Streaming and eSports
When you look back at the recent history of eSports, it’s quite easy to perceive how it suddenly became one of the biggest sources of media next to actually playing games yourself. The internet has launched professional-level gaming into the spotlight in a way that most of the world has never had access to before, and now streaming is the go-to form of watching matches (as opposed to watching recorded ones on YouTube later), the question arises: where do eSports go from here?
Ten years or so ago, if you weren’t living in South Korea, your chances of watching a professional Starcraft match live, let alone on television, were minimal. Many forms of professional gaming, from those poker stars who honed their skills on Partypoker before hitting the televised tournaments to videogames designed specifically for game-shows, were present, but if you loved Blizzard’s real-time strategy masterpiece and wanted to see two people push the game to its competitive limit, you were almost always out of luck.
The interesting thing about streaming is not only does it allow you to tap into eSports whenever you like, it also allows you to watch commentaries, enabling those who actually want to make a living commentating on, say, professional Street Fighter or League of Legends matches to actually do so. Streaming also means that everything is live, so while it’s more likely to be less produced and full of slick cuts and replays, it’s an incredible way to gather round online, tweeting furiously as a tournament progresses, or embedding the stream on sites and forums to bring it to as many people as possible.
eSports is rapidly becoming just as accessible as regular sports, as far as internet footage is concerned, and it’s not long until major TV networks start to see the value in it. That dream of televised Starcraft outside of South Korea might not be as far off as you think.