What Bites? Get Professional

Let’s expect more from the professional gamers of today.

MYM News

Posted on April 17th of 2014 by Max Kieturakis

“What sucks” is a series aimed at addressing the issues that annoy the author in the given moment. Here Max “mki” Kieturakis writes about what is current and for this reason there is no specific timeline for when future articles will be released. Is something pushing your buttons? Let me know, maybe I’ll write about it!

Over the past few years, electronic sports and professional gaming has grown into something much more than just a hobby. With StarCraft II players making over six figures a year and League of Legends players getting actual support from the game developers, we can really see that becoming a viable professional gamer is more and more starting to be a viable career path. With salaries and big name sponsors, these young stars are also gaining a multitude of young fans. Which begs me to raise this question: how much can we ask of today’s professional gamers?

Those that have been in the scene before StarCraft II started to legitimize the western electronic sports scene, know the difference between the Counter-Strike 1.6 CPL gamer and the League of Legends LCS gamer. The two almost can’t be compared. Although some Counter-Strike 1.6 players did go on to manage an esport related career (HeatoN, SpawN, Neo – all with Zowie Gear), the vast majority did it as a hobby. Sure they earned prize money and had salaries, but this was nowhere near enough to make a respectable living. In this new age we have seen Evil Geniuses boast about signing French StarCraft II player, Stephano, to a six-figure contract! LCS players make salaries from Riot, their teams AND they earn large amounts of prize money. So how much should we expect of them?

We should expect much more from today’s electronic sports professionals. It is obvious that the LCS players have had some sort of talk with either Riot or their team management as their behavior is definitely up to par to the professional athletes in football or basketball; however, the same can’t be said for other games or players below that level. I believe that with the amount of fans all of these teams have now, and with the media exposure they are generating, it is imperative that the players behave. There are a few exceptions that can be tolerated (everyone needs a bad boy), but for the most part it should be at least strongly put into the players’ heads that they must behave in a certain manner.

I can’t imagine a professional football team allowing their professional player to party leading up to a match. However in electronic sports, this is almost normal since the control over these players is very loose. Just the other day I heard this beauty from a professional gamer after a loss:

–  “holy shit… that is what happens when u don’t play for 3-4 days and party 2 of them” – DotA 2 professional gamer

Now this in my mind is absolutely unacceptable. With these teams competing in the largest leagues for their respective games, they should be practicing for every match. In my mind, just as in professional sports, these teams shouldn’t only practice their individual skills, but should actively anti-strat their opponents even. Statistics should be brought up and past matches should be analyzed. And sure as hell, they shouldn’t be drinking and lacking practice before a match. In the case this does happen, they should be terrified to let it be known. However it doesn’t seem like the professional gamers have matured to their position.

For me this is important for a few reasons. Sure, the sponsors of course. It’s difficult to spend money on someone who’s just going to drink it all away I guess. I think most people today already realize that the sponsors and organizations spend a lot of money on players and that this type of behavior is just morally wrong. But also I am worried about the fact that these gamers are becoming role models. At one point or another this type of behavior will get us in hot water with companies looking to invest that haven’t already and parents (that buy the games). And I really think this parent issue could be a big issue in the future as once they start seeing and recognizing how big electronic sports has become, they’ll become more terrified than they already are.

So this is just my one page appeal to tournament organizers, professional gaming teams and everyone in electronic sports: let’s expect more from these professional gamers!

Cheers dogs !