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Esports: The Newest Frontier of Competition

Gloria Ukaoma

Posted on January 17, 2021 02:15

1 user

As video game culture develops, esport competition continues to grow its fan base.

Esports, as a part of the growing videogame industry, are an odd phenomenon. I don't claim to be much of a football or basketball fan, but the appeal of being in a crowd with thousands of other fans is apparent. The lights, the sounds, the vibrance of the field: they make you feel involved. The experience at home is just as engaging when you're surrounded by friends and family who are all cheering for the same team.

I can't imagine feeling the same watching a gaming tournament, despite how the focus on competitive gaming has grown. According to Newzoo, global esport viewership in 2020 was almost 500 million people. That's a mind-boggling number to me. I admit that I've watched my fair share of videogame gameplay and highlights, but the professional competitive scene hasn't intrigued me. Tuning in or traveling to a convention to watch a handful of six-man teams sit at a table and battle it out in a game like Overwatch? I think I'll pass.

Maybe I'm not looking at esports the right way. Maybe there's a certain art to observing an expert in the midst of their craft that draws in viewers of all experience levels. Maybe the purpose of esports is to just appreciate the thousands of hours that these teams put into their training. From these highly publicized matches, the sickest shots and most strategic plays become the talk of the community. Being realistic, even the most casual of players can appreciate a perfectly timed ultimate combo.

All things considered, rising up in the ranks of an online competitive game isn't easy, and I have major respect for those who do it. They are the leaders of the gaming community, and game developers have done a great job of providing them a platform to showcase their capabilities. Their influence flows down through the ranks, fundamentally changing the way players view mechanics and strategies.

Video games are arguably the most innovative entertainment medium today. I love the immersion, the designs, the stories, and the challenges, and maybe that's why I can't get behind watching someone dominate solely in the multiplayer experience. Unlike traditional sports, most video games have another dimension in the form of narrative. Multiplayer competition just can't encompass all the facets of a game's intended experience.

As the esports industry continues to gain notoriety, it will also have increasingly more sway on the general view of video games. I only hope that the creative direction of game development stays true to its vision. By catering solely to competition, unique series may lose the spark that drew people to the game initially. After all, there are plenty of gamers who go about their gaming adventures completely oblivious to the day-to-day rankings and matchups of esport teams.

Gloria Ukaoma

Posted on January 17, 2021 02:15

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Source: IGN
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