Man, the era of Samsung Galaxies was short indeed, their dominance lasting less than a year. Samsung Galaxy Blue is gone, and even the entire roster of Samsung Galaxy White, the undisputed Season 4 World Champions as decided only last month, has disbanded with none of the members showing desire to continue their collective reign elsewhere under a different team name, but to scatter to follow their individual paths.
Was it Mata’s farewell that spurred on the cascade of departures? Or did it start earlier, even before the World Championship ended, when it was announced that OGN would only allow one team from one organiation starting right next season? Was allure of the highest salary on the market for eSports players offered by the mega-corporation owned Invictus Gaming too strong for elite Korean players to resist?
It isn’t abnormal for the off-season to be filled with an avalanche of roster and team changes(I swear C9 deserves some kind of an award), but how many of moves of this scale, or players considered best-in-the-role such as Dandy in the jungle and PawN in the mid-lane switching over to play for a different region, will we be seeing more of?
I smell a significant change coming to the eSports scene.
Did anyone (not) see the r/leagueoflegends in 20 years? If you haven’t, go check it out. When you’re done laughing, hopefully you have retained enough of your memory to come back to here.
That was pure humor, and a brilliantly done one too. Reddit users can relate to it and the amount of details the maker put into this one picture takes a long while before the viewer gets bored of it.
But it does cast an omen of a shadow to the future of eSports.
eSports, or just competitive League of Legends specifically, is starting to get noticed by bigger and more influential organizations, with professional players appearing on popular talk-shows, interviews showing up in well-established magazines(PlayBoy does have the renowned history and the readership, despite its risqué genre). Even ESPN, a major site for broadcasting traditional sports, picked up a channel to broadcast the LoL World Championship this year, however small of an effort they put into actively advertising the fact themselves. The thanks goes to Reddit. Yay, community!
I smell the 2-year Korean dominance starting to crumble. It has already started, with elite players mentioned above effectively snatched out of the Korean grasps by the Chinese ones. Not that cross-regional imports haven’t done before – it has been one of major topics of Season 4 especially for the North American teams. But PawN and Dandy? Those two had SUCCESS in capital letters in the World Championship. I don’t mean to put any other players who have gone abroad down, but these two switching regions arguably is of more impact than any others so far.
For the last two years, the Koreans have been respected, awed and even sometimes pitied(just… so much effort, boys. Too much. Go get some sleep and rest, you monstrous, smart, passionate and lovable nerds.) for their steady, effective and possibly an overload of professional dedication to mastering the game – leash-tight schedules, well-structured supporting staff and even fancier, more hype-y and more sponsor-focused production value than any other region.
So what now?
I sense that some of the undiscovered talents will be honing their skills not to bring pride to their own regions, but to increase their net worth to put themselves out in the market for the highest salary offered by the biggest of corporations and sponsors. Placed first in regionals? Bye-bye team, thanks for providing me a platform to dive into a huge pool of money!
This does not only apply to the Koreans, but to all of the regions.
If League of Legends eSports continues on its path to become a mass global entertainment – and I believe it is well on its way – it won’t be long before the international competitions will not be between teams of regional talents trying to bring home the glory, but between major corporations with multi-regional teams of hand-picked elites butting heads for fun, simply to see which one is better.
Not to mention for the advertisement – a while back, while choosing a new headset for myself, I settled for a set of Kingston HyperX Cloud Headset. Reason? I am not too tech-savvy, the online reviews looked reasonable, but most importantly of all(for the sake of this article, anyhow), I knew, respected, and trusted the brand because HyperX was a major sponsor of several eSports teams I rooted for. I am dead-on sure I’m not alone with this experience.
Following this path, eSports is on its way to becoming an old-timely cockfight with the rich and famous sitting pretty on the high platform, away from the bloody mess beneath, having a wordless competition of power-flexing and dominance. Well-paid game-smart youths will replace the drugged, starved rowdy fowls, of course. There will be no national pride, only a classic amusement of who can assemble and nurture the international best, much similar to traditional sports and many competitions of now.
Money will talk, money will solve problems. Will celebrities have eSports teams named after them? What of food/clothing industries? Oh man, will politics become involved?
I’m simply curious as to what will happen to the eSports scene from now on. I have a notebook, Windows folders, a Tumblr blog and a head full of information, questions and random ponderings about LoL eSports scene. I know only time will provide satisfactory answers.
Until that time arrives, whether in months of years, join me, and let us ponder, let us muse. Possibilities are as endless as you think them up to be!