If you were in the LA area for E3, the excitement level for the newest titles in gaming/hardware was high, at the same time though it was easy to forget that MLG was in Anaheim for its yearly event. This Anaheim stop is one of the bigger events in MLG during the year despite the fact that it corresponds with E3. This can certainly be a good thing if you plan out your week correctly. Think about it, you get to preview the newest titles, meet “regular” celebrities as well ones as in the gaming community. Then after a couple of days when you think you’ve had enough, the adrenaline gets turned up to 11 as you finish off the weekend with MLG.
This year’s event showcased again the best in competitive gaming and an increase in the league’s popularity to a level that has never been breached before. Viewership is up compared to last year and when you compare the numbers to the professional pro sports leagues in America it begins to look like a viable product. DiGiovanni announced that CBS will broadcast MLG games this fall via the CBSi network. He was quoted saying “We had meetings during E3 — There is a publisher who is interested in it. It’s got to be addictive though.”
To summarize, this is good news for gaming from a competitive gaming standpoint. When you think of it in its core and in the limelight, you think of what it has become in Japan with channels dedicated to the product. At the same time you had to wonder, “Would that work in the states on the big stage?” It seems as though that while it hasn’t, there are plenty of groups that are then willing to take a chance in competitive gaming in North America and possibly make it mainstream. You can read the Forbes article here.
This is big news for the industry, however we’ve heard this before with partnerships with ESPN broadcasting e-Sports and nothing huge has come from it. However this time its CBS’s turn and they have proved in the past that when given control of a product, say the NCAA tournament, they have found ways to advance its coverage and bring it to wider audiences. In the past you could only get local coverage of regional action during the first couple of days of March Madness, but they improved it with coverage over every game on different channels, allowing fans to enjoy every game in their entirety without waiting to be joined in progress. CBSi Games has hired pro gamers to help with coverage, including Tsquared and Mrs. Violence. You might remember Tsquared from the MTV documentary True Life “I’m a professional gamer”. CBS also has some of the best commentators for NCAA basketball, they recently brought on radio legend Jim Rome from ESPN to host his show on their network, so I get the feeling that that CBS is playing the smart GM role and acquiring the right pieces to their team in order to make that big push in the TV postseason. So if they are handling it well from the sports standspoint I would bet some money they can adjust and make it work on the gaming level.
So what does this move mean for e-Sports? If anything it shows that the gaming community is sending a message that competitive gaming has an audience, people are tuning in in ever growing numbers and the higher ups cannot ignore this fact.