How Blizzard Is Evolving eSports
Say the word “eSports” to the average person and they are going to look at you with disgust or confusion. That is to be expected. Videogame culture is still new and eSports are even newer. I think the biggest issue revolving around eSports is the name. Your uncle that blew his knee out in Highschool while playing football doesn’t want you to soil the word “sports” by comparing them to that video game box. Again this is fair. In some tournaments we even go so far to call the players “athletes” I think that is what makes people the angriest, but I never saw the big deal.
We have to realize that all of us gamers are in our own cultures and sub-cultures. We understand how hard it is to be a professional gamer, but other people might not. After all they are “just playing a game”, and 10 years ago I would have agreed with them. League of Legends was true forerunner and did the most for eSports. At the time a $1,000,000 prize pool was unfathomable, but now it is almost the industry standard (for large titles or championship games at least). League of Legends did a great job at promoting the game and making it a truly competitive atmosphere. So everyone who enjoys eSports owes quite a bit to League of Legends.
Blizzard, however has really given eSports some form of legitimacy to the general population. From what I recall they have had two different games streamed onto ESPN 3 which granted is the bottom of the barrel in terms of sports networks, but it’s still there. A televised videgame event on ESPN, I never thought I’d get to say that. Blizzard did really well with promoting Heroes of the Storm, but the player base wasn’t quite there. Overwatch is the true contender though. The way they are shaping their League is on the same level as major sports organizations. There are loads of different teams all from specific regions. The teams have their own jersey’s, twitter accounts, in game skins, and much more. The casting is phenomenal, I can follow along just through the audio alone. The and post game shows are a great addition as well as the player interviews, but those were already pretty standard to see. Blizzard is a company with a large reach and even larger with the addition of Activision. I truly think that it won’t be long until we see eSports become accepted in society. South Korea has already made it a pretty normal thing in their culture, so I don’t see why other countries couldn’t follow their footsteps. It will take time, but with Blizzards help and other popular titles creating fun and exciting tournaments we will absolutely see gaming become more mainstream, but we just have to be patient and understanding.