The Supergamers

2/03/2016 April 0 Comments

The Supergamers was a documentary in the same series as Rise of the Superstar Vloggers. The documentary, presented by YouTuber Dan Howell, looked at eSports and the popularity of gaming. The show followed the lives of 3 British Gamers and how they are making a career out of eSports. eSports is a form of sports where the primary aspects of the sports are facilitated by video games. They are usually multiplayer games, the most popular eSports are League of Legends, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. What was surprising about the programme is how these games have become competitive sports and the size of the tournaments such as The International League of Legends World Championship. They are starting to be seen as spectator sports, in 2013 it was estimated that approximately 71,500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming. Viewership is made up of around 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers aged 18-34. Due to the large audiences eSports has become a very lucrative industry. Teams have began to form who seek out the best players to play for their teams. One team mentioned in the programme was H2K. H2K share a flat in Germany where they play video games for over 12 hours a day in training. Because of where they stand in the league they earn around £25,000 for 6 months of work, they receive bonuses and increases in salary depending on how they do in the league and what tournaments they win. They earn so much money mostly because of the advertising and sponsorship, if a team is doing well businesses sponsor them. The tournaments make money through advertisements on the live streams and sponsorship. The boss of one of the biggest teams in eSports believes that it could get to a point when eSports stars will be as big as football stars such as David Beckham. He thinks there may come a point when they have training centre's where they train the eSports stars.

I think that The Supergamers can be applied to postmodernism mainly through hyperreality. Hyperreality is about the blurring of the lines between reality and simulacra. With eSports real life/physical sports are being replaced by people playing video games competitively. Large sports stadiums are being replaced by indoor stadiums with players at the front playing games shown on monitors. The Games most popular in eSports are also games which have fantasy and fictional elements to them which couldn't be replicated in real life. Similarly they are adopting features of 'real life' games, for example they now use commentators and shout masters to inform the crowd of what is happening. Below is an image of an eSports tournament, just from the image you can see how large these tournaments are. There is even now a bar in North London where you can watch people playing eSports. The gaming industry continues to advance and create games that replace real life activities. In the documentary Dan visits a games convention where he looks at the future of gaming and what is to come. He looks at a farming simulator which has been developed and a new way to experience games- through wearing goggles and sitting in a moving chair which replicates the movements you experience in the game (similar to 4D technology used in cinema).

The Supergamers can currently be watched on iPlayer: