Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
 
Spectator eSports

Belghast has an interesting article up on whether eSports are sport, and how that leads to controversy when eSports arrive on ESPN. For me the whole problematic of eSports boils down to the question what exactly you show, where you point your camera, so to say. In any "real" sport the camera tends to point where the athletes are, because that is the most interesting part of the image. In eSports the athletes are either shown somewhere in a corner as tiny picture-in-picture display, or not at all. The interesting part of eSports to watch is not the athlete (who doesn't move much), but his avatar.

This difference points towards a huge missed opportunity in displaying eSports: Currently games are typically shown in the same view that the player has. Now imagine a game of football which you could only watch via the helmet-cameras of the players. Obviously not the best view a spectator could have. And to the limits to which I understand 3D graphics engines, it shouldn't be too hard to display a different view. If you can send a different view of the scene of a multiplayer game to each of the players, then surely you could produce one more view of what is going on in spectator mode. League of Legends already has a spectator mode. Develop that a bit further and apply it to all eSports games, and they could become a lot more viewable.

Personally I watch neither sports nor eSports, I prefer doing to watching. I might not run as fast as Usain Bolt or click as fast as Hai Lam (now retired at the age of 22), but I am a lot more connected to that sport or to that game by doing it at my own pace than the connection I could get from watching the best doing it on a TV screen.

Comments:
Sports are about the shared delusion that this is "our" team that shares "our" local values and traditions.

It's hard to get that way about a video game. But I expect the first step would be to make it about the player, not the game.

"Tonight on ESPN! Boston's own Pwn Pounders take on the Dallas Board Flippers in a Destiny Death Match!

Then make it 90% about the players and what IT job they have in their city.

If it sounds like I'm trying to turn it into a product, like a boy band or something... yup. That's sports.
 
They already provide "spectator" view instead of player view. The World of Tank finals were using a camera view which is very different from the player view. Apart from not having an interface and having some global team stats, it's not forced to follow a specific tank and it's usually far above so as to give a complete overview of the field.

But I admit that I found the few matches I watched to be extremely boring....
 
Tobold: "In any "real" sport the camera tends to point where the athletes are, because that is the most interesting part of the image."
Wrong, the camera follows the action. For football/ soccer it does not mainly follow the athletes, but the ball since that is the "interesting" part.
Obviously you need to point the camera at the players when they are part of the action, but that is not true for eSports. There only the virtual character matters, and the camera will again follow the action and not some character doing some mundane stuff without impact.
 
From the article quoted:

"Last year the League of Legends World Championship had 32 million viewers"

I find it absolutely ludicrous that 32 million people went out of their way to watch that. I have to believe that the number is somehow a marketing fabrication.
 
There was a time when I would have made this same statement... but then my friends got so hopelessly caught up in the LCS that they have conversations that are completely unintelligible to me who is not a huge fan of League of Legends. They sound exactly like folks discussion this or that traditional sporting event. They had LCS watch parties and such, with chips, dip, hotwings... and the LCS matches being streamed to the big screen television through twitch. I find the whole thing rather surreal, but then again I find the attraction to traditionally sporting events equally surreal.
 
Smokeman: "I find it absolutely ludicrous that 32 million people went out of their way to watch that."
114 million people went out of their way to watch the 2015 super bowl.
I guess different strokes for different folks.
 
It strikes me they could learn a lot from TV coverage of poker. The camera concentrates on the players while the actual cards are displayed in a corner.
 
I am fine with the term "eSports" as I dislike the discussion comparing video games to sports. You can see it in this thread already, people claiming "no no, this is what really makes something a sport!" Who cares? No one argues about whether chess is a sport, but that doesn't lessen the viability of chess as a competition.
 
Camo says:
"Smokeman: "I find it absolutely ludicrous that 32 million people went out of their way to watch that."
114 million people went out of their way to watch the 2015 super bowl.
I guess different strokes for different folks."

The Superbowl is highly marketed and advertised. Principally because it's anticipated that so many people will watch it.

This? Not so much. A quick scan of their web site tells me that the players are roughly equally divided between US, Europe, and East markets. Yet I've never heard of this. If 32 million people were all over this, than marketing would have been in the house.

I just don't buy these numbers. They sound like marketing bullshit.
 
I'm a little surprised it was that low. Especially since they were likely counting viewers from South Korea and China, which have huge leagues of their own for the game.

Frankly, I heard more about the LCS finals than I did the SuperBowl. But that's because I don't watch TV and do log into LoL which advertised it in the in game main menu.
 
@Smokeman

You can't just decide that your personal feelings are more valid than numbers that were widely reported and accepted by the major media outlets. If they were "made up marketing bullshit," we would have heard about it.

"A quick scan of their web site tells me that the players are roughly equally divided between US, Europe, and East markets."

I don't know where you got your information (I suspect from your personal intuition), but the EU region is twice the size of NA, and Korea is 3 times the size of NA. We don't have numbers on China, but last year's all-star voting seemed to indicate it was by far the biggest region, very possibly larger than the rest combined.
 
Sports are about the shared delusion that this is "our" team that shares "our" local values and traditions.

It's hard to get that way about a video game. But I expect the first step would be to make it about the player, not the game.

"Tonight on ESPN! Boston's own Pwn Pounders take on the Dallas Board Flippers in a Destiny Death Match!

Then make it 90% about the players and what IT job they have in their city.



Oh man, you have no idea. TSM has such a strong LoL branding that in events they don't even participate in, in REGIONS they aren't in, you can still occasionally hear "TSM! TSM! TSM!" chants. Individual players have merchandise based on their handles (See: Piglet at his height of popularity in season 3 getting korean fans to wear Piglet headbands)

As for being about the players...they already do that. For worlds last year they had a high production value 2 hour, 3 part documentary called "Road to Worlds" that detailed some of the past world championships and spent maybe half the time featuring in-depth looks at various player's lives and how LoL fits in. You can watch all 3 parts put together here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RoIm1veP0k

Finally, I hate to break it to you, but the players don't have day jobs. At least in this specific instance, LoL pros, their job is the game. They tend to play long hours every single day, either practicing for upcoming matches or streaming on their own time to bring in extra revenue. The big names easily pull in six figures a year doing it.
 
I notice a tendency of especially American gamers to dismiss everything happening in Asia. "Oh, the WoW player numbers don't count, half of those players are Chinese", "Oh, LoL can't be popular, because I don't hear about it on US TV". That is somewhat unwise, because some Asian countries, especially South Korea, are years ahead of us with respect to broadband access and cultural acceptance of gaming.
 
" The big names easily pull in six figures a year doing it."

The biggest names in NA and EU pull in mid six figures. Several of the biggest names in Korea were confirmed to make over a million last year. And many of those players left Korea to go to China, because the Chinese teams paid even more than that.
 
@ Samus

Thanks. I wasn't sure of the exact numbers and wanted to avoid even the appearance of exaggeration so I went low.
 
Tobold says:
"I notice a tendency of especially American gamers to dismiss everything happening in Asia."

I thought of that, so I googled it. I fully expected to find that LoL had 10 times more players in Asia.

Nope. the distribution seems evenly mixed in the 3 markets, Asia, US, and Europe.
 
@Smokeman

The current ranked populations by region are:

NA - 1,729,892
EUW - 2,563,042
EUN - 1,275,289
Korea - 2,849,197

These numbers exclude China, which is by far the biggest region.

The numbers are not "evenly distributed," and I could not find anything suggesting they were. I am starting to think you are just trolling. You consistently ignore what others tell you and just make up your own information.
 
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