Professional gaming is getting big

You know that guy who spends (or nowadays, more likely spent) his life playing World of Warcraft or something similar? And how you’d always say things like “You need to go outside! You need to get exercise! You need to take a shower and get a real job!”

Well, they may be able to do that last thing without having to do any of the others. It turns out professional gaming is growing, and not just growing but selling out stadiums and attracting major sponsors like Coca-Cola and Intel (of course), more spectators than some professional sports, and dealing big, BIG money including an $11 million prize pool. Although that’s the biggest ever for a tournament of this type, it hasn’t taken too long to get there, it came mainly form donations, and the money just keeps getting bigger (the linked article actually shows the growth of the prize pool over time). In fact, the big tournament is so big it’s being held at none other than Madison Square Gardens. Of course, like everything that suddenly becomes popular, the bad people come out of the woodwork as well.

View from the stage

View of a tournament from the stage

Honestly, we’re just catching up. In South Korea for example, professional gaming has been a staple for years, as popular as any other sport. They were the first to organize e-sports under the now-defunct World Cyber Games moniker, however the sport itself didn’t die.

Nowadays, the common game to test your abilities is Defense of the Ancients, colloquially, and incorrectly known as “Dota 2,” and League of Legends, correctly acronymed to “LoL,” although Starcraft is still very popular as well, albeit moreso in other countries.

I wrote earlier in the year about athletic scholarships for gamers being offered at Robert Morris University, with all the privileges thereto, including 50 percent tuition reimbursement, leave from class for tournaments, tutors, etc. So not only are there professional gamers, there are now even collegiate varsity gamers that could become professional later on.

It’s still a good idea to go outside, and stay there for a while. Get some fresh air, exercise, sun, and interact with the world. But if your kids occasionally stay inside all day playing games, well, there may be $11 million in it for them.

 

 

Going Up