Esports, or competitive gaming, is slowly taking over the world. The practice of playing video games competitively has been around for a long time, but it only really took off in South Korea a couple of decades ago.
Now, broadband technologies have helped esports become a world-beater and it looks like it is already making its presence felt in the North West.
From specialist video gaming cafes to esports clubs in some of our most cherished universities, there seems to be little stopping the rapid growth of the competitive gaming phenomenon. And when you consider the fact that even footballing titans such as Manchester City have signed gamers to represent their esports team, it seems as though it’s finally time to get serious about video games.
If you’re looking for a quick snapshot of how video gaming is getting a grip on the North West, then just head down the road to the Horizon Esports Club in Liverpool. Located on Pilgrim Street, this club might not look like much from the outside, but as soon as you are indoors then it quickly becomes apparent that this is the North West equivalent of one of the famous Korean ‘PC bangs’. As such you can expect to see dedicated gamers spending hours competing on LAN tournaments, and it’s also a great spot to grab a coffee so that you can stay fully fuelled for the gaming mayhem.
What’s remarkable is the fact that even some of our most esteemed educational establishments seem to have fallen under the spell of esports. Take a quick look at the available societies at Chester Student Union, and alongside typical options such as archaeology and debating, you will find a society that has dedicated itself to becoming the best in esports.
This organisation takes part in all of the most popular esports such as League of Legends, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch, and even recent gaming hits such as Fortnite. But what makes this especially significant is the fact that the Chester Student Union’s esports team partakes in the National University Esports League. Such moves show how esports is slowly started to become a central part of our culture, and the fact that you can now even go online to resources like to place a bet on a game of League of Legends shows just how convenient it is to get involved.
But of course, it’s at the big esports tournaments where things really come alive. A massive competitive gaming event is taking place just down the M6 at the Arena Birmingham at the end of May that promises to deliver the world’s best gaming talent in an epic ESL Dota 2 tournament. Such events show that the UK has become especially attractive to the world’s biggest esport organisers, and you can get a taste of pro esports in the North West when Play Expo comes to Manchester on 4 and 5 May 2019.
Play Expo won’t just be hosting plenty of spectacular LAN parties, but it will also feature all of the associated esports spin-offs like weird and wonderful cosplay events, as well as some retro gaming classics for the old-timers. The Play Expo event have also stated that their esports offerings will include assistance from ESL and Red Bull, so it could easily become the North West’s esports highlight for 2019. So whether you are visiting a gamer-friendly cafe or are seeing how the pros do it at Play Expo, there’s never been a better time to enjoy esports in the North West.