My Thoughts On The Future Of Esports

Hello dear reader or maybe listener, I decided I wanted to get some of my thoughts out of my head and into the internet. I thought of maybe scripting a video, however, I ended up turning on my microphone and just started talking. These ended up being a very raw recording which I explain in the podcast. I highly recommend listening to my podcast before doing some very light reading or watching the videos below. The videos are there for you to watch at your own leisure and for background information, I have also linked news sources within the article.

To be clear, this is more of just a place for you to get information regarding what I talk about on my podcast rather than my typical detailed article which I link my podcast too. I have a few articles coming up so look forward to them!

Philip DeFranco - How ESPORTS Became a $1.1 Billion Industry: Sold Out Stadiums, HUGE Prize $$$, Twitch & More…

theScore esports – How the CGS Disaster Almost Destroyed Esports in NA

GBay100 - Are Esports A BUBBLE That's About To BURST?

I don’t talk about his video in my podcast, however, I feel he has some amazing points and I recommend watching or listening to him for another opinion!

The Smash Brothers Documentary

The Story of SquishyMuffinz

The Telecom Wars

Unknown Tekken God

Around the ten-minute mark, I start to get into the idea that I feel that the industry can go in three directions which upon listening back and reflection I don’t necessarily feel gets across my point of view nor does it explain my ideas.

The bubble ideas I clime could happen are:

1.       We are in a bubble or about to see the bubble pop

2.       Slow growth and industry learning how to create correct business models and sustainable growth with sponsorships

3.       Huge growth and we are in the early days and there is a lot more growth to happen.

I don’t disagree that these are some outcomes that could happen, but it doesn’t allow for much versatility. Business and a section of gaming which in the west is so young is going to most lightly see a lot of change. This change is very difficult to predict, while I’m not someone that has worked within the industry I have competed and spectated loads of events and games. I’ve seen the lifeblood and drives these games and the players and people that run the events and had conversations with them.

Esports is not something that is going to go away, but it’s not something that’s easy to predict.

I talk about the twitch streamer Sonii which Twitter and Twitch are linked. Apologies I knew he was part of SK T1 but in my podcast, I referred to them as SK which is incorrect, and I am sorry for this confusion it may cause.

https://twitter.com/sonii

https://www.twitch.tv/Sonii

TSM

https://twitter.com/TSM

Zero – Smash Player is now sponsored by Team Liquid (I did know this I just forgot until I was getting links)

https://twitter.com/zerowondering

Cloud9

https://twitter.com/Cloud9

Information regarding the marketing directly towards young adult males from the marketing company NewZoo

https://newzoo.com/

https://resources.newzoo.com/hubfs/Reports/2019_Free_Global_Esports_Market_Report.pdf

https://resources.newzoo.com/hubfs/Reports/NEWZOO_Why_Sports_and_Brands_Want_to_Be_in_Esports.1.0.pdf

Kim Phan leaving blizzard after thirteen years of service and was the Global Product Director for Blizzard Esports

https://www.pcgamesn.com/kim-phan-leaving-blizzard-esports-low-morale

https://dotesports.com/business/news/report-low-morale-might-cause-staff-to-leave-blizzard

Blizzard layoffs

https://www.polygon.com/2019/2/16/18226581/activision-blizzard-layoffs-executive-pay-unions

Prize Pay-outs from 2018

https://esportsobserver.com/10-biggest-prize-pools-2018/

This is a joke but – the correct way to spell esports

The marketing that was used for Apex Legends – The Completely Harmless "Fortnite Killer" - Apex Legends

Old MLG Halo 3 top ten – Top Ten ESPN/MLG Halo 3 #1

Overall, I don’t know what's going to happen, I’m excited about what the future of esports can offer but I think there is a lot that you can take from it. There is a lot of interest from people inside and outside of the industry some expecting to make a very good return on investment some doing it as they love the industry, who knows what might happen.

I’m going to remain optimistic and hopeful for the future of esports, as someone that would love to work in the industry but also as someone that has been a long-time spectator!

I would also like to add, as I said in my podcast, I feel it is always important to get all of your information on any topic you are interested in from more than once source. I spoke a lot about theScore esports content and I do like their content a lot, that I don’t take everything they say as final. You should always verify news and information!

What are your thoughts on esports? Where can you see things going and do you have any hopes for the future?

Detective Pikachu Is The Best Film Adaptation Of A Video Game

Disclaimer: Please be aware, this article has spoilers about the film and game, read at your own risk, but I do recommend watching the film and or playing the game!

Let me be frank with you dear reader, outside of a few film series that came to mind mainly Resident Evil, Lara Croft with Angelina Jolie and whatever trash that Uwe Boll makes. The title, while clickbait, is also very true. I assumed, I was going to be wrong and that a google search was going to correct me and show me a good film that I liked, but had forgotten about. However, I was correct, while some lists did make a case for a few of the Final Fantasy films for me, they ended up being just a compilation of cut scenes.

