Video gamers v couch potatoes

IF READERS, LIKE Schumpeter, have children who barely have time to say hello as they hunch over a computer, headsets on, talking with friends while blasting their digital enemies to smithereens, here is some advice. Take them to a competitive video-gaming, or e-sports, tournament, like the Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) “major” in Katowice, Poland, this weekend. It is an orgy of creative destruction—in the glorious, goriest sense.

Amid the razzmatazz and cosplay, it may not feel like a potent threat to mainstream entertainment. The Spodek, a Soviet-era arena shaped like a flying saucer in the heart of Katowice, only seats 11,500. But that is deceptive. The action takes place online as well as in the stadium. Fans are obsessed by the fierce strategising and skill behind teams shooting each other, throwing digital grenades and setting off bombs. As many CS:GO fanatics will watch the final as boxing fans watch a title fight. The biggest e-sports game, League of Legends, achieved more than 100m online viewers for a final last year, mostly Chinese. That is more than the number of Americans who watch the Superbowl.

Most compelling for fans, though, is the ecosystem around e-sports. CS:GO fans are also CS:GO gamers. They discuss the tournaments with their CS:GO teammates. They stream games on Amazon’s Twitch, listen...

via Business Feeds

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