[toc]The world’s attention is on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and as part of the attractions, the International eGames Committee is putting on an eGames Showcase on Aug. 15 and 16.
The event takes place at the British House in the historic Parque Lage in Rio De Janeiro, appropriately because the International eGames Committee has the support of the UK government.
SMITE and Super Smash Bros head the program of events
The first event of the showcase will be a SMITE match between players from Brazil.
Level Up’s Product Manager for SMITE in Brazil is Henrique Fajardo who said that:
“Hi-Rez Studios and Level Up are very excited to be part of the Rio de Janeiro eGames Showcase. We have some of Brazil’s top SMITE players competing at this first event.”
The next day will be devoted to Super Smash Bros with several top players from around the world competing, including: “reigning EVO Champion, Ally (Canada); the winner of Smash Factor 5, Leo (Mexico); plus, Larry Lurr (USA) and J. Miller (Great Britain) go head to head in a tournament format on Wii U. Calling all the action will be top Casters Keitaro and juiceDoom.”
All the action from the showcase will be livestreamed on Twitch.
Showcase promotes esports and the future eGames tournament
A primary aim of the showcase is to promote an upcoming eGames tournament. Chester King of the International eGames Group said:
“The Rio de Janeiro Showcase launches the eGames concept and we are so pleased with the support we have received from the UK Government, Hi-Rez Studios, Level Up, Nintendo.”
The event will be “a medal only competition without prize money. Participants will compete for the pride of their nation with gold, silver and bronze medals awarded for first, second and third place respectively.”
The prospects of esports being accepted as an Olympic sport remain distant, but the International eGames Committee showcase is a beginning that will highlight their existence to an audience that may well not be aware of their phenomenal popularity.
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Twitch outstreams the Olympics
That popularity was evident in data published by internet network company Sandvine, which reported that Twitch used more bandwidth in the US than the Olympics over the opening days of the competition. (Click chart to enlarge).
Twitch streaming consists almost entirely of esports, leading to the tentative conclusion that watching esports livestreams is more popular than watching livestreamed Olympic events.
“The only time where Olympic streaming significant outpaced Twitch was for the brief period Sunday night surrounding men’s 4x100m freestyle swimming final where the United States won gold.”
Popular Twitch live streamer MrMattyMouse did not accept that the Olympics is less popular. He told Australian website Channel News:
“Undeniably eSports is growing and becoming exceptionally popular but to say it’s more watched than the Olympics will be – there is just no way. The majority [of] people are just watching it on TV like they always have.”
He has a point, but TV viewing figures from NBC show a sharp reduction compared to the London Olympics in 2012.
The first night of competition broadcasts registered 20.7 million viewers on NBC between 20:30 and 11:05 Eastern time. The London games registered 28.7 million in the comparable period.
Much of the difference can be attributed to people now consuming their Olympic coverage via the livestreams, but Twitch is offering an alternative form of entertainment which wasn’t around in 2012—some of the interest must have switched from live Olympic sports to viewing online esports.
Esports is not quite like the internet, changing everything, but it is impacting in a major way on how millenials use their leisure time, whether watching, participating or laying their own esports bets.
Image credit: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock.com