DALLAS, March 24th, 2013 — If you don’t know what eSports are don’t feel bad it’s just now starting to break out of its niche in the U.S. With the amount of money being tossed around in this market however, you’re going to hear about it soon enough.
Video games specializing in player versus player conflict that are packaged as both team competitions and spectator events are referred to as eSports. Watching someone else play a video game may not sound like a lot of fun but fans in many countries outside of the United States would disagree.
James Noles, a writer at pvpgamer.com said, “As with most recent trends in entertainment the United States is slow to catch on. PVP games have been treated as a sport in Korea for many years with Japan and China jumping on board shortly after. It was the popularity of Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft that finally broke through and brought player versus player eSports to the attention of U.S. consumers”.
Mr. Noles added, “The U.S. tried to get in front of the trend with such things as G4 television, the cable gaming network, but the market wasn’t ready. With the international eSports market developing at the rate that it is now a large U.S. fan base is inevitable.”
Not every game lends itself well to these types of events. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) that include gladiatorial content such as Guild Wars 2, first person shooters like Halo, racing, and real-time strategy games are at the center of eSports activity. Gaming leagues are played at the amateur, semi-professional, and professional levels.
As with other sporting events these contests are open to the public and in many cases televised and streamed via the Internet to fans around the world. The largest of these professional events are the World Cyber Games, Major League Gaming, Dreamhack, and the Global Starcraft 2 League.
These events sell tickets and a lot of them.
Blizzard Entertainment is also responsible for the Starcraft game franchise and its latest iteration Starcraft 2. This real-time strategy game is immensely popular all over the world, but in South Korea many players dedicate their lives too it. The finals for several Starcraft leagues have thousands of spectators in attendance and broadcast the event on cable T.V. to millions of viewers.
The gamers that win these tournaments are celebrities in South Korea and are adored by their many fans. Due to the total market domination in South Korea Starcraft is the most popular game being professionally played in the world.
On April 5th-7th Microsoft’s X-Box will present the first annual Call of Duty Championship in Los Angeles California. 32 of the world’s top teams will compete for prizes in a $1 million prize pool. First place takes home $400,000.00. If that’s not taking gaming seriously then nothing is. The game being played is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and there are specific tournament rules in place.
There will be judges monitoring each match to insure the rules are adhered too, and each of the 32 teams will have a coach as well as strategists. For a full list of tournament requirements visit Call of Duty Elite. This is only one of the many tournaments cropping up in the U.S. and the number is growing.
Perhaps we are not far off from seeing the NEL (National eSports League) broadcast the regular Monday night game.
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