Your Ultimate Guide to eSports in Australia
It’s no secret: Australia is a country of sports lovers. A bit of AFL? We froth it. Rugby league? That’s our bread and butter. Cricket? We can’t get enough of it.
While there’s no shortage of sports to love in Australia, there’s one in particular that’s sweeping the nation – and it might surprise you (since it’s not technically a sport at all). In today’s article, we’re talking about all things eSports!
In eSports, gamers swap the bats and boots for a computer or smartphone, pressing buttons and boundaries until they hit their next big win. From Sydney to Perth, Aussies are loving eSports and all the excitement they have to offer.
If you’re keen to learn more about eSports, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we dive deeper into the world of eSports, including popular games and where to watch eSports events in Australia.
What is eSports and Where Can I Watch in Australia?
Let’s start by clarifying the definition of eSports. Short for electronic sports, eSports is a style of video game competition. Oftentimes, eSports takes the form of organised, multiplayer video game contests. They can be played individually or in teams, depending on the game.
In essence, eSports turns video gaming into an online spectator sport. Just as they would with traditional sports – such as boxing, soccer, or rugby – audiences can watch as the players duke it out in an attempt to come out victorious. The only real difference? It also takes place in the digital space.
Despite being around since the 1990s, the eSports industry only rose to prominence internationally in recent years. This has largely been thanks to advancements in technology, particularly the mobile gaming revolution, which allows players and spectators to access these games anywhere, anytime.
eSports: The Most Popular Games You Need to Know About
You know what they say: variety is the spice of life – and that’s exactly what you’ll get in the world of eSports. eSports come in an array of forms and themes, from fighting to virtual sports and everything in between.
Here are some of the most popular and fun games to play and watch in Australia.
FIFA/EA Sports FC (Sports Game)
If you like a little sport in your eSports, then FIFA is an awesome option – not to mention, an incredibly popular one.
The FIFA Football game series – which has been renamed to EA Sports FC for the 2024 edition – is typically played individually online. In it, users not only play the beautiful game but create their own teams, trade players and complete challenges.
FIFA eSports competitions are held around the world, with hosting leagues including the likes of German company ESL (formerly known as Electronic Sports League) and Korean company OGN (formerly known as Ongamenet).
FIFA itself has even gotten in on the eSports action. The FIFA eWorld Cup – which was previously known as the FIFA Interactive World Cup – is the administration’s annual eSports competition, which kicked off in 2004. It was reported that the champions of the 2023 competition – which was held in July – received approximately $300,000 in prize money.
League of Legends (Multiplayer Online Battle Area)
This MOBA game immerses you in the magical world of Runeterra, in which you and your teammates battle it out against another team of five players. You control your own avatar – known in the game as a champion – which has unique abilities and powers. The goal? Eliminate your competitors so your team can come out on top.
League of Legends is widely regarded as the world’s largest eSport. The League of Legends World Championships – often shortened to Worlds – is the annual eSports tournament hosted by the game’s creator, Riot Games. Since beginning in 2011, the competition has paid out its winners millions of dollars. This year, the tournament is set to take place from 10 October to 19 November in Seoul and Busan, South Korea. The prize pool is estimated to be $2.5-$3 million.
You can learn more about upcoming League of Legends eSports events here.
Mortal Kombat (Fighting Game)
Known for its intense fighting sequences, Mortal Kombat is an uber-popular video game first introduced in the early 1990s. In the years since its launch, Mortal Kombat has boomed, with the universe existing in not just video games but films, television series, comic books, and more.
The latest instalment in the series is Mortal Kombat 1, which was released in September 2023. The game includes a unique storyline as well as some awesome new features, including Kameo Fighters, Invasion Mode, and Fatal Blows with different functionalities.
While the narrative of the game is complex, the gist of it is this: the plot revolves largely around a tournament in which Earthrealm fighters (i.e. fighters on Earth) need to defend their territory from otherworldly threats, namely those from the evil Outworld.
Mortal Kombat is huge in the eSports scene, featuring professional players and epic tournaments.
One of the highest-grossing video games of all time, it’s no wonder Street Fighter is on this list. Since its initial launch in 1987, Street Fighter has grossed over US$12 billion. We’ve seen several instalments in the series, including Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha, and more.
Released in June 2023, Street Fighter 6 is the latest edition in the game series. While it boasts many of the same features players know and love, it also introduced some new ones, including single-player adventure mode (with customizable avatars) and real-time in-game commentary. And surprise, surprise: Street Fighter is one of the biggest games in the realm of eSports.
In this universe, there are some heavy hitters who have proven their skills time and time again over the years. One of them is Japanese pro, Daigo Umehara, who is also known as The Beast – and for good reason. Having discovered Street Fighter at the age of 10, Umehara has spent years refining his play and has found major competitive success in several iterations of the game, including Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Street Fighter IV, and many more. He also holds two Guinness World Records: one for the most-viewed fighting video game and one for his lifetime score in Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Where to Watch eSports in Australia
Don’t want to miss a moment of the action? Well, you’re in luck! There are plenty of places to watch eSports in Australia, and we’re here to list them out for you.
You can watch eSports on the Seven network’s free streaming platform, 7Plus. You can create an account in minutes and watch on any smart device, including your phone, Smart TV, or tablet. You can also watch eSports via live-streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. These sites are also compatible with mobile devices, meaning you can log on to watch whenever and wherever. Despite the “e” in eSports, you can even watch eSports in person! Experience the thrills, the nerves, and the triumphs firsthand by