bracket’ stages of the tournament – these are straight knockout matches, all the way to the final.”
How to get into esports tournaments
You love gaming, and now you want to test yourself against the best. How do you get into an esports tournament?
“My advice is watch a few tournaments first, to get an idea of what’s involved. There are plenty of events streamed on YouTube – the Overwatch League is a great one. And Twitch is also a platform that’s dedicated to streaming gamers.
“It’s the best way to get an idea of the kind of tactics and techniques you’ll need to compete. The number of viewers some of these tournaments get is insane – almost as many as traditional sports for the major competitions.
“Entering a competition is simple enough, but there are a few things you should do before your first tournament. Choose your game carefully (my advice is stick to one, and really focus on it). You’re going to be playing this game a lot – so make sure you love it. And then practice, practice, practice. Like any sport, esports reward dedication.
“I’d also suggest that you spend time thinking about why you’re doing this,” says Anjum. “If it’s for a bit of fun and a distraction from lockdown, then great. Find a game you love and a tournament to compete in, and dive in.
“But if you’re looking to make a career out of it – and some people do – then you also need a plan. Esports are incredibly competitive, so think about how you’ll build your profile, long-term. Your brand is important because winning tournaments brings in prize money, but you can also attract sponsorship if your profile is high enough.”
Anjum’s top esports tournament picks
With so many tournaments out there to choose from, what are Anjum’s top esports tournament picks?
“It all depends what you’re into,” says Anjum. “You might be a sports fan, or into multiplayer online battles, real time strategy or first-person shooters. But there’s a tournament out there for everyone. Here are my top picks.”
- F1 Esports Series–
One for the racers among you. The F1 games are incredible, but racing against other gamers takes the experience to a whole other level. It’s easy to sign up for qualifying scenarios too.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare –
WorldGaming have got a great range of esports tournaments that you can take part in. You’ll need to set up a WorldGaming account to join the community before you take part in these Call of Duty tournaments.
- FIFA 20 Global Series–
Teams have already qualified for this year’s FIFA eWorld Cup, and it will be well worth watching in July. But it’s not the only FIFA competition out there – Glory4Gamers are just one of many esports platforms that have daily FIFA 20 tournaments. Check out their PS4 tournaments here.
- The Overwatch League –
It’s one of the biggest esports tournaments out there, and it’s well worth watching the 20 international teams taking each other on. If you want a piece of the action yourself, join the Open League to get started. Find out more here.
- Madden NFL 20 Series–
The hugely popular Madden American Football franchise is one of the big names in esports. Head to their EA Sports page to register for a place in their prestigious Madden NFL 20 Series.
As well as gaming and taking part in esports tournaments, Anjum also blogs about how he’s keeping happy and entertained during lockdown. To read more of his posts on everything from the latest must-watch box sets to lockdown cooking tips, head to www.anjumalisaiyad.co.uk