The loneliness of the professional gamer

If you haven’t heard of Jonathan Sutak, producer and director of The Foreigner, a new documentary about professional StarCraft II (2010), you can take solace in knowing that you’ve probably seen some of his work. Not, mind you, the two independent dramas—Up The River (2015), a romance, and Don’t Worry Baby (2015), a comedy—he’s produced; you haven’t seen those. What you have seen are the many trailers and TV spots he’s edited, for films as far afield as Everest (2015) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). If not exactly a Hollywood insider, Sutak nevertheless approaches filmmaking from the perspective of…


Blizzard will now pay for you to play esports at the college level

We’re one step closer to realizing everyone’s childhood dream of getting a scholarship for playing videogames, as Blizzard has begun a campaign to promote and fund collegiate esports. The way it works is this: the Starcraft developer incentivizes campuses who sign up for their Membership Milestone Program, giving them grant money to throw pro-caliber esport tourneys.  Part of the incentive program is aimed at college kids. If they form a club and register it through the program, they can earn website domains, cash prizes, mice, headsets, a trip to Blizzard, and most importantly, free t-shirts, because gamers love free t-shirts. …


Congratulations League of Legends, you’re nearly as popular as Everybody Loves Raymond

Last month, 32 million people watched SK Telecom T1 trounce Royal Club in the League of Legends Finals.  Some eight years before that, 32.9 million Americans watched as Debra nagged Ray to death in the final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. In the end, League of Legends is not yet as beloved as the sitcom starring the sympathetic doofus Ray Romano. But it was a valiant fight.  Of course, we kid! This is a big achievement for the sport, placing it 14th among the most-viewed television finales. As for how it stacks up to the world’s largest sporting events? Well,…


Online penetration is still a barrier to esports

Esports are huge. This year’s League of Legends World Championship was held at a sold-out Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers. With spectacular events like this, it’s easy to forget that there is a huge barrier to esports that doesn’t exist with other sports. Namely, a large portion of the world doesn’t have internet access.  During a talk yesterday at G.D.C. Next, Jason Ng, who is in charge of Asia’s multinational League of Legends league, raised the issue. “I just need more internet in Southeast Asia,” he said. Online penetration is growing in the region, high in countries…