By: Carlo Gonzalez, Carlos Samayoa
Let me preface, being a “nerd” or “geek” was a label no boy wanted to be associated with. Being “cool” usually consisted of playing sports as well as acting and dressing tough. However, in 2015, thick-framed glasses and suspenders are loved all around.
This phenomena saw that manga, anime, and comic books were mainstream. Every kid was stuffing their face with tater tots while talking about last night’s episode of Dragon Ball Z. After school, the boys were grouped on the playground, trading comic books next to a couple Yu-Gi-Oh! matches going on. These successes then carried into the 2000s, with box office giants of comic book movie adaptations and conventions, like Comic Con, revering various genres of entertainment.
All this success did see transformations, as with any medium. However, the form of entertainment that has had the most radical change has to be video games. They were once programmed and developed from either a single person or a group of friends with very simple, rigid polygons. Now, there are millions of people in the video game industry, today, that market, publish, fix, and review them.
Also, gamers have been making a living off of video games by not just simply playing them but by competing in fully fledged tournaments or by simply streaming gameplay. Twitch is the most popular streaming service. It works by allowing a person to capture video and audio of their desktop, all in real time. and all for free. The website also has a built in subscriber system to support the person streamer. Audience members can pay $5 a month, becoming a subscriber with special emoticons and an icon displaying subscriber status. The way the money is distributed is that half goes to the website and half goes to the streamer. Also, there is a donation button where people who want to support the streamer can by directly wiring money by PayPal. More importantly, these streamers are not just people who play videogames but they are entertainers, they have an audience to appease to and to interact with.
On the competitive side of the spectrum, eSports has evolved over the past decade. eSports is the term coined to describe games organized for competitions. The most popular video game, as of now, was developed and is continually updated by company, Riot Games. Mainly termed as LoL, League of Legends has over 27 millions players logging on a daily basis. The game falls under the genre of MOBAs, or, Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas. The basics of these types of games pits a team of five against another team of five with unique characters that level up through the match. Players gain levels and gold by killing “creeps” which are non player characters. You can use your accumulated gold to buy pieces of items that add defensive or offensive statistics to your character. There are also three lanes in the map and two jungle areas in between each lane. The overall objective of the game is to get past all the enemy structures to destroy the Nexus, which is inside the enemy’s base.
By its ambition, the game was constructed to be competitive to the very core. So, a game with this huge of a following must have significance because it is not your daily Pong but the pinnacle of competitive gaming.
As you may have assumed, back in 2013, the U.S. government recognized “LoL” as a sport and allowed players international to be eligible for visas to travel to tournaments. This is the first game ever to be recognized by a federal authority as legitimate and has encouraged other video game developers and its communities.
Super Smash Bros. Melee is a fighting game over 10 years old that still attracts thousands of players to watch and play. The community holds weekly tournaments that are hosted by community members and bi-weekly tournaments are funded by player entry fees with turn outs of about 300 competitors.
Smite is a new competitor in the MOBA genre and has seen huge strides since it’s early release back in 2012. The game takes a new take on the genre since the perspective of the game is in a third person camera, which is over the shoulder. Also, the characters are all gods from various pantheons, such as Zeus, Apollo, Thor, Loki, Medusa, and Ares. Smite also had it’s very first world championship this January with a prize pool of $3.1 million and the winning team taking home a little over $1.3 million.
More recently, Defense of the Ancients 2, DOTA 2, held a five day tournament in August. This tournament had a prize pool capped at $18 million with the winning team, Evil Geniuses, receiving over $6 million. These five players earned more than a football player would get from winning the super bowl. That’s not too bad for a bunch of “nerds” who spend their time on their computer all day.
Although many critics of eSports argue that League of Legends is not a real sport because it does not involve true physical interaction. This is true however, eSports are “electronic sports” for explicit in its name.
Critics can also not deny that playing, recording, or streaming video games is a viable way of economic stability. Although, it is not for everyone but there are a plethora of men and women who make a comfortable living by just making a career out of their hobby.