What’s New in the World of eSports?
Okay, so we all know about eSports and how incredibly popular they’ve become, but what you may be more interested in is what’s happening in the eSports world right now. Well, quite a lot actually. In terms of highest grossing prize pools in international tournaments, various Dota 2 championships make up a whopping 9 out of the top 10, with only the League of Legends 2016 World Championship managing to make the list. Halo 5: Guardians, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are in the top 20, but this proves that MOBA games are absolutely the bee’s knees right now.
Is it any surprise, then, that a lot of companies are capitalising on this rapidly growing industry? There are now ways to make a clan website, Facebook has exclusive rights to live stream the league for FPS game Paladins, and 17 teams in the National Basketball Association have partnered with 2K Sports to create the official NBA eSports league. Even the BBC has started broadcasting live eSports coverage for games like Street Fighter, Rocket League, and the aforementioned Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I think I can hear a bandwagon approaching…
But wait, there’s more. Apparently, the International Olympics Committee is strongly considering bringing in eSports for future Olympic Games. Just digest that for a second: video games in the Olympics. All those hours I spent playing maybe wasn’t just for fun, after all. However, there is a catch, which is that the IOC will only consider games that aren’t violent. Because, of course, boxing and judo aren’t sports where you can hurt anyone, are they? Although we’ll probably have the age-old argument of violent video games being bad for children, it’s still an impressive feat to even consider eSports for the Olympics. Does that mean consuming Mountain Dew and Doritos counts as doping?
Next up, it’s been announced that SimBin Studios will create a women-only eSports competition for car racing games. According to Eurogamer.net, only five percent of eSports players are women, with Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of Women in Games, stating that it is a disgrace that such steps are necessary to make women feel included in eSports, but sees it as an important move overall. “It’s a shame we need women-only teams, leagues and competitions in eSports,” she said. “But until the sector fully matures, becomes more gender balanced and takes steps to eradicate online bullying and misogyny, they represent a great way to get more women involved by building communities, confidence and skills.”
Last, but not least, it appears that eSports players aren’t the only ones worried about robots stealing their jobs, as AI recently took on some of the top Dota 2 players in the world – and won. Phrases like ‘devastating to eSports’ and ‘embarrassing for gamers’ have been thrown around, as there is a fear that Dota 2 bots could somehow find their way into tournaments, disguised as human players. Although it might be a slight problem for the industry if humans can’t rise up against their machine counterparts, it all sounds a bit more dramatic than it needs to be. I saw a film called The Matrix once, and that turned out okay, so I’m not worried.
Well, that’s all the eSports news for now. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to get training to win gold in eSports at the next Olympics. Let’s get that movie montage started.