For many, the rapid growth of Esports over the last decade has been rather surprising to say the least. While video games have inspired competition since the very start, the proliferation of Esports broadcasts has completely changed public perception. From the creation of streaming services such as Twitch and Mixer to coverage from mainstream outlets like ESPN, more and more, Esports are being considered a legitimate form of sports entertainment. It should seem only natural, then, that the journalists who cover Esports will be considered just as legitimate, and that legitimacy comes in the form of an Emmy in recognition of Outstanding Esports Coverage.
Announced Monday by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the award will "recognize the craft behind the delivery of coverage and presentation of competitive, organized video gaming to the viewer during a championship or final event." The creation of the new award was decided unanimously by the awards committee. In an interview with The Washington Post, executive director of Sports Emmy Awards Administration Justine Gubar talked about the growth of Esports.
"In five years, esports is going to be more massive. The major networks are buying into it. Some of our key partners are big players in the esports world."
Gubar's comments and the academy's overall move to create a new award recognizing Esports, show just how quickly perceptions are changing. The move to recognize Esports journalism is progressive, to say the least. Of course, it can't be ignored that ratings for award shows in general have been steadily declining over the years, while Gubar's comments seem to acknowledge just how much ratings continue to increase for Esports coverage. When looked at from a pure marketing standpoint, the move makes a lot of sense.
While some might still be hesitant about the growth of Esports, it's important to note just how major a role competition has played in the growth of gaming. Whether its modern-day competitors like Faker or coldzera, or old-school record setters like Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe, Esports are much more than just a passing fad; they're a major part of the fabric of the video game industry. As that particular industry continues to grow, it will be interesting to see just how big things get, and it will be interesting to see which journalists are there to chronicle it all.
What do you think of the announcement of an Emmy for Outstanding Esports Coverage? Who do you think would be deserving of the accolade? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!