I guess I should start by saying I don’t know everything about Esports, probably worthwhile making that statement upfront. These posts are general chats, not gospel, I might even be wrong. I call it, and write it esports. I can do another general chat on its pronunciation another day!
I enjoy my online gaming, to be frank, I think I am above average in my game play. But honestly, I have no actual clue. I find it difficult getting access to any real kind of ranked tournament, set over a period of time with a defined winner. Don’t get me wrong, I know many games have competitive elements, I currently spend a lot of my time doing Apex Legends Ranked Leagues, but this doesn’t include a defined winner each season.
There are 3rd party websites that host tournaments, that you can enter by buying tokens to use as entry fees. For me, the ones of these I’ve seen don’t look secure (I may be wrong), neither do they look like they often have full rosters. The mechanics also seem rather clunky.
Sure, there are tournaments going on all the time. But these seem limited to a very large extent, PC seems to rule a large portion of it and gaining entry in general too. My perception is that most of the invites go out to streamers or those with a large audience, in other words, those who play the game that are easy to find. Without a ranked engine I’m not sure how well the developers know who is a good player and who isn’t. Without ease of access to a tournament setting, how do potentially the best players get found?
Chess, the image above. We know there are chess champions at a world level, country level, with a bit of digging I could probably find my village chess champion! These are all decided in a tournament setting! But where is this in esports, I know how to play chess so could probably enter a village contest, not a world one, too many entrants at that scale would mean that I’d have to be proven to get a seat at the tables. But esports has a unique advantage over other sports, it has an endless play space. A video game could have a world tournament, all they’d have to ensure is they had enough server capacity! I’m sure it’s not as simple as that. But they could host at continent level to get a proportionate amount of entrants and then move those to a world wide level for declare a world champion.
This all likely happens! I know that’s how Fortnite does it! But what I’m talking about here is the accessibility of all this.
I think the responsibility lies with the developers to get esports properly on the map. It needs to be built into the game platform, form within the lobbies and on every platform; PC, Xbox, PlayStation, whatever the platform may be. Within the game itself really presents the chance for anyone who wants to give it a go, to get to give it a go. In a tournament setting, that is the crucial part.
Why do I talk so much about access to esports? Because I don’t think it gets the credibility it deserves, many of us must have heard that it isn’t a ‘real sport’. Watch the video I linked on this streamer highlight and you will see what I mean when I say that esports athletes truly do deserve the title of being a sportsperson.
Why should game developers care about esports? Because some of the biggest games I can think of have nailed the esports element of it, particularly in terms of viewership on streaming platforms and playing time.
I think for now, that will do for more chat about accessing esports. I think much of this is born out of my frustration to not be able to easily access a tournament, particularly as a console player.