The Future of eSports in America

I was casually checking my Twitter feed today (can you check Twitter any other way?) and came across a fantastic article on Time about the state of eSports in America. I’m certainly a little odd in that these days I spend significantly more time watching others play games and reading about games than I actually do playing them myself (thank my new roommate and Giant Bomb for that). Even still, something about eSports has always appealed to me. As a huge Counter-Strike player in high school and Super Smash Bros. (Melee and Brawl) player in college, I have always loved pushing myself to my limits as a gamer.

These days, while I don’t make the time to play games as much as often as I would like, one thing is clear: Starcraft II is the standard-bearer in the burgeoning eSports industry. Megan Friedman and Keith Wagstaff, the authors of the article linked below, piqued my interest with an illuminating point: those kids that once watched their older siblings as they played games have grown up and, as a result, watching videogames is nothing new to them. With record attendance expected at the next MLG event and the rapid growth of TwitchTV, a site for internet streams related to the videogame industry, eSports appears poised to take off in America. While I think it’s certainly too early to project competitive gaming’s future mass-market appeal, I, for one, believe it absolutely has a place in America and will continue to grow in the near-term.

What do you guys think? Do eSports really have a future alongside traditional sports in our national consciousness or will they quietly fade into the chasms of the Internet, ultimately retaining only niche appeal?

Time – Gaming for a Living: Can eSports Finally Make it Big in America?

3 thoughts on “The Future of eSports in America

  1. Only if they stop calling it a sport. And not the way they are doing it. Most folks not in to it can’t truly enjoy it (Starcraft is just nuts). If they focused on games the media and spectators could enjoy, maybe. One of the best was the EVO last year when Mortal Kombat was a part of the lineup. You don’t have to know a thing to enjoy watching that, then screamin “Fatality!!!!”. That or more Gears tournaments. Bein badass at a game has to translate to the screen or it just wont work.
    Awesome out.

    • Good point. I believe a sport is typically defined as something that has (a) an athletic component and (b) a competitive aspect. If not eSport, what would you call it?

  2. Simple. Gaming or a Video Gaming Event. I hate the word “Cyber Athlete”. Just cause you play games good and somehow found a way to make a couple bucks off it, don’t make you an athlete. Not even close. I would love to see gaming take off here in the states, but it would super have to appeal to more then gamers. If only gamers and fans of the particular game know whats going on, it just won’t work. Thats where games like Mortal Kombat and Gears of War can work. Events involving showboating/smack talk / small groups that spectators can easily understand and watch. I am good at Battlefield 3, but i’d rather get punched in the face with a dildo then watch 32 other people who are Not me play it. Sounds like torture. Also, they would have to make these events legit in style and looks like they do in Korea and such. Evo is held in a conference room with people playing with their joysticks on chairs. Thats just tacky and low budget.

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