10 years ago, if you told someone that they’d be watching poker on ESPN, they’d look at you and tell you: “you’re crazy”. If you look at ESPN today, poker is one of the most watched “sports”. If the number of attendees at the EVO street fighter tournament is doubling every year, and people are flying in from all over to watch/compete in Street Fighter and other video games, why can’t it be shown on ESPN as well. Here are the stats for the number of streams at EVO 2017:
The inspiration behind today’s write up is the 2011 documentary “More Than A Game- Street Fighter Documentary”. For someone who was never part of the Street Fighter community, this documentary had me on the edge of my seat. Seeing players from all over, practice day and night, for their entire lives, all to come to a tournament for a shot at a title, is really intriguing.
These competitions extend beyond Street Fighter though. For those who are Nintendo fans or sport game fans there are competitions for you too!
I am convinced that ESPN can make video games a widely watched “sport” much like poker. The other documentary I watched which I would recommend more than the first is “The King of Kong”. Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe are driven head to head for the title of the best Arcade Donkey Kong score. This documentary drove me insane by the end of it due to Mitchell’s conniving and devious nature. I don’t know how Wiebe contained himself and remained so calm throughout. Seriously, you guys must watch this one!
For the classic heads on this forum, you’ll remember that Mitchell was known as the Arcade video game master, but I strongly suggest you type his name into google and see what was written about him just a few months ago.
All of this to say that people are watching less and less TV. Twitch streams and other video game event streams are getting bigger numbers every year. In the next few years I definitely see a transition into eSports on TV. Not to mention that there are already commentators at events like EVO. I don’t think going to a sports bar a decade down the line and seeing a game of Super Smash Bros being played on the big screen is too far out of line.