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If you have ever had a desire to be the best in gaming and the drive to make it to the top, then you are already familiar with Major League Gaming, one of the top names when it comes to competitive world of eSports.
With tens of thousands of fans chanting your name and millions more watching online, it’s no wonder that every gamer looking to make a name for themselves wants to get on the MLG stage. Since 2002, Major League Gaming has brought eSports to the forefront with competitions around the United States and highlighting the likes of Starcraft II, Mortal Kombat, and other competitive digital titles. If you ever wrapped your hands around a control and dreamed of being the best, then MLG has a spot for you.
For League of Legends fans, August is your month with the debut of League of Legends Arena starting the weekend of August 3-5th and concluding with the Summer Championship in Raleigh from August 24-26th.
But to find out where the world of eSports is heading, you often have to know where it’s been. We were fortunate enough to talk to Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of Major League Gaming, about the beginning of a new industry and where the future will take our virtual athletes.
How did MLG come about?
Video games have always been a part of my life. My first job in high school was managing a video arcade. In college, I played a lot of NHL with friends and mapped out a bracket on graph paper. In the early 2000s after watching the X Games successfully build up underground athletes, technology booming and the internet changing the way people interact, I recognized an opportunity to build a competitive video game league modeled after traditional sport and Major League Gaming was born.
What were the early days of MLG like and how quickly did it progress to what it is today?
When MLG first began, we were like any other start-up – ambitious with big dreams and a lot of hurdles. We started with small events at a LAN center in the east village of New York and progressed over the last 9 years to hold large-scale competitions across the US with 20,000 spectators and millions more watching online around the globe through LIVE streaming.
How has the rise in gaming popularity changed the face of eSports?
As gaming has become a daily part of more and more people’s lives, the natural progression to competitive gaming and eventually eSports is part of that lifestyle for a growing number of the gaming population. Recently we have seen a strong rise in viewership from gamers who don't actually compete, but who are rabid fans of those who do at the highest level. In essence, our community has similar characteristics to those of traditional sports leagues.
For a gamer looking to get into the competitive gaming world, where should they begin?
Gamers aiming to get into the competitive world should start by looking locally. Look for people within your community who share a similar passion. Play and explore the competitive scene with them. Next, move to the online universe. Sites like gamebattles.com allow players to link up and find competition via the internet. Review as much pro game footage as you can. Watching the best plays can prove to be an entertaining and educational experience. Finally – hop online and play. Learn from your losses and look to improve through actual competition.
With tournaments happening almost all the time now and games ranging from RTS's to first-person shooter, how massive is the world of MLG and how do you keep it under control?
We've seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years and it shows no sign of letting up. The thing that helps keep MLG on track and in control is remaining true to our roots and focusing on the things that we do best like great competition – in person and online and entertaining broadcasts.
What will be the next big breakthrough in eSports?
I think the next big breakthrough will be out of the box streaming and broadcasting from within games. The tools are being provided to allow for high level tournament coordination and streaming right out of the box. In the right hands, this will be an amazing set of tools.
Where do you see MLG in five years from now?
In five years, MLG will be generating more live competition video than any other competitive platform on the planet (traditional or non-traditional). We will continue to be a global brand, but will have further established the North American eSports scene and have solidified eSports as a recognized Global activity.