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Old 13th August 2012, 02:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Will shooters ever be true eSports?

I ran into a petition to have eSports in the Olympics (Torch for Gaming) this morning and that got me thinking. Why are shooters lagging in eSports and will they ever go big time in that space? Currently it seems like SC2 and LoL dominate everything.
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Old 13th August 2012, 07:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Because shooters have almost no longevity. They're like hollywood action flicks, a new batch is tossed at you each year. You only get a sport when a game doesn't change very much such that competition rules can be understood by competitors and spectators alike) which makes it impossible for shooters to gain and maintain that critical mass fanbase. In order to have a sport you a;sp need a massive and very active playerbase. Most commercial/popular shooters that might make half decent spectator sports are also locked down pretty hard for commercial reasons (eeking you out more $$$ though DLC) - there's no way to mod them, there's no dev community or ability to make competition/sponsored maps. The games that are still moddable are typically too old now (compared to SC2). People either don't play them (they all playing Call of Duty Black Ops 17 or Battlefield 29) or won't simply watch them anymore because they look way too dated.

Also, in order for something to be a sport it must be entertaining to spectators! As most shooters are first person (or near enough) it makes them damn near impossible to observe the entire game. Fans of both teams/players should get a near equal view of the action from a neutral perspective - thus far no shooter game has managed to build in a neutral spectator system that's been worth a damn.

SC2/LOL are much more spectator friendly. The perspective is inherently neutral. It's easier to track the state of the game as it changes, much like other team orientated sports. Also, most of the effects aren't overdone - if you're spectating a player in a shooter and they get shot, the screen is flashing read, getting blured, if an explosion goes off there's dust/debris/smoke flying all over the place, 90% of the time 80% to 100% of the screen will be covered for a few seconds because shooters mostly focus on immersion. If a player in SC2 drops a psi-storm the effect is precise, you can see exactly who/what was hit - it's not a stream of lightning from the sky (which is what most developers would have done because effects like that should be super fun and rewarding to use!) and lots of other tiny details like that that jsut make the game easier to read, track and follow.
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Old 19th August 2012, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papagamer View Post
I ran into a petition to have eSports in the Olympics (Torch for Gaming) this morning and that got me thinking. Why are shooters lagging in eSports and will they ever go big time in that space? Currently it seems like SC2 and LoL dominate everything.
I love it when a Tribes Ascend game is casted. They've had a few tourneys already and quite enjoyed them. I regularly check by the Tribes Ascend area of Twitch.tv to see if there are any games being played. The PickUpGames aren't bad to watch either, those are basically tourney practice and not like the public servers. Bonus points because you can often select one of a few streamers and get to watch a particular class\role you enjoy or desire to learn more about.

I think one of the problems is shooters tend to be very fast actioned. It's very easy to miss big plays, where as in a game like SC2 you pretty much see everything coming a mile away (even if the other competitor doesn't know). Even in MOBA's you can see where everyone is on that minimap and be watching for ganks, pushes, or teamfights.

I wouldn't say shooters don't have an eSports presence. Their footprint is just smaller, with more fans for those other games you've mentioned. I for one, quite enjoy my fps esports.
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Old 19th August 2012, 12:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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All of the above. The devs behind the currently big shooters simply aren't interested in esports, and make no provision for it in either spectator modes or proper anti-cheat functions, or by allowing mod tools that would let an esports community develop. This is partly because the really advanced tools in BF are developed in-house by DICE or other EA studios, and are under license. To make them available to a mod community for free, and it would have to be for free because they couldn't afford to license it, would devalue the tech and give EA's competitors an edge.

However, the trend toward consolisation of FPS is a greater problem, IMO. Games that pose a real challenge are hard to learn, and that drives casual players away, and casual players are where the money is. Every Xbox player loves to believe he and his isolated group of friends are actually really good at FPS gaming. Sometimes they are, for the Xbox.

PC shooters used to reward persistence with a decent learning curve, which allowed top tier interest. All the current generation does is throw bling at you. Killstreaks, badges, unlock trees. You're not developing a skillset beyond the generic one that can be ported to the next FPS title - which they're quite happy to sell you.
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Old 19th August 2012, 07:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I haven't actually played SC2 for years but still really enjoy spectating pro games. Just this weekend I spent a few $$$ for the HD stream of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament on ESL.

I wouldn't say you can always see everything coming in the game like Starcraft 2, there's plenty of fast paced action happening, and one of the problems as players get more advanced is that you basically have a single view of the map but pro players are multitasking like mad and engaging in multiple places at once which can make it difficult to keep track of things, but for the most part it's a fairly tight game visually. If you compare SC1 to SC2 you'll see the subtle changes blizzard made knowing that SC2 was going to be a spectator sport as well as a game, for example here's some of the simply overlay graphics commentators can pull up during the game to provide more context beyond the state of the game that's currently visible on screen:

Income Rate Comparison for each player:


Army/Worker Supply Compariason:


Units/Worker Kills


Players in game can't view this info, only people in the game as spectators can access them. You'll also notice a smaller info display to the left showing again more spectator only info that the caster will switch around during a match. It's things like this (and all of the longevity issues I mentioned above) that really help a game go beyond being a game and move towards something that's compelling enough to watch.

Also keep in mind traditional sports are generally much more interesting/easier to watch live because you can see the whole field/game at once, but that's not really practical on a TV. You have to box in on the interesting bits and then use casters to help sell the story of the battle/contest and using graphics aids can help with that experience too. Games are no different. Shooters however don't seem to fit as well into that model. Perhaps it'll just take longer for people to find/discover new ways to present FPS games in a way that makes them compelling and interesting to watch.
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Old 28th August 2012, 11:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As said prevous, too many shooters being churned out, and the last great E-sport FPS was Quake 3 well supported by ID until they pulled the plug and brought out Quake Live.... which i need to log into to keep my overly offensive name and high score....
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Old 31st May 2013, 07:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As computers keep getting faster and the infrasture around them it should be possible for spectators to get some good viewing angles on the action and with editing focus on some choke points as well as have highlights. Often when i die in counterstrike i will zoom around and watch the action
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