Many moons ago, when I was a wee lad, I would spend hours upon hours sitting in front of my Nintendo, playing games. Hell, who am I kidding? I do that now! Except that now it’s also in front of my Xbox, Playstation, and 3DS! Lol!
Anyways, gaming was looked down upon. It was a considered a time waster, entertainment that killed brain cells, and something that only nerds and losers enjoyed. If you managed to find a group of friends that also enjoyed gaming, you found friends for life. Even when gaming through the 90’s, people left and right would say that you were wasting time and money on games. Arcades were still a thing during those days and if you were fortunate enough to walk into one when they existed, you will recall that the arcades were dark rooms, usually in “the outskirts” of a mall or shopping plaza. But when you walked in, you would immediately know where the action was. There would be a group of people gathered around an arcade cabinet. What game is it? Killer Instinct? Mortal Kombat? Street Fighter II? Tekken? Whatever the game was, if there was a crowd, you knew that the player was freakin’ awesome.
Quarter after quarter, players would attempt to take down the gamer. Usually, the gamer would walk away undefeated. The crowd would be in awe. Standing with a group of your peers, admiring the skill and dedication that you just witnessed, you would wonder why this gamer wasn’t getting paid to play! This, my friends, was the beginning of electronic sports!
eSports is huge now! Gamers can play competitively individually or as a team and go up against some of the top players around the world. Websites such as Major League Gaming list off competitions that are accepting competitors, will live stream matches, and pay out cash prizes to the top competitors. And your parents said you couldn’t make a living playing video games! So how much money are we talking about here? A couple bucks? A hundred or so? How does $5 Million sound?!
Just last July, a Chinese team took home the top prize of of $5 million bucks and split it among their 5 person team during The International competition, an annual tournament featuring the online arena battle game, Dota 2. Last year, the competition was held in Key Arena in Seattle in front of 11,000+ fans. Damn!!!! Imagine that?! Getting so good at a video game that you end up becoming a millionaire!
eSports is no joke friends. The competition has moved from your buddy’s couch to major sports arenas across the world. Competition is fierce and if you feel that you just don’t have the thumbs for it, no worries. You can still catch all the action through live streaming OR you can catch some of the best tourneys at ESPN. That’s right, the biggest TV channel in sports has embraced eSports, albeit on ESPN 3, but still! eSports on TV!!! Just to put this into perspective… there were more people watching the League of Legends Season 3 final than the NBA Finals or the MLB World Series! Let that sink in for a second… More people tuned in to watch gaming championships than the NBA or MLB championships. That’s HUGE!
So strap in, folks. The Morning Score will be following some of the top teams, the top tourneys, and the top gamers throughout the year.