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Canada's eSports scene is set to explode
I think in ten twenty years east sports will be seen as on equal footing. As a lot of sports east sports competitive video game playing could eclipse the popularity of the traditional sports were used to. I'm Nikki right Meyer. And this is why. Combing team mister lyrical GM's Tepe axe to take you through gains. Wow. So much Paul. That is amazing, ladies and gentlemen, OG one game away from the best placement that that organization has ever had at the international any believe it is there any kill potential really that we should be watching for in this game. Okay. So what you're hearing right now is a feed from twitch. It's announcers calling video game competition. The game is doted. Sue, it's the sequel to the game defense of the ancients video game players from around the world descended upon Vancouver. BC hoping to win a competition jackpot of more than twenty five million dollars and four hundred twenty five bucks a ticket. You can go watch them play to in a hockey arena where an NHL team normally plays the event is called the international and today's it's the biggest east sports event in the world. And this is the first time it's come to Canada. Why are you guys here today? Just so awesome games. That's it. Same. To watch more games today. You guys make it sound like it's so blase. I mean, you paid minimum one hundred twenty five bucks for tickets, but your leg, we're just down here to watch some games. I mean sure, well, we live here. So it's like easier for us. People are coming across the world like it's kind of harder travel lies, and they're probably more excited on your telling me people are here from around the world to watch this. Yeah. Internationals like teams are all around the world, and it's like for twenty five million dollar price. Probably like the highest price vote for all gaming things. So I feel like it's a big thing for all gamers. Yeah. What's the what's the attraction meeting friends Sundermann online? So really, that's very cool. So you guys actually met online and you're down here today hanging out. Yeah. So this is more about community than anything else. Definitely. I feel like it allows people from around the world to have something in common and make friends then I think it's a good positive thing that everyone gets to meet him when location. Jill Bennett is a reporter with global news. Now, she was assigned to cover the events. So the international is the biggest events with this Dotas stands for defense of the ancients. And it's a game. It's a free multiplayer game that has taken off it's very popular. And I don't even begin to understand all of the ins and outs of it. But basically. The teams are five people for side. The goal is to take over the ancient which is a series of towers belonging to the other team. And in doing that you win the game. So I don't know if that explains it well enough, but that's the understanding I got if you want just a basic one on one on on what the actual game itself is. So Jill what were you thinking? When you gotta signed to cover this event was thinking, oh, Well, I I was thinking, thankfully, I get an assignment inside an arena today, and I don't have to breathe in smoke. And then thought that I don't know anything about this, which is fine as reporters and journalists we often get assigned to cover things that were certainly not experts in when I got there, though, I decided, okay, I'm going to have a super open mind because as you know, there are jokes to be made about spending your teen years, and your parents basement playing video games at never never touching a real girl because it is a mainly male crowd. Both the players and. The audience, although there were some women there and one woman joke that was the only large sports arena event where there's no lineup for the women's bathroom. But I went there, and you know, I'm so torn on this because here it is this arena of people who are so passionate about this. They refer to it as the same as going to the Super Bowl or like any other sporting event. But I was struck when I was sitting there because I took a seat to observe and the passion that was shown there. But then I did have to wrap my head around the fact that here I was watching people as they play video games. So you're not even watching people playing real game. Like, we're not watching football players or baseball players, or what have you you're watching five guys sit in these little boots playing video game. And then the video game is projected onto this huge screen. So you can follow it along. And it did take me a little bit to try and get the appeal of that. Because it does seem so different than watching actual sporting event with actual humans on the field. In fr. Of you. We'll it's funny because I've been trying to wrap my mind around that to you know, is it really that different than traditional sport. Because initially, you know, when I first looked this this topic this event, I thought this is ridiculous. I mean here you have these guys playing video games, and you're watching other people play video games. I mean, that's something. I did in my friends basements growing up because I wasn't allowed to play video games because I was a little sister. And now you have people doing it in an arena. But the way