Impact of COVID-19 on Esports

Double edge effect the virus brings

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2019 Viewership for the top two tier-1 Esports: LoL and CSGO. These 2 dominate the world of Esports and can only continue to rise as many more people have time to enjoy play of the best in the world.

Tanner Carr, Section Editor

With the closings of schools, work and more, it’s quite common to think that esport viewership, or just viewership in general of video games, will go up. 

We’ve seen the rise of iRacing for Nascar which hit 1.3 million viewers. Formula 1 has also followed, where they raised money for COVID relief efforts. Twitch reportedly grew it’s fanbase by 1/3rd in March alone. Day one of the Valorant beta, it got 1.73 million viewers and more than 165 million hours worth of gameplay were watched from Valorant alone, according to Riot.

Sure, it’s good now that more attention is being brought to gaming. More viewers watching esport tournaments such as R6S ESL play days, CSGO ESL season 11 and more such as the many League of Legend leagues. However non Spell out what LAN means here and then put in parentheses, so for future use, LAN is understood. (LAN) gameplay can cause issues. With being in an arena you have LAN. Summed up, there’s smoother movement and if you’re playing as some of the best against players who are also among the best, that crisper movement is needed.

When playing for hundreds of thousands to a few million dollars, your job and reputation are on the line, you would want as few non selfmade issues. With LAN you get as close as possible. Every round and player is crucial, but if it were a 1v1 and rounds tied, and you go to move either character or crosshair and you rubberband or skip a pixel too far you can say goodbye to a chance of winning.

Next, some LAN events, which are typically the majors, the events where you attempt to bring home all the glory, have been affected. IEM Katowice 2020 in February, a huge CSGO event, barred all fans from entering the arena. People had paid money for hotels, plane tickets and more to attend. The ESL Rio Major was moved from May to November 2020 and that event is the leadup to the event you want to win most: ESL One Cologne. The Rainbow Six Siege APAC LAN finals to advance to the R6S Sao Paulo finals, which was also cancelled. 

In the end, this is coming out to become a double edged sword, good for the players and organizations in the years to come, however, may be costly to those of today.