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Detective Pikachu, the game was a game that I was very excited about. Since I saw the trailer it made me eager to play a Pokémon game and the first one for quite a while. I didn’t play it on release but left it for several months. When I eventually got around to playing it the game itself was not amazing but it was a solid experience. It took me about ten to twelve hours to complete with me mostly enjoying myself. The voice acting of Pikachu, while not being Danny DeVito was still very funny, I would have liked the game to have been paced better and watching a walkthrough for this to compare the game to the film does bring fond memories and moments.

What I liked more than anything about the film to the game is that the film takes inspiration and uses the game as source material but doesn’t use every moment and each plot point. You get the feeling that the creative team knew what made the game special and wanting to take that core plot and make itself into a film.

It’s this idea which I think has been a problem for a lot of other games to films. Detective Pikachu uses only a few of the core points from the game but alters other points:

What’s the same

·         Tim Goodman is still the son of a detective that has gone missing or is dead.

·         That the drug “R” makes Pokémon go on rampages.

·         Pikachu and Mewtwo have a deal.

·         The Clifford name is still one of the largest companies.

What’s similar

·         Once arriving at the city, he goes to the detective agency, while in the film he goes to the police for details about his father.

·         He meets Pikachu on the street rather than his father’s apartment. However, Pikachu is still his father’s partner.

·         Female reporter, while in the game it’s two characters the film rolls it into one but still gives important information.  

These are just main points; I could go into more depth but what amazes me is how little the film takes from the game and makes it it's own. It feels very authentic, friends of mine and people on the internet seem to be surprised by how good Detective Pikachu was, which got me thinking, did people not play the game?

Source: VGChartz

Source: VGChartz

Now part of the problem is the numbers I must go off of are from VGChartz, which while useful to get an idea, that’s all it is, an idea of what the sales numbers are. These numbers also don’t track sales of people that digitally downloaded the game, so I’m taking it with a pinch of salt. VGChartz claims that just 0.47 Million copies were sold. Looking at Pokémon games that have been sold on the 3DS, these sales numbers are disappointing even for a spin-off game on the 3DS. Pokémon X/Y and Sun/Moon both sold over 16 Million copies. The Mystery Dungeon series which has been around for over ten years is still selling well over 1 million copies. This shows that the creative team that adapted the game, saw potential. So no, relatively speaking I was one of the few that played the game and then went to watch the film. Do I think I got anything more out of it as I had played the game? No, I watched the film with one of my best friends who also loved Pokémon as a kid and he also thought it was an entertaining film. What it did, is give me is hope that perhaps other Pokémon films might be able to come out in the future.

Having developed the technology to have realistic Pokémon that’s not in the uncanny valley it would be rather disappointing if we were not to get another Pokémon live-action film in the next five years. However, I feel it's important that we also don’t get the reverse and are overwhelmed with live action Pokémon films or a Netflix series or two.

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Now that I think about it, I don’t hate the idea of a Netflix series, Detective Pikachu proved that the Pokémon universe can hold stories that are not the conventional Pokémon story that we have seen most of the games follow. The Pokémon universe could very much hold several stories and Detective Pikachu showed this, we have an idea of what Ryme City is like, that Pokémon and humans work together, but what about outside of the city, what about other stories within the city? These could all be explored in one-episode ideas or full series.

I would like to assume that part of the reason for Detective Pikachu’s success was that adults and children alike wanted to watch it. Sharing this experience with your own child or reminiscing about the first Pokémon film that came out almost 20 years ago.

Was the game amazing? No, it was an average game around a 7/10 and the film was about the same, however, what it proved was that video games can be used as source material but trying to cram all the content and story of a game is impossible. Use it as inspiration, adapt it and take one or two key elements and evolve it into its own thing. Detective Pikachu is a glimpse at what the future of film and games coming together has to offer and as someone that loves both mediums, I can't wait to see what's next!

I Tried To Speedrun

My history with Speed Running

Speed running and adding a stipulation to a video game was something I was introduced to in an unorthodox way. Growing up several of my friends and myself all loved playing video games like most teenagers, we enjoyed playing them together or watching one another play. Due to this we would try and play them for as long as we could. At school, we would set up weekends where we would try and play loads of games, get junk food, drink and just play for hours and hours.

One of my friends found a series on YouTube by Nouge. Where himself and his long-time friend would play through several of the Resident Evil games as fast as they could, adding in a stipulation, such as only using one type of gun, no healing or knife only on several different difficulties. However, they also made it so they had to complete their challenges within 24 hours. At the time of writing the first challenge they produced was made over 12 years ago. If that doesn’t add to the context of old YouTube, people just turning on their camera and having fun. This was how I was introduced to speed running.

Due to this, our group decided to emulate this idea, playing video games for 24 hours. Trying to Speedrun some games, play some games we knew with stipulations and it mostly ended up being a bonding experience where come hour 20 and we were all getting tired and irritated at one another. We still ended up doing several of them again and again and the memories and stories I’ll hopefully never forget.

Several years later and Twitch was starting to have its rise in speed running in 2012. With Cosmo Wright (Now Narcissa Wright) and Siglemic pulling in huge numbers and at this point were the getting some of the most watched streams at the time. These attempts where mesmerising to watch and with being able to watch with Twitch chat added to the experience.

