E-sports is bigger than ever. I am happy to say that. It’s a really good thing. Websites like twitch.TV and the YouTube live streaming service allow more people than ever to watch games ranging from Starcraft II to Counterstrike on a competitive stage for free. It allows professionals to stream when they are practicing and they can give the average player tips and tricks on how to get better at the game (TSM Gleeb is especially good for this, since he streams nearly every day and commentates every game he plays). But how does it affect everyone involved? How does it affect the pros, spectators and facilitators of these new sports?
First of all, there are the professionals. These are the guys that get paid because they are good at video games. A dream job for many that’s only realised by a few. So they must live a pretty sweet life, right? Most of them do. There are some Koreans that aren’t signed to teams that don’t have a fantastic life but that’s the minority. They are paid for each win and when it comes to some events (such as the League of Legends LCS) they get a house and free PCs to live with. They do have to pay for their own food, but as you can imagine, with a free house and a pay check each month, that wouldn’t be that much. However, gaming for at least 10 hours per day does take its toll. Trust me, I’ve done it for no reason.
It does so even more when it’s the same game over and over again. It’s draining. Professional gamers only last for a certain number of years because they burn out similar to athletic athletes. Combined with streaming, it takes an even shorter time. And yet still people with less skill than them take it upon themselves to jump on them at the first opportunity if they do something wrong. Hell 2 players had to pretty much stay off websites like Twitter and Reddit becuase the things people were saying was destroying them mentally. People were abusing people that they should be looking up to. Not to sound stupid but I am pretty sure those people would make exactly the same mistakes and possibly even more than the pros do.
However, for the people that aren’t shouting abuse at the players, it gives them people to look up to. They can aspire to be like the players they watch. They can copy their builds and moves. The whole scene makes people want to improve. And to be fair, people do. They know what is viable and what is good to build. People watch streams and learn how to do different techniques and can communicate with the players on these streams. This promotes improvement within the community as people will follow the example that the pros give. (Lucky Luis Suarez doesn’t play LoL or everyone at an LCS event would be biting each other).
Finally, we have the promoters, sponsors and runners of the tournaments. What do they get out of this? Well, first of all, a ton of exposure. Products like Red bull and Monster get loads of buyers because they sponsor E-sports teams like Evil Geniuses. As you can imagine, this exposure is great for their brand, since it means more people will want to get that product. Even stuff like keyboards and mice sponsor teams. Hell, Kingston Hyper X got some of the teams to put on skits to promote their brand. And it does work. I bought a Cooler Master keyboard because I support Superhot Crew. Of course, there are the massive amounts of ad revenue that the streams get just for people tuning in.
I think how we treat pro players could be better. We can’t expect them to be at their best all the time. I’m not at my best all the time and I’m sure you aren’t either. But attacking players because they aren’t another person or attacking them because they did one move wrong is just (for want of a better term) complete bullshit. People need to learn to respect them because they are better than you and you could really learn a lot. Thanks for reading.