back to article Red-faced, sweating and still in your chair: Welcome to eSports

Video games are believed by many to be a waste of time - but this is something consistently being challenged by the people who love them. And despite the fact that video games just can't seem shrug off the label of "just for kids", new research (PDF) would suggest that you're never too old for them. And as the debate over the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Lovely article but is missing out the importance and impact of IRC (for instance Quakenet) which is partnering with these eSports networks, game developers and streaming platforms - including Twitch and DreamHack, as well as being a central communication platform for many of these teams, players and fanbases.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: IRC?

      You are correct; but we were already 1500 words over budget. Many things got left out, sadly. :(

    2. Scott 62

      Re: IRC?

      Ahhh, good old Quakenet, I think I spent the majority of my teen years antagonizing Q in various channels with my MP3 script :D

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big events in Nordic countries

    I remember my younger years of visiting these events was pretty much limited to them being places for masses of file sharing to go on - everyone would have an open share (read only, ofc) with all their goodies available for anyone else to help themselves to..... the share only going offline at tournament time so there was no lag on their connection!

    I think the majority were there more for the social and the file sharing than the gaming, regardless of what the "official" purpose of the events were!

  3. firefly

    "They must invest heavily in their equipment"

    Rubbish. I was an avid Quake/HL/UT player 'back in the day' and I knew several players of much higher ability than myself who went on to play in professional tournies. The striking thing was that many of them used old ball mice and CRT monitors for their rigs, long after optical and LCD became the norm.

    People who insist on expensive 'gaming' kit remind me of golfers who think that a £5k set of clubs will cure their slice. The height of the lunacy was the 'gaming NIC' that would give you no change from 100 notes for a theoretical 0.1s reduction in latency.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: "They must invest heavily in their equipment"

      Josh can demolish me at Quake with a shitty 1Ghz single-core notebook and a touchpad. That doesn't mean he'd survive using that rig against similarly competent players. When you are playing against people of roughly equal skill, the quality of your equipment can and does make the difference.

      So yeah, you'll get walked on by a pro using shitty equipment…but you obviously aren't good enough to kick ass and take names at Dreamhack. The kind of people that are? Milliseconds matter. Go talk to John Carmack about it. He has a lot to say on the subject; a lot of it's on Youtube. His biggest quest right now is to reduce display latency, as input latency issues have mostly been solved.

      "Monster NICs" were a fallacy…but input and display latency are real issues for high-end twitch gamers.

  4. ElsieEffsee
    Thumb Up

    Best thing I've read this Christmas!

    Thanks for the read, especially this:

    "The camaraderie built within video gaming communities is no different than that of more traditional sports. Your writers met at a LAN party - several in sequence, over the years - and forged a lasting friendship as a result."

    I went to some of the Mutliplay i-Series events at the turn of the millennium but kids / work got in the way. 3 years ago a friend asked if I'd like to attend an Epic.LAN event. I was highly dubious, thought I'd be bored and didn't think I'd do it more than once. Yet I sit here as a 45yr old married father of 3 with 7 LAN event wristbands on and looking forward to the next one in February. The quote above from article struck a chord as I have made friends from LAN and I have more of an affinity with them than I do with the people I work with every day.

    Going to one of these LAN events is a pure release from the pressures of work and family life; it's three days of enjoyment with good, not, great people where we can drink, talk, eat junk and oh yeah, play the occasional game. A LAN event is my pressure release, my therapy and if I didn't have one to look forward to I'd be a lot grumpier than I usually am!

    1. Scott 62

      Re: Best thing I've read this Christmas!

      Agree 100%, I have a couple of good friends that I met playing TFC around the turn of the millenium, we spent our weekends and evenings playing in the UKTFCL league, where a large percentage of the "good" players went to the i-series of LANs.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About that e-sport stuff...

    I don't care about the competitive side of the matter but being the sceptic that I am I have to admit that "e-sport" can be very fun and very addictive.

    Some time ago I got myself a Playstation move and ended up getting the game "Racket sports". That eventually resulted in me buying another Move controller so that the gf and me could play games such as virtual tennis together. Well, it can really be a lot of fun, either playing solo or together (together is much more fun obviously).

    Even more; after a good tennis match (10 - 20 sets or so, dunno from mind) you can really feel your arm muscles from having tried to smash all the time. The fun thing is; you don't /have/ to, you can easily make fast swings from the wrist. But you somehow automatically start to move wildly around...

    I've been quite the critic on this part but once I gave it a try myself I was hooked, set and sinked :-)

  6. Volvic
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    A good follow-up might be to get an insight into how eSport stars deal with their game of choice's bubble bursting.

    Ten years ago arguably the biggest names in eSports were Counter Strike 1.5/1.6 players - teams like SK and mTw, players like HeatoN and SpawN. The CS ship has well and truly sailed (although the CS:GO submarine may be surfacing soon) so it would be interesting to hear how they've handled it.

