In my last post I explained how Tape-Delayed Broadcasting would go a long way to growing the sport. More viewers would tune in, and so bigger advertising deals could be made. That extra money could both improve player salaries and the quality of the broadcasts, but there is more that could be done to foster the community. Much like a product on the shelf, eSports needs to have marketing to raise awareness that it even exists and is fun to watch. To that effect, there are many ways to get the community involved.
One huge way to get people into eSports is through schools. Most schools have sports programs and computer labs. It would be easy to meld the two together to create a sports program for Starcraft 2. The computers would have to be pretty new to play Starcraft 2, but schools usually have multimedia computers with low budget video cards. That would probably be enough to play the game on the lowest settings. A lot of pro Starcraft 2 players even compete on the “Low” graphics setting.
I have written before how a strategy game like Starcraft 2 is much easier to justify to parents and teachers as okay for kids to play than a shooter or fighting game. The only real objective would be the game’s violence. There can be a lot of blood and body parts flying, but the game has a built-in low violence setting to turn that stuff off. The next step would be for schools to form leagues to play the game, just another extracurricular activity kids can partake in. Naturally, this would extend to college as well, with good players even getting scholarships for playing well.
None of this can happen without the eSports organizations pushing for it though. They need to get schools involved in eSports. Explain to them the good things about competitive gaming. Video games greatly improve problem solving skills. Gaming in excess is bad, but perfectly fine in short sessions (30-60 minutes). Another place we need eSports organizations to help is community leagues and tournaments.
Right now we do have community leagues, but most of them are just a eSports fans who get a few friends together to play. Some of them are doing okay. Others end up getting abandoned after the first tournament or even in the planning stages. What we need is the eSports industry to foster the community all over with little tournaments. These tournaments would not have any bearing on ranking, but could have some small rewards for winning. Maybe the overall winner could be invited to one of the sanctioned tournaments for example.
All these keep people thinking about eSports. The more it is on people’s mind, the more they are likely to tune in to eSports events. The word of mouth among kids and young adults playing eSports in school would spread like wild fire. It is the best marketing out there. It stays on their mind even after graduating and starting their work life. There is a small chance they will stay interested as they move on later stages of life.
This concludes the series for now. If any other ideas come to me, I will be sure to write them up. There is a lot of work to be done before eSports becomes big. Each of these ideas could have been fleshed out into pages of detail on just what to do, but I wanted to keep them short and more digestible with just the main idea.
Improving Starcraft 2 eSports is an ongoing series where I discuss how the eSports scene could be improved. You can read all of these posts by heading to the category page.