A couple of days ago I posted a link talking about esports in North America which got me thinking. Where do we stand here in Canada?
To sum up the article it basically talks about how esports in Korea and Europe to a lesser extent are light years ahead of North America. The catalyst to that growth atleast for Korea was television, like all traditional sports before it television created an excellent model for which esports could call home. The article later goes on to talk about the future of esports being livestreams.
Canada as country as far as esports goes is actually starting to make progress. 2010 was a decent year for us and 2011 could prove exciting. How do we improve?
Competitive events need to have a stronger cross over combining the small numbers in communities to form a larger whole. Events like Anime North Gaming has successfully brought together a myriad of competitive games together, though broad it gets the job done.
Another promising initiative is the MTLSF x LAN ETS event, the combination of two of Montreal’s strongest competitive brands just makes sense. I anticipate big things from this joint venture.
Lower Barriers to entry
esports events in general have a barrier to entry for spectators and new competitors. Every community talks about how they want to grow their individual scenes. Some of the initiatives I have seen:
One of the communities growth that inspired me was Golden Horse Shoe Street Fighter (GHSF) , I was talking with JMoney the other night and we had both agreed that the growth of that sect of the community despite the heckling of on lookers was inspiring. They started a fledgling group in an area which has not had a core group of players since the golden ages of fighting games and already they have made good seg-way. 2011 will a good year for growth aslong as they keep up their efforts.
More media on Canadian National/Global inititives will go a long way in pushing along our progress.
Did you know Canada actually won gold in World Cyber Games for Halo 3? No? You’re not alone. Not many people know that fact. The WCG though one of the most far reaching events has very little impact on the general Canadian gaming communities let alone mainstream public. branded as the “Olympics” of esports it hardly has the feel of something that is advertised as monumental.
I was fortunate enough to be put on a focus group early last year in regards WCG Canada and their desire to increase Canadian national awareness of the fact that it even exists. Though I don’t know if they will follow through with some of my suggestions in 2011, but any actions is better than none at this point.
The United States counterpart has a reality television show titled WCG:The Ulitimate Gamer , something which I am positive was ripped out of the playbook of the UFC. I doubt the Canadian side has the budget for a television production but the power of Youtube is something not to be ignored.
Overall we are poised for growth, with our communities growing and our players making big impacts in U.S Major events Canada is on track to be noticed.