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Hunter Jansen Camargo English 1102 3/26/2014 eSports: An Industry on the Rise What represents the largest portion

of the entertainment industry in the United States? Most people would answer that movies or sports are the most popular which is a good guess. In fact more about 60% of American children play sports either through school or other groups and its not just children. Most adults keep up with their favorite sport on television or continue to participate in their children's athletic programs in some way. Perhaps they used to play sports or maybe they watch as a way to stay in touch, or perhaps they just find it entertaining. Right now ESPN averages about 1.3 million viewers during their prime time slots. There is one other very popular form of entertainment however. Video Games. Today, video games are at least as popular as far as the number of people who play for entertainment is concerned, but it hasnt always been that way. Video games have always had some sort of competitive scene but until recently, relatively few people had access to them. Improvement in technology in recent years has seen a dramatic increase in accessibility of video games and the continued improvement of this technology could lead to video games, both competitive and casual, becoming the most mainstream form of entertainment in the United States. Competition is an intrinsic part of entertainment in the sports industry and it plays a similar role in competitive gaming. In fact the first recorded video game competition took place in 1972. To put that in perspective thats the same year that the famous arcade game Pong came out. This tournament was for Spacewar, a game that was well known at the time but has been somewhat

overshadowed by larger successes such as Pong and Pac-man from the same era. These games were popular but insignificant in scope compared to modern games. This isnt just due to the advancement of technology however. All of these games pit the player playing against the machine and kept high scores through organizations such as Twin Galaxies. Twin Galaxies was the first major organization to start keeping track of high-scores across multiple events, whereas before people had no way of comparing scores against other groups, only amongst their friends. While player vs player games did exist none of them saw very much real success until the 90s, largely due to the fact that these games were not particularly competitive until that era. During this time period developers started making games with online capabilities. This was a huge advancement in competitive gaming because it meant you no longer had to leave your home to play against people on a high skill level. To compare what that means to a sports environment, this is the equivalent of having every major team sharing one stadium. Games without online access saw increasing success during this time frame as well, largely due to the Nintendo World Championships. This massive tournament toured the United States, stopping in twenty-nine different cities before taking the winners of each tournament back to Los Angeles for a finals match. The tournament consisted of 3 age brackets and 3 different games that were timed and scored. Competitors had six minutes and twenty-one seconds to collect 50 coins in Super Mario, finish a special track of the game Rad Racer, then play a game of tetris which would last until the player lost or time was out. Their scores were then totaled up and the winners would advance to the next round. While only about one hundred people could play at a time due to the limited number of machines, many more were always spectating. These tournaments were notable for their tremendous prize pool. The grand finals in Los Angeles rewarded the top player from each category a new car, gold

Nintendo World Championship game cartridge, television, and $10,000. That was a ton of money! It would be worth almost twice that much today after being adjusted for inflation. The gold cartridge that the finalists received has become a sort of Holy Grail for video game collectors. One of those cartridges went up on eBay and got bids in excess of $100,000 before the seller took it down! Still these tournaments are modest in comparison to the ones being held today such as the LCS(a tournament for the popular game League of Legends) and Starcraft 2s World Championship Series. While the integration of the internet into video games allowed people to practice from home, large tournaments are still held in a physical location rather than over the internet in order to moderate cheating. This development forced people to get together in a similar fashion to sporting events, changing the scene to resemble a spectator event hence the term eSports. These tournaments have experienced an explosion in viewership in the last few years peaking at 32 million viewers in the LCS last year. Thats twice as many people as watched the Major League Baseballs World Series! These tournaments have also been giving out large prizes. That same tournament had a grand prize of $1,000,000 for the team of five that took first place with another million split up between the rest of the competitors. This was still not even the largest prize pool amongst eSports competitions, that honor goes to DoTA 2(A similar game). Their largest tournament had a prize pool of 2.8 million dollars. Tournaments are not the only form of spectatorship that occurs with eSports though. Twitch.tv is a website that offers video streaming of video games. Many competitive players use Twitch, or services like it, to share live video of their games while they play. This website has an average of 45 million unique viewers per month. Twitch shows ads intermittently while the stream is live and takes a portion of the revenue generated from each ad, giving the rest to the streamer. Some of these streamers have