So outside of playing games with several of my friends and trying to complete a few that I really enjoyed playing, I had never really tried to speedrun a game. I had always thought of it but ended up never getting into it or could not enjoy the process of learning the same thing repeatedly on a game I like. However, for the process of this piece, I decided to change that and learn to speedrun a game.

I found that people suggested doing one of two things which where:

1.       Learn to speedrun a game you love playing

2.       Pick a game that has a lot of resources (such as guides, videos and an active community)

I decided to do more of the latter and play Super Mario 64 and learn the 16-star run. Let me explain what this means. Super Mario 64 is a Nintendo 64 Classic and I loved playing the game as a kid. When going back to playing it, it didn’t captivate me like it did the first time, but I knew the game relatively well as I had watched a lot of speedrun’s for the game, so I knew what I was getting myself in for. Now the reason for me deciding to learn the 16-star run was I knew it was short. I didn’t want to learn loads of tricks and I wanted to get my feet wet.

 

The Original Idea

When I started doing this, I wanted to do 100 attempts which doesn’t sound difficult. I knew I would be able to get my time down quickly. Meaning that if I completed every attempte, I would be looking at around 50 hours of play time and another 10 or so with practising. Which while a lot of time, it would allow me to get a good idea into what it takes to be someone that learns to speedrun a game. There is a grind aspect to this like a lot of things in life.

Also, I need to point this out, I did this over a year ago. I was going to make this a reflective piece on the meaning of speed running and the commitment that the people that do this have for a game which this still is, however, it’s not in the way I expected to get here. As you will find out and as the title suggested, while I did several speedrun’s Super Mario 64 I did not complete my goal of 100 attempts.

 

Notes from the first few days

Looking over my notes, I set up my emulator and a program called live split which allowed me to time my attempts with splits, this would help me know where I’m gaining or losing time on each run. I then went to YouTube and speedrun.com and to my horror learned the time for the world record. While I knew the time was quick and at the time of writing it seems to be even quicker. The 16 Star world record on Emulator is currently 15 minutes and 35 seconds by Shans. Which if you watch it, even knowing how the glitches and tricks work, doesn’t mean you know how to do it.

Thankfully there were several guides that explained more basic tricks and also on the route you would take to complete the game. I spent several hours trying to learn each of these tricks and trying to remember what I was meant to be doing. After feeling slightly more confident I completed my first attempt. Which ended up being slightly over one hour. Which while still rather long I would be completing the game faster than most people playing it and I had a feeling that doing several attempts would help me quickly lower my time and I would just get better at playing the game.

Over the next several days I kept playing and I was enjoying doing so. I was slowly starting to get tricks that would take me several attempts the first time. I was also getting better at controlling Mario and was performing tricks I couldn’t do before I started or even with several hours of practice as I didn’t really understand what to do.

There are two main parts I was losing a lot of time which are very important and I knew I was going to have to learn and practice this a lot. One of these is the fight’s with Bowser, at each fight you are required to throw him by his tail into a bomb. I don’t know how frame perfect you need to be and the room for error, but man was defeating him causing me problems. I would miss a throw which would lose me time and I needed to practice getting behind him and grabbing his tail. The way this gets harder is you must throw him once in the first fight, twice for the second fight and three times for the final fight. I was easily losing several minutes on the later fights.

The other leak that was causing me to lose time was Mips or also known as the Yellow Rabbit. So catching MIPS is hard enough when you’re a newer player but after a few hours, I found a slower but consistent way of catching him. However, that’s only the first part, Mips is the whole reason you are able to complete Super Mario 64 with 16 stars without doing some really impressive tricks which I don’t think I would ever be able to do. The quick short version is using MIPS you can glitch through a door to enter the Bowser fight early which gives you the key so you can go straight to the final fight. There’s are more behind it and there will be a video which explains it in far more detail if you are interested. This glitch was causing more time to lose than all of the Bowser fights and I knew it would be trial and error.

With both of these in mind over those several days I was able to lower my time to just over 30 minutes, which is still very far away from any record but by this point I had done 20 attempts and was very pleased and I knew that if I kept going I would be able to get it significantly lower.

In the following weeks that followed this, I didn’t attempt a run. I would sit on discord with friends talking games and I would sometimes during downtime play a bit of Mario but it ended up becoming something that was pushed to the back.

Reflection

Since then, I still play Super Mario 64 from time to time, far more than I had before I started learning to speedrun it as its something I can pick up and play for a few hours and then close and forget. However, its allowed me to do is appreciated what it means to speedrun a game.

When I watch speedrun’s I get to appreciate the commitment that this person made to the game, how far they are pushing the game to its limits on what you are able to do. Watching history videos by Summoning Salt or RWhiteGoose about the progression of a world record helps add a layer on just how hard it is to get a world record but to even get to a level to be able to compete at the highest level.

I don’t know if I’ll ever speedrun a game to the level to be able to get a world record, I will still flirt with the idea but knowing the commitment to get started is several hundreds of hours to even start getting half decent does deter me, but who knows?