The Future of eSports
Posted 2013-02-03 Iyonic
The Future of eSports
The recent discussions and issues in eSports have caught my attention and I thought about the future of eSports.
“In my opinion eSports most certainly have a bright future. Things that are happening now and numbers involved with eSports, such as the number of competitive games, international LAN events and the number of people watching these events, as well as the money involved is something that I simply couldn’t imagine 10 years ago. When you look at it from a certain angle, you will see that eSports is all about people spending their time together on events all over the world, sharing great moments together and most importantly - doing what they love, together with people from all over the globe. And, as for myself, I think this is one of the best things about eSports. However, with lots of money being involved, everything has to be done in a certain way, and that is a professional way. There are many people already working strictly professional for companies, organisations as well as themselves. The most important thing is - they all have the same goal and that is to expand and develop eSports as much as they can. That is what matters the most. I'm sure if we keep developing eSports, and if everyone gives his/her best, we will grow along with the community we love, and raise it on a different, even more professional level.” - Andreja Mahovic, former Professional Gamer.
all see that the community is growing and the entire scene is
improving, money is involved and people are interested, but is that
enough for a bright future of eSports ?
Naturally the people who are interested in gaming are becoming more and more, but I think this can not only be contributed to gaming itself, but comes along with the technical progress.
Yet this does not mean a bright future for eSports in General, as there is still a huge majority of people who think Gaming is only something for males and nerds. The problem is that they don´t have access to this community and do not know what it is about. Spending 8 hours in front of the computer is still frowned upon the society, but spending 10 hours on your smart-phone and computer on social networks on the other hand is not. The question is how can we, as the community and the scene reach out to the people and make eSports something “normal” in the modern society.
It is for sure, that this is not possible by just waiting and keeping the status quo, but by gaining stability and professionalism towards the outside.
Professionalism: The way to success
Nobody wants to put their name on an organisation which is represented in a bad way, because this behaviour directly falls back on the sponsors. You could probably write books about the topic of professionalism in general, though, a start could be that players, organisations, journalists and of course the community respect each other, which unfortunately is not always the case.
Therefore, professionalism and cohesion are one of the main aspects. You cannot try to devise to the outside but still have problems in the inside.
First of all, in order to create a solid basis, on which the entire scene can make steps towards the outside, every instance in the gaming community has to show and act professional. Valve is in my opinion a pioneer in this matter. Implementing features to watch games and a good software for casters is a way to contribute to the professionalism. Although, casting has been a part of the electronic sport since the first days of Warcraft 3 or Counterstrike. This is not enough yet. Regarding this, Korea is a good example, as there are independent organisations who are trying to handle parts of the scene. The first step in Europe should be, to create something like the Fifa is for Football. This organisation should not be like the Kespa in Korea, controlling everything, but an independent organisation which keeps tracks of players, tournaments and the rules. If there is an authority which has the possibility to sanction teams and players, there would not be any situations such as Stephano posting something very offending on stream or teams not paying their players and more. Currently, if a player, a team or an organisation neglects a contract there is no entity to punish them.
The idea is not permanent supervision, but something or someone who has power over certain parts of the community. What happens if a player or a team would really misbehave during a tournament ? Maybe they will be dispelled for the next season from that, and this is it. Unfortunately this is not enough. Sometimes it is necessary to inflict fines or a ban from all tournaments for a certain period of time. This does not have to mean that players are in contract with such an entity. They can still play for the organisation, but the organisation should be in a contact with this superior company. Moreover tournaments can be monitored as well as player performances, because whatever game they play will be reported to them. This also creates a solid database of players and teams with advanced statistics on which Sponsors etc can revert to. Transferring players will become easier because there is the “middle man” who can help with the communication. Finally such and entity can solve discussions we were recently able to observe regarding the Journalism in eSports. Of course there are several aspects to consider in order to make this possible, but this is one way to create a solid basis on which eSports works.
Teamwork and Internal Communication
Secondly this is of course a process which runs over years and cannot be achieved by only one organisation or player. We all have to work towards this goal, which does not mean to give up the competitive attitude. Competition rather helps this idea. But in certain aspects, the teams, organisations and of course sponsors have to work together. Journalism is only one aspect of that. But also hosting a tournament should not be on the shoulders of one organisation, rather should two teams or organisations find themselves together, to host a better event than only one organisation could do, whether it comes to the financial support or just the manpower of setting up the stage or the hardware. If the Quality, not the quantity, of the events improve, more people get interested by eSports and more people carry it out to friends, classmates or colleagues. There is no use of eight tournaments in one month if they are all badly organised, not properly covered by casters and journalists and due to the fact that there are 7 other competitions, no big names are competing in them.
So if there is maybe one good tournament per month, everybody would contribute from it. Because there is a good media coverage, more people watch and follow the event, which again helps the sponsors to justify their investments. No sponsor is interested to be one of the 8 tournament hosts, and they know they have to spend too much to meet their required numbers. If these eight sponsors and their teams would just communicate with each other these problems would be solved without any issues. Yet this does not mean that weekly cups and leagues should be canceled. We have the same issue with the coverage of news. If Journalism groups split up the content, which of course has to be fair, we would avoid the mass of content which lacks quality, because the author has another three events to cover that day.
Change in the Attitude of the Community
Finally, the the mentality of the community has to change. The idea of “I am on the Internet and here I can get everything for free” is contra-productive. It is a sad truth, but without money you cannot reach anything in this world and sponsors should not be the only income of an organisation. Dota 2 can be taken as the best possible example as Valve is already trying to give money back to to the communit, by sharing their income of selling tournament watch tickets and Pennants. Streaming pages are already starting to do the same. But if the attitude of the community does not change, and they keep on not to be willing to pay only a small amount for their enjoyment, the economy of eSports will not make any progress.
If this base is strong enough to absorb mistakes such as the current Journalism issue, we, as the community, can start the journey toward the outside. Then if mistakes are made, they can be solved without reflecting discredit towards the sponsors, teams or players. Then we can use the portals such as mobile gaming, independent news pages and social media to promote the idea of gaming. As we can see at the moment, we are not stepping forwards, because the current base is not good enough. The first problems are neutralising any progress made.
All in all I think eSports is already heading in the right direction, but there are some factors which are slowing down the progress of making gaming an accepted lifestyle among the mainstream. Gaining the internal stability will help a lot to achieve anything related to eSports. There have to be some long term investments such as sharing media, splitting up content and stepping down on publishing content which another page has posted days ago. Perhaps the viewer count drops for a while but after a certain time, the entire scene grows and then the investment pays of due to the fact that there are in general more people to follow news coverage, streams and players. This again attracts the sponsors and then this effect will snowball.
Huge shoutout to Markus "Dr.Schoko" G. for his help and inspiration. This text only represents the personal opinion of the authors.