When esports gets weird
Recently, the biggest (and one of the only) farming simulators decided to get its own European League worth €250,000. That’s right; Farming Simulator ’19 is now a viable esport, attempting to trundle along side CSGO and LOL in their gas guzzling machines. Although this is a downright bizarre concept for an esports league, it’s not the weirdest.
Roblox has… attempted to bridge the gap from casual online hangout to nail biting white knuckle action. It’s fair to say that no one is flocking to twitch to watch lego men say oof but there has been numerous attempts to get a Roblox league up and running. Thankfully, all attempts thus far have been lack lustre at best.
ARMS. That’s right. The fighting game for the Nintendo Switch. Is recognised as an official esport title by the British Esports Association. This isn’t to say that Nintendo IPs can’t make good competitive genres, however; Smash bros has had tournaments as far as most players can remember. It just feels wrong for a casual beat-em-up to have money on the line.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a mobile game, of course. Clash Royale, a spin off game of Clash of Clans, has found its way into esporting territory (Hey, at least it wasn’t Minecraft: pocket edition). It might be hard to imagine how such a strange concept for a competitive game could rally twitch viewers, but according to the British Esports Association, it gathered 1.3 million hours of twitch viewings in October 2016.
Everyone wants to have their dream job. Ten years ago, kids wanted to be football players and astronauts. Recently, they’ve wanted to be streamers and esport players. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that people want to expand the horizons of esports and get more people involved, though it may also be important to draw a line in the sand and discuss what should be competitive and what shouldn’t. In the current climate, if someone can generate enough money to warrant a competition, they can make an esport out of anything, as long as it has enough of an audience.
What do you think about the weirder esports? Should they be limited to a smaller pool of titles? Let us know on Twitter!