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Sport Games & eSports

I can bet that a majority of the millennial gamers who dominate the game of Madden NFL do not even know who John Madden really is. John Madden was former head coach and broadcaster for the National Football League. Now in his early 80s, John Madden is best known for one of the best selling video game franchises of all time. The game has sold over 120 million copies and generated over 4 billion dollars in revenue over its lifetime (FOX NEWS, 2014).

I have spent hundreds of dollars on video games in my life — from massive multiplayer shooters, to tactical RPG’s, and the one genre I continually find myself coming back to is sports games. I have owned nearly every edition of Madden NFL football since 2004. I remember the year because it was the one with Michael Vick on the cover and I thought he was the best! There is something about sports games that keeps me (and millions of other fans) coming back.

In my own experience, I have loved sports games ever since I got my first console. It was the first form of multiplayer gaming I truly remember. There was no online matchmaking at the time. There were simply two controllers, one screen, and your competition sitting on the couch next to you. That is what sports and sport games are about: the competition. It is about beating that person next to you and being the clear and decisive winner.

Recently, I have rediscovered my love for sport video games. Ironically, after purchasing the new Call of Duty WW2, I realized that it was exactly like every other Call of Duty game made — and every shooter game made for that matter. I started playing NHL 18 and realized how great it is to not actually win. I mean, you can win a game but unlike the shooter games, you cannot truly beat the game all together. You merely progress and increase your skills throughout the game.

Gamers love sport video games for many reasons, however the main aspect is that competitive drive I mentioned. I read an interesting article written by a team of writers at The Average Gamer (2013). They described why the Madden NFL series is so popular in America. At their core, Madden games are nothing more than a dressed up chess game. People like to enjoy the fact that they are playing a virtual version of a sport they love but in reality, all it comes down to is understanding what your opponent wants to do and understanding that the whole game, your opponent is trying to do the same thing to you. Much like chess, if you do not understand the rules of American football, you won’t be able to compete at a high level and therefore you’ll find the game to be incredibly boring. However, if you do understand the game, it can be extremely gratifying. There is nothing more satisfying than outsmarting your opponent in a crucial situation.

This fast and real competition video games provide has changed the world of gaming. With this competition stems a new form of entertainment in the industry. Known as eSports, this is multiplayer video games played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers. The best gamers in the world gather and compete on a global scale.

Perhaps not considered a real sport quite yet, eSports are surely on their way to becoming the largest sports industry to date. Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian states, “Just as with traditional sports, fans follow teams, watch matches and even attend cup finals, cheering on their favorite stars from around the world.” Like other sport industries, when there is a great deal of people involved there is usually a great deal of money that follows. If you’re not a gamer yourself, the financial aspect of eSports is sure to grab your attention. According to Business Insider, “Financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.” Some eSports prize money is more than the Superbowl, the TV audience is more than an NBA final, and the crowd numbers rival big UFC events — yet most people probably never heard of it.

References:

Bam! The ‘Madden’ video game franchise marches on. (2015, August 26). Retrieved December 07, 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/08/26/bam-madden-video-game-franchise-marchs-on.html

Elder, B. I. (2017, March 15). The eSports competitive video gaming market continues to grow revenues & attract investors. Retrieved December 07, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/esports-market-growth-ready-for-mainstream-2017-3

Hattenstone, S. (2017, June 16). The rise of eSports: are addiction and corruption the price of its success? Retrieved December 07, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/16/top-addiction-young-people-gaming-esports

T. (2013, July 31). Why The Madden NFL Series Is So Popular in America. Retrieved December 07, 2017, from http://www.theaveragegamer.com/2013/07/31/why-the-madden-nfl-series-is-so-popular-in-america/

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