There is a tremor in the landscape of sport, a precursor to a larger change.
There is an evolution taking place, an evolution that promises to change the concept of sport as we know it.
This is the age of the rise of the e-sport, and whether you like it or not, this rise will leave its mark.
The rise of e-sports is something traditional sports fan are quick to dismiss and disqualify, but one that the supporters are excited for. It’s a rise that sees a dawn of a new era, one that is not based on reality, but in the fantasy of those who play their games.
As an outside observer, it is clear the realm of e-sports is growing, and growing fast. There has been a rise in overall coverage, extending the reach of e-sports further than online audiences. It was surprising a few months ago when ESPN launched an e-sports section on their website, but not wholly unexpected.
It is the common perception of the general population that all e-sports are just a group of nerds sitting in front of their computers hitting a few buttons.
E-sport athletes deserve a little more respect than that.
As far as video games go, take a look at the FIFA series. The basic concept is simple, one button to pass, one to shoot, another to slide tackle and a stick to move around. In theory, you could win a match by just doing that, but there is so much more available to do. Ask the same person to do, say, a ground cross, and there is a good chance that they give you a blank stare.
This is the same for pretty much every game out there, be it League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Rocket League, Halo, Call of Duty, Super Smash Bros. and even Pokemon. There are an endless number of button combinations, and the ability to choose which one, at which time, in coordination with teammates rivals that of Steph Curry’s ability to choose to shoot, pass or dribble.
The thing is, right now, the majority of the e-sports population lies within the first three games of that list, and those are not considered to be mainstream enough for the average person.
That said, take a walk around the dorms on campus, and I will be willing to bet that there are plenty of people with an interest in some sort of e-sport, and if not one of those major three, another game with e-sport potential.
The growth of e-sports is one that should be carefully watched. It is unlikely that the League of Legends competitions will stop selling out big venues in London, Seoul, Berlin and Los Angeles.
The big question is can it puncture its way into the mainstream. Look no further than last month’s Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., the host site of the first round of the Halo 5 World Championships. Halo is a game that a lot of people play here on campus, and slowly the e-sports world can make its way onto college campuses.
You see small tournaments pop up here and there on campus for games such as League of Legends and even Madden already. What is stopping that from transferring over to even intramural leagues?
When the day comes when that is offered, it will be expected by some, and be a surprise to others.
The potential is there, the question is if they will be accepted by a decent chunk of the sports audience as a whole?