that people were describing it to me is as if these e sport players are actually athletes, they were saying, you know, it takes cognitive ability that you only have when you're younger and the really hyped it up to sound like an alternative sports this game. Even though you're not a player. It's still interesting to watch it why? So I think that it's like any sports game. It's like any any sport. Once you kind of learn the rules and learn bit by bit what the goals are. Then you you're. Oh, good. They're getting towards the goal. You know, it's just that. It's all on big TV screens. So for for someone who's not into gaming at all. They might think that all of this seems really strange, but what you're saying. It sounds like is that this is just just like sports. It's just a sport. And actually, the really interesting thing is they're all young players also because there's a lot of reflexes required to hit the buttons and the keys, and as they get older, those reflexes degenerate, just like athletes, and I get that. Although I take a little bit of issue with the term athlete being used for somebody who is excelling at this. And granted I was reading up on it even to get the basics of this game of Doda. It said that you would have to play a minimum two hundred hours that gets you to the level where you have the basics of the game. And it would be not out of the ordinary to spend thirty forty fifty hours a week playing this game. And I get it. They've got all of these characters. They have to know the nuances it's hand eye coordination. It def. Still. I'm not I'm not suggesting it's not. But I do question at what cost because every hour that you are sitting there playing video game. And granted. Yes, you have hand eye coordination every hour. You're doing that. You're not outside playing sport. You're not getting cardiovascular activity, you're not playing hockey with other people. You're not doing any of the other activities that are good for us as humans, and I questioned it too. Because I mean, you talk to any parent that has a kid who plays hockey and every single parent. We'll have this idea that their kid going to the NHL, and that's great. It's far from the truth. It's obviously not going to happen. And I wonder too how many kids now sitting in their basements or wherever it is. They do their gaming see this international ornament, the purse this thing is five million dollars. That's more than double the purse at the masters. So they're thinking great. Hey, you know, what mom and dad, I don't need to go it side. Because look at this. I'm gonna play this game spend forty hours a week playing this game, and I'm gonna make millions of dollars. Well, chances are you're not going to just like every little. Kid is not going to get to the NHL. But again, those kids playing hockey or so getting benefit from doing that a question what the benefit is from doing this actively. So while I appreciate that. This is this is a game that draws hundreds of thousands of people, and it certainly a group, and it's a community. I do question that. Yes, there are a few that make millions add it but for everybody else. What is the expense of doing this rather than doing a traditional sport? Tyler is bigger. Sportswriter, which is a very. On the only few people in the world who do this full-time? So. For. Travel world telling stories about idioms for a living. I feel like this is also a very new job title like ten years ago. People didn't have e sports writer on their business cards. Sportswriter, technically six seven years ago paid you dollars, but for nine nine point nine nine nine percent of the population sports writer, east sports, content, creator wasn't even saying my thing when it comes to professional video games is the whole idea of it is so foreign right? A few take let's say Sidney Crosby. Austin Matthews these players, right? They grew up, and they always knew they were going to be in the NHL or they've always been seen like that. So growing up they were always treated differently. They of knew they were on a road test right for money parental video players a year ago. They had no clue like these guys come from broken homes. They're the nerdy kids in school. They just played games get away from things. And then you just hate these kids, and you throw them onto a stage where millions of people are watching you when you throw them into this. Fame were pool. Then sometimes it breaks people. Sometimes it makes people, but you see long crazy stories because you're taking these fish are so formed the other waters throwing them in without any, you know. No warning. So you can get a lot of crazy stories of kids who just can't cut it. It's just crazy. You don't you never know what you're gonna get. When you take these kids and you try to make them superstars. They almost sound like the anti athletes. There's some like professional east west players who are you know, who go through and are totally role adjusted the that when they get into the scene or they start making money. They're totally cool. But then you have flares drop highschool and do this full time, and they go straight into it. And they pretty much say if I don't see this, I'm screwed. So it's a lot different than professional sports were drafted and there's minor league systems and farm systems, and you can work your way up I still making these money