E-Sports. The very word makes you think of big dreams for probably every 11-year-old in America. Or some loser who doesn't want to do anything for a living other than playing games for the rest of his life. This is a sad reality that is "E-sports" in our American culture. The overall thought in the mainstream is that it's "not a sport". And that's the just the beginning of the issues that need to be addressed. This is the market that in 2018 still hasn't broken a billion dollars. Seriously, the competitive gaming market hasn't been able to get enough support from the fans of video games. That's sad isn't it?
"Why is it like this?" you ask "I would think that with the large group of gamers in America surely E-sports can be considered an industry that's worth supporting."
For the most part, this has not been the case, not just in America, but also across the globe. It's only beginning to seriously catch on in Europe and the UK where the infamous E-League is based.
And yet with the amount of people and fans of video games, this is a market that's developing at a snail's pace for some reason. I mean it's the only time I can think of the corporate world has not put their grubby hands all over it and squeeze it for every last penny. But no, it's been around since the arcades of the 80's but is just now garnering enough strength for America to actually consider it as a profitable market.
I would have thought the companies who produced games with competitive aspects begin to push their own tournaments, form leagues and offer prizes to compete. Imagine if that was a common response to a AAA title dropping, leagues being formed and actual structure brought about that to your death matches. So far only a handful of developers have taken this step and optimized their games for esports and created a league around it. In the only "sport" that every person in the world can gather together, no matter sex, age, physical limitations, or language and have a chance to play on a team; You would think more developers would innovate towards esports. Sounds awesome, right? Absolutely.
Sounds easy, right? Wrong.
Ah, the fly in the ointment, the missing filling of this cash cow Twinkie. And just like the Twinkie, it can sit for 30 years as a horrible thing that destroys your children and makes them fat. But thankfully, it didn't go bad, it matured to a level where it is beginning to demand respect from the rest of the entertainment sports.
I mean, there is a sport called Chess boxing. And Chess boxing gets international viewership on ESPN, but the most common hobby in the civilized world is struggling to gain attention. And thankfully, that is changing and this very hard work is getting done. Slowly but surely, the few people who have decided to really organize themselves have succeeded by leaps and bounds.
But the struggle is real, my dear gamers. It's a lot of market with not a lot of people willing to put the effort into making it a success. This not to say that the producers of games have failed, rather, we have failed ourselves. As the normal thought and joke goes, this new generation wants everything to be handed to them. But I don't think this is the case actually. It's the lack of experience within the market that I think hinders the rapid development of this industry.
I mean, look up the history of basketball before the NBA was developed. Alot of sports have this same slow start. The positive sign in all this? The realization that there is a lack of such an obvious industry, and due to a lot of hard work, is gaining steam in the secular community and within the gaming community as well.
My usual tact on this subject, or the industry in general, is usually pretty cynical of either the actual gaming community's laziness, the lack of drive, or how it can only exist if we as gamers get involved and begin to organize this leagues and tournaments. In the video below, you'll find the world is adjusting to this slow and steady growth in an interesting way. Gaming Degrees. Which is awesome. Finally, a way for people to go to school and still continue to game and pursue a career that is so demanding it's almost impossible to be able to do both. Now is this a win for the gaming community or is school attendance just dropping? It's probably a bit of both.
What can you or I do to grow this industry we love so much? We have to start getting involved in the grassroots level. We have to put the elbow grease to this idea and get it moving. The product is there, the people are there, but there seems to be a general lack of interest or apathy for a large part of the gaming community; At least at the competitive level. My own son, he's 11, has almost no interest in competitive gaming at all.
He loves the broadcasts as we all do but it's also the only thing he finds when he looks up anything on gaming. Broadcasters' have done a wonderful job bringing gameplay to life and creating great entertainment. So now it's time for a small dynamic shift in focus, a real push from the broadcast and gaming communities towards encouraging competitive gameplay. We all have a part to play in bringing this type of competition to the mainstream.
And it's all about your local tournaments or leagues in your area. Companies like Capitol Underground Gaming League, who are a forward-thinking company established in Washington D.C., started with the exclusive purpose of creating an actual multi-game tournament and league. They are not alone, with companies beginning to sniff out the financial possibilities, they are beginning to see the opportunity and benefit in funding and sponsoring tournaments. It's now on us the gamers to bring them a product they can invest in.
Schools offering esports degrees is a nifty idea in the fact that it gives formal training on a growing industry, but it will only be beneficial if there is an industry that demands it. With motivation and willingness to work we can create the newest and biggest industry the world has known. So Google your local gaming tournaments, or begin your own. There is enough resources on the internet to be able to join the movement and grow no matter how small a tournament you start. This, my dear readers, is the next Dot Com revolution just waiting for its Yahoo to explode it into the multibillion-dollar market that it is.