Global game championship draws in millions


League of Legends world championship was held in Berlin, Germany this year.

League of Legends world championship was held in Berlin, Germany this year.

Throngs of video game enthusiasts choked on anticipation as they witnessed a virtual battle worth $1 million dollars. Saturday morning at 4 a.m. over 650 students and avid video game fans converged at the Dave and Buster’s in Mission Valley. The reason: The San Diego League of Legends World Championship Viewing Party hosted by University of San Diego eSports and Triton Gaming. League of Legends  is arguably the most popular video game in the world and the World Championship, held in Berlin this year, featured a grand prize of over $1 million.

The tournament is a bracket style playoff featuring head-to-head matches between teams playing a best out of five series. The final matchup of the tournament featured two South Korean teams, SK Telecom T1 (SKT) and KOO Tigers (KOO). SKT was heavily favored having not lost a single game all tournament. SKT came out strong winning the first two games and it seemed all but over. KOO was able to take back a game but SKT was to much for them to handle and rebounded quickly to win the Championship three games to one.

League of Legends is just one of many competitive games played in eSports. League of Legends averages over 27 million users daily. Although the game is not streamed on TV in the U.S. it is broadcasted in several European and Asian countries as well as streamed online to millions of viewers. Although this year’s viewing numbers have not been released, last years’ World Championships brought in over 32 million viewers. For comparison last years most viewed NBA finals game was just over 23 million viewers, the most viewed game of the NHL final 8 million, and this year’s World Series has peaked at 14 million views.

The game’s popularity is puzzling to some, but Junior Kanan Choquette thinks he knows why the industry is growing stronger every year and why people are so attracted to the game.

“It’s tons of fun to watch for the same reasons we go to a football game, but different in the fact that we can all achieve and recreate the plays being made in these games,” Choquette said. “An important difference to me is that people are watching eSports because they’re not only entertaining, just like professional sports, but it’s also the fact that people are watching these [streams] to get better at the game.”

With the growing popularity of eSports abroad the U.S. is not far behind, with college students leading the way. The USD Vista covered the 2013 League of Legends world championship and interviewed members of USD’s own eSports club. The eSports club, which was founded in Fall of 2011, was one of USD’s smaller and more unknown clubs with only about 40 members. This semester the USD’s eSports club, just like eSports themselves, has shown that they have come a long way from their humble beginnings. USD eSports now has approximately 270 members and is continuing to grow. Choquette first joined the club during the 2013 viewing of the League of Legends World Championship.

“This years events was much larger than I expected and a great deal for how much we got out of it,” Choquette said. “It was a ton of fun and 100% worth the $28 admittance ticket.”

At the event attendees were treated to free game cards, unlimited food, drinks, coffee, gift bags, and more.

The club has played a major role in hosting eSports events such as helping create and see through the San Diego viewing party of the League of Legends World Championship, which was originally planned to be hosted on USD’s campus.

USD eSports does not limit themselves to just League of Legends, they participate and host competitions for many other games ranging from Call of Duty and Counter Strike to Super Smash Brothers, Fifa, and much more. A unique aspect of USD eSports is they do not simply limit the competitions to USD but they are one of only a handful of USD clubs that actively participate in events with neighboring universities such as San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and the University of California San Diego. USD eSports are also bringing in the local community  such as eSports organizations like LANDiego, San Diego LAN, and Triton Gaming. On Nov 21 USD eSports will be hosting their 2nd annual USD eSports Invitational which will bring in teams from the local area to crown the best League of Legends team in San Diego.

The recent success of USD eSport’s events shows that the club is here to stay. With new members joining every week and a community spreading far off USD’s campus, USD eSports has no signs of slowing down.