Time to Consider eSports as a Legitimate Professional Sport.
Modern gamers grow up with a different background. In the past, some played alone on their computer and some grew up playing in an internet cafe (sharing bandwidth with other customers). Is it a legitimate opportunity or just another natural selection? Whatever your answer is, there are some notable things eSports competitions share through the years because the marketing is successful. We all know of these legitimate eSports tournaments all over the world because of the hype surrounding it. From WCG at Los Angeles for Starcraft: Brood War to Manila where Valve hosts several of these events. And these particular ones ended last June of 2016.
It depends on how you look at it. Players make a living out of eSports through streaming partnerships, sponsorships, legitimate tournament winnings, and others. May 23rd, 2016 marks the day that 100,000 signatures, the minimum requirement to receive a White House response, are recognized. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) generally approves P-1 visa petitions and athletes then seek to enter the US to participate in these tournaments. Specific criteria is available at this link.
The history of petition signings starts with William “Leffen” Hjelte. He is a notable Super Smash Brothers Melee player because of his impressive championship titles. Unfortunately, William’s deportation from the United States is due to visa issues. Moreover, there are more stories that basically share the same context. As a result, many players cannot compete due to visa problems and these are sad stories, to say the least. Fortunately, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Change is coming
Two weeks ago, eSports achieves a historic milestone. From a “professional gamer” to an international star athlete, Dota 2 players from Complexity Gaming receive their P-1 Visa and will compete for the grand prize of over $18,000,000 at The International 6. This event is the biggest in the sport because the prize pool is the highest ever recorded in Dota 2 history. The event will be held at Key Arena, Seattle, USA from August 3rd to 12. What is a P-1 visa? While given to a person who is eligible to stay in the United States, its main purpose allows professional gamers to perform at a specific competition, as either an individual athlete or part of a team or group.
What comes next?
After all the paper works and stories, what is it really for eSports? Overall, it is still a business that makes profit to grow. Moreover, tourism increases when P-1 visas are available to professional gamers. Die hard fans will spend vast sums of money just to see their favorite player or team compete on a big stage. These events also have a “Meet and Greet” with the players, personalities or teams involved. It is a positive movement for the players that have the dream to become the best of the world. Therefore, it adds to their motivation that they will put their region on the map as a legitimate eSports contender, if not already.
Are you in those situations where you feel the need to achieve something and now another prize is on the table? What does it contribute to eSports? Does this approval mark an epoch in the history of eSports competition?
Image Credit: Engadget