The amount of use of video games that we see in society today is undoubtedly inescapable. Mobile games such as; Candy Crush, Game of War, or Clash of Clans have multi-million dollar daily earnings, and someone is forced to recognize one if not all of these game names. This exposure to gaming in everyday light seems to bring a new and invisible era in gaming, where gaming could be seen as a sport.
Since the first two people started “Pong” on the Atari 2600, the game has been competitive. When you think about it, playing soccer and playing a video game aren’t that different. The goal is always to win the game but the level of competition and the players in the game may vary. Growing up I played Call of Duty at a fairly competitive level but had no idea how big the competitive gaming industry was. The growth of this industry can be attributed to a number of factors. The financial growth of the gaming industry has been incredible. The recent stance that “nerd culture” has taken in popular media through means such as The Big Bang Theory. The push of people who really love gaming culture and want to see it take its place in the limelight has brought gaming into the everyday lives of the general public.
So what is it that makes video games a source of entertainment that people would watch from home just like they would for football or soccer? The answers might surprise you. In July 2014, “Defense of the Ancients” or DOTA was played by teams around the world for a community-raised prize pool totaling US $ 10,923,980. Teams of five would play against each other and eliminate the competition as they made their way to the grand final and the ultimate first place prize. While this was the fourth such tournament hosted by the game makers, it was the first time it had been televised by ESPN 3. ESPN were so pleased with the results of the coverage that they agreed to follow next year. It’s crazy to think that in the next few years, we might see video game coverage on Sports Center. Unlike ESPN which only shows you competitive gaming content at big tournaments, streaming is available all the time. Twitch TV being the main website that comes to mind. Streaming sites allow content creators to show what is happening live on their computers to the public who can join the conversation with a group chat feature watching their favorite steamers / players play live. The potential for growth through an avenue like this is enormous. Just think, you can watch a TV show and chat with other fans of the show around the world with great ease, while still being able to communicate with the content creators.
We know what brings the game into the sports arena, but what prevents it? Well, it’s not quite time for eSports (E-Sports) to become a household name, at least not in the United States. South Korea may be an example of what is to come in terms of esports in the United States. Say the name “Star Craft” and nine out of ten times a Korean will know what you are talking about. The Star Craft game is practically a national pastime of South Korea. The game is featured on cable TV and is even featured on a few apps offered by Microsoft’s Xbox, which is a direct competitor to the PC gaming market to which Star Craft belongs. Players in Korea are treated like celebrities, sign autographs, take photos with fans, and appear on talk shows from time to time. Now, if I had to say that to the average American, the answer would more than likely be like “Are you serious?” Is that such a big deal out there? “Yes, esports in Korea and to a lesser extent China and Japan are already booming industries. So why hasn’t gaming already become a big industry in the United States, where most of these Americans tend to like games that are different from those of Asian gamers. Americans tend to like fast-paced shooter games, such as Call of Duty or Counter Strike, while Asian gamers tend to prefer strategy games. such as Star Craft or DOTA. The problem with shooters is that less strategy is involved. Think of both genres as an approach to an American football game. While both genres have a clear purpose as in football, Strategy games offer ways to counter other players’ movements or their choice of how to move towards their objective through technology choices or character choices. In football, if the defense sends a blitz, you try to counter that blitz by bringing the ball to a catcher that is open, or by running the ball in the opposite direction of the blitz. This is not a correct way to approach defense strategy, and attacking can still make choices about how to approach the situation. The same can’t be said for shooters, there just isn’t enough depth in the gameplay to give observers new ideas on how they can apply the techniques used by professionals in their own gameplay.
Professional gaming is fast becoming a real sport in the United States. With the airtime on ESPN and the popularization of the game in everyday life five or ten years from now, we could see quite a few people walking around in the E-sports team jerseys. Due to the trends of the game in the United States, it will likely take some drastic changes in the gameplay to keep viewers watching and attracting more audiences, but it is doable. It will take the work of dedicated fans of the sport to push the game further into the public eye, but from what we have seen over the past few years, it is clear that the game will be seen as a sport in the near future. to come up.