The amount of video game usage we see in society today is arguably inevitable. Mobile games such as; Candy Crush, Game of War, or Clash of Clans, record daily revenues in the millions, and someone is likely to recognize one or even all of these game names. This exposure to gambling in everyday light appears to be bringing in a new and hidden era in gaming, where gaming can be viewed as a sport.
Ever since the first two individuals booted up”Pong” on the Atari 2600, gaming has been aggressive. When you consider it, playing a game of football and playing a video game aren’t all that distinct. The thing is always to win the game but the degree of competition and players from the game can differ. Growing up I played Call of Duty on a fairly competitive level but I had no idea how big the competitive gaming industry would grow to be. The growth in this industry can be traced to a number of factors. The monetary growth in the gaming sector has been incredible. The current stance that”nerd culture” has taken in the popular media through means such as The Big Bang Theory. The push by people who genuinely enjoy gaming culture and want to see it get a spot in the limelight has brought gaming into everyday life for the general public.
So what’s causing video games to turn into a source of entertainment that individuals would watch from home like they’d football or soccer? Teams of five would play against one another and eliminate the competition as they moved towards the grand finals and the greatest prize of first place. While this was the fourth tournament of this kind hosted by the games creators, it was the first time it had been televised by ESPN 3. ESPN was pleased so much by the results of the coverage they agreed to follow up another year. It is crazy to think that within the next few years we might see coverage of video games on Sports Center. Unlike ESPN which is only showing you articles on competitive gaming during big tournaments, streaming is available all of the time. Twitch TV being the most important website that comes to mind. Streaming sites allow content creators to reveal what’s happening live in their computers to audiences who can join in the dialogue with a chat group function as they watch 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 talk with fellow fans of the series from all over the world with good ease, all while having the ability to communicate with content creators.
We know what’s bringing gaming into the sports stadium, but what is keeping it out? Well it is just not quite time for digital sports (E-Sports) to become a household name, at least not in america. South Korea may be an example of what’s to come regarding E-Sports in the United States. Say the name”Star Craft” and nine times out of ten, a Korean will know what you are referring to. The game Star Craft is almost a national past time of South Korea. The game is featured on cable television and is featured on a few programs offered by Microsoft’s Xbox, which is a direct competitor to the PC gaming market that Star Craft belongs to. Players in Korea are treated like celebrities, signing autographs, taking pictures with fans, and appearing on talk shows from time to time. Now if I were to tell this to the typical American, more than likely the answer would be along the lines of”Are you serious?” It’s that big of a deal over there?” Yes, E-Sports in Korea and to a lesser degree, China and Japan are already booming businesses. So why has not gaming already become a large industry in the United States where the majority of these games have been made? Americans tend to like different games than the Asian players do. Americans tend to like fast paced shooters, such as Call of Duty or Counter Strike, while Asian gamers tend to favor strategic games like Star Craft or DOTA. Think of the two genres as an approach to an American football match. While the two genres have a well-defined purpose like in football the strategic games feature approaches to counter movements of other players or their choice of how to move toward their goal via tech choices or character choices. In football, if the defense sends a blitz, you attempt to counter that blitz by getting the ball into a receiver who is open, or run the ball in the opposite direction of the blitz. There’s no proper way to approach the defense’s strategy, and the crime can still make choices about how to approach the situation. The same cannot be said about shooters, there simply isn’t enough depth in gameplay to give watchers new ideas about how they can apply techniques used by professionals into their own gameplay.
Professional gambling is on its way to becoming a real sport in america. With air times on ESPN and throughout the popularization of gambling in everyday life within five or ten years we may see a good chunk of people walking around with E-sport’s team jerseys. Due to the trends of gambling in the U.S. it will likely take radical changes in gameplay to keep viewers watching and to get more of the public interested, but it’s feasible. It will take the work of dedicated fans of this sport to push gaming farther into the public eye but from what we have seen in the past few years it’s apparent that gaming will be considered a game in the not too distant future.