having housing here. You could quit high school go and play professional video games get on team and then get cut two month. And then you're screwed. Let's talk about that a little bit. Actually, I think it's kind of interesting this comparison between the Sidney Crosby traditional athlete story and guys who play video games in the end. Everybody's I guess hoping to make it to the big leagues. Can we draw comparisons between traditional sports and Andy sports now? I think it's really growing the think as game companies start to see the effects of sports and the benefits of it and making money because all the other day all these companies who make games and have leagues all at the end of the day. All they're doing is making money. This is their game. And they're you know, east sports leagues they're marketing for their game. They want when a when you have millions of people watching people play the game, professionally whether they wanna do they wanna go play the game afterwards because you know, interstellar excited about what that guy did. So you're saying law overwatch overall a very traditional sports route to it. They have twelve franchises across the world routing six more with one of them being reportedly bias is Toronto. So can is gonna get a teen X year. So you have these franchises where they're trying to make it stable or they're trying to make it a thing where a loss for ten twenty thirty years, and that's. The goal. Currently eastwards is that some of these games are trying to be in it for the long haul because a lot of games. Just come and go, and then you're done. There's no money in the scene. Right. What's set someone apart? I mean Sidney Crosby might skate faster than the other players. And you always knew that he could always better at shooting the puck when you're into east sports. What is the x factor there? You know, what is that? That makes a person able to go from was like, okay, if your computer game, it's how fast you can type or how you can be on a keyboard? How fast you click Nelson techno skill and like mechanical skill is very important in you how to work your way around keyboard? And mouse split-second, you know, valuable you can't really most people can't be professional competitive computer game player unless you have those skills. But I think when it comes down to it's the quick quick thinking like on a dime. You have to change. Everything you're doing it's very very like split-second decision making. And if you don't have split decided to make split-second decision making, I don't think you can be top of your your craft. And if you talk to all these sports players there, they might not have come from, you know, the best background, and they might not have had straight A's. But most of everyone will meet in sports. Specially the very highly ranked ones are extremely intelligent, right. Like, there's some serious cognitive ability on here. But I for an it comes to intelligence quick thinking is really what sets people apart. Hayes is Chris it's Nikki calling. How are you? Hi, Nikki, Chris, Lauren ger is a former professional gamer now like a lot of gamers, he goes by moniker. His is Huck and his stories actually, really interesting. So Chris Huck was born in Florida, and he actually had a really troubled upbringing. He said that he was really rebellious through his teenage years so much so that he even ended up in juvenile prison. And he said that if it wasn't for his father moving him up to on -tario that he would have either ended up in the military in jail or dead. Instead, he got into video games, and you can say toiling that decision. A success is a bit of an understatement. Competed at the highest level in a game called starcraft to physically from like, an accomplishment standpoint, I was considered one of the best if not best North American starcraft two players of all time. So you can really relate then to the players right now who are competing in Vancouver at the Doda to international you can probably really relate to what's going through their heads as they're trying to win this jackpot. Yeah. A lot of them are ex teammates of mine or peers that I've met before and interacted with before. So obviously cheering for you know, my friends that are competing so with that kind of pressure and with that much on the line that much at stake. These guys must be doing a ton of preparation leading up to the big competition. Usually, it means some sort of boot camp. So team liquid is a team that travelled to the Netherland. In worked out at one of their abilities there, and I think bootcamp released two to three weeks, and then also in preparation Lou over early for the main event a week or so before hand just to make sure that they could control. Leaping patterns make sure that no one got sick get used to the dietary restrictions that they may or may not have for each player on individual who. So there's a lot of port staff and experts behind some of these top team they wanna make sure that they're on the bus loop schedule. They wanna make sure that they're waking up at a time. They wanna make sure that they're eating correctly. They wanna make sure that they're not getting sick from travel that they are at their maximum level. When it's time to compete, you know, your lifestyle when you were at the top of your game one of the best what is that lifestyle? Look