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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

As eSports expand, more join online community

Fernando Jimenez
Daniel Bowen ’18, MaKayla A. McLaurin ’18 and Charles Bookheimer ’18 prepare for a League of Legends match as preparation for the League of Legends World Championship

Metagaming, multiplayer online battle arena, away from keyboard, massively multiplayer online role playing game, original poster, good game, experience point, nerf, random number generator and Twitch. To many people, those terms are technical gibberish. To any competitive gamer, however, they are everyday terms.

eSports, a contraction of the words ‘electronic’ and ‘sports,’ is a form of competition where players vie against other gamers in video games ranging from first-person shooters to battle arenas to football and basketball.

“eSports really just means any type of competitive gaming,” said first-year George Ni. “This can be in tournaments or online play, in fighting games or shooters, just as long as people get together and compete against each other.”

It is a phenomenon that exploded with the rise of the internet in the 1990s and has only expanded since. There are thousands of global tournaments for hundreds of video games. There is also a high demand for those watching these tournaments. According to Newzoo, there are over 41 million viewers as of 2016.

In fact, the gaming community has become so massive that ESPN added eSports to their coverage this January.

“I think that, at this point, eSports have become really professional, and they’ll only grow bigger as more people get interested in gaming,” said Ni.

In addition, there are prize pools of up to $20 million, with the winners of major tournaments like Defense of the Ancients’ The International sometimes taking home $1.3 million. The victors of the Super Bowl, in comparison, only receive around $100,000 in player bonuses.

Currently, the most popular eSports games are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Dota 2 and Hearthstone. A new contestant in the scene, Overwatch, has also gained a large following the last few months.

“Overwatch has really grown,” said senior Ward Sandberg. “However, Overwatch is not as competitive (as some other games). It’s just a game that friends can come play. It doesn’t matter who wins because it’s fun. Dota and League are going to keep dominating (the competitive eSports scene) unless someone figures out a way to enhance the multiplayer online battle arena experience.”

One of the biggest eSports tournaments of the year, the 2016 League of Legends World Championship is just about to finish, with two South Korean teams, Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom T1, to face in the finals on Oct. 29.

So what makes eSports so lucrative? According to some, it is the constantly changing environment not usually found in regular sports.

“I play Dota and League of Legends,” said Sandberg. “The reason I play (them) is that they are very complicated and always chang- ing. Every few months, there is an update to the game, and that means the whole meta, the current play style of the game, changes. Everything changes. That’s what makes it fun.”

In comparison to regular sports, eSports also shift the focus from physical to mental ability, TV to internet and give anyone playing a chance to be the best.

“It’s nice being able to follow people who are doing this professionally because they have the same mindset,” said Sandberg. “They’re constantly adapting to each update that comes in. When they play the games, you see all the intricacies.

“Whenever I watch football, I don’t see how it’s so intricate. But when I play eSports, I can understand and follow everything that is going on.”

In the end, video games Counter-Strike and Hearthstone have become a competition on the same plane as sports like football and basketball.

“eSports bring the competitive nature of sports and the casual gaming community together, inspiring and rewarding a whole new generation of ‘athletes,” said early college senior Varun Nair.

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About the Contributors
Maksym Kosachevskyy
Maksym Kosachevskyy, News Editor
When Early College senior Maksym is not editing essays, he is probably writing them instead. In his free time he watches YouTube videos , studies for science tests or sleeps. He hopes to touch every part of the Guilford community in his section and make it fun at the same time.
Fernando Jimenez
Fernando Jimenez, Photo Editor
Fernando Jiménez is a fourth year photojournalism student majoring in English and Media Studies and double minoring in Communications and Photography. He is a 21 year old photographer that uploads art to his Instagram account Polar_Vision.

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