Esports Hits Mainstream

PC Gamer: “Esports aren’t just for shooters, MOBAs, and real-time strategy games. As we’ve seen over the past several years, just about anything can be an esport, from Farming Simulator League to Geoguessr competitions to Wikipedia speedruns. If it’s a program that runs on a computer, no matter what it is, someone will find a way to make it competitive. So of course there are Microsoft Excel esports.”

“As reported by TechRadar(opens in new tab), this past weekend Excel esports got a lot of new fans when ESPN aired a replay of the Excel All-Star Battle that took place back in May. The event was organized by the Financial Modeling World Cup, “a leading financial modeling competition for everyone interested in finance,” and was shown as part of ESPN’s “The Ocho” on August 4, a 24-hour celebration of weird sports that included corgi racing, axe throwing, and stone skipping.”

“Over three rounds, the competitors were given extremely complicated tasks to accomplish on their spreadsheets with a 30-minute time limit. Half the contestants were eliminated in each round. Appropriately enough, each round is a “case study” problem involving a different game of some sort. In round one, the eight cyber athletes are challenged to create a slot-machine game with eight different symbols and a complicated point scoring system. Round two is a yacht regatta game with a complex wind-speed and directional simulation, and round three is a platformer with six different levels. Yes, these games are all being created in spreadsheets. Somehow.”

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