Nintendo’s ‘Splatoon’ Getting Ink All Over the eSports Scene With Its Own Million Dollar Tournament
There are a number of reasons eSports could overtake sports-sports in popularity: the games are streamed for free and in HD, there’s no jingoism involved in rooting for a team, and there are fewer injuries when players are hitting buttons instead of each other. But as Nintendo’s ink-based shooter Splatoon (one of just a few games that could convince us to buy a Wii U) is about to prove, the biggest reason we could see eSports dominate traditional sports is that they can be cute:
Can you imagine Peyton Manning goofing off in pink neon ink? I sure can’t.
Yes, Splatoon is entering the eSports world. IGN is reporting that the Splatoon Koshien eSports series will start on September 17th in Fukuoka and that there will be more than a million dollars in prize money on the line.
It will be interesting to see what an age-appropriate Nintendo game can do to expand the eSports audience, but as the new kids on the block, I hope Splatoonists are welcomed by the entrenched eSports players who’ve made their names on games like Counter-Strike and DotA 2 — it would be a shame if they were belittled because their game is family-friendly. One problem professional sports don’t have that eSports could develop is that no one game is perceived to be lesser than others. I mean, no one says baseball should be taken less seriously than football.
Although maybe they should?
Now, it’s no secret that the Wii U is in trouble. This is incredibly premature, but if Splatoon were to take off in the eSports scene, could it turn the Wii U’s fortunes around by rebranding it not as a game console, but as an athletic device? Schools could have a Splatoon unit in PE class. Moms would have their kids put down those footballs on beautiful summer days to come inside for some Splatoon. And dads would pick up Wii Us for their sons, hoping to relive their college glory days. Although, God help those kids if they decided not to accept an Splatoon scholarship offer because they don’t like to play.
“What, you think you’re too good to go to Ohio State and shoot the goop around like your old man?”
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