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League of Legends quickly gaining on traditional sports in American popularity (espn.com)
18 points by wallflower on Dec 19, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

As a guy in the mid twenties League of Legend was a big part of my teenage years. My friends and I played a lot and even watched some matches live. A few classmates were pretty good in the game (around Top 1000ish on the european ladder), but no one of them really tried to play it in a team on a more competetive level. Back then we had a lot of fun playing smaller Fun-Tournaments in which we participated together with hundreds of other teams, much of them way better then we were at the point.. but we had a lot of fun and we have some great memories.

Now one of my mates switched from LoL to CS:GO and plays on a semi-professional level (national league). We try to watch every game via Twitch.tv together while talking via Teamspeak. We are not playing that much anymore, but because we grew up with these games and still know the rules watching E-Sports feels natural and we are more connected to it than to regular sport.

Another cool fact is that we all know the game and sometimes come together to play one or two rounds of League of Legends together. It is the game everyone at my age played.

I'm not into watching sports "e-" or otherwise. That said, it's worth remembering that the gaming industry is (way) bigger than music and films combined. Why wouldn't e-sports eventually be bigger than... "p-sports" (p for physical)

The fact that people like playing video games does not have to necessarily imply that they also like watching other people playing video games.

On the other hand it is also not clear what is the audience of people who don't play games but still watch esports (like me).

As one Dota2 caster has said, those are the people who love the game but hate to play it, and there are a lot of them.

especially true for Dota. Esport Dota is like McD add for burger, perfectly enticing. Then you play it with random people and well... Those who play know exactly what i am talking about.

I've always wondered why someone may like to watch people playing videogames when you can play said videogames yourself.

It's not like the case of football, where you need friends and you need to go out to play. Thanks to matchmaking systems in games, you don't even need friends to play. You just click a button.

>It's not like the case of football, where you need friends and you need to go out to play

In fact this is part of the problem. the Dota-like/MOBA genre indeed has decent match making for the major games, but having a team you know, are communicative with and have a long/deep experience with one-another's playstyles helps immensely. I only really played League, so I can speak mostly towards that, but it's a different game queuing with friends than it is queuing with randoms. A lot of the excess communication required for a smooth match is removed when you have established a "sense" of how your teammates will react to situations, and it changes your judgement a lot when you no longer have as many random variables to consider during team fights, ganks, etc.

Watching pros play does a few things as well; you see not just good strategies, but mathematically sound and consistent strategies, which make the times you do play much more fun since a lot of your guesswork is removed. Pros also tend to have the skill for higher performance, and you get a chance to see pretty unique situations and plays that just never happen in ranked/normal queues. Plus, the pros have a huge audience typically, and you respond with the audience; being excited about an awesome play is amplified when you and thousands of other fans are collectively "losing your shit" over a play.

So yeah, you can go solo in such games, but the experience is always better with a team of people you know and can trust, and you end up in the same situation as football where you need to find others.

The pros are substantially better than you'll ever be. It's fun to see the crazy shit they can pull off, or root for a team, or the tension of the underdog, etc just like normal sports.

Just imagine all those people who still waste money on concert tickets... Don't they know they can just look up the music online and sing themselves?

Sorry for being snarky. The point is people are going to be drawn to those that are experts in just about anything they care about or are interested in.

> I've always wondered why someone may like to watch people playing videogames when you can play said videogames yourself.

I don't like it myself. But a number of my coworkers, and cousins, are of this cohort.

In general, it seems like they want an internet personality to follow. They like watching someone who gets angry and frustrated as they lose, or gets excited when they win. Its no different than following the personal lives of celebrities, except these "Twitch Celebrities" or "Youtube Celebrities" are more personalized and tailored for your specific interests.

When you want to play football you can go out into the street to play as well. The experience won't be top sports level and may in some cases differ significantly, but that's not hugely different from what it is like to play an e-sport with a team full of randoms.

Watching pros play it quickly becomes clear they are playing a different game than what your typical random pick-up-group is going to be playing from matchmaking. Their coordination is on another level.

I don't really watch sports in general. However, every so often I'll watch an NFL game or an OWL game with friends. In both cases, it's a fun social event, and its own particular type of entertainment. Nothing feels quite the same.

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