E-sports take rise in popularity

By Chase Stevens ’12

Recently, there has been an increase in the amount and popularity of professional video game players, or progamers.

E-sports is the term used to describe professional video game competitions. Progamers are the people who play these games.

Basically, progamers are to e-sports what professional athletes are to the NFL.

The main game that is leading the e-sports scene is “Starcraft 2”, released in July of 2010.

“Starcraft 2” is a sequel to “Starcraft”, a real-time strategy game that came out in 1998.

In “Starcraft 2”, there are three different races one can choose. The goal is to build up an army and to defeat the opponent’s opposing army and buildings.

One reason why “Starcraft 2” is huge is that one can play as any of the three races and still win. No race has any advantage over another, leading to a lot of different, exciting matches.

One thing to note is that while e-sports is just becoming popular in the United States, it, especially “Starcraft” and “Starcraft 2”, is already big in South Korea.

The GSL, or Global “Starcraft 2” League, acts as the NFL of “Starcraft 2”. The games are played in Seoul and are broadcasted to the world.

According to Craftingstars.com, a news site for “Starcraft 2”, GSL gave out more than $500,000 in prize money in 2010, proving that progaming isn’t as small as one might think.

While many people think that progaming is ridiculous, other believe the contrary.

“I think its totally normal. People are getting paid to do what they love,” said William Langenbach ’12, who plays “Starcraft 2” recreationally.

“A gamer is just someone who is good at a game,” he said. “The only difference from professional athletes is that professional gamers do their sport on the computer.”

Even though they aren’t as big in Korea, there is hope for “Starcraft 2” progamers in the United States. A new “Starcraft 2” tournament called the North American Star League started in early April and is a testament to the rising popularity of e-sports.