Play Hard, Make History

I think we'll remember 2019 as Peak Esports, when the storylines of players and teams were told the best and in the most engaging way. And in my opinion, no one became better at that than ESL's event crew/staff.

The true frontline heroes of esports 2.0 were the camera operators and video editors at ESL. If a picture can say a 1000 words, the ESL crew manages to say 1000 words a frame.

I'll try my best to visualize this: here's 10 minutes of melodic trance, cut with footage from major ESL events.

A tribute to the ESL video crews, no company did esports 2.0 like you did.

Detractors used to argue that esports could never be really exciting entertainment, because there just isn't enough emotion in a player just sitting there and clicking a mouse. Watch 60 seconds of this video and tell me there isn't enough emotion.

Just in case you're not ancient or not up to speed on your esports lore, here's a 30 second primer on esports history. Maybe esports 2.0 and 3.0 might sense then :)

Prize-money vs Year / Major events labeled for perspective on time

1993-1998: Primordial Pro Gaming

Competitive gaming began in 1993 with the release of Doom and its DeathMatch-mode. The fastest commercially available internet connection was 14.4k.


1999-2007: Esports 1.0

Esports 1.0 sprung into existence on June 19th 1999, as the release of Counter-Strike beta 1 ignited the Big Bang event for global gaming culture. Quake III Arena refined 1vs1 FPS dueling for the Western audience, while StarCraft was effortlessly making Pop-Culture its bitch in Korea.

Standard internet connections in 1999 maxed out at 56k speeds.


2008-2009: The Great Recession

The first mass extinction event in esports was caused by The Great Recession. In 2008 global marketing budgets went to zero and the majority of esports sponsorships were terminated.

Roughly half of the esports industry perished from oxygen starvation over the next two years, one of the first companies to fold was The CPL - who had pioneered large pro gaming events.


2010-2019: Esports 2.0

Esports 2.0 began in 2010 with the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. The game attracted a new generation of gamers to esports, an audience who craved gameplay complexity and ate up Pro Gamer skill expressions like it was crack-cocaine.

In 2012 Blizzard seized global control of all tournament activity for StarCraft, because of course Blizzard would make terrible decisions for anything related to community. Amazingly they followed that up with a series of even dumber tactical mistakes that doomed the game to B-tier status. The StarCraft II community started hemorrhaging members, with many players migrating to League of Legends and Dota2.

In 2013, after League of Legends sold out the LA Staples Center, every sports anchor in the known universe tried to make a joke about esports not being a sport. Half a year later some of the biggest sports and soccer clubs in the world started buying esports teams. Kinda answered the "is it a sport" question.

Ironically some of the biggest haters of esports, played a crucial role in first creating awareness about esports, making themselves look stupid which then helped esports go mainstream. For real.


2020-x: Esports 3.0

I have read a few articles that offered analysis of the Covid-19 outbreak, shelter-in-place, online gaming exploding and they tend to conclude that net net everything will be fine. Esports will be fine. Because we are online gaming and people play a lot of games, especially when they can't leave the house.

Wrong. This is a mass extinction event, at a scale that will make The Great Recession look laughable in comparison.


Begun, esports 3.0 has.

More digital content, more hours of online stuff and way more streamed.

It will be more effective.



Less epic. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Photo by Helena Kristiansson