    1. jai

      Re: Great article

      I wonder how much of an impact that would really be. Yes, games' bubbles burst, but is that not as much because the pro players have moved on along with the casual players?

      Take StarCraft - the casual player probably moved on from that many many years ago (with the exception of the occasional nostalgic replay). But the pro players never stopped (at least, not in South Korea it seems). Which in turn must have made Blizzard's decision to make the sequel much easier.

    2. prodiG

      Re: Great article

      Heaton and SpawN specifically found ways to continue using the skills & knowledge they acquired as well as the brand image they built for themselves to continue to stay relevant by helping companies like BenQ and Zowie Gear design monitors and mice. There are a lot of different paths people choose to take - a lot of them retire and move on to other forms of employment, many will stay in the industry but in other areas - CS players moving on to Call of Duty or WarCraft 3 players moving on to StarCraft 2, or moving on to management or consulting roles for other businesses as well. I could certainly write an entire article on it!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If there is money to be made... leading the sheeple, they are more than willing to get fleeced.

  8. A. N. Other-Coward Silver badge

    Watch what happens when I press the red button

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There are more sad people in the world than even I suspected.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow!

      It may not be to everyone's taste but they're happy so good luck to them, why do you feel the need to pee on their parade? I personally have no interest in competitive gaming other than a curiosity in reading this article to find out how other people spend their time, a little 10 minute investment and my curosity is satisfied and I am a little more aware of what goes on in the world around me.

      It's a community and as such it's the grass-roots of any community that holds it together, these people who attend and enjoy the atmosphere are probably having far more fun than most of us do. Your arrogance makes it sounds like you're a little jealous that other people have found something fun to do with their time.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow!

      @ madra

      That's a very petty reaction. I won't say that esports should be considered a real sport, and video game-playing can certainly be taken to extremes, but a lot of these games do provide more social engagement and thought than going home and plugging in to your couch to watch a good 80% or 90% of the shows on TV that people want to chat about around the water cooler the next morning.

  10. Matthew Hale


    `Esports`....ahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha....yea OK. It's a `sport`. Like darts is a `sport`.

    It's not a sport. It's a game, isn't it. There's a difference. At most it tests your reflexes and finger tendons.

    No matter how much I like Halo 4 or Castle Crashers or any other game, they are NOT sports, no matter how competitive the game is.

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: Hahaha....

      I agree, but gonna argue anyway.

      So darts isnt a sport?

      is it only physical things?

      is running a sport? what if you only do it to keep fit and never time yourself or race?

      what about chess?

      where's the line? snooker? table tennis?

  11. Jediben

    Those huge arena events...

    Never mind the skills on show, just imagine the smell...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Those huge arena events...

      Oh yeah I see what you did there! Geeks don't wash, right? So a lot of geeks all not washing is going to smell really bad, ha ha ha ha....pfffzzzz....FAIL! What is this, 1985 where the jocks get to beat on the nerds? FFS!

      I think most people do manage basic personal hygiene, if you can manage to assemble machines and organise team activities, washing your "spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch" body areas with soap is not beyond most people's abilities. I attend music gigs in some of the cheapest, crappiest dives London has offer and I can't say I've run into more than a tiny handful of people who could do with quick dunk in a bath, 99% of people manage to stay clean and not smell like a dead Badger's scrote!

      1. Jediben

        Re: Those huge arena events...

        A university weekend LAN in Essex, with an attendance in only double figures, was more than enough to keep the 'dry roasted peanut' odour in the atmosphere. Not only do people smell after sitting at their pc for up to (let's be generous here) 8 hours, but working machines also smell.

        PCs are not hermetically sealed boxes - dust gets sucked in, dislodged, blown around, PC components get hot, things start to smell - dead skin, hair, food, general heated stuff.

        On top of that, consider the environments that these machines could have come from. No one runs their gaming PC in an airtight chamber, and not everyone has good habits. Even if only 5% of attendees are smokers, their PCs will still stink the place out as they heat up. Smokers make for foul PCs.

        Maybe you ought to rein your neck in and get your own prejudices in check before having a hissy fit, huh?

  12. MissingSecurity


    Definitely my cup of tea. To me its like football(either one).

    I am a huge SC2 fan, and I can usually find a tournament or a fav pro streaming. On top of that I enjoy watching, LOL, even if I don't play it, and the other FPS (Not big into fighting games through). Twitch is such a boss site for gamers. Even if your not into esport, you can almost always find someone playing a new title if you want to check it out, like Planetside 2.

  13. Dosinu
    Thumb Up

    esports the good and bad

    great article, love seeing pieces looking from the outside in at eSports. It can be such a culture shock looking at it and becoming involved in it for the first time. I have various starcraft brood war friends in Australia that flew to Korea for the ending of BW, i mean thats how big eSports can get!

    My own take on eSports is a bit more critical, but IMO incredibly important to eSports as a whole, have a look!

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