By UnhappyCanadian 13 Comments
*This was originally written for my Sports Journalism class, so I may embellish the general detail of gaming more than most adamant game players prefer*
As the competitive gaming scene continues to rise, many critics have risen who claim that this situation has happened before. They say that company after company has tried to bring ESports into the limelight and each attempt has been struck down after a few years. Why should the League of Legends scene be any different?
The first difference of this case is that ESports is growing. Substantially. While past competitive gaming broadcasts have found minor success, the current popularity of the scene dwarfs any attempt that came before. As I stated in my previous blog post, the past League of Legends finals had 32 million viewers. That is a significant number for any cable network, let alone an online stream. I focused on this significantly in my last post so I will not dwell on it here, but I wanted to reiterate that this will allow League of Legends a fighting chance.
The second difference that League of Legends brings is availability. It is a free-to-play game, meaning no aspect of the game has to be purchased. Previous popular ESports games such as Counter-Strike, Halo, and Street Fighter required any interested player to invest around $60 just to see if they like it. League of Legends is completely free, and while you can pay to get more characters to use, each character can also be earned by playing matches. No money is required to be spent. This allows anyone to download the game and give it a go with only the sacrifice of their time.
The previous competitive games also had the problem of releasing new titles. Halo 3 was a popular competitive game, but as its graphics became outdated Microsoft realized it was time to release a new title (Halo 4) which completely killed the scene. Street Fighter releases updates almost yearly that cost $60 every time. League of Legends works solely through updates. They have no pressure to release new titles as they make plenty of money by selling costumes and characters, so players get updates for free. No major gameplay changes and no monetary investment is much more appealing to consumers.
One of the biggest differences added in this decade is the streaming website twitch.com. While there have been many stream sites that have come before, twitch is the most popular and accessible. Majorleaguegaming.com found success streaming their competitive halo and starcraft streams, but while MLG only streamed their tournaments Twitch allowed anyone to upload their streams and have it viewed by anyone. It created a community behind the streams, and even allowed the various competitive games to merge, as Starcraft, Smash Bros, Call of Duty, and League of Legends all had their tournaments viewable on one site and bringing more cross-viewership.
Significant growth, availability, updates, and Twitch all work together to create a competitive scene that will not dwindle anytime soon. Alternatively, I am certain it will increase in the years to come. I am excited to see this new competitive atmosphere start to gain more respect and cannot wait to see where ESports is even a decade from now.