by Luke Freeman
In the world of video games there is the average player, or player who may play for fun, and professional players. There are many leagues that professional players can play in, whether the gaming platform be PC (or personal computer), Microsoft’s XBOX or PlayStation’s PS4. Instead of labeling the idea of professional gaming as, well, professional gaming a term was created in the early 2000s called “E-Sports” or electronic sports. The idea came from a situation where gamers who put most of their time and effort into making money, while training in different ways, felt as if they were labeled in a derogatory fashion.
In the last 10-15 years E-Sports has definitely grown. In the beginning there were few leagues such as: CAL, Cyber-Athlete Amateur League; CPL, Cyber-Athlete Professional League; and MLG, Major League Gaming. CAL and CPL competitors play only on PCs whereas MLG competitors play on consoles (XBOX or PS4). Currently there are three major leagues and various tournaments for PC gaming played around the world. Here in the United States we play in ESEA, E-Sports Entertainment Association, and CEVO. Both leagues call for players to play online from their homes and play at a LAN tournament at the end of the season. A LAN or, Local Area Network Tournament, are tournaments where users will travel to a specific city and compete for the prize while playing side by side with their teammates. In Europe ESL, Electronic Sports League, is the largest league for video games. The league offers leagues for many games such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and more.
Streaming live or barely delayed video game content over the web has been wanted for years. Twitch.tv is a streaming service where players, leagues and companies can stream their content. For an example, I play for a team called MZM Gaming. MZM is a team based out of Canada. Although I am an American player, I stream my in-game content with two web cameras. I use one camera for users around the world to see my face and one camera to show my mouse movement and mouse pad. Yes, mouse pad. Generally in FPS, or first-person shooter, games users use large mouse pads such as the Puretrak Talent.
The Puretrak Talent is 19 inches by 14 inches in size. I am endorsed by Puretrak, therefore, by streaming my content on Twitch.TV I can advertise for free to my viewers. Advertisements are a big part of Twitch.TV. I use a program called Xsplit to broadcast my game, cameras and logos from companies that sponsor me.
The biggest thing about Twitch.TV is that E-Sports are much more popular in Europe than in the U.S. Streamers in Europe, such as Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund from Sweden’s Ninjas in Pyjamas, will have a sum of around 5,000 viewers at one time during the day, sometimes more. With the capability of streaming, players like Chris can give lessons to players around the world and bring new attention to E-Sports that was not possible in the past. A player known as “Summit” creates revenue of over $10,000 daily by streaming video game content from Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota2, Day-Z and many other games.
Streaming has brought lots of revenue to a previously dying industry for Americans. It gives us who do it for a living something to look forward to every day, interacting with players from around the world.