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Valve announces a million dollar DotA 2 event

in glhf

…and all of a sudden it seems everyone on twitter feels the need to define what esports is.

Huh?

He says it as if it’s a bad thing.

I also suppose that if this was in the States rather than overseas, if it were happening on a sound stage in California instead of at an industry convention, if it featured a game that he didn’t pooh-pooh, if it had massively unrealistic plans for global expansion, and if he was directly involved and getting paid by it, it’d be a must-watch big-shit esports event.

Now wouldn’t it?

And if this is marketing and not esports, what then is this? Is a publisher running a tournament not esports, except when it’s Blizzard?

What is League of Legends’ inclusion into the IEM?

What is Heroes of Newerth’s inclusion into the NA Star League?

Are those not marketing?

EXHIBIT A: The North American Star League.

Wait, but that was esports, wasn’t it?

Could somebody, please, find Ja Rule, so I can make sense of all this?

I suppose if people can’t yell the slightly xenophobic and thinly-veiled racist meme of [something/someone] HWAIIIITING on twitter, then it isn’t esports.

Clearly.

I’m sorry if that hit a bit too close for home for you. I don’t see how it’s either appropriate or funny.

But I digress.

Yea, leave it to David to be the only guy with an actual point here.

Money given to players is money exiting the scene. It’s necessary to keep the system going, obviously, but the point here is that, when money takes stops in larger tournament/league organizations, or even in teams, some of it will go into the overall infrastructure of the scene, things geared towards long-term permanence.

I’m sure there was plenty of overreactions to this announcement by Valve, that this is somehow a signal of a seismic shift in the way Valve will interface with the esports community, that things like this would become commonplace from them.

That would indeed be a mistake. And to all of a sudden care about the competitive scene’s needs would be a bit disingenuous.

But that doesn’t justify the overall mood gathered amongst the esports crowd about this DotA 2 event, that we must take care to not be associated with this event. It just doesn’t add up.

DotA 2’s imminent arrival on the scene signals, to me, a direct threat to the status quo of the last year or two, where it was a forgone conclusion that Starcraft was going to, and would continue to, dominate the landscape. What I was seeing in reaction (David excluded) was a twinge of fear of the unknown, of what this meant for people whom esports is now synonymous with Starcraft, some of whom are just now seeing some steady cash from esports as it is and maybe don’t want that to change in the slightest.

This, to me, also signals a big opportunity that will exist within DotA 2 for someone able to get Valve’s ear and work directly with them. It’s clear they want to see DotA 2 work well on a highly competitive level; that million smackers says that just as much as it says ‘marketing.’ They’d be stupid not to see what Blizzard’s engagement with the esports community has brought them, and to not try and apply a similar approach to new titles coming down the pipeline that would be suitable to such a treatment.

In any case, I find this rush to draw lines in the esports sand quite contrary to the overall goal of scene growth.