E-Sports@ OnRPG: February 22nd Report
By Umar Farooq (Kluey), OnRPG Journalist
This week was a hectic week yet one of the most important in my opinion. E-Sports organizers haven’t taken a big step towards expanding in a long time. Growth so far has been spurred by the community and players. This week, MLG decided to make their event a PPV only event. I have listened to all sides of the argument, mainly Sundance on Live On Three, and think that overall, it is a good move by MLG for E-Sports in general.
MLG winter arena qualifiers are wrapping up and the final event is on its way. A few days back, MLG announced that the event would be PPV-Only with a price of $20. People went nuts in the TL thread at first but eventually calmed down into constructive criticism. There were a few concerns and either Sundance or another professional had something to say about them.
The first major concern was that $20 is excessively expensive for the average customer. We are all either students or part time workers and $20 every event is unaffordable. Most people reacted by organizing events with their friends to share one PC or join up at a bar hosting it. While this is great, not all my friends watch Starcraft and some of us do not have a barcraft near us or simply are not allowed in. Sundance had a much more professional response. As this is the very first PPV-only event in Starcraft history, they do not have a benchmark to follow. Simply put, they chose the highest reasonable number and are experimenting with it. If MLG used, say $5 they would be in a rough spot when they announce to people that they have to raise the price whereas if they announce they are lowering the price, people will love that.
An average sized Barcraft watching MLG.
Another major concern is the fact that Gold Member’s do not get what they were promised. Almost everyone had accepted the fact that Gold Members should be getting access to the live stream. MLG had fired many employees a few months back and some of the people in charge of Gold Member had been laid off as well. This makes it near impossible for MLG to track the number of buyers of PPV who are Gold Members. In addition, the Gold Member had not been promised that this new season would be free. Gold Member’s were promised the Pro Circuit in 1080p but not the Seasonal MLG this year. Lastly, the number of Gold Members is not as high as it may seem. Sundance told us “the majority of people used the hot pockets Silver Membership offer on Facebook” and the number of Gold Members are few. This means that people who are not willing to pay the $20 are pretending to be Gold Members just to get something done.
The last and most valid concern is that events happen all the time and paying $20 each time will ruin E-Sports. In my opinion, this simply cannot happen. If all the leagues expect money to come in each time, they will stop making money and destroy E-Sports. If it is constricted to only 2-4 leagues, this business model will work. The fact that we won’t be paying for every event creates competition between the leagues that will force them to add more features.
Overall, this new business model of PPV-only should be a huge success, given that the leagues use it responsibly. Not every league can use this business model, and they have to acknowledge that fact.
GSL Season 1: Ro4 is near!
GSL Season 1: Code S. Round of 4
The second time in GSL history that MC, NesTea or MVP has not been in the Ro.4. That being said, these players are currently the top players and deserve to be here. Fnatic_aLive, MVPDRG and MVPGenius are currently playing the best in each respective race. My predictions? DongRaeGu will absolutely crush GuMiho using a bear maul. aLive and Genius will be a bit more interesting though. I think that aLive is playing extremely well but as Tasteless pointed out, he’s been TvT’ing his way up. If aLive practices for his TvP well enough he should be able to pull out a 3-2 win over Genius. In the finals, DongRaeGu will finally get his long awaited and well-deserved GSL trophy.
Michael Pachter – Consumer Analyst predicts future of E-Sports.
Michael Pachter is a consumer analyst at Wedbush Morgan, a leading financial services and investment firm. It is safe to assume that he has an unbiased opinion towards gaming and E-Sports and has made reasonable predictions. As summarized by ‘confusedcrib’ on Team Liquid:
1. Audience size will double every two years over the next 10 years
2. E-sports is comparable to College Baseball
3. An active, playing community is key to growth
4. E-sports will eventually be on TV
We will take MLG as an example for prediction 1. The current audience size is around 250,000 concurrent online viewers. If we double this 5 times, we get 8,000,000 people watching at the same time. Now, if we have 8,000,000 people watching, what company would not sponsor that? That is potentially a huge endorsement deal on TV (we will get to this at prediction 4). Prediction 2 says E-Sports are comparable to College Baseball. In 2008, Baseball World Series got 13 million viewers. Because E-Sports is not only Starcraft II at MLG, 13 million viewers is not too farfetched. Thus, I think “2. E-Sports are comparable to a national sports league” is a better fit. Prediction 3 is obvious and in my opinion is what we are maintaining now. Prediction 4 is the most interesting. E-Sports will eventually be on TV. I am a believer of the fact that Internet will take over Television in the near future and that an Internet live-streamed event should be much more successful. If Television does make it through the next dozen years, then the average viewer will have played video games of some sort and it will make perfect sense for networks to capitalize on E-Sports broadcasts.