ESports has exploded recently, with players, viewers, and business all over the world making their move. Hoping to capture some of this magic, the London Royal Ravens have become the most recent to join the ranks of the elite.
Taking their name from the legend of the tower ravens, this new team is focussed on the Call of Duty league, one of the most promising in the coming generation of eSports.
This league stands as an evolution from the former Call of Duty World League, which existed from 2016 to 2019. The World League covered Call of Duty games Black Ops 3 and 4, as well Infinite Warfare and WWII. The new league focuses entirely on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a reboot of the 2007 smash hit.
Currently in this line-up are well-established players Jordan ‘Jurd’ Crowley, Dylan ‘Dylan’ Henderson, Brad ‘Wuskin’ Marshall, Matthew ‘Skrapz’ Marshall, and Rhys ‘Rated’ Price. With 11 more teams still to be announced, anticipation within eSports first-person-shooter enthusiast is sitting high.
As a city, London has boasted a broad array of successful teams throughout the years, in no short part due to Fnatic. Founded in March of 2011, this eSports team has gone on to become one of the most famed to yet come from the UK. Noted among Fnatic’s successes are placings in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends.
ESports has Arrived
No longer a niche interest, eSports currently has thousands of professional players and millions of fans all over the world. This success has given birth to important developments in infrastructure, which bring employment and opportunities to players and watchers both.
One of the more surprisingly successful on this front has come from the popularisation of sports betting markets developed within this sphere. Offered online alongside more established sports such as football, tennis, and horse racing, this progression has brought in many fans who might otherwise have let the digital battlefield pass them by. In short, eSports fans can now use platforms such as NetBet to bet on eSports tournaments in a similar fashion to betting on the Champions League or the Premier League.
Physically demonstrating this success within London is the emergence of video gaming cafés and the development of major eSports arenas. The Redbull Gaming Sphere is a combination of both of these, having opened its doors in 2018 within Shoreditch.
This location acts as an arena for major events coving a wide range of games, while also offering top of the line gaming experiences during regular hours. Included within the Gaming Sphere are fully decked PCs, PS4s, Xbox Ones, Switches, VR headsets, racing wheels, and full racing chassis.
For many involved in the early days of eSports, such businesses have long been expected. It’s only recently, however, that eSports’ popularity in the western world has expanded enough to make the dreams into a reality.
Far from the early tournaments in tiny venues with small payouts, the big tournaments of today regularly sell out arenas, draw in thousands of viewers, and offer millions in prize pools.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast who strives to be the best then look alive, there has never been a better time to get ahead of the pack. Just don’t expect the competition to be easy.