On Sunday night, ESPN2 broadcast “Heroes Of The Dorm,” a tournament in which college teams (that’s Arizona State doing something cool in the above Vine) played Heroes Of The Storm (see what they did there?), a free-to-play online game in the category of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA for short), the most popular of which would probably be League of Legends. When video games are played in competitive tournaments, they’re called eSports, and that apparently makes it close enough for ESPN to sneak a broadcast of it on the air every so often.
All of the information in the above paragraph was gathered in about five minutes of research, and if you’re on the Internet with any frequency, you should know that video games are a big deal to a lot of people. An informed opinion about the validity of eSports is not hard to form, is what I’m saying. And yet, it’s altogether unsurprising that Twitter did not spend five minutes figuring out what the dang deal is with these newfangled vidjagames on their ole TV box.
Washington Nationals outfielder Clint Robinson also apparently had his relaxing Sunday evening routine ruined by the scourge of eSports:
I wonder what these people’s opinions are regarding ESPN’s broadcasting of the World Series Of Poker. At least eSports “athletes” need to exercise their clicking fingers and wrists. Of course, you could find three people angrily tweeting about anything at any given time. What’s special about this event was that ESPN’S OWN EMPLOYEES got in on the action. And they weren’t much more intelligent about it than the unwashed masses:
It’s not too late, Darren. If you take a couple of years off of social media to focus on eSports, you could definitely break into that industry! We’d all love to see you try, Darren.
Of course, there were plenty of eSports fans proud to see their niche crack into the mainstream (if only for a moment). Sure, the groundswell probably would have been larger had “Heroes of the Dorm” not been programmed against Game of Thrones, but still:
“GG” is short for “good game,” which is just as empty a show of sportsmanship online as it is in the handshakes after any other sporting event. Lots of things get shortened when you’re trying to type with the same hands you need to play your game.
Meanwhile, a hearty tip of the cap goes to Jeff Svoboda, who had the correct take on the whole affair:
Personally, I don’t think eSports equate to actual sports that involve physical activity. But I also know that ESPN and its affiliates are not and have never been in the business of only broadcasting actual sports (see: World Series of Poker). I’d rather have wall-to-wall StarCraft coverage in the morning than be subjected to the gibbering hooligans of First Take. Let eSports live, everybody.