With eSports experiencing an explosion in growth and popularity, sports personalities, organizations, and investment groups are no longer the only entities to put money into the eSports scene. It’s been announced recently, that a famous DJ, Steve Aoki, invested in Rogue, an organisation, which is most famous for its Overwatch roster. Rogue Overwatch is currently ranked fifth in the world.
For a long time, competitive video gaming was thought to be a childish hobby for people with nothing else to do. With attention from big-time companies and business personalities, that is slowly changing, even attracting the attention of people who are traditionally thought to be “cool”, like personalities from the music industry.
Seeing as Mr. Aoki is a music man, how likely is it that Lucio is going to be mandatory in Rogue’s comps? Who knows, that might have even had something to do with his interest in the (mainly) Overwatch organisation in the first place. Okay, probably not, if we’re being realistic, but it’s a funny thought nonetheless.
According to an article on thescoreesports, citing Yahoo Esports, Frank Villarreal, the owner of Rogue, said that, “When I started, no one understood why I was wasting my future on a hobby. Now, celebrities, athletes, major venture capital funds, and the media are validating my choices. I feel a mix of pride, vindication, validation, and terror.” This quote brings up a very good point of discussion.
When news about some big name or company investing in eSports is released, fans get excited, players get excited, journalists get excited. It comes as a side-effect of being marginalised in mainstream society for years, if not decades. But. The attention by the mainstream society comes with a considerable price. Yes, the influx of money and recognition, coming from investments, is great, but what happens if teams and eSports as a whole don’t provide a good enough ROI (return on investment) to allow all these big names to stay in the scene?
Clearly, organizations like Philadelphia 76ers aren’t in eSports to make a quick buck right now, they are in for the long haul, ready to have some losses now in order to get into position to make substantially more once eSports actually reaches its apex, however, patience has its limits. The person, who owns the eSports organisation certainly feels the pressure big name companies bring together with their money. As Eminem said, “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy / There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.” At least the sweater isn’t from Wal-Mart anymore, right?