Monday, January 10, 2011

Video Games are Now a Sport

The Evolution of Competitive Gaming
If you have not been living in a cave for the past 10 years, you will realized that video gaming is serious business nowadays.   It is a serious business that generates serious money.   Much like in real sports, there are stars and heroes whom are looked upon by others with admiration.  Even though, Gaming as sport is still not as popular in the United States (even though it's growing as we speak), in other countries, it has become a huge phenomenon .  In Korea, Thousands of people gather to watch gamers play a game called Starcraft.  These games are broadcast live on TV. Such players get paid $200k plus USD per year.  Most players range from age 16-24.  Though the money is great, the expected career  length of a Korean starcraft player is not very long, nevertheless, if you’re 16  and getting paid more than 100k to play some you love, I’d it is not a bad deal.   Moreover, most of these players are sponsored by big company and some are even recruited as stockbrokers  by companies after their starcraft careers end.

Creating Stars
In the United States, Sport Gaming is rising but has still not reach the point where it is mainstream, nonetheless,  players can still earn up to $100k per tournament.   The big prizes come from big tournaments that hosts FPS games such as Halo and counterstrike.   Fighting game Tournaments on the other hand offer much less cash prizes since these tournaments tend to be more low-key/underground in what seems to be an already underground sport.  However, Fighting games  tourney is more globalized, players all over the world compete in these tourneys and many epic rivalries are formed.  The biggest fighting game tournament in the United States if not the world is “EVO”, which has produced  the most exciting fighting game megastars  and match-ups over the years.  Players  like Daigo and Justin Wong are common names amongst fighting game fans nowadays, Just look at all this video and you, like myself, will believe that all this hype is justified:

The Future of Competitive Gaming
Now many still question if gaming can be considered as sport, since it is just video games.  Others will laugh at it and look down upon it.  Well I offer you this question, before any of the “sports” today are called a sport, what were they?  That’s right, they were just games.  They became a sport when people found out  that they could drive competition to make money.  Look at poker, it is now considered a sport, which shows on ESPN and NBC.  The gist of it is if something has a competitive nature, where one man or team walks out a winner and the other a loser;  where one can make money off of it and others can make money by betting on it, then in my opinion, it has all the rights to become a sport.  Also, it is not like playing a fighting game is easy, it takes coordination, practice and mind games.  If you still think that gaming as a sport is a joke and that’s it’s easy, then I dare you to challenge a professional  Street fighter player and let’s see if you still think the same afterwards.

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