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In the past five years alone, the world has seen the rise of the most innovative and creative industries of entertainment in history. With the tremendous rise of modern technology in the 21st century, video games have become the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world. This industry has drawn so much popularity that it has been able to innovate for itself a professional circuit of video game teams that compete on live broadcasts as a new age form of entertainment that is popularly referred to as eSports. Never in modern history, as long as video games have been around, was it conceived that video games could get such a large viewership as to compete with the world’s most popular televised sports in total viewership. Video games have created hundreds of careers, outside of game development, everywhere from professional players to eSports commentators because of the new development of the worldwide broadcast of eSports. Despite the heavy criticism towards video games and the supposed negative effects on children, video games have successfully harvested many of the world’s most brilliant minds by creating an outlet to exercise cognitive abilities and construct communities to help improve upon creative thinking. Much of the success that has come out of video games can be attributed to the esports industry.
The brilliant minds that have been shaped by video games are the ones that are molding the next line of intelligent thinkers because of the positive effect that video games had on them, instead of the reverse affect that is commonly believed. Everybody that runs the eSports Empire is also a well-known player in the video game communities that they work for. Millions of video gamers congregate to online viewing centers to watch professional players fight against each other on the professional circuit, because they’re the best of the best, but the people that organize the industry and commentate on broadcasts are actually players that we can play with online. These community celebrities vary in skill levels, but their participation in video games has provided them with a way to develop their strategic thinking, decision making, teamwork skills, and adaptation skills. All of these skills, and more, are used to help make eSports more successful by consistently and creatively innovating to keep the growing viewership interested. Of course eSports success is not only attributed to the program itself, but the real success begins with the video game itself and what happens behind the scenes in how the game is developed. In a recent report on this rising powerhouse that is eSports, researchers determined that “40% of eSports viewers can be seen as truly engaged eSports enthusiasts, participating in amateur tournaments and/or watching eSports content regularly. The other 60% illustrate the direct potential for continued growth of the eSports market.” (Breslau). Naturally, the viewership of esports both further engages consumers and increases the retention of participants.
The innovators of this new age development didn’t just come up with a catchy name and then started recruiting players that seem to be skilled enough to be watched by a fan base that surpasses every major sporting event on the planet, and they obviously didn’t just round up as many of the lucky “non-violent” gamers as they could. The real driving force behind this success is the collaboration of last generation’s video gamers to create this generation’s wildly creative and innovative video games. Today’s video games are easily the most innovative forms of entertainment on the planet, and are only getting better by the year. Most of our modern day video games takes thousands of people to create and hundreds of millions of dollars to fund. Many of these video games are story based games that, with modern technology, have the capacity to create virtual worlds with stories with such personality that it can surpass the content of a written novel. FPS (First Person Shooter) games provide players with such a level of customization that they can personalize everything from the in game features that they use, for deeper strategic play or customized playstyle, to the physical appearance of your character. However, the pinnacle of eSports and the most recently created genre of video games are MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). Often played on a random team of 5 against another team, MOBAs have created an online environment for players from around the world to play together in a way that allows them to collectively use their knowledge in picking from over 100 different characters form the best strategy for the game. One of the greatest unintended features of online video games is that the communication feature has provided gamers with a way to build relationships with other players around the world through this quasi-social media feature.
Due to the networking of ideas that eSports facilitates, video gamers are provided the opportunity to meet and communicate with other players about similar interests and ideas and even collaborate on creative ideas. Perhaps one of the old and mildly valid criticisms of video games is that it caused isolation to its consumers, but most video games are largely online based and are now significantly more social than ever before. One significant thing that eSports has provided users with that better enables social interaction is the gaming concept of the “meta.” The meta is a consistently changing concept of the most current ideas of the best way of playing a video game, whether it be by strategy, methodology, or game decision making. Because of the popular world stage that eSports provides for gamers to watch the ways that professionals play the game, video gamers are given a more objective basis to determine the best way to go about playing with other players. The public gaming community even has a say in how the game is changed by the game developers, when game developers interact with the gamers about problems that the game has or ways it could be improved. However, the meta gives players more than just additional ways of playing the game, but it does gives players a common ground to engage in community discussions about gaming and develop relationships that will go beyond the video game. In a research project on the effect of digital media on the youth, the study determined that “Online groups enable youth to connect to peers who share specialized and niche interests of various kinds, whether that is online gaming, creative writing, video editing, or other artistic endeavors.” (Youth Project 434). Video game communities do result in creative practices that are exclusive to the game, such as game strategies, game-specific decision making, and perhaps opinions on the meta or the professional scene, but these video games yield many creative processes that very well venture outside of the game itself, like fan art, strategic philosophy, videography, gaming principles, communication skills, and critical thinking skills.
One of the perks of eSports is that virtually everyone that plays the game is also a fan of the professional scene, which is a perfect way of establishing common ground with other players to establish relationships that will advance these skills and improve upon the abilities that video games have already established. Cathy Davidson put it best when she asks the question “What happens when you do not assign specific individuals to the process of creation but encourage self-forming groups to innovate together?” (Davidson 436). It is precisely the aim of video games to entertain, form communities, develop skills, and expand our range of people that we have available to work with. At the very basis of what video games do, what we have is an online place for people to interact with something with an objective goal to achieve. Using eSports as a tool to visually see how the most skilled players believe is the best way to play the game, video gamers have answered this question about the kind of good that can come out of the community’s uncontrolled development of the cognitive processes.
In the future, eSports will soon become more popular than traditional sports because of the ingenious business model that the industry functions in. The extraordinary characteristic of video games as they are now is what they could potentially become in the near and distant future. Video games are consistently improving and the exciting fact is “we’re really at the very beginning of learning how to use this technology in the ways that are the most nourishing and sustaining.” (Turkle 428). Video games are playing a huge role in this generation’s culture and the industries are coming up with incredible innovations every year. Aside from the fact that the younger generation is growing at a ridiculous rate, video games are becoming outrageously popular among the youth because of the simple “free to play” model that these games operate under. The fastest growing popular online video games are the ones that are not only free to play, but also free to view and convenient for anyone with a computer. The brilliance of this model is the aspect of accessibility that allows for an impressive amount of revenue for a minimal amount of advertising through broadcasting and attracts a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities. Though some might call it a strategy of capitalizing on powerful addictions and brainwashing the consumer, the industry of modern technology is innovating and growing faster than any time ever in human history. It really does take a brilliant mind to figure out how the consumer can make you billions of dollars without them having to spend any money at all.
The eSports Empire was built upon the foundation of the genius minds that have been developed by video games and it only continues to carry on the legacy through games and its communities. We can look at how our time has come to the eSports generation and recognize all the ways in which it is a symbol of success of this generation and has defied all accusations and denunciations. A new age culture has emerged out of video gaming that has revolutionized the resources that we have growing up and in our adulthood. The creation of eSports has provided the world with a united worldwide culture that has done unimaginable things for the minds of the participating gamers.
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