Now, the prizes are larger. Much larger. Astronomically huge.
But the structure is the same degree of messed up, unless you’re involved in League of Legends, and even then it’s not all that much different than the ad-hoc model everything has run on from the beginning. Teams live spurious lives, with no cohesion amongst themselves, existing from event to event, with no discernable business model other than to try and steal attention from teams that already have it.
Now, a not insignificant number of players are making livable salaries on nothing but esports-related activities.
But players refuse to organize amongst themselves, so most are still vulnerable to the unrelenting parade of hucksters esports seems to attract, with little recourse when things go south other than to vent to a largely immature media apparatus, or to cause a shitstorm on reddit and hope justice is delivered through upvotes.
Now, developers are involved; something the esports world has been pining after for over a decade. Some have figured out how to do it exactly right, and make piles of money doing it.
But for each developer incorporating esports well, there’s at least one other that doesn’t have a fucking clue. At best they toss a couple interns at some ‘esports features’ so they can use it as a buzzword during a conference presentation, at worst they take what was at one time the single largest esport and shoot it in both feet with a horribly concieved and executed championship scheme. (Blizzard recovered, kinda, but the damage was done, and at exactly the wrong time, just as LoL and Dota were gathering steam.)
Now, games that could have a competitive bend to them are now coming with pretty decent matchmaking features baked into them.
But people are still giving ESEA money.
Now, several solid ventures built from the ground upwards around esports that are reasonably sized exist, ventures that have equally reasonable expectations about future growth, and seem to be getting along just fine, putting on consistently solid events in the present.
But you still have to head to Europe to find them, we yanks haven’t solved the equation yet. And what’s worse, the penchant for courting and blowing through large investments has blown across the pond, as evidently stacks of cash are being raked into a bonfire to power the lighting on the set of a lukewarm Sportscenter knockoff in Babelsberg, for which there’s no demand. Oh, and they also ran out of cash in February.
There have been many strides made since the beginning of the Starcraft II boom pulled things out of the dark ages, and the advent of Twitch really got things going. There’s still just so much stupid. Too much stupid for this stage of the game, anyway.
I lay blame for why I’ve not managed to start writing in earnest again at the feet of these seemingly immovable monuments of stupid, unchanged by the passage of time. Also, that I can’t even feign interest in League of Legends, and since it’s the one thing that’s running rather consistently, it has come to dominate the general news cycle. I tried, but have come up without shits to give. It just doesn’t grip me, and that’s ok.
Additionally, some of the better developments have ostensibly laid to rest some of the biggest issues I’ve been flogging on this blog regarding scene structure. Though not in the manner that I had hoped, strong guidance and support for individual scenes coming directly from a developer would appear to be the prevailing model that I would predict carries everthing through at least the next decade of progress in esports. It’s not perfect, but at least it’ll bring some stability.
So the cost of some progress is that it’s not really left me a whole lot to write about. And that’s ok too.