MLG was founded on Halo and ESL still holds Counter Strike tournaments like it's noone's business. The real question that comes to mind is, how long can it last? A lot of people who are getting into the eSports scene are coming to watch RTS's and MOBA's. The strategy genre is excelling in eSports, but that doesn't mean that shooters can't still keep up. Let's talk about what makes watching shooter eSports awesome and the reasons why they stay strong.
How Halo started eSport events in the US
MLG was founded in 2002 as the premier professional level of video games in the United States and Canada. This was all started by a little shooter you may have heard of called Halo. If you were able to make it to the professional level, you had it made. Anyone who cared about Halo knew your name. Thanks to this the eSports scene started to grow in North America. Before this it was North American players going to Korea to play StarCraft (Brood War) at a professional level.
There's something exciting about going to a venue and seeing the huge stage. I'll be honest. I went to my first MLG event to check out Starcraft 2. I've watched some pro Halo matches on Youtube and thought it was pretty cool. I took part of my day to go and sit in the Halo section and watch some live matches. It's truly an experience you should have if you can. At least watch a match on their live stream or somewhere else.
On the stage there were two tables, one being for each team. On the tables are four televisions (or BenQ Monitors now), four Xbox 360's and four Astro Headsets (or Turtle Beach XP Seven's now). The players sit behind the table and then the coach stands behind them. Yes, they have coaches. The coaches have headsets on as well and help the players with timing of weapon spawns as well as flag position.
Current MLG - Call of Duty: Which one now?
MLG has kind of put Halo to the side and in my opinion, this is a bad call. I enjoyed watching Halo since it had variation. Now... they're mainly playing Call of Duty: Black Ops.
I'll start this paragraph by saying, I am NOT a Call of Duty fan. I've tried to watch eSport events, mainly the MLG ones, but I just can't. They seem exactly the same as the match that was on before them or the one I watched last week. MLG is getting viewers without a doubt and from a business standpoint, I can understand why they're supporting Call of Duty. A lot of casual and hardcore shooting fans play CoD. Why? Because it's the most accessible and everyone and their brother is playing it.
I sat down and watched some CoD at MLG Anaheim last year. To be honest, I didn't enjoy myself. I already told you why, but that's besides the point. The small section they had, was filled and that's what matters. The more people, the more successful your endeavour is/was. At the last MLG, Dallas, CoD has its own completely walled off section and that was filled as well. It's a step in the right direction, but still I wish they'll bring back Halo. That's just my two cents.
Counter Strike - The eSport shooter that will NEVER die
If anyone wants to get into eSports and is into shooters more than anything, you need to be watching Counter Strike GO/Source/1.6. This game will survive the shooter eSport genre regardless of what happens. If Halo stopped being played, Call of Duty stopped being played, Team Fortress 2 stopped being played, Counter Strike will still be played.
This game is the biggest shooter worldwide, period. The UK still has HUGE LAN's for this game and I'm talking real LAN's, not just events like MLG and ESL. They'll rent out an airplane hanger, tell geeks to bring their gear and come play Counter Strike with current/ex pro's and even have commentators. I'll admit I love to watch CS games. Sometimes it does fall into games like CoD where it's the same stuff over and over again. But, with the bomb planting and the random games in the middle, it keeps it interesting. I've watched a few games where some rounds are a knives only round. That's awesome if you ask me. The fact that in the middle of a professional match, they're going to play one game mode to mix it up just for the hell of it... AND IT COUNTS TOWARDS THE GOAL OF THE TEAMS!
So, is there anything bad about watcing shooter eSports?
To me, there's one big thing that turns me off from watching all the time, the casters. There's just something about people talking about shooters that doesn't get me excited. There's not much you can say unfortunately. It's just the same stuff over and over. Color commentary is the only thing that keeps the commentators afloat. The other big issue is the camera which casters don't have much to work with.
Let's hear from you
Do you follow any shooter eSports? Do you have a favorite team? Do you think that the genre will slowly die due to games such as StarCraft 2, DoTat2 and Mortal Kombat? Comment and let us know what you think of eSports in shooters.