I came across this article today, and it really got me thinking – One; that literally anyone else who is interested in major esport gaming has probably touched on this subject, and that two; making a major e-sport league does not come without its complications. Obviously.
If time allows, please read Chris Kluwe’s article – Esports needs an actual league, and I should be the commissioner here, so that you can have a better idea of what I’m talking about.
One of the first things that came to mind while reading Chris’s article was about complications that come from games losing their popularity. Halo 2, anyone? Remember how insanely popular that was, and if I recall correctly, how making it to an MLG game was a BFD? DAE Ogre1 and Ogre2? [What ever happened to them anyway?]
In the words of Chris:
For example, an esports league could consist of Activision/Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Riot/Tencent, Valve, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft as the league apparatus (think the NFL’s front office along with Roger Goodell), with team owners CLG, TSM, Cloud9, SKT, Edward Gaming, Fnatic, etc. underneath them separated by region, and then further separated by genre of game, yet all still tied together under the umbrella of the league as a whole.
I see what he’s suggesting, but wouldn’t it be far better for the league to consist of non-affiliated parties? I personally would get paranoid about the larger-named companies being at the top trying to “sway” outcomes one way or another for the sake of profit. The way that Chris suggests that is be handled similarly to the way the NFL works really makes me want to steer clear of any such thing. Think about what just happened with Microsoft and Fable – seeing the game nearly to finish, and then completely cancelling the project just days before the expected release. Who’s to say they wouldn’t cancel a team who spent years practicing due to perceived “lack of interest”? I wonder if there would ever be a gamer union…
The next issue, one that I didn’t see addressed directly, is about the games themselves. The content, the type, ect…Who are going to be the ones to determine which are competitive enough to hold competitions? There probably won’t be an international Bejeweled competition anytime soon, but it’s still a game, and one where many people can be VERY competitive; However, that’s not a game that I would like to see under an esport league.
My next concern is – the affordability of staying relevant. Established gamers are set – [Skip to the next paragraph, I ended up complaining for the rest of this one] they have sponsors and don’t really have to worry about too much outside of gaming. I was quite good at Halo 2 once upon a time. I remember, and quite fondly, playing with the Ogre’s and few others online and completely kicking ass. I wouldn’t have placed 3rd or anywhere close, but I would have been able to hold my own. The problem was that I lived too far away, getting discovered and/or sponsored was too unattainable because I was both too young and had no idea where to start. I knew that if I even wanted a chance to get discovered, I would have had to go to an MLG tournament in San Francisco – 8 hours away, and I would have had to pay for my parents to go too. (They weren’t about to pay for me – they didn’t even believe people could actually win money for playing games). That, and I was a young girl who wanted to go San Francisco…my dad wasn’t about to let that happen.
I digress. The affordability of gaming now – at least in the PC world – is pretty expensive. You’d have to dedicate a lot of time, effort, and extra hours at your job, just to keep your PC up to date. Even though LoL is pretty low-key, if you want to start streaming your shit still has to be up to date, and you have to have strong internet. And truth be told, you’re probably not going to discovered just from playing ranked.
Chris also says:
Ultimately, esports needs to consolidate, rather than continue its present fractured course, because that’s what every other successful sports league in history has done. The problems that Riot was forced to address in their latest ruling are going to arise again, along with others, and it’s time esports was proactive about these matters rather than reactive, which means buckling down and creating an actual esports league.
I very much agree with this. Something needs to be done. I wish I could get in on it, but I decided to get a degree in geology instead.
I was also lucky enough to have a short conversation with Chris on Twitter to get some clarity about his article – I asked if he meant a league for each game, or one league for every type of game – he meant a single league for every game. (I think there should be separate leagues, I don’t want a “one league to rule them all” thing going on. I feel like it would keep things from changing that should change along with the state of games.)
I also said how cool it would be if Universities started recruiting gamers for esports like they do for football – he said that some were already starting to give out scholarships!! I guess that’s a step in the right direction. But that also scares me, because look at how much football coaches get paid in comparison to professors…but that’s a different blog for a different time.
So, as a side note, in case anyone WAS wondering what happened to the twins, Ogre1 retired and lives in Australia and has a baby, and Ogre2 is still playing competitively and lives in Utah. Here’s a link to his Twitch.
Thanks, readers. Cheers!