Entertainment

eSports Become ‘Gigantic’

Competitive video gaming draws thousands; are TV events next?

In case you’re not convinced that eSports is popular, consider this: The 2014 championship event for the game “Dota 2,” dubbed “The International,” sold 10,000 seats priced from $99-$499 — in 30 minutes.

The prize pool for the event totaled almost $11 million courtesy a crowdfunding campaign, with the winning team pocketing more than $5 million. The highest level eSports teams have corporate sponsors and can win millions at tournaments. It’s not the norm, though … yet.

So what is eSports exactly? It’s essentially fast-paced, multiplayer video game competitions taken to the professional level. At its core, eSports fans line up to watch other people play games. And it’s not just a U.S.-based craze. Last year’s League of Legends world championship took place in South Korea in front of 40,000-plus fans.

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The video game company IGN recently teamed with Coca-Cola to create an eSports digital series, like a techy SportsCenter, to keep players up to speed on the latest eSports news. “ESports Weekly with Coca-Cola” debuted Oct. 9 and features roundtable discussions, player profiles and more.

In fact, with so much money involved, we’re starting to see a massive eSports surge. There’s even talk of having televised eSports events like Major League Baseball or NFL games. That’s why, when game developers sit down to create their game model, the aspect of eSports is always discussed.

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Developers aren’t the only ones with their eyes on the eSports scene. Players, investors, writers, and professional gamers all dedicate themselves to latching on to the “next big thing.” There’s no recipe to ensure that a game will become massively popular in the eSports community, but there are some important factors that must exist: entertaining from all angles, low barrier of entry, and can cater to all playstyles.

That said, expect your next big eSports title to be “Gigantic.”

There’s even talk of having televised eSports events like Major League Baseball or NFL games.

No, that’s not a vague phrase, that’s the name of the game. Hailing from Seattle, the indie studio Motiga has created a fun, third-person combat game that is as difficult as it is inviting. And while you shouldn’t expect million-dollar tournaments from “Gigantic” immediately, the potential exists.

Right now the popular eSports genre is the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, called a MOBA. Prior to that, first-person shooters reigned supreme, and even nongamers had heard of “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield.” What “Gigantic” does is unique, mostly because it doesn’t fit into either of these categories. Instead, it’s an amalgam of the two, taking the best parts of each genre and morphing them into something unique.

Instead of lifelike visuals, spraying blood and gore, Motiga has opted for a cartoonish look.

Instead of lifelike visuals, spraying blood and gore, Motiga has opted for a cartoonish look, not quite cel-shaded, but not entirely animated either. They use a bright color palette to give the game a whimsical feel, a contrast from the dark, dingy design that many current games have opted for.

The frosting on this beautifully decorated cake is the characters available to each player. Instead of solely leaning on the high fantasy or sci-fi motif, you’re instead greeted by a mixture of the two. Wu, for instance, is a kung-fu frog, while Roland uses guns and gadgets and will remind you of a younger version of the hunter Van Pelt from “Jumanji.” And it is easy to play, but the caveat is that it’s hard to master, a staple to any game pining for eSport attention.

There’s no surefire way to ensure any game will break out among the multiplayer community or within eSports. With “Gigantic” though, it meets the criteria previously mentioned. Oh yeah, and for Windows 10 and Xbox One users, the game is going to be free. That always helps.

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