In Europe and Asia, thousands of spectators are rooting for their favorite well-paid players, listening to color commentary, and filling arenas to watch people playing video games.
The time may come when, instead of watching professionals play in the NFL, we will watch professionals play Madden NFL.
The crowd roars. The players take the field. And then they boot up their game controllers.
That’s right, video gaming is a spectator sport. And a big one. Thousands of fans in Europe and Asia flock to see their favorite “esports” professionals fight it out in games such as “Battlefield” or “League of Legends.”
In May, a tournament run by the Electronic Sports League filled Frankfurt’s 35,000-seat Commerzbank-Arena to watch a “Defense of the Ancients 2” tournament — complete with color commentary, star players and a grand prize of more than $200,000.It may be hard to imagine such a thing happening in the United States. But, in fact, 60 percent of Americans play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade group. That’s more than the percentage of Americans who tuned into the last Super Bowl , pay for cable or subscribe to Netflix.
“No one wants to take video games seriously, for some reason,” video game historian Keith Feinstein said with a touch of exasperation. “It’s the culmination of all human endeavor; every art form wrapped up into one. And yet it’s still a constant surprise that it’s so popular.”
“The culmination of all human endeavor”!