Last night, as I sat at a bar with some friends, I look up and to my surprise I see a Spartan getting his head blown off by a rocket on one of the TV’s. It takes me a second to realize it is not a trailer, but actual game play from the X-Games that are currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. It is at this moment, I knew that eSports was finally going to be taken seriously.
As some of you who have read these in the past may know, my gaming roots have been in competitive Halo, what we now call eSports. I grew up on the Major League Gaming pro circuit, starting in my mid-late teens, and traveling around the United States competing against the world in Halo.
This is not the first time a video game has appeared at the X-Games. Call of Duty has been a frequent event for the past two years, allowing gamers to compete for prize money as well as a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal. This is however, one of the first times since Major League Gaming had a broadcast deal with USA, and G4, where an actual eSport has aired on Television in the US (overlooking the Ultimate Gamer on Sci-Fi).
Flashback to last night, I was unable to hear the audio as it was muted, but what I saw was fantastic. I saw all the aspects I loved about attending events, just on television. I watched as they talked to players, community figures, and the commentators themselves, just as they would any other “normal” sport. They had the banners below who they were talking with which displayed what team they were on, as well as their name. It was really interesting to see.
With the massive steps backwards in Halo: Reach, and Halo 4, I would not in my wildest dreams imagine that Halo would be the sport that gets their own spot on TV. Sure ESPN is heavily invested in the Blizzard tournament Heroes of the Dorm, where college students play Heroes of the Storm for scholarship money among other things, but to my knowledge, it is only broadcasted via the internet. My money was always on Call of Duty, League of Legends, or DoTA 2.
Needless to say, I was so excited, I got death states from the lady next to us as I had to look over her to watch the television, but it was worth it. All I can really say is that e Sports as a whole has finally made it. With this, it is only one big step away from being recognized as something more than just a video game, and I can’t wait to see that day.