Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Watch E-Sports?

I have encountered a handful of people in my life that asked me “Why do you watch people play video games.” Some are more curious while others are more judgmental (“What a waste of time, etc), but the 1st time someone brought it up, it did make me ponder the question “What would be a well-articulated response?”

This triggered my memory palace for a bit, a couples years ago I remember watching some sort of Cable News Show, something on CNN if remembered half-correctly, and the discussion was about Soccer and American Football, and how come the latter is so popular in the US of A, but just a rejected afterthought in every other country. One of the guests chimed in and said that it is a simple answer actually:

1)      American Football is strong at the High School and College level in terms of participation
2)      Not everyone that plays will be a professional player when leaving school
3)      Those people who played instead will be the solid viewing base when they are older

It is a cycle that has carried through for most of the last century. It does quite make sense if you think about it, and when you compare this culture to the soccer culture in other countries, for most young people soccer is the game to play, and see how in the end popularity of something is cultivated over time.  People care about stuff that they have a deep connection too.

So when deliberated with that question of “Why E-sports?” I thought of this answer a bit, and just said, video games is my sport. NFL, MLG, NHL, etc these consists the top pros of their respected sports, just like how Brood War scene in South Korea is the top league of their respected game, and I want to watch the best players go at it. These “E-athletes” (Grubby’s term for professional gamers) work just as hard as any “Traditional” athelete, maybe even harder since they are not limited by physical exhaustion and should command the respect of their craft. While this idea is still new and not exactly a social norm, it still has the merit of any high-level competition.

Xenzor from Reddit posts this picture, that relates to my thoughts on this subject, from the recent WCS (World Championship Series) Europe Continental Finals. 

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