Friday, May 23, 2014

Gaming tournaments getting close to the US$10 million prize money mark, Olympics next!

New era of sports tournaments is upon us and it’s growing exponentially. I know this sounds unbelievable but I can see how Olympics will have a gaming tournament element in not too distant a future.

Alright, I’ve said it. E-Sport will one day be just as big and popular as just about any other sport we currently have at Olympics. I can see the 40+ year old’s cringing now and blurting out one liners, “when I was a kid, we used to…”. Those days are long gone! I was in the transitional phase so I should know a thing or two. My generation is the first of its kind to grow up with gaming platforms such as Spectrum, Commodore64, Amiga, Atari, PCs and many others. I am showing my age here but it’s worth reminiscing about those all-nighters me and my friends put in playing all sorts of games. Competing in the virtual world and getting a taste for something new, something exciting that no one has experienced in our history.

Physical sports have been around for a very long time and technology has opened our minds to new possibilities, new ways to compete and have new lifestyles. Attitudes are changing from generation to generation as most of us from the first “gamer” generation have grown up now and have our own kids. Our kids now have taken gaming to a whole new level and it is literally becoming a professional sport with pro teams, team managers, sponsors, huge prize pools and big audiences. Gamers are becoming celebrities in their own right and they are the role models to a lot of kids. The technology at the same time is also much more accessible from simple iPods and Android phones to consoles and PCs. Some of the “old” gamers are now team managers or sponsors or supporting fathers and mothers of these crazy kids. Before long we’ll be the grandparents and will tune in to watch some some Korean dude slaying everyone in Dota 5 LOL Open-mouthed smile

Our friends from MEKA.Tt eSPORTS page put up a stunning graph showing where the tournament prize money has sky rocketed to currently and it is only going to get bigger! It’s pretty clear that Dota2 and League of Legends are the games predominantly driving this push and what they both have in common is they are easily accessible, inexpensive and can be played on very basic hardware due to such strong technological advances of recent time.


This is not a new idea that I am discussing here but it is one that has opened up to me in the last couple of years as a real possibility for someone who is in the industry and is sponsoring professional gaming teams and can see such a large amount of young generations investing serious amounts of time into this hobby. I ended up coming across a petition website today which has close to 100K signatures for gaming to becoming part of Olympics. I guess there are another 100K likeminded individuals out there who share my views and I didn’t even sign that petition! Phew!

There are still a lot of hurdles that present themselves for future gamers. One is internet infrastructure which is a very important aspect for some types of games. I remember speaking to the best Counter Strike and other FPS (First Person Shooter) gamers in Australia and getting told that ping times (essentially internet/game response times) affect a lot how well you can play online against other people. It was also evident that some of the best players were in healthy internet infrastructure countries such as USA, Northen Europe (Sweden, Finland, etc) or Korea. This is one area which will drastically improve over the next decade as many countries are now investing in this type of infrastructure. Places such as USA (Google fiber), UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Indonesia, etc, all have plans in near future to improve in this area.

TV coverage is another major change that will probably evolve over time. Every time I travel to Taiwan for work, I am surprised to see video gaming channels dedicated to competitive gaming because Australia is still so far behind the times when it comes to that. You would expect otherwise as we certainly don’t lack gamers here. It’s just not reached that level yet I think. It will and that will be the major break through.

The real question is will gaming be included in Olympics by 2024 or before that, enjoy your weekend guys and happy fragging!

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