Earlier this year, we witnessed Engage Gaming opening its doors to Scotland’s first dedicated esports centre. Based in North Silver Street, Aberdeen, the 180-square foot venue is a clear sign that esports and i-gaming are definitely on the rise in Scotland.

Around the same time, Insomnia X Resonate returned to Scotland and held its annual Gaming Festival – a three-day event which was held at the Scottish Event Campus that attracted 10,000 gaming enthusiasts. Additionally, the 4th Gamers put on a stunning gaming expo this year with events and tournaments which included CS GO, Overwatch, Street Fighter V and Call of Duty.

Scotland has Some eSports Legends

With specialist venues and top-notch events, it is clearly evident that the market is on the rise in Scotland. Over the years, a few notable names have risen up from these shores. Mark Bryceland is a professional Call of Duty player. He is ranked among the world’s top 25 players – which given the global appeal of this game is a stellar achievement.

Others include the former professional League of Legends player, Stephen ‘Snoopeh’ Ellis and Mark Gardiner, whose game of choice was Pro Evolution Soccer. However, both of these names are from yesteryear and Scotland is now looking for the next generation to come to the fore and carry the flag for our proud nation.

According to Euan Ratley, a support player with Gaben Laser Beam’s League of Legends team, the issue which appears to have hampered Scotland’s flow of talent has been the lack of quality LAN (Local Area Network) facilities in the past. Now that Engage has set-up shop in the country, it is hoped more dedicated esports will soon follow and this will serve as a platform to produce top esports players.

A Burgeoning Industry is Developing

Also worth a mention is Gaming Scotland. This is another fun and friendly LAN party community-based in Grangemouth. It hosts regular LAN parties for up to 20 gamers while also putting on the odd 60+ player event at Doobie Hall in Larbert. With a high-speed, fully gigabit network, plenty of dedicated gaming servers and tournament management screens, this place is worth checking out if you want to enjoy a great gaming party.

Currently, the most popular games for Scottish players are Dota2 game is fast becoming the pinnacle of esports with the International 7 Dota2 Championships boosting a prize-fund in excess of £20 millon. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS GO), League of Leagues (LoL), Call of Duty (CoD) and FIFA also make the shortlist of favourites.

Scotland certainly has a fondness for classic fighting games. Street Fighter V is one of the best titles on the PS4. To endorse its popularity, MCM esports recently held the successful Street Fighter V tournament series at MCM Scotland Comic Con. Hypespotting also held a super fighting event featuring the Tekken 7 UK Championships plus other tournaments including Mortal Kombat XL, the King of Fighters XIV, Street Fighter II Turbo and several others.

Betting on esports is another growing sector in Scotland, among many other countries we might add. Leading bookmakers (most can be found on this list all operate markets for the biggest national and international events.

There are also new players entering this industry such as Unikrn – which is one of the world’s first online bookmakers solely for esports. Its platform is quite unique in that gamers can play their favourite esports games and also use it for betting purposes (both real money and free betting accepted).

So, What Does the Future Hold?

What is fantastic about esports is that it has a community-based spirit which makes all players feel welcome. The Scottish Warriors are one such organisation. They are an amateur League of Legends team which has aspirations of cracking the big time one day. Yet, their primary focus is on raising awareness of esports in Scotland by either hosting events and tournaments or setting up new teams for gamers to join.  Read more about them.

It’s fair to say that while esports is definitely on the rise in Scotland, it has a long way to go before it’s a world-leader. What is abundantly clear is the enthusiasm of Scottish gamers and with the right support network and funding, there is no reason why Scotland cannot make its mark in this new but rapidly growing industry.