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Erecting Fine Line Between Video Games and E-Sports

I haven’t played Dota and Counter-Strike for more than a year, while previously I spent no day without playing each of those every single day.

When I was in Shanghai two good friends encouraged me to get back in Steam to join their fight to defend the ancient. So I downloaded those huge patch files and got my fingers ready to pawn some noobs.

I Was Ambushed… by The Interface

Well then, I was greeted with a surprise of a hugely revamped interface from both games, which introduced an enforced tier system preventing me from accessing some of the previously available features.

It then apparent that in Dota 2 I am now considered newcomer since I haven’t played any single game before they developed the new tier system. I now have a cute peach symbol to show to everyone that “I am a noob please go easy on me”.

What Happened to the Terrorists?

Same goes with Counter Strike, although with a different story. My friend explained to me that now Counter Strike has this tier system that helps matchmaking process. In order to queue with him, I have to reach a certain tier so that the game know I have all the basic knowledge necessary to hold a firearm and defuse a C4 in an online game. Since I am never good with this game anyway, I guess that’s fine. I quickly tried to find a match so maybe I can join my friend in about a day, to no avail.

The matchmaking system simply cannot find a proper match for me, because I am in the lowest tier and everyone else seems to be leaving the lowest ground since dinosaur walked the earth, while I was busy building my career from the scratch. So I guess the game told me to stop playing with other people, and have fun with the AI until loneliness made me insane.

We are Not Games Anymore…

All this craziness made me understand why popular games such as Dota 2 and CSGO never called an ‘online games’ anymore. They are called e-sports, for whatever that means. They no longer being played for fun. You enter a league where you are strictly assessed just to play, and the tier hierarchy is there to identify you with a strong, enforced ladder system that limits your privileges in a virtual world. Wow.

As such, I personally believe the people ‘playing’ in those ‘sports’ can no longer be identified as a gamer. Player probably is a better term, or even ‘e-athlete’ could be a word soon.

So Where are the Games?

Meanwhile, the mobile gaming industry grew to become more robust than ever. With smartphone specifications catching up to computer devices so quickly (have a look at Asus Zen3 Deluxe and OnePlus One3), so does the software for that platform, including the games and those ‘under the hood enhancements’ that improve your mobile gaming experience.

If you want to wreck some towers using a cool hero, why bother the trouble of finishing a tutorial in Dota for a week when you can jump right into the action in Star Wars Force Arena? After all, phones are with us all the time, and almost everyone has it nowadays. Some people touch mouse and keyboard only at their office.

The Fine Line that Defines

Well, the answer for bothering is of course, because of that ‘e-sport player’ title is much more prestigious than a ‘casual smartphone gamer’. Just like in the days where Single Lens Reflex camera owners are branded as ‘professional photographer’ – regardless of the actual case where a properly trained photographer might do better with a compact camera instead.

What prestige, you ask? Take a look at all the prize pool history ever reported in previous Dota Tournament – a figure that even exceeded a Nobel Prize Award. Take a look at the ‘Real Life Story’ about the guys who won the tournament. That video, by the way, probably viewed more than any other proper heart-touching story.

So there you go, despite the world’s concern regarding this new, non-sweating and no-injury guaranteed chess rival, it seems that the way for e-sports for the next 5 years is going up. Previously branded as ‘no-life hobby’ and ‘forever virgin club’, e-sports community seemed to successfully brainwash fellow gamers that being an e-sports player is such a prestigious title and a job that provide a decent living.

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Adrian Siaril
Adrian Siaril

The boss

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