2016 was esports' biggest year yet. Which, OK, you can make the argument that every year since Rolling Stone covered (and provided prizes for) the first video game tournament back in 1972 was, at the time, "esports' biggest year yet." You can attribute this year's uptick to an exponential growth curve of prize money, sponsorship revenue, and venture capital investment, all fueled by viewership that increasingly rivals traditional sports. Competitive video gaming won't supplant meatsports any time soon, but they won't be a curious sideshow for long, either.
As such, it's no longer productive to argue that esports are "The Next Big Thing." The revolution has more or less arrived. The questions now are: What do esports mean for our culture? What do they mean for our perception of athletic accomplishment?
What happens next?
Below, we round up ten defining esports moments in 2016, and look forward to a 2017 that promises countless more.