Here Is Your Open Thread

Watching other people play computer games—or eSports—is big business. More than 71 million people worldwide watched eSports last year, half in the United States, according to SuperData. And one in five American gamers either watches or participates in eSports. As more people watch, the rewards are getting bigger too. Some $25 million in prize money was given away in competitive gaming championships in 2013. League of Legends alone was worth over $2 million in prize money. Even the US government recognizes eSports as a legitimate sporting activity—at least at its borders. Last year, it agreed to grant professional athlete visas to people traveling to the US to play video games.

According to Quartz, 71 million people watched other people play video games last year, and many of them paid good money to do it at a live event.

Photo: artubr

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23 Comments / Post A Comment

I should accept that the things people do for entertainment, as long as they are not hurtful to other people, are just OK, and that’s that, but somehow, this galls me, even more so than when my younger child is content to watch my older child play video games, and I want to urge him to play games himself instead of gazing blankly at a screen on which another vapid child is controlling a motorcycle that careens endlessly through a series of identical obstacles and landscapes – in essence, being a spectator to an event that doesn’t even look fun to do (like golf, to me). Ultimately, I think the right message for the many millions of adults who paid good money to watch other people play video games is the same as the message I give to my seven- and nine-year-old children: “Why don’t you guys just put your sneakers on and go ride bikes around the neighborhood?”

RiffRandell (#4,774)

@Josh Michtom@facebook YES! I will never understand people who watch other people play video games, put together a puzzle etc with no desire to participate. Perhaps these people don’t understand how I can enjoy watching hockey, so maybe it is unfair to judge.

Poubelle (#2,186)

@Josh Michtom@facebook Just how sad and lonely is your life that you have to pay to watch other people play video games? It should not be that hard to find other people who let you watch them them play for free.

Katni (#6,141)

Lol eSports. I never knew this had a name! I always called it “being a stupid high school girl who idiotically spends her time watching her loser boyfriend play video games instead of cultivating her own interests and hobbies”. Or so I’ve heard….. from people!

The amount of time I spent watching boys play video games in high school :(

bgprincipessa (#699)

oh. Oh yeah. Bringing up some memories here.

Heather F G (#6,074)

@Meaghan O’Connell YES… (vivid flashback to the first boy I ever dumped, which was basically because of the original Halo)

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Katni I watched ONE boy play video games in college (WoW)- we had actually been dating for awhile and it was something he did when I wasn’t around (which was often since I was working full time and going to school 18 hours a week and volunteering and homework… I don’t know when I slept). Ended up telling him that if he ever made me do that again, I would break up with him.

Poubelle (#2,186)

@Katni Haha, so glad I wasn’t alone in my misspent youth. Hey, eSports patrons–if you want to save some money, I still have my ex’s contact info in my phone!

Dancercise (#94)

I got a promotion today! A 10% raise and a new title with new responsibilities. It was sort of out of the blue; I’ve been taking on more stuff since a colleague left a couple of weeks ago, and my boss wanted to make it official!

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@Dancercise Congrats!!

garli (#4,150)

@Dancercise Dang, congrats! You are all the fancy.

readyornot (#816)

I sometimes put John Green playing FIFA on YouTube on in the background while I do tedious tasks. But he talks about, like, whether books will survive, high school loves, and how to get yourself to do something you don’t want to do. So it’s more like a podcast with periodic outbursts related to action on the field.

beastlyburden (#6,122)

I’m supposed to find out if I got into business school today, but since it’s 4pm and I haven’t heard yet, I think I have to assume that it’s a no. :(

SO, I’m crowd-sourcing my future. Billfolders, what should I do with my life???

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@beastlyburden You don’t know for certain yet!

But I’m sorry and I hear what you’re asking. Take the next week or so to think about what an MBA will give you/jobs it may help you obtain/career paths it may open to you…and then decide if it’s worth re-applying next fall.

If you do decide that re-applying is the way for you, and if you interviewed at schools and/or met professors you may be able to get in touch with them and ask what would make you a more successful candidate next time you apply (don’t just ask “why didn’t I get in?!?” Departments get cagey about giving out this info, (says the former grad school program coordinator)).

Can’t tell you what to do with your life as I’m still working that out myself, but as for tonight, I think you should have some gelato and wine.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@beastlyburden I’m still trying to figure this out myself. I thought I wanted to go into health care administration and it turns out I HATED it once I actually got a job in that field. So.. I’m back to square one.

(my original response was “hell if I know” but I figured I should elaborate on that)

beastlyburden (#6,122)

@LookUponMyWorks I just found out for sure it’s a no. Sigh, sigh, sigh, fret, fret, fret.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I’m going to take the weekend off from scheming; gelato and wine are definitely going on the menu.

beastlyburden (#6,122)

@andnowlights I’m sorry to hear that! I’ve definitely experienced that before (my healthcare administration was nonprofit fundraising). Careers are so hard, dude. Guh.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

I got a raise this week. Very minimal, but I’ll take it!

garli (#4,150)

@LookUponMyWorks Yay, better than no raise.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@LookUponMyWorks That’s awesome! Raises are hard to come by these days! Good job.

RiffRandell (#4,774)

@LookUponMyWorks Hooray!

Laurabean (#3,040)

Oh man! So I have to confess that I love watching Dota2 games (I play also, but not even in the same ballpark as the pros). It’s kind of like the difference between playing any sport and watching a professional play said sport. It’s sometimes fun to watch people do something really, really well. I do wish they were salaried, rather than playing for pots, but maybe that will happen in the future. I still feel less guilt about it than when watching football, on account of the concussions and (as I learned from the billfold) terrible labor practices for the cheerleading staff.

BTW, has anyone else seen Free to Play? (http://store.steampowered.com/app/245550/) I came away like Na’Vi a lot more than I had before.

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