extremely dedicated fan bases, one prominent example of this is Sean Plott, or as he is better known by his username Day[9]. He has hosted a series called the Day[9] daily since 2009 where he talks about the wildly popular game Starcraft 2. He also does casting, in the same way a sportscaster would, for Dreamhack and other tournaments as well as hosting the After Hours Gaming League or AHGL. The AHGL is a tournament where employees from of the biggest technology companies compete against each other in Starcraft 2 or League of Legends. Streams like this could provide a good starting point for a possible television station in the United States in the near future. Stations like this already exist in South Korea and some other countries, notably GOMTV hosts Starcraft 2 tournaments daily and airs them on national television. Many Streamers are skeptical about the advancement onto the intimidating stage of television because past experiments have been unsuccessful except in a few cases. I believe this is will change very quickly though. The reason that past experiments with video games and TV have failed is that the viewers were unfamiliar with them. In this aspect videogames are comparable to sports. Someone who is uninterested in sports at all is unlikely to watch ESPN but if they enjoy soccer they are more likely to enjoy watching. Continuing with this example someone who likes soccer is also more likely to watch football than someone who is completely uninterested in any sport. This is because, while it may be a different game, it has some similarities and is familiar to the viewer. The same goes for video games. Even if a person has never played whatever game is on television, that person is more likely to watch if they are familiar with video games in general. So why would video games be more likely to succeed, say five or ten years from now than they are today? Well, just like sports, the way that most people familiarize themselves with video games playing them as they grew up. As kids that have grown up with video games become adults there will be an increased demand for eSports on TV. Right now those who are interested

have to make due with Twitch.tv streams. Some Asian and European cultures have already started to move in this direction. In Singapore, South Korea, and China especially pro gamers are the equivalent to star athletes here. It has become an accepted part of culture to the point where people dont think about it any differently than they would football or soccer. In fact the roles have been reversed to a degree. U.S TV stations televise basically every sporting event played on a professional level, but viewers would have to search the internet to find a video game competition. In South Korea in particular, almost all gaming competitions are televised, but you would be hard-pressed to find a game of soccer to watch, compared to the U.S. or parts of Europe anyway. So whats the difference? Why are games so much more popular in other parts of the world? I think the reason is that Americans have glorified professional athletes and essentially ignored video games in popular media. If games are less publicised then not only will fewer people know about them, but those who do are less likely to be accepting of them. However the younger generation in America is much more open to video games than the generation of their parents. In the near future competitive gaming could become an integral part of the American entertainment industry, as it already is in so many foreign countries. While I doubt that physical sports will ever disappear completely, they could be surpassed by the gaming industry sooner than you would imagine. With the exponential growth of technology we have seen in the past I would not be surprised to see games making an entrance as soon as five or so years from now. This would also go a long ways towards making Americans more open to change in general leading to a dramatic change in our culture.

Reflection The hardest part of this paper for me was finding my sources. I made the mistake of not doing in text citations as I went and still need to go back and add them in. This is something that I will definitely do the as I go the next time that I write a paper. Another weakness right now is that I think its kind of hard to grasp. The paper doesnt do a good enough job of immersing the reader in the environment of the eSports community. While it is improved from my first draft, I still need to work on this. However I think that I have done an excellent job of providing statistical information which backs up the point that I am trying to make about the probable emergence of eSports into mainstream media. This topic is something that I have been interested in for a very long time and I have enjoyed both researching and writing this paper much more than any other paper Ive done so far. I was especially interested in learning about how influential video games are in cultures outside of the United States. Their popularity is dramatically greater than I would have ever imagined. In particular, learning that games were already being televised in some countries was an eye-opener. I set out to write about the possibility of that happening in the US without knowing it was already going on elsewhere in the world, so it was very encouraging. I think that next time I write a research paper I will do all of the research beforehand for this reason. While I think the paper turned out okay, it would be better if I could focus more on the precedent that has been set by South Korea and other countries by televising competitive gaming. So researching fully beforehand instead of doing some of it as I go is something that I will definitely keep in mind going forward. The main thing that Im looking to improve in my paper is to make sure that it is not information overload. I feel like I throw statistics all over the place and I might not be explaining them as well as I should be. The question is, do I take some things out, or maybe go more into detail in order to help the

reader to understand what the purpose of including the information is.

