The world is literally set on pause now. All industries suffer from the disease: starting from the entertaining ones (movies, holiday parks, shopping centers), ending with the sport ones (football, basketball, hockey). In this really tough period, there are very few sources of content for people and esports is one of them.
We will consider in this material what happens inside the industry now, we will try to predict what we are going to see in the future and what predictions we can have. Spoiler: they are not that horrible but not that bright either.
How Esports lives during the Pandemic
1. Competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
It may sound ironic but it is the best time for the shooter from Valve during the pandemic and the worldwide quarantine. The game beats its records almost every day. More than a million people are playing CS: GO at the same time. This is good news for Gabe Newell and the company. The bad one is that it is impossible to host big championships.
Competitive CS: GO has been played offline only for more than a year. Matches of almost all top league and championships are hosted at stadiums (ESL, BLAST, Majors). So today bigger and bigger tournament operators have to find a solution. The only right one is to move online. Yes, it will bring losses and the income will be way smaller but it is better than the full refusal of tournaments.
Now, we already have a few big announcements. The most interesting ones include:
- ESL Pro League Season 11 has moved online;
- The tournament #HomeSweetHome was announced. We will tell about it in a standalone material;
- The start of the new online league FLASHPOINT Season 1;
- The Rio Major was rescheduled for November 2020.
It is obvious that more and more organizers will announce online events in the nearest time. 2020 promises to be pretty difficult but what we know is: «What does not kill us, makes us stronger».
2. Competitive Dota 2
Things are not too bright in Dota 2 too. The main events of the current DPC stage (ESL One Los Angeles, EPICENTER) are canceled. The last Major in Singapore remains in question, which probably will not happen too. With such tendencies and turn of events, we might not see The International at the usual time. The only thing, which makes us feel glad, is that it will definitely be hosted if not in August but at the end of the year.
Despite predictions are not that optimistic, esports fans have what to pay attention to. Now, we have:
- The online league from ESL and Maincast with the prize pool of 375.000 dollars – Esl One Los Angeles Online Championship;
- The new league by Weplay! – WePlay Pushka League with the prize pool of 250.000 dollars;
- Chinese DOTA2 Professional Association – the league, in which all top teams from China take part;
- Parimatch League and ESL One Birmingham Online.
The list is large, there are things to watch. Like in the case with CS – we will see even more cool announcements soon. But we will also hear lots of sad announcements. It is possible that many organizations will not survive during this crisis and they will have to refuse from their Dota 2 rosters. The first one was Team Singularity, which announced the disbandment of their roster a few days ago.
3. Competitive League of Legends
As you have been able to guess, everything is not smooth in League too. All regular seasons have moved online. This caused a row of technical issues. For example, an image always suffers from lags on Russian-speaking broadcasts of Lpl, Lck, and Lec. The seasonal Split remains in question, which is set to be hosted in May and also the future of the 2020 World Championship is in question too.
Another side of the coin in LoL is that many teams have academies and second rosters. It is obvious that not all of them will be able to afford them and as a result, they will refuse from the services of young players. This will make an impact on the climate of the discipline.
For now, we have a throwback to the very beginning of esports. Online tournaments, amateur leagues, low salaries. It may sound romantic and sad at the same time. The only thing we can do now is to hope and believe that things will get better. Esports is luckier than others, so we should not despair. Wash your hands, take care of yourself, your relatives and stay home. Thanks for reading.