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Why it's hard to get into eSports

2 min read

eSports is growing. Year on year, more people are watching, commenting, and just generally getting involved.  But for all that growth, we still see plenty of people rolling their eyes and tuning out.  Is it just that it’s boring to watch other people play games?

Judging by the amount of “let’s play” videos on YouTube, I don’t think voyeurism is a problem for gamers.  We like watching people play games, especially if they are particularly good (or bad) at them.  It’s entertaining and sometimes inspiring or informative.  It makes us want to play better, and can be particularly helpful when it comes to new mods or characters.  So, what’s different about eSports?

I think it comes down to understanding.  There isn’t much that’s more irritating than watching a game and having someone ask “who’s winning?”  Of course, the problem is that, unlike traditional sports, eSports can be incredibly difficult to explain.  It’s hard enough to explain the off-side rule to a woman, try explaining champion selection, laning or ganking to someone.  It gets even harder when you add in build order or jungling.  Plus, every game is different.  I played League of Legends enough to have a fairly basic understanding, but that doesn’t equate to knowledge of Dota 2.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on COD or Fifa.

As a result of this knowledge gap, it’s almost as if every sport in eSports is a different league of traditional sports.  You don’t see avid rugby fans easily switching to watching American football, baseball or curling.  Everyone has preferences with athletic sports, why wouldn’t it be the same with eSports?  

Unfortunately, despite the growth, eSports is still relatively small compared to traditional competitive games.  This means that many pro-gamers have to play multiple games on a variety of platforms to garner enough attention and sponsorships.  This is like expecting Messi to play a bit of basketball on the side to make ends meet.  It just doesn’t make sense for professional athletes, which is what pro-gamers are supposed to be.  While there are some pros who are associated with only one game, there isn’t the same iconic level to attract new fans to the sports – there isn’t a Tiger Woods or Michael Phelps for eSports.  C’mon, there isn’t even any eye candy for people who feign interest!

While I am trying to learn more and understand eSports, there is simply a high barrier to entry.  I’m not interested in playing any FPS, so why would I be interested in watching someone else play?  I have a vague understanding of MOBA, but I’m not sure I could spend a weekend watching people play.  Then again, despite a love of basketball, I’m not sure I could spend a weekend watching people play that, either.

What do you propose to help people get into eSports?  Do you think these problems will solve themselves over time, or is eSports destined to only grow to the size of a large niche?  

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Last Updated: July 24, 2013


  1. TiMsTeR1033

    July 24, 2013 at 15:38

    what ever happened to that guy Fatality? he was at rAge a few years back and a pro gamer.


    • Francois

      July 24, 2013 at 15:57

      he’s still around, he was the highest earning gamer last year


    • old man

      July 24, 2013 at 15:58

      he retired as did I and a few others


      • ElimiNathan

        July 24, 2013 at 15:59

        And who might you be ?


        • old man

          July 24, 2013 at 16:03

          rather not say 🙂 like no playing competitive anymore and poping my old handle here might get me spammed or stoned eather way just passing , good gamming to all and remember to reload aim for the head and most impotent of all have fun and stay relaxed , then you can make it more or less


          • ElimiNathan

            July 24, 2013 at 16:04

            Ye will do and you can read a dictionary in your retirement 😉

          • old man

            July 24, 2013 at 16:06

            use to be a trademark extreamly bad spelling though better at gaming , you as well take care online 🙂

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            July 24, 2013 at 16:07

            Are you my dad?

          • old man

            July 24, 2013 at 16:09

            Jim I am not your father o.o ….. I hope ….. hehehe

    • Skyblue

      July 24, 2013 at 15:59

      Dude is legend in my book as he played multiple FPS titles and found a measure of success in every one.


  2. OVG

    July 24, 2013 at 15:54

    Hardcore gamers. These dudes exhaust me.
    Back in the day we would just casually mill about at the arcade and rub each others egos. Now Its like trying to get into that click at school that nobody ever knew but we knew that they sacrificed young virgins on the full moon in the Chapel basement.


    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      July 24, 2013 at 16:12

      As I’ve said before people ruin everything. Regardless of how you see yourself, jock, nerd, potatohead, former child soldier, banana-flavoured commentators…. give someone a little bit of power or acknowledgement, and they tend towards dick-levels of arrogance and stupidity. Just check out the retards on twitter and facebook…. sigh!

      People ruin everything! *Jim drowns his discontent in another late-afternoon beer*


      • RinceWind

        July 24, 2013 at 16:17

        Here’s something to cheer you up 🙂


        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          July 24, 2013 at 16:19

          hahaha All hail the Dog!


          • RinceWind

            July 24, 2013 at 16:25

            you want more?! I’ll give you more!

          • RinceWind

            July 24, 2013 at 16:26


          • Paul Fouche

            July 24, 2013 at 16:50


  3. RinceWind

    July 24, 2013 at 16:13

    Love the pic!


  4. Trevor Davies

    July 24, 2013 at 16:17

    I have no interest in competing in eSports. For me gaming is a hobby & I play to relax & have fun – winning isn’t required for either. Turning it into a competition doesn’t appeal to me.

    I’ve only ever played really seriously once, as in one MP game of Quake 2 back in the day with friends, and while the end result was gratifying, it wasn’t really all that fun.


    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      July 24, 2013 at 16:20

      Have to agree with you on that one! Have an upvote.


  5. IceH

    July 24, 2013 at 16:47

    Getting into eSports can indeed be fairly difficult. As someone who works professionally in eSports and who has a girlfriend who is now about to get into this topic, it is just way more difficult than many “classic” sports in which you can explain the basic ruleset and people already start to understand what’s going on there.

    And this is the biggest weakness of eSports. There is a percentage of people who actually watch e.g. StarCraft II without actually playing the game, but that one is rather small. Following eSports really “turns you on” when you either
    1. Understand the “meta” (the current style of play which changes by time)
    2. Follow a gamer of that game. You don’t need to be a huge pro in LoL but when you are a fan girl (a bit cliche here) of Ocelote, you can enjoy the LoL scene rather easily.

    I could progress for pages here ^^ I love eSports <3


  6. InsanityFlea

    July 24, 2013 at 17:21

    I don’t really care much for esports personally. What’s so pro about sitting on your arse and playing games? To me it’s just a form of entertainment. Do you see any “Pro Movie Watchers?” The minute you start taking your entertainment and changing it into a sport, the whole entertainment factor takes a backseat and it becomes competitive, nasty and backstabbing with occasional cheating just to be better than the next guy. I get enough of that at the office, I don’t want my entertainment to land up like that.

    I’d rather watch an average rated movie than watch someone play games.


  7. Natty Dave

    July 24, 2013 at 20:45

    I get that some people are exceedingly good at games, but I have a very big opposition to the idea of “e-sports” and the idea of playing videos professionally, but to be fare, I also think that, at least in america, we pay to much attention and money to grown men and women to play games , they make millions of dollars, chasing balls, my mother in law’s dog will chase balls all day long too as long as he has someone is there to throw them, and he’s pretty good for a wiener dog, but he’s not a champion, he’s just a dog, doing dog stuff.


  8. Alex

    July 27, 2013 at 16:26

  9. LamarxVannoy

    February 2, 2015 at 02:09

    What is the age limit


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