/ESPORTS JOB MARKET SEES MASSIVE GROWTH IN 2019
It’s official: the esports job market is booming. According to esports employment site Hitmarker, the amount of available global esports industry jobs during 2019 increased by 87% compared to the previous year. In 2018, 5,896 jobs were listed compared to 11,027 in 2019. This is a big deal for an industry that is still growing and proving its staying power to skeptical holdouts.
Jobs in esports have a history of being volunteer-based. Many current esports professionals tout a history of volunteerism because they started careers at a time where available paid positions either didn’t exist, or were too few to sustain. Thankfully times have changed and increased investments in esports have ensured that more jobs come with a salary: paid opportunities went up from 4,591 to 9,705 from 2018 to 2019 (a growth rate of 111.39%). Paid positions also rose in proportion to unpaid ones by a healthy 10.14% (77.87% of the total in 2018 to 88.01% in 2019).
One of the main reasons why esports job opportunities have grown so much is the expansion of esports interests in the United States. Historically, esports took off in markets like South Korea, Sweden, and Germany before attracting American interests. In 2019, there were 2,713 listings from the U.S., compared to 6,215 in 2019 which is an overall increase of 129.08%. If anything, this is one of the major indicators of the future longevity of esports.
Looks like now’s a safe time to start a career in esports.
/TEAM J.STORM DOTA AND FORTNITE TEAMS DISAPPEAR
And just like that, Team J.Storm’s Dota 2 and Fortnite teams have disappeared into thin air. In a curious unfolding of news, fans discovered that they were no longer able to search for the team’s Dota 2 roster in the Valve Major and Minor Registry for the 2019-2020 season. On top of that, the J.Storm Twitter’s most recent activity shows retweets of two Fortnite players announcing free agency. Putting two and two together, observers have guessed that this means Team J.Storm is pulling out of the two games entirely.
Team J.Storm is known as Jeremy Lin’s esports endeavor. The NBA player, known to be a big esports fan, founded the organization with an agreement by China Digital Culture Group and Vici Gaming in 2018. The team looked for success but rarely found it in tournaments. According to Liquipedia, the last game J.Storm played was on December 18, 2019 at the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore.
The question being raised by this turn of events is whether or not the Dota 2 scene is sustainable in the long run. While disbanding the J.Storm Fortnite team is not a considerable blow to the Fortnite scene overall, disbanding J.Storm’s Dota 2 team could be the canary in the coal mine. It’s difficult to build a team around the sole motivation of The International and few outside tournament opportunities for prize winnings and brand exposure. Will other teams begin dropping out contention in 2020? Only time will tell.
/CS:GO HITS PLAYER PEAK RECORD
In a story we’ve been tracking here at SlashShout for some time now, predictions of CS:GO’s player growth have come true. CS:GO saw its all-time player peak number broken on February 7th much to the excitement of the FPS and esports community at large. The game’s previous concurrent player peak was 850,485 in March 2016 (during the MLG Columbus major), and the new record is now a respectable 876,575.
There are a few possible reasons for the growth of CS:GO recently. Most importantly, Valve has deployed major updates since late 2018, including a battle royale mode, new custom player models, knives and skins, as well as a cache revamp. This, coupled with a slight dip in the popularity of games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, could mean that players are moving to CS:GO to fill their battle royale needs of the moment.
In the industry side, Valve working with tournament operators like ESL, Flashpoint, BLAST Premier and EPICENTER has ensured a healthy competitive scene. Exposure on cable via TBS’ ELeague certainly did not hurt in the past either. If Valve keeps up this trajectory with CS:GO, they may avoid the issues facing the Dota 2 scene in the future.
/WILL CS:GO FLASHPOINT LEAGUE BE THE NEW WWE?
Flashpoint is the newest league on the block and it’s ready to make a mark. The Washington Post recently published a piece drawing a parallel between the CS:GO league that launched last Wednesday with WWE, known for its own flashy brand of wrestling “sports entertainment.”
The main reason for the comparison is Flashpoint’s directive to bring more behind the scenes action to the forefront of esports. Kent Wakeford, co-founder of Gen.G Esports and Flashpoint, said, “We want to break the box that esports has been in the over the last couple years.” Michele Attisani, Co-founder of FACEIT followed up by saying, “We are very used to seeing the players just behind the monitors and sometimes doing an interview onstage, but we really know very little about their characters and personalities, and who they are.”
Since Flashpoint is an amalgamation of industry co-founders and is not run by game developers like OWL or LCS are, the league will have more liberty in how to present their product with players and personality as a center for drama. Valve is known for a hands-off approach to how organizers run their games, so it’s unlikely that the developer will interject. Part of the Flashpoint format is allowing team captains to choose who they will play against, allowing time for commentary to defend their decision as well as casters weighing in as well. Games will also not be played in front of a live audience, allowing maximum time for producing a polished product.
Given that the CS:GO scene is already well known for an outspoken player base and set of personalities, it may well be that Flashpoint brings “sports entertainment” to esports.
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/OVERWATCH LEAGUE 2020 WEEK ONE TAKES OFF
OWL took off on its 2020 journey this past weekend, ushering in a new season for Overwatch fans to flock to. And flock they did, to locations like the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York and the Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas where they could see home teams the Excelsior and Dallas Fuel play in person.
The last two seasons of OWL had live events in Los Angeles and finals events in New York and Philadelphia. This year, the plan is to roll out more hometown games in order to cement the Overwatch teams into their ecosystems and grow a live fan base. In the case of the New York Excelsior, a home team advantage helped the team boost to a win over the Boston Uprising. For the Dallas Fuel, the hometown advantage did not help them secure a win over the Los Angeles Valiant, but it did allow local fans a chance to interact with their favorite teams in person.
In a write up by the Washington Post, the Excelsior’s home game attracted a sold out audience and featured side events that made everyone feel very “New York.” As Activision Blizzard Esports CEO and Overwatch League Commissioner Pete Vlastelica said, “We need to establish this fan experience in a bunch more cities around the world, and I feel like we’ll be off to a pretty good start.”
OWL results for opening weekend games are below:
Vancouver Titans 3-0 Los Angeles Valiant
New York Excelsior 3-0 Boston Uprising
Paris Eternal 3-0 London Spitfire
Dallas Fuel 1-3 Los Angeles Valiant
Vancouver Titans 3-2 Los Angeles Gladiators
New York Excelsior 3-1 London Spitfire
Paris Eternal 1-3 Toronto Defiant
Dota 2: 30 teams are allegedly removed from ESL One Los Angeles South American qualifier due to said teams having “not registered in the DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) this year.” Issues were encountered in the check-in process, infuriating players and fans alike.
Grand Rapids Rift Clash highlights the growth of esports in Michigan and in the collegiate scene as a whole.
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