Esports are the future

I write this the day after the English World Cup team has failed to get past the group stage. Living in a country where football (soccer) is the national sport, it is deeply tedious if you have no interest in the game. As a gamer I find football deeply dull, with no interesting in watching the matches.

This is a little odd, as I do watch a sport on a regular basis, well actually esports. I faithfully watch the professionally European League of Legends games. Hell as I write this I am watching the LCS right now, which is being broadcast from Wembley in London. Yes that’s right eleven thousand brits have paid money to go and watch 10 men (disappointingly no women in the EU LCS) play a video game. Competitive video games have actually been around for ages, I remember reading about a Street Fighter tournaments when I was a kid.

However in the last couple of years it has become more and more high profile. Not just down to Riot Games. There are also sorts of other high profile competitions, a prime example being the upcoming Dota2 invitational which Valve have essentially crowd funded to the tune of a prize fund of several million. Hell even the consoles have the likes of Call of Duty events. So with some esports being arguably bigger than “proper” sports, an obvious questions springs to mind. If you haven’t tried watching esports, why not?

If it can be played competitively, then there are probably people out there doing so. Even smaller games like Natural Selection 2 have had tournaments. And these tournaments are usually commentated by knowledgeable and likeable casters. If you want to know more about a game, watching pros play it is a great way to learn.

I think that is the real thing that hooked me in. I had tried LoL before I started watching it, and had bounced off it. It being a collection of confusing and, honestly, poorly explained mechanics. However watching and perhaps more importantly listening, I really got my head around the game and became, well good is a major exaggeration, competent I suppose.

And this is ignore the fact that it is actually exciting to watch. Seeing all the plays and tactics, the dynamic movements and the ganks and kills. Coming from a country where football is king, it is really fascinating. The average soccer match has, in my experience, a couple of exciting minutes out of 90. The average pro LoL game has far less downtime, and I am guessing this is true of the likes of CS, Dota2 or event Starcraft 2. So if you like a game, try watching instead of playing for a bit, who knows you might get hooked.

Twitter @hangmansj0e

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