Evaluative Works Cited

Davenport, David. "Anonymity on the Internet, Why the Price May Be Too High." (2002): 1-3. ViewPoint. ViewPoint. Web. 8 Mar. 2014. <http://www.csl.mtu.edu/cs6461/www/Reading/Davenport02.pdf>.

David Davinport discusses the consequences of anonymity on the internet in his article. By comparing the internet as a whole to a country, he makes some interesting points. Most countries enforce their laws through some sort of police force. This requires that the person who has committed a crime be identified and brought to justice in order to stop repeat offenses. However, if the person who committed the crime is unknown, or anonymous, they cannot be identified and thus cannot be brought to justice. This means that on the internet no one is accountable for their actions and that can bring out the bad side of people. Theres a reason parents are often careful with their kids when the internet is involved. People on the internet can be mean and cruel because they feel no responsibility for their actions. This is highlighted in multiplayer video games with constant trash talking between and across teams. I think that this adds a new element to my research paper that will be very interesting to look into. David Davenport is a well known author from the website Forbes.com, a professional news website that publishes scholarly articles.

Day[9], Sean Plott, eSports, Day[9].tv. Blog. 3/7/2014

In this blog post Sean Plott, or as he is better known by his moniker Day[9] talks about his opinions how to get involved in eSports on a large or small scale. He discusses the pros and cons to different methods of doing business like setting up a local tournament, starting your own stream, or designing a game. Day[9] also discusses the financial side of things, looking into how much it costs to get started and whether or not its worth it. All of this mixed in with a good bit of motivational speaking and tales of how he got his start.gave me a glimpse into what its like for a real life success story in the eSports scene. This blog post raised some interesting questions as far as the financial aspect is concerned. I always considered it a big investment to try and start something up but due to eSports being such a technologically advanced field you can get started with little more than a webcam, microphone, and a half-decent computer meaning the startup costs are minimal. However, getting to the point where you can make enough to live on requires an investment of time.After reading this blog Im inclined to research more into how much it costs to get started in a business. Day[9] is a very well known streamer and arguably the person with the most knowledge of the eSports scene. His career has seen him on many sides of the scene as a caster, streamer, player, and businessman.

Free to Play. Perf. Benedict Lim, Danil Ishutin, Clinton Loomis. Valve, 2014. Film

Kang, Ruogu, Steaphanie Brown, and Sara Kiesler. "Why Do People Seek Anonymity on the Internet?" Informing Policy and Design (n.d.): 1-10. Carnegie Mellon University. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~xia/resources/Documents/kang-chi13.pdf>. This article goes over a lot of the same information as the one by David Davenport, but it

also goes in depth as to why many people seek anonymity on the internet. They found that 61% of interviewees were seeking anonymity to either hide certain illegal actions such as file sharing or to disguise themselves when searching for information on certain topics. a massive 93% of interviewees said that they wanted anonymity for social reasons. I take that to mean that they dont want their interactions with other people to be traced back to them when discussing things like politics where their opinion might not always be the popular one.

Karp, Austin. "ESPN Q2 Viewership Drops Sharply, While NBC Sports Network Sees Audience Gains." - SportsBusiness Daily. Street and Smiths, 9 July 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.

Weiss, T., & Schiele, S. (2013). Virtual worlds in competitive contexts: Analyzing eSports consumer needs. Electronic Markets, 23(4), 307-316. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12525-0130127-5 This article from the UNCC librarys database examines the increase in use of computer graphics in recent years. It investigates how these advances have gotten to the point where computer games are accessible enough for a competetive scene to develop. The article claims that eSports services intrinsically tie cooperation and competition, meaning that the games force players to cooperate with each other in order to stay competitive. The author also says that eSports is so popular because, similar to physical sports, it is a way for us to have a sort of escape and fuel our competitive nature. The article cites 10 different in-depth expert interviews as well as a survey of 360 professional gamers. Im very interested in looking further into the social aspect of eSports after reading this article. It talks about the link between cooperation and competition. I can see a large portion of

my paper being devoted to the social aspect of gaming now based off of this articles claims. One other interesting and unique social aspect of gaming online comes from anonymity(talked about in another article). I think this could become the main focus of my paper.

"Youth Sports Statistics." Statistic Brain RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.