The Call of Duty eSports scene has shown tremendous growth since the initiation of the World Championship three years ago. Let’s not forget that eSports isn’t the only booming industry that relates to the game. Some YouTubers are now making upwards of six figure salaries and many of them either got their start from it, or they are still playing and uploading Call of Duty videos.
To get a different perspective on what the World Championship is like for people that aren’t in the eSports industry, we interviewed two prominent YouTubers that have based their channels off Call of Duty.
Ashley, better known as “ OpTic MiDNiTe,” has been making videos for almost five years and has accumulated nearly 500,000 YouTube subscribers and over 200,000 Twitter followers. She still uploads videos nearly every day and has made a name for herself as one of the most popular female gamers in gaming. She focuses on commentary videos and vlogs while interacting with fans in her daily livestream.
We also talked with Tucker, also known as “ IIJERiiCHOII,” who has nearly 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 415,000 Twitter followers. He has been making videos for over five years now and has played Call of Duty since the beginning. While focusing his channel on humor and entertainment, he has made a name for himself playing a wide range of games besides Call of Duty.
These two online personalities have Call of Duty in their blood, and they’ve seen it all. They’ve made friends with many pro players and members of the community. MiDNiTE is part of OpTic Gaming, the largest organization in CoD eSports. IIJERiiCHOII has even casted at previous MLG events.
YouTubers that have been around this long will have different perspectives on eSports in CoD. They’ve seen it all unfold and have close ties with people in the community.
“The first ever LAN event that I attended was MLG Orlando in 2011, where OpTic actually took that,” said MiDNiTE. “It was a Black Ops 1 event on the PS3 so things we’re different.”
IIJERiiCHOII has been watching and playing CoD since the original Modern Warfare was released in 2008 by Infinity Ward. He has been at several other MLG LAN events for CoD eSports and has witnessed it progress over the years.
What’s it like to see to see pro players dedicate their lives to competitive Call of Duty?
MiDNiTE – “It’s a similar kind of thing to what I do, as I am dedicating a lot of time and energy into taking myself further in something I believe I can do. Putting in lots of hours, whether it’s practicing or working on videos, you’re still working at your craft and honing that as you go. Obviously being a professional gamer is kind of different because you’re facing up against someone, where on the entertainment side, you’re facing up against yourself. You are your own workforce and you control your success.”
IIJERiiCHOII – “It’s always awesome when you have somebody that is really disgustingly good at whatever they do. From a casual player’s perspective, it’s kinda cool to see the skill gap that’s there. The bigger that gap, the more you know that the limits of the game can get stretched.”
What do you like the most about CoD LAN events?
IIJERiiCHOII – “It’s kind of like PAX or any other convention. This one’s definitely more Call of Duty based so there’s a lot of older fans that were fans of mine back in 2010, 2011 instead of the more recent ones. It’s nice to meet those dedicated fans.”
MiDNiTE – “Meeting everybody and interconnecting faces you see on your Twitter timeline to like ‘oh that’s a real person, he’s really here and into it.’ You can tell that these people that come out to the events are the hardcore group. I see them bringing their friends that may not be into it, but then end up liking it. It’s really cool. My favorite part is getting to meet everybody. Plus the atmosphere in the grand finals is super intense.”
What are your thoughts on the venue here at CoD Champs?
MiDNiTE – “It’s bomb, everything is set up perfect. I’m glad they have some air conditioning because it’s like 95 degrees out. Activision did a good job as always.”
IIJERiiCHOII – “They’ve used the same venue for the past few years. I don’t hate it, but it’s hot. It sucks because it’s like 95 degrees in Los Angeles and it’s in a tent. If you want to watch any of the side stations you have to stand in the aisles because there are no seats. It’s cool and I’m happy they’re doing it, but they should probably make it more spectator friendly.”
In your opinion, what needs to change in order to propel CoD eSports to the level that CS:GO is currently on?
IIJERiiCHOII – “It looks like Valve does a great job to make huge prize pools for their tournaments and get their community involved in creating those prize pools. Dota sold DLC and something like 80 percent of the revenue went back to the prize pool and they had like a 10 million dollar tournament. Every single person that wants to contribute or get involved with [CoD] esports, all they can do right now is watch. There’s a big gap between CS:GO and CoD because you can buy and bet skins, watch the games from the client, and Valve will even have press releases about important games in regular group play routinely. There doesn’t seem like there’s much you can do as a [CoD esports] spectator to get involved.”
MiDNiTE – “This is kind of a hot topic right now, because CS:GO has been played for so long and it’s basically the same version of the game. Call of Duty has been doing it for years too. Back in Call of Duty XP, nobody really cared about competitive and it kind of just grew from there. To get to the level where CS:GO is at, it’s up to the ruleset and the game developers to really work with the competitive community and improve that outreach. A casual player tunes in and they’re looking at something that might confuse them. These PC games get so big because out of the box they’re easy to learn and you don’t have to buy a $500 console or a $200 controller to get your foot in the door and compete.”