The Average Gamer

Pro-Gamers React to EuroGamer eSports Rage Vid

Following last week’s European Call of Duty Championships, Eurogamer posted a video compilation of the rage and trash-talking that goes on during the competition. Here it is below, highlights (or lowlights) at 1:02 and 2:09.

Reactions from the Eurogamer comments section and even YouTube were almost unanimous in their condemnation:

SuperSoupy: Wow, I thought they were just shouting for comedy value, but they seem genuine.

…what a bunch of twats.

Subway D: And the parents sat in the audience, beaming with pride at the fine young athletes their children had become.

Noud Veeger: This is supposed to be a world championship, it’s supposed to be a ‘sport’. These kinds of shouting matches and abusive tirades are not normal in football matches or ruby scrums. And you can’t just excuse it as “part of a strategy”. Yes it might make you perform better than the other team, but so would bomb threats. If video games want to become a real ‘sport’, they have to start learning to use respect in their games.

Jonabob87: I’d be embarrassed to identify as someone who enjoys esports if a non-gamer I know saw this vile display…

That last response mirrors the reaction of most of my gaming friends, but is this how gamers need to be in order to reach the top levels of competition? I asked a few professionals in the eSports scene their opinions on how this affects the industry.

Jon Blayney, former COD competitor and now eSports scene media and marketing liaison, feels that this was representative of the console scene right now. “I think if you are a fan of console eSports this is what you should come to expect as a majority of the scene is like this. I think eSport teams as a whole sets a good example for their fans as the successful hugely-followed teams are usually a company or have some very impressive deals they need to keep so they will give a good image.

“Sponsorship for COD console teams is a rarer thing than for PC FPS teams. It could be down to the volatile nature of the scene and how teams chop and change a lot or down to the behaviour. With that said there are some COD console teams who are very well sponsored but I have noticed within interviews or streams they are more humble and want to help push what they represent. They also have a handle on how far they go during games.”

Another eSports insider, who declined to be named, agreed that sponsors can play a part in controlling this behaviour. “It works incredibly well in America and Korea. At the end of the day, if you want to be a professional gamer then you should be professional. Treat it like a job and take responsibility for representing a brand. The example of teams you saw in that video isn’t representative of how they are when they’re not playing. The idea of ‘trash-talking’ is that it affects the other players and gives your team the upper hand. Outside the game, the players are relatively respectful and show admiration for each other.”

The managing director of Team Dignitas, Michael “ODEE” O’Dell expects more from his team members. “Trash talking is OK on some levels but in this video, that is the worst of the worst. There is absolutely no need for it. I have spoken to players in the scene and they are under the illusion that it actually affects the opponent, the noise might but in most cases the teams cannot even hear what is being said. It seems worse in Call of Duty on console to be honest. Why, I do not know but it is something in eSports I hate.

“The tournament organisers need to crack down, it is the only way. Referees should have guidance and should not be scared to warn then disqualify persistent offenders, just as in every other sport. The scene will never move forward though unless it starts to clean up its own house. For [Team Dignitas], and we have had our share of problem players in the past, we try and educate our values and beliefs. If that does not work then we part ways with the player.”

i48 - Opening CeremonyThat said, all three professionals agreed that the image of players raging in Call of Duty competitions will not seriously affect eSports as a whole.

They’re probably right. Last weekend’s inSomnia48 festival drew thousands of gamers to Telford to watch competitors from South Korea, Romania, Switzerland and Germany compete in the ESET UK Masters StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm grand finals, as well as a host of other professional and casual tournaments. The HotS finals themselves drew over a million views on Twitch.tv. eSports is big business and it’ll take more than a few screaming teens to stop it.

Do you follow any eSports yourself? Does this behind-the-scenes behaviour put you off or is it all part of the game?

3 Comments

  1. Chris

    26th Mar, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    That was awfully humiliating – more humiliating, however, was the narrator’s shoddy defence of the embarrassing behaviour.

  2. Chris

    26th Mar, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    First of all, they are playing the console version and not even hardcore……so pffff not exactly pro?

  3. Jon Blayney

    26th Mar, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    In all fairness to the players the level they play at would be regarded as semi-professional since they are unlikely to be on Salaries. But its still a serious game to them and the game mode has nothing to do with their skill or ranking as a pro gamer.

    Yes this is some of the worst that teams can be, but console, teams who have been founded through the MLG in the early days for example show the right amount of “banter”. So his defense of their behavior was more directed on their actions not reflecting on the rest of esports. Since esports needs all the good press it can get to grow even bigger than it is now.

    Also amazing article and great to see someone like ODEE give his thoughts.