CONSOLE AND ESPORTS: WHY CAN'T WE MAKE IT WORK? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 28, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 28, 2016

ESPORTS

CONSOLE AND ESPORTS: WHY CAN'T WE MAKE IT WORK?

The general picture of Esports, nowadays, consists of an amazing shot overseeing a huge crowd oozing emotion, and teams celebrating. However, most of these pictures are from tournaments played on PC; games such as DoTA 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Counter Strike Global offensive. It is almost as if the relationship of Console and Esports, while sporting a lot of potential, never seem to blossom. Even games such as Smite that played a big role when it came to improving the competitive scene in consoles, recently started to switch to PC, causing many players who mastered the game on the former platform to completely fail in many tournaments. As a result, it is very natural to wonder why the competitive scene on consoles hasn't reached the same level as the ever growing world of PC gaming; which has gone leaps and bounds from the old Quake days. 

No competitive Strategy or MOBA games.
There is a lot of history in Esports; it is something that started out way earlier than most people may think. However, the biggest spike in its activity came with StarCraft, which was taken really seriously in Korea; the actions of that region gave birth to the next level of Esports. It was the first time that competitive video games were being broadcasted in live television at such a grand scale. This allowed the general audience to learn bits and pieces about the elusive world of competitive gaming and even encouraged a flock of new people to show interest. Now years later, when the competitive strategy genre has started to fall off a bit, MOBA has taken its place sporting some similar mechanics and the same POV for players. Therefore it is safe to conclude that a large part of Esport's success came down to these two genres, which is something consoles simply never had. Whether it was the lack of interest from the developers or the decision to simply focus more on the more casual side of gaming, the consoles missed the big ship that they could have rode to bigger success.

FPS Games are simply better on a Mouse and KB combo.
This is a statement that has been debated on for ages, but as a guy who follows the competitive scene on both platforms, I can say that while console FPS gaming is the choice of masses, the pinnacle belongs to PC. The keyboard and mouse combo simply does it better and gives you superior agility in-game as a player. Of course, this only applies to games that are not biased toward any of the platforms and are bare-bone. However, given the tests carried out by the likes of Voodoo games, Valve and even Activision, it was very clear that the average FPS PC gamer beats out the average console gamer. A good example can be the current state of COD and CS GO; while COD still has more players in the casual base, CS GO has left its counterparts in the dust in terms of competitive play. It has grown at an insane rate for a competitive FPS game and, even with smaller prize pools, was able to maintain an elite level of play and viewership throughout the years, clocking 1.1 million viewers during last year's major. Maybe consoles should finally start adding the much wanted combo for their users so they too can compete on equal footing.  

The Fighting Game genre is underutilized.
This is actually one of the genres, which I believe, consoles have an edge on! After the initial falling off of arcade stations in both the USA and Japan, consoles have started to take their place as the platform to duke it out.  However neither Microsoft nor Sony was appreciative enough of fighting games that were clearly capable of growing to great heights. Just look at the home page of either League of Legends or CS GO ; they constantly celebrate their star players and highlight their accomplishments, but when is the last time you opened your consoles home page and saw someone like Daigo Umehara or PPMD? Even though Umehara is arguably one of the greatest to ever touch a video game, regardless of the genre. Only recently, Sony realized the potential and was able to seize the exclusive rights to the upcoming Street Fighter 5 after many negotiations with Capcom Japan. Though I still doubt they will support the games to the same extend as Riot and Valve does for theirs. So unless console users and developers both start taking note of the fighting game genre at a grander scale, I don't see them ever making a strong enough foothold in the Esports scene. 

Unlike the many anti console fans I actually believe the platform has a lot of potential to see growth on the competitive side of things; however, in order to take things to the next level, the developers and users both have to get out of their bubble. They must embrace greater changes, and realize that Esports is here to stay; they will be much better off as a part of it instead of going against it. 

Spreading the hype for technology and gaming, one word at a time. If you don't mind brutal honestly and countless debates, follow me @AbirZenith or hit me up with an email at: abirzenith@gmail.com

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