eSports, electronic sports and realities
looming on the horizon
The United States cannot be used as an example for everything, but it is indeed a good one for many things. The technological development and the way it approaches the preparation of it future citizens to it is one where it is a referent. It is the same with Japan and in an emerging way in China.
While in the Canary Islands we confuse video games with electronic sports and we scream blue murder because a league of students was created, in the US there are more than $10 million waiting to help remarkable electronic players enroll in, at least, 200 of its universities. In addition, it establishes electronic games leagues in their secondary schools, as a mean to identify different skills in its students.
We all have already heard the term “digital natives”. Well then, we have them all here. growing.
Our children don’t go running to the television to see programs or series anymore, as our generation did. However, even though it may result nostalgic, it doesn’t make sense to ask them to look for information in an encyclopedia or newspaper, nor to wait until next month magazine to read the news about the newly released films, unless it is just as historical curiosity. Since ever, they have been living in a reality where information is available at every moment, and where they are able to reach vast quantities of learning and entertainment online content. We all have already heard the term “digital natives”. Well then, we have them all here. growing.
In this environment they can find more content than the usual, more options that fit their personality, and that makes them develop their curiosity and their likings. So it doesn’t surprise me anymore when my child finally gets near the television just to play or to connect to a Twitch.com channel to watch an online game.
I myself have always liked video games, and I have even made some. They are creative and a form of entertainment where you don’t take a passive role, sitting and observing, but an active role, participating, discovering a story or world, interacting, solving problems and developing a skill or prowess. The controversy about if they are indeed good or bad always makes me reach the same conclusion: they said the same about films; they said the same about books; they’ll say the same about whatever thing. I’m sure that some people that doubt the ideonity of video games for personal development, laugh when they hear that in some tribes from another continent, they believe that by taking a photo you can steal souls.
So, let’s not go into that debate. The best we can do is to help them place value on things, but the truth is that video games are just another activity with multiple facets. There are good ones and bad ones, educational and violent. Creating a video game league is not the same as creating murderers, nor eliminating the physical activity from their agendas.
If we think about video games as an industry, it greatly surpasses all the other forms of entertainment altogether, as two years ago:
- the music industry billed $16,000 million.
- the film industry billed $38,600 million.
- the video game industry billed $104,000 million… $34,000 million only from PC, $30,000 million from consoles and $40,000 million from tablets and smartphones.
However, the interesting thing about this form of entertainment is that it is evolving, and since a couple of years ago the skills with which different people play games, make others want to watch them play. That’s why nowadays there are official video game teams with a much larger audience that traditional sport teams, and also why many traditional sport teams are creating online game teams. In the end, “sport” is just a word, and having in consideration the dedication, the training and the set of values that one can develop with video games, for many there is no doubt that they can become one, or even that they already are one. (Even though we don’t want to acknowledge it, it doesn’t matter. For the tide of people that comes after it is a reality. So, we hop in the train, or we miss it, because the train will not wait for us).
Nowadays with the emerging virtual reality, physical activity even gets mixed with the concept of video games.
From dancing in front of the console to being locked in an Escape Room, turning it into a futuristic adventure where you move, jump, run… and going from a castle to a haunted house in an instant. Bringing even more reality into it, making games to help in the sport training, and achieving the ultimate convergence between them, using electronic games to help physical sports.
As an example, in Singular Games we are now developing a sport training system: a virtual reality indoor cycling. With a stationary bicycle and VR glasses you will be able to train and to prepare yourself for the circuits of different parts of the world: with the same slopes, the same turns and the same scenery than the real environment. It is also a video game that can take you to different parts of the globe, and it is perfect to train before the real physical competition, because you don’t have to travel there months ahead.
But it goes even beyond, imagine the possibilities that this may bring virtual and real competitions happening simultaneously, counting with geolocalization and augmented reality, and with different sport devices adapted to people with different physical conditions.
Post written in collaboration with Antonio José Sánchez López (@antoniojsl)