We all like to have this idea that eSports can be at the same level as any other sport in the country, but we want it to stay nice and casual. All “underpants and drinking Cola out of the bottle” is not going to cut it.
I’ve heard on more than one occasion from people who aren’t gamers that we’re all just dope smoking slobs, getting fat and playing games. Of course this makes me angry because it’s just not true. We’re writers and lawyers and athletes and even pilots. But honestly, we don’t come across that way. I know that video games are fun, but just because it’s our hobby, doesn’t mean we have to always look casual. Other sports like football, rugby and cricket are fun too. The difference is that the other guys and girls look more professional when it comes to competing. Many of them are popular sports personalities, public figures and understand the importance of looking the part as much as acting the part.
If we want sponsors and big companies and the government to take us seriously, we have to give them a reason to do so. And that’s not going to happen if every professional tournament we have is filled with competitors dressed the same as the spectators. Now nobody’s expecting you to LAN in your church clothes, but dropping the baggy jeans, tekkies and washed out T’s just might help us out. But dressing neatly isn’t the only thing that needs to change.
At many LANs gamers have behaved like their usual internet selves when taking breaks or getting snacks without knowing that the people right next to them, are the people who are supposed to give their money to the community. Needless to say it’s putting them off. Big tournament organisers, who are usually the developers of the game being played, like Riot and Blizzard, have been taking the necessary steps to get gamers to start being more mature. Progamers all around the world are getting life bans and punishments for bad behaviour so why should we not expect this basic principal to start at the smaller events and leagues? But our behaviour and the way we dress is not the only thing that needs to change. It’s not just our responsibility to make things worth throwing money at, but the responsibility of the tournament organisers. Events need to be less casual when it’s a serious tournament and more like something that would attract a spectatorship.
Even though this might all sound a bit stiff and boring, it really doesn’t have to be. Besides, you can still maintain your “cool status” without cussing at every one and having your pants hang around your knees. International events are professional, but incredibly awesome. Parties, entertainment, great food and events of epic proportions… People want to be there and sponsors want to give them money. Shoutcasters are on the same level as sports commentators, dressed appropriately and behaving appropriately. It does take money to organise events like that, but why should we settle for second best? After all, second best won’t bring us in the funding we need either.
The simple truth is that if we want to elevate our pro players to superstardom and if we want our sport to be as spectacular as abroad, we need to step it up. Not just at public events either. Top teams should interact with the media more. Become known and tell people how awesome you are, how else are they supposed to know?
What are your views about gamers and being professional in eSports? Think we’re doing it right, or can we improve?