Abstract: Ackman briefly introduces the growth of esports. He goes into some about the statistics involved and the American team competing and then derides the World Cyber Games as a whole.
The World Cyber Games, owned by South Korea-based International Cyber Marketing Inc., aims to both exploit and expand the popularity of videogames and to be both the Olympics of cyber-sport and “a true world cultural festival.” But even at the highest level, and with all due respect to the fans in Korea, a gamer in full action is still a kid staring at a screen while twiddling his thumbs on a console or fingering a mouse. Just as videogames are essentially cartoons of the action they parody, cyber games, even at their highest level, are parodies at best of sporting competitions.
Ackman writes for the Wall Street Journal and presents the other side of the argument towards esports. He claims that it is a trivial, mundane affair and a mockery of everything they stand for. To him, the players don’t represent a high caliber of skill or mental resilience required to be playing these games at these levels. They are instead reduced to children practicing escapism from the real world, contributing nothing to society and culture. This is contrary to Day ’s optimism towards esports as a whole in that it can provide jobs and services like any other business venture. He undermines the effort that these players have put forth to get to where they are and the community of esports as a whole.
For the most part, though, it was hard to get a rise out of either the gamers, whose eyes were locked on their video screens, or their fans. Victorious gamers all seem to have learned to mimic the most numbing cliches of actual athletes: “We were confident going in . . . We knew it was going to be a tough game” and so on. Team 3D’s Josh “Dominator” Sievers, for instance, when asked to express his emotions after winning the final, expounded in slightly greater detail: “I guess anyone who ever played a sport in high school and won a big competition knows how it feels.” Gamers would know how it feels, too, if they ever pulled away from the screen and had the experience.
Although Ackman continues to deride the culture of gaming as a whole. His examples represent a genre of esports that may not quite be as exciting as others. In shooters, it’s significantly harder for casters and fans to get into the gameplay. There’s not much to say. “That was an excellent flank performed by X.” Or even, “What a wonderful execution of mechanics.” It’s limited in a shooter. In the new realm of gaming, strategy games are wholly more exciting as large-scale tactics comes into play and game play analysis actually holds relevance. In defense of the cliches, those cliches exist because nobody wants to see a braggart on stage. Ackman is also probably a traditionalist in terms of sports as he refers back incorrectly to the idea that gamers do not partake in physical activity.
This article is a little outdated considering it was written in 2005 and would not be known if Ackman has changed his mind regarding this topic, but he does represent the other side of the argument.
Ackman D. At the Cyber Games, Even Virtual Excitement Is in Short Supply. Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition [serial online]. September 13, 2005:D8. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed July 16, 2014.