The amount of video game use 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 a person is likely to recognize one or even all these game names. This exposure to gambling in everyday light seems to be bringing in a fresh and hidden era in gambling, where gaming can be seen as a sport.
Ever since the first two individuals booted up”Pong” on the Atari 2600, gaming has been competitive. When you consider it, playing a game of soccer and playing a video game aren’t all that different. The thing is always to win the game but the level of competition and players in the game can differ. Growing up I played Call of Duty on a fairly competitive level but I had no idea how large the competitive gaming industry would grow to be. The growth in this industry can be traced to numerous factors. The financial growth in the gaming sector has been incredible. The recent 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 wish to see it get a place in the limelight has brought gaming into everyday life for the general public.
So what is causing video games to become a source of entertainment that people would watch from home like they’d football or soccer? Teams of five could play against one another and eliminate the competition as they moved towards the grand finals and the ultimate prize of first place. While this was the fourth tournament of the kind hosted by the games creators, it was the first time it was televised by ESPN 3. ESPN was happy so much by the results of the coverage they agreed to follow up another year. It’s crazy to believe that over the next few years we might see coverage of video games on Sports Center. Unlike ESPN which is only showing you content on competitive gaming during big tournaments, streaming is available all the time. Twitch TV being the most important website that comes to mind. Streaming sites allow content creators to reveal what is happening live in their computers to audiences that can join in the conversation with a chat group function as they watch their favourite steamers/players play live. The capacity 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 around the world with great ease, all while having the ability to communicate with content creators.
We know what’s bringing gaming to the sports arena, but what’s keeping it out? Well it is simply not quite time for electronic sports (E-Sports) to become a household name, at least not in the United States. South Korea may be an example of what is 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 practically a national past time of South Korea. The game is featured on cable television and is even featured on a few apps offered by Microsoft’s Xbox, which is a direct competitor to the PC gaming market that Star Craft belongs to. Now if I were to tell this to the average American, more than likely the answer would be along the lines of”Are you serious?” So why has not gaming already become a huge industry in the United States where most 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 players tend to favor strategic games such as Star Craft or DOTA. Think of both genres as an approach to an American football match. While both genres have a well-defined purpose like in soccer the strategic games feature ways to offset movements of other players or their choice of how to move toward their target through tech choices or character choices. In soccer, if the defense sends a blitz, you attempt to counter that blitz by getting the ball into a receiver who’s open, or run the ball in the opposite direction of the blitz. There’s no correct way to approach the defense’s strategy, and the crime can still make choices on how best to approach the circumstance. The exact same can’t be said about shooters, there simply is not enough depth in gameplay to provide watchers new ideas about how they can apply techniques used by professionals in their own gameplay.
Professional gaming is on its way to becoming a true sport in the United States. With air times on ESPN and through the popularization of gaming in everyday life within five or ten years we might see a great 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 also to get more of the public interested, but it is feasible. It will take the work of dedicated fans of the game to push gaming farther into the public eye but from what we have seen in the past couple of years it’s apparent that gaming will be considered a game in the near future.