Games Sport

The future of (e)sports

I come from a soccer family, you know, traditional sports. Everyone in my family is obsessed by the game. I tried to get into it. I even kinda get it, but I don’t share their obsession for the game. Sure, you’ll see me in a Belgian jersey when World or EU championships is on, and I have a preferred regional team. Hell, I even had a season ticket several years. But still: not even close to what for instance my father, uncle, sister and brother-in-law feel for that game.

The last 5 years I’ve been active in the entertainment industry. I got the chance to see how stories are written, productions are set up and magic is done. In a way there is a lot of the same thing going on: emotional, spectacle, awe, … But it was still a very different universe.

Enter esports

I’m a gamer, so naturally I’ve been keeping my eye on it for several years now, but given my background in entertainment I’m getting more and more excited about what’s going on there. To the point where I’m stalking colleagues and family about it who have no interest in gaming whatsoever. Because more traditional sports need to start paying attention if they want to know what the future looks like. Esports is challenging traditional sports coverage.

Let’s take the LEC, the EU main League Of Legends league by Riot. Not only is it a good example, it is a prime example. They took their cue from more traditional sports: they have a perfectly equipped studio and crew, expert team of analysts and casters and a perfect broadcasting setup. But then they go an extra few miles.

As a Fnatic fan, this hit home.

This is a song by the LEC. In it you see casters. As in the people who add commentary during a game. Do you see soccer casters do that? Oh, you did, once, huh? Well, they’ve been doing it for a while now, it’s not their first rodeo. Moreover: This was in anticipation of just. One. Game. True, it was probably THE game of the season, because a member of team Fnatic went to their biggest rival G2 and they were meeting up for the first time since then, but still… For one game. And besides being an awesome song soundwise, the lyrics have more layers than the biggest onion you’ve ever sliced and the production value of the video is… well, see for yourself, it’s good.

24/7 content

But it’s not just that. As a fan, there is just so much to engage with. All the teams, players, coaches, casters, hosts, analysts and staff have their own, very active, social media channels and are actually playing the game themselves in a lot of cases. The league’s discord is constantly buzzing and they even launched a game hidden in a virtual studio tour ( a mobile-only game, I might add). While you’re watching the games, you have a chance to find drops with exclusive in-game items. There’s a podcast, VOD, … I could go on.
And the crew has a narrative of it’s own, making it very addictive to watch every minute. Mainly because they are that good at what they do and love doing it.

Now imagine the generation that is growing up with this as a standard form of sports entertainment and being asked by their parents to join them in experiencing the World Cup Soccer. What do you think they expect and what will they get?

It’s no wonder soccer teams all over the world are setting up their esports teams. Schalke 04’s team just made it to the play-offs. In League Of Legends, not FIFA 2021, btw. Because it scales. Whether you’re an LoL esporter or prefer FIFA, you just need hardware. You don’t need a soccer field and a basketball court. You do need a good crew per sport, but concerning infrastructure it’s a lot easier to handle.

How about Belgium

Here in Belgium clubs like KV Mechelen, Beerschot and Club Brugge get it. The last one even calls itself an entertainment firm, comparing themselves to Kinepolis or even Studio 100 (dutch article). On a broadcasting level Proximus stepped up their game making esports a pillar in their strategy. Things are stirring up in Belgium and I’m very excited to see what this will bring.

I’m gonna enjoy the LEC Spring play-offs starting today. I’ll leave you with the LEC song to launch that.


Outrage As LEC And Blast Premier Sign Deals With Saudi Arabia Tech City

However, the announcement has been met with widespread criticism from fans of the LEC. Just a few days ago the LEC had a pride focused broadcast, with talent wearing LGBTQ+ merchandise and colors, and the LEC logo being changed into pride colors. Now the league has signed a deal with NEOM, which will be based in Saudi Arabia, a county infamous for its draconian LGBTQ+ rights and laws.

Source: Outrage As LEC And Blast Premier Sign Deals With Saudi Arabia Tech City


We’re going back to Vanilla!

And they didn’t lie. I could be cheeky and refer to the queue’s but that doesn’t matter so much if you’re in a Guild Chat on Teamspeak. Because we’re all there, waiting and bringing up memories of all those years.

First of all the ad is perfect. High production, captures the atmosphere perfectly and enough winks in it to get you to watch it frame by frame (There’s another GOT reference in there besides Hodor for instance). And the song is on repeat.

But the game… Classic pulls you back in time. No, I didn’t play Vanilla, but even starting just before Wrath, it had the same feeling as now. I didn’t know about addons so I had to look for everything myself. And there were a lot of other players helping each other out because they were all starting too. This is in sharp contrast with the main game where every move you do wrong comes with someone calling you a noob. In Classic, everyone starts from zero again and has to do everything on foot with just a couple of silver in their backpack.

So thanks, Blizzard, for taking the time and resources to rebuild this game from the ground up and putting it out there as an extra for subscribers. I hope the feeling lasts at least for some months.


Ninja is leaving Twitch, will start streaming on Mixer exclusively

According to Twitch Tracker, Blevins reportedly has 14,956 subscribers on the Amazon-owned company (down from a peak of more than 285,000 in March 2018), with most of those subscriptions coming from Amazon Prime. He is also consistently one of the biggest streamers on the platform, which means this is a big blow for Twitch.

via Polygon


Fortnite World Cup: how to watch and what to follow

Epic games is holding one of the biggest e-sports tournaments in history with the Fortnite World Cup starting on July 26th in New York City. The event will feature a $30 million prize pool and huge Twitch streamers like Ninja and Tfue.