like in my head of sort of making it seem like it's this celebrity lifestyle. You know, you're rolling into these events. And you got you know, the girl on your arm and the money and there's like Kansas. Fire going off in the background, and it's like living. This Las Vegas poker player lifestyle. Is that what it's like or am I sort of just creating ridiculous image in my own mind? It very much can be like that. I would say you prepare, and you put in a lot of work time and a lot of effort you've each reach that. Right. There's definitely fanned, you know, girls guys who are repeat them celebrities or Rockstars, whatever. It might neither stuff. We money to be made. There's a social status fame. There's everything that comes with it. But that's similar to traditional sports. That's very small piece of the pie. Right. And you gotta put in the other ninety nine percent to get to that moment. The future of e sports. I mean, it seems hard to comprehend that Jack Pokka get any bigger twenty five million dollars. Where do we go from here? I think it's kind of I think we're in. Back. I think we're going to get away from the prize money. I think and I think as eastward goes along we're gonna see like salaries we can talk about salaries for some of these players in legal legends right now, the North American LCS, which is the biggest North American league legislate right now the average salary in that league is anywhere. I believe it's two hundred and fifty two three three hundred thousand dollars a year and you players get drafted from team to team. Yes. So they are drafts. Now at the end of the year, they they pretty much bring a hundred of the best unknown players from the online from the online ladder. Fly them out Talay they practice for a week in front of all the ten the ten franchises in North America in the legends. And at the end the teams can draft them and have exclusive negotiating rights for two weeks. So actually there's this kid named blabber who last year was. Planning on scouting rounds. Which is the Columbine for Lee legends. He impressed. He got drafted by cloud nine one of the biggest sports organizations. They are he actually told they'll renovation. Hey, I wanna finish high school. I before I pursue professionally legends. He finished high school about four or five months ago. When straight to cloud nine played on their minor league team got called up about two months ago, and how to mazing run sentence. And now he's looking like he might take the teams world championship which will be in South Korea this year. So he might go from literally being a nobody to going highschool to being on a minor league team to now going to the biggest term in the world freely legends. So versing, I think that's the biggest thing that you sport. Is we're going to see more drafts. More of attritional style of sports when it comes to it. I get the impression that with e sports. It's borrowing some things from traditional athlet. Nick programs, but it seems to appeal to a broader base because a lot of people can't kick a soccer ball like Messa. But a lot of people can play video games. Well, do you ever foresee that e sports will eclipse traditional sports? I'm on from attritional sports background. So I loved her Zell's all-sports hockey's, my favorite sport actually will addict clips truce boards. I think in ten twenty years east sports will be seen as on equal footing as a lot of Tricia sports. That's incredible think, but I guess it makes sense the world is going digital. So why wouldn't athletics as well? Tyler I've one last question to ask you. What would you say to someone kind of rolls their eyes or scoffs at the idea of e sports? Brings together a lot of people with brings people together who never who don't leave the room hills people who designed and and are going through live live. So for each words for people. It's scape even to the players themselves videogames isn't escape. So he's sports is a beautiful thing. If you don't like you sports. That's totally fine. Just enjoy what you enjoy. That's what I have to say. Thank you so much for chatting with me. I really appreciate it. At the end of the day. I think. Even if something that they inherently have not worked in VM. They see the numbers potential, and they understand that eventually, whether you know, five ten fifteen twenty thirty forty years from now eventually will be as pig if not bigger than every sport. It's just a matter of time. There's ten million active Doda, cheap players around the globe. But when you compile all the other games out there. There's about two point five billion active gamers in the world the value of the global video game market. This year is eighty two point four billion dollars and growing. So we'll eat sports one day in the near future, become more popular and more valuable than the sports were used to. This is why is produced by John O'Dowd and mean, Nikki right Meyer. Give us a rating and review when you're done listening to this podcast, tell your friends about his to subscribe, of course, to this is why you can find us on apple podcast, Google podcasts or wherever you get your favorite shows. And you can find us on Twitter. This is why or contact us via Email. This is why at curious cast dot CA. Thanks for listening. And I'll talk to you next Friday.
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