My partner and I have spent most of this weekend watching the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship. Can I just say, wow.
From the perspective of a non-gamer, I can honestly say that watching tournaments like these has really helped me to understand and appreciate gaming a whole more. Just seeing how much time, energy and passion is involved, from players, organisers and fans alike, you just have to get excited with them. It’s just amazing to see – the reception that these tournaments receive is definitely comparable to that of professional football or basketball leagues. How is it really that different to regular sports? Let’s have a closer look:
Giant prize pool? ✓
The LoL Season 2 World Championship that we’ve been watching bears a dizzying total prize pool of $2,000,000.
High profile sponsors? ✓
It’s not just about the prize money. These pro teams and players are backed by companies such as Razer, Toshiba and BenQ. There’s plenty of merchandise, ads, shout outs, etc. – nicely promoted.
Massive fan base? ✓
Ahh, the adoring fans. The most recent tournament from professional gaming organisation Major League Gaming received over 4.7 million unique viewers throughout the three day event. MLG has fans tuning into their streams in over 170 countries. In Korea, they have a television channels entirely dedicated to eSports (BONUS: Here’s a cute ad from OnGamenet)
EDIT: According to caster, Deman, at time of reporting, the LoL Worlds finals were using approx 5% of North America bandwidth. Holy cow.
Professional commentators? ✓
What professional league can be complete without excited play-by-plays from enthusiastic commentators? eSports has its own breed of commentators, aptly dubbed ‘shoutcasters’, and these talented folk are celebrities in their own right. When my partner was first getting into Starcraft II, he subdued my complaints by showing me some clips of SC2 player and caster, Day. I’m certain that Day could single-handedly convince the whole of Australia that Starcraft II was the best thing since sliced bread.
Dedication to training? ✓
Just like other sports, if you want to be a pro gamer, you need to dedicate many many hours each day to training to be able to compete at a world class level. Just as a pro boxer needs endurance, strategy and quick reflexes to defeat their opponents, so does a professional gamer. It’s likely that many pros have been training/playing from a young age too, and will continue to do so for the rest of their careers.
Tougher than ice dancing.
Faster than synchronised swimming.
More relevant than curling.
It’s pointed out that eSports can be played by all ages, races, genders and more accessible to people with disabilities than most ‘real’ sports.
And if all these comparisons weren’t enough to convince someone that gaming is a big deal, I really wanted to find a nice clip that could help illustrate the passion that goes into eSports. I asked my partner to help me out, with the brief “if you needed to show someone just how amazing eSports was, and you only had one short clip in which to do it, this would be the clip”. This is what he sent me (but there were so many more that we both agreed were very cool):
I like it. It’s dramatic and inspirational like it could be a Michael Jordan ad from Nike or something.
Anywho, in conclusion – Partners of Gamers, if you haven’t already done so, please go check out an eSports tournament. It’ll give you a whole new perspective on gaming.
p.s. Can’t wait to watch the rest of LoL Worlds. Goooo CLG.EU! <3 you Snoopeh :)