AN Australian first sporting event was held over the weekend at a huge stadium that was built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but it might not be an event you have heard of before.
The Intel Extreme Masters attracted huge crowds to watch five of the world’s top E Sports (ESL) teams from countries such as China, Denmark, Brazil and the US battle it out.
In an event like this, competition is shown on giant computer screens rather than a playing field, with fans cheering players wielding* a controller rather than a bat or ball.
Ticket prices started at $59 and rose to a staggering $899.
Professional video game tournaments are already big business and are expected to grow much bigger.
The AFL has expressed interest in the multi-billion dollar industry.
The Sydney event boasted* a $100,000 winner’s cheque, $40,000 for second place and $20,000 for third.
Stars of E Sports also make money in sponsorship and endorsements*.
ESL Australia managing director Nick Vanzetti said it took two years to bring the “mega” event to Australia and it was “a turning point.’’
“Watching people play has become a hobby, a cool pastime,” he said.
During the Sydney event, players on stage competed on cinema-sized screens before more than 7500 people. Competitors were playing off to be crowned Counter-Strike Global Offensive champions.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive are multiplayer first-person video games.
People live-streamed the event in more than 100 countries around the world.
Once a keen sportsman, 22-year-old Bendigo pro-gamer Tyler Reilly loves the fun and competition.
“I don’t get paid a lot right now but I definitely think that is going to change,” said Mr Reilly.
“I only really started playing professionally in the last year and I’ve already competed in Poland and Malaysia.”
A report last week claimed more people watch video games on YouTube than ESPN (a sports channel) and Netflix combined.
The global audience is currently at 665 million.
Players at the FIFA Interactive World Cup — the biggest E Sports tournament in the world — compete for a $200,000US first prize, have matches screened live on ESPN and meet real soccer stars.
But it is not all big business.
In bedrooms around Australia, teenagers play for prize money in amateur* competitions across a range of divisions and win their way up to higher levels.
Prize money at the lowest levels still amounts to around $100.
So, what started in South Korea about 17 years as a series of small tournaments has grown into a global phenomenon* appealing to players, sponsors, investors, audiences and enthusiasts.
wielding: holding and waving around
boasted: showed off
endorsements: promoting something for money
amateur: not professional
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Activity 1. Persuasive writing
E Sports is an interesting concept that will appeal to some people more than others.
What do you think?
Would you prefer to watch or play E Sports or would you rather stick with the real thing?
Brainstorm a list of all the reasons you can think of why one is better than the other and then include your 3 best arguments in a persuasive essay to explain your point of view.
Design an advertising poster for a favourite E Sport or for an actual sport, persuading others to join in.
Time: allow 40 minutes to allow this activity
Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education
Activity 2. Comparing Activities
Draw up a table with two columns with the headings ‘FIFA World Cup – Video Game’ and ‘Soccer’. Use it to compare the two games to see the similarities and differences.
You should include information such as the equipment needed for each one, the skills required, the physical and mental costs and benefits, the costs of participating and potential earning capacity, as well as any other information you think is relevant.
Highlight those things that the two have in common.
Being a pro video gamer is a job that didn’t exist a few years ago.
Make a list of other jobs that you think might not have been around 10 or 20 years ago and jobs you think will exist in the future.
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education, Technologies
(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)
The journalist who wrote the article said there are only six different types of punctuation used in the article. Can you find each piece of punctuation in the article using your green highlighter and see if they are correct?
Once you have found all of them, write some sentences of your own using this punctuation related to gaming.
Time: Approx. 15 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP
Activity provided by Andrell Education www.andrelleducation.com.au