Category: Media

eSports’ History and Recent Rise in Competitive Gaming

Walter Isaacson’s podcast, Trailblazers, introduces its newest episode: eSports: More Than Just a Game.

“With legacy sports leagues drastically modified or on hiatus, something had to step up to take their place. For many, that is eSports.” 

“eSports might seem incredibly new but the industry is more storied than you might think and it’s already racking up big revenues. This year alone, it’s brought in over $1 billion. So what is fuelling this increased interest in competitive gaming?” 

“Hear from current and former eSports competitors like Jonathan “Fatality” Wendel, Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey, Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway and those studying this young industry like James Dean, Jon-Paul Dyson and Robert Overweg.” 


12 Hours of Esports Set to Air on ESPN

The Verge: “ESPN is set to air 12 hours of esports coverage on April 5th, turning to NBA 2K, Madden NFL 20, and Rocket League tournaments to fill the programming void left behind by traditional sports leagues going on hiatus.”

“Esports has grown considerably over the last few years, but the industry has seen a surge in interest over the last few weeks. Craig Levine, global chief strategy officer for the CS:GO ESL Pro League, previously told The Verge that ‘as other sports and entertainment have gone dark, we’ve probably inadvertently benefited.'”

“Twitch, one of the main platforms for streaming, has seen an impressive growth as more people spend time at home. The platform went from 982 million hours watched in February to over 1.1 billion hours in March, according to livestreaming tools and services provider StreamElements. That’s a 20 percent growth in viewership. Having pro athletes compete in virtual tournaments, and bringing their fans to sites like Twitch, is a win.”

Jay Ajayi, Former Eagles Running Back, Joins MLS Esports Team

Reuters: “Former National Football League player Jay Ajayi traded in his helmet for a video game controller as the London-born running back was named this week as the official esports player for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.”

“Ajayi, who won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, is the first NFL player to become a professional gamer and will represent the Union for the 2020 eMLS Cup campaign starting on Friday.”

Difference in Pro e-Sports vs. Traditional Sports: “Who’s in Charge”

Dan Primack of Axios attended “a party where you just felt you didn’t belong,” namely, the Overwatch League final match at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, “while filming an ‘Axios on HBO‘ segment about professional e-sports.”

Important insight: “The big difference between pro e-sports and traditional sports is who’s in charge. In e-sports, the publisher is king. The commissioner works for the CEO, not for the franchise owners.”

“It’s a model that makes sense for now, kind of like how console-makers once controlled game development. Well, until a group of Atari developers created Activision, in an act of decentralized rebellion that today’s Activision Blizzard would be wise to remember.”

Washington Post to Start Twitch Channel

Old media’s hunt for new audiences continues, as Digiday reports that the Washington Post will launch two shows this week.

Digiday: “One is live news coverage hosted by video reporter Libby Casey, starting July 16 with a livestream covering President Trump’s meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, with the frequency to be determined by the news cycle. The other is a series starting July 19 called ‘Playing Games with Politicians’ where political reporter David Weigel will interview prominent politicians (Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. Corey Booker and Rep. Suzan DelBene are confirmed for the first season) while they play video games.”

As the post notes, Twitch is owned by Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.

The post continues: “The Post had been watching Twitch for a while because it has a big, untapped video audience. Per the platform, it has 15 million daily active users and it reportedly has 1 million views at any given time… Its decision to launch a channel was validated when it broadcast Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill in April and got 380,000 viewers the first day and 1.5 million views in all on its top clip that day. For comparison’s sake, the top channel on Twitch Friday afternoon was Fortnite, with just over 200,000 live views.”

How eSports Video Stars — ‘Host, Casters and Analysts’ — Are Born

CNET explains “How esports stars broke into the Dota 2 scene.”

Says self-described “professional idiot” Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner: “A lot of people tell me, oh you know, he’s got this act and it’s so good but it’s really different kind of intelligences I guess? I’m pretty stupid in a lot of ways — I can’t spell, I can’t pronounce words correctly. It’s less of an act, it’d be nice if it was an act.”