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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: E-Sports are a rising force in the gaming world

    Electronic sports, better known in the gaming community as eSports, continues to establish its legitimacy as “League of Legends” prepares to host teams from multiple countries in its sixth championship tournament.

    A huge part of the success of eSports comes from the passionate community supporting it. 

    Riot Games, the developer behind the game, reported its monthly player numbers to have peaked at around 67 million people in 2014. 

    It is currently the most played video game in the world. The team-based game encourages players to play with friends and to use teamwork to win. 

    The game’s ranking feature also inspires players to aim for greater heights. 

    These components come together to form a strong competitive scene.

    When “League of Legends” announced its first championship in 2011, it was held in a small hall in Sweden with a small crowd watching two teams battle it out for the €35,500 prize. 

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    During last year’s championship, 16 teams competed across various cities in Europe for a shot at the $1 million first prize and a chance to wield the Summoner’s Cup, a 70-pound trophy decorated in a fabulous blue and silver.

    The eSports industry has become very strong in the last five years. 

    In the early days of “League of Legends,” teams were usually just five friends who met over the internet and decided to compete together. 

    In North America, big-name teams recruit their players from South Korea and Europe to play on their club for a shot to compete in the international championship. 

    Each player receives a salary from the club and from the game’s developer, Riot Games, who is also in charge of the professional league that oversees the competitive scene in North America and Europe. 

    With millions of players across the globe, the game boasts a diverse talent pool. 

    Just like the NBA’s Eastern and Western conference, the competitive scene is divided into five professional leagues across the world. 

    In North America and Europe, there is the League of Legends Championship Series—NALCS and EULCS, respectively. In China, they have the League of Legends Pro League, the League of Legends Masters Series in the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau region—LMS, and finally the League of Legends Champions Korea—LCK. 

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    Each League holds its domestic tournament, in which teams will earn points that allow them to qualify for a spot in the World Championships.

    If that doesn’t legitimize eSports, then the fact that mainstream media is beginning to cover eSports may prove skeptics wrong. 

    ESPN has a dedicated page in its website for “League of Legends” and other eSports such as DOTA 2 and Hearthstone. The viewership for “League of Legends” isn’t laughable, neither. 

    During the 2015 World Championship final, 36 million people tuned in to witness the Korean powerhouse, SK Telecom T1, take the Summoner’s Cup. 

    In comparison, 17.2 million people viewed the final game of the MLB World Series in 2015.

    Even influential figures from traditional sports, such as Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Shaquille O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion, have begun to invest in eSports, having seen its potential to grow even bigger as an industry.

    With the sixth World Championship on its way, it’s exciting to see where eSports and “League of Legends” will go in the future. 

    Follow Andrew Alamban on Twitter

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