Big New Numbers For Major League Gaming

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Big New Numbers For Major League Gaming

An exciting development recently landed in the annals of Major League Gaming: the Spring Championship event recently concluded, and not only was it a big event for prize money, it was also a big event for drawing attendance. The Spring Championship reportedly pulled in over 21,000 competitors and fans alike, which for Major League Gaming, is a record.

While the 21,000 numbers may not sound the greatest, it's worth considering that this is actually completely separate from the numbers of viewers watching from home, as the online viewership numbers are on a steady rise thanks to livestreaming website Twitch. Indeed, news from Google suggests that the video game community on YouTube is actually growing faster than YouTube itself is. The report from YouTube's communications manager, Matt McLernon, says that more than half of the top list of viewed videos on YouTube represents some kind of gaming, between playthroughs, playthroughs with clever commentary, trailers, launch videos and the like, there's a lot going on in the field of gaming entertainment.

But Major League Gaming isn't just stopping there, oh no; new events are planned for just ahead of Thanksgiving, running November 22 through November 24 at the Columbus Convention Center. The continued longevity and clear growth of interest in the field hasn't gone unnoticed either, as developers and publishers alike go after the audience instead of more traditional marketing.

When Major League Gaming is coupled onto the rise of the e-sports bar, we may well be looking at the earliest days of a new trend in the making. While there aren't many of these places open just yet, and the bulk of them appear located in Europe--there are exceptions, of course, but the key takeaway is that they're not easy to find--they are starting to gain some ground. Couple the rise of Major League Gaming on to this and virtually every part of the sports bar experience has been replicated for gamers: not only can games be played, they can also be watched.

Some might wonder what room there is for such a concept; after all, weren't arcades largely destroyed, reduced to the level of the mere curiosity by the growth of home console gaming? Indeed, this is true, but what many have discovered is that when you game exclusively from home, there is a certain social component that is missing from crowds shouting at each other on Xbox Live or its PlayStation or PC equivalent. A certain camaraderie inherent in being in a room full of people who enjoy the same things you do, and are actively engaged in same. When home theater replaces the movies, and home gaming replaces the arcade, and the Internet replaces the bookstore, toy store, comic book store, and similar brick-and-mortar outlets, one question remains: where do you go for fun when you want to get out of the house?

That's the question that e-sports bars may be trying to answer, and hopefully they'll find that answer satisfactory in terms of profit. The rise of Major League Gaming suggests they just might have that chance after all, and one way or another, we'll likely find out before it's all said and done.
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