E-sports are fast becoming a major passion of mine and I felt it was time to spread the word so to speak. Many of you may not be aware of the existence of such a thing but fear not dear readers for I am here to cast Esuna and cure you of this unfortunate status ailment (geez that was crow barred in!). E-sports are exactly what it says on the tin, professional gamers who compete at the highest level in tournaments with (depending on game and prize pool) up too $100,000 prize money for first place. That’s a lot for playing a video game!
The biggest organisation involved with the e-sports scene is MLG (Major League Gaming) and thanks to their fantastic website everyone is able to watch live, professionally commentated, streams of all the events on the calendar. The next event (at time of writing) is the weekend of June 3-5 and I urge you all to at least check it out for a bit of the cast if not the whole thing. I for one have (and I’m aware of the frankly ridiculous level of nerdiness here) booked that particular weekend off work so I can stay up to stupid o’clock each day to watch the entire StarCraft 2 tournament live and not compromise my job by being a caffeinated zombie. Now I don’t expect this kind of reaction from many people but I have fallen in love with SC2 and watching the best players in the world, with a notebook at my side in case I see a strategy I want to steal and use myself, is just as rewarding as watching any other professional sports match to me; if you knew me and how much I love my baseball, American football and ice hockey you’d realise that this is a bold claim to make!
Luckily it does seem to be catching on and more and more people are tuning in to watch these big name players play the games they love. The first event of the year was so popular that the servers couldn’t handle the traffic and the stream promptly crashed and experienced problems for the first day and a half of the event. This has been taken into account and the head of MLG made a personal apology on air to say that it won’t happen at the next event. Companies should take note of this and get in on it whilst it’s still a rising business. The advertising potential is huge and for a relatively small investment companies could show their wares to a huge number of people. Even the smaller events I’m currently watching get at around 30,000 viewers for the live stream and many more on the VODs afterwards. This is not only good for them but also for the fans of e-sports like me and hopefully some of you as well. More investments mean bigger prize pools, bigger prize pools mean better tournaments and better tournaments mean more entertainment for the fans. It’s a win-win situation.
Currently the games in MLG are SC2, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Halo: Reach, each has its own commentary team and its own designated stream so you can chop and change or stick with one for the duration. The thing that’s so great about the set-up they have are the commentators they have chosen. I can’t speak for Halo or CoD but the SC2 team, headed by my man crush Sean ‘Day  Plott, is phenomenal. They make the games exciting yet accessible for those people who might not know what the hell is going on. I can only assume that the other games have similar teams but this MLG I will take a look at those streams during the downtime of SC2 (or during the Zerg vs Zerg matches) to check it out for myself. In fact this will be a great experiment to see if they’re as beginner friendly because on the most part I don’t give a shit about FPS and thus have little to no understanding of how it works at the top levels of play, it always just seems like a clusterfuck to me but what do I know?
If this has whet your appetite for some high level gaming action all the VODs of the first MLG are currently available at www.MLG.com and the next event, as I said previously, is a little over a month away. I urge you to check it out, if possible with some gamer buddies. If you like what you see buy the event pass to get the high quality stream. For only $10 which is basically nothing, especially if you split it with the aforementioned buddies, you get a much better picture and you help to boost the growth of e-sports in general, which again will result in better quality stuff for us to enjoy in the future!