December 30 – Happy Birthday, Dendi!

Posted on December 30, 2015

Today is the birthday of “eSports” hero Danil Ishutin, aka Dendi.

If you've never heard of Dendi, you might not live in the Ukraine AND you might not be into Dota 2. But you might be impressed to learn that Dendi is the 24th highest earning professional gamer in the world. Just 26 years old today, he has earned more than $600,000 U.S. dollars from various tournaments.

Dendi was one of the three Dota 2 players featured in the documentary Free to Play, and his YouTube stream is pretty famous.

Okay, so what is Dota 2?

Dota 2 is a free-to-play MOBA.

And a MOBA is a multiplayer online battle arena video game.

Dota 2 was created by Valve Corporation. It is a sequel to DotA, Defense of the Ancients. And DotA is a mod (modification) of a video game called Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

And Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne is an official expansion pack to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

(I hope you're taking notes. There will be a test at the end of the post.)

I've heard of World of Warcraft (WoW), the most popular MMORPG in the world, and the highest grossing video game of all time. (MMORPG means massively multiplayer online role-playing game.) Well, World of Warcraft is the Warcraft game that follows Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

Ahhh....there are people who play video games...for money?

I mentioned that Dendi was an eSports hero; eSports are competitive video gaming, also called pro-gaming. Most eSports competitions are organized multiplayer video games – real-time strategy games, first-person shooter games, and of course MOBAs. (Apparently, many fighting game players shun the eSports label.)

Nowadays, many eSports tournaments provide live broadcasts of competitions and provide prize money and salaries to the competitors.

Competitions have been a big part of video game culture since the beginning, but pro-gaming has become way more common and popular now. As a matter of fact, many video game developers now create the games with features that are especially designed with such competition in mind.

The biggest games in pro-gaming are MOBA games Dota 2 and League of Legends, the real time strategy game StarCraft II. Shooting games like Call of Duty have had some success as eSports—but not to MOBA or StarCraft levels.

The biggest nation in eSports is apparently South Korea, which has been officially licensing pro-gamers since way back in 2000! In contrast, it was just a few years ago, in 2013, that the first American pro-gamer received a special “Internationally Recognized Athlete” visa – a sign that the U.S. is finally beginning to recognize eSports as sports.

So...this is really a thing!?!

In 2013, more than 71 million people worldwide watched competitive gaming. By this year (2015), eSports have reached 134 million people! This is bigtime growth! Check out Superdata's report on the growth of eSports popularity. 

If you want to know more, check out – one of the most popular streaming media platforms – and Major League Gaming – the professional eSports organization. 

Um...where's the test?

I was just kidding about the test. But I noticed that there are a lot of names and acronyms when discussing eSports. Like anything else, video gaming has its own vocabulary!

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