A decade ago, video gaming was still a rising hobby that, while being financially lucrative on a level few recognized, was still largely enjoyed by a subculture of passionate gamers; only a few titles had managed to break into what would be considered the “mainstream” of the time. Now, though, it’s more common than not to see a video gaming console or a gaming computer in nearly every home.

With such a rise in popularity surging through the gaming industry, there are certain brands and properties that have undeniably reached mainstream appeal. Perhaps not surprisingly, among these stellar hits are sports titles like the FIFA series, each of which is a yearly release with updated team rosters, player statistics, and all-new gameplay features.

The FIFA video game series has grown so popular and has so many competitive players that an esports scene has begun to flourish around it in recent years. Esports, historically, is a field of feast and famine; when new games picked up steam, an esports community of some size would often follow, then, shortly thereafter, the scene would diminish as the game’s technology grew older.

The trend of esports scene decline has begun to break in recent years as developers have adopted new, longer-lived game making strategies.

Sponsors, tournament hosts, coaches, and professional esport players have found more and more reason to lean in to a particular title, knowing that it’s likely that the game will be updated (or, in the case of yearly releases like FIFA, followed-up on.)

Games like Call of Duty, Madden (American Football), Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch have now built extremely active esports communities much like FIFA has. The sudden and exciting growth of esports invites a question of the industry: What comes next?

It’s possible that we may even see sports like cycling make an esports appearance; after all, virtual reality and augmented reality are both rapidly evolving. In the future, esports might include many sports previously thought to be exclusive to the world of offline competition. The future of individual title’s success will boil down to ingenuity, player and team devotion, and a pinch of luck, but the future of esports is brighter than ever!