League of Legends Championship Series

I'm usually optimistic about my ability to change even something as broad as the culture and society we live in. It helps, of course, that I live in a time when I can watch that society change right before my eyes. Little changes, perhaps - maybe the concert features a purely computer-generated singer, instead of a live person, and still draws major attendance in cities across the country from the actual concert (yay simulcasting). Even if it's a little thing, it would have been unimaginable ten years ago.

Or, you know, maybe an online video game kicks off the start to a league that draws hundreds of thousands of viewers on its opening two days of matches.

The League of Legends Championship Series (or the LCS for short) is, perhaps, not that much of an innovation. These kinds of leagues have existed in Asia (particularly Korea) for years, to my understanding. It is most assuredly something new in the United States, if nothing else. And speaking as someone who (currently) lives in the United States, it is quite definitely exciting. (There's also a new European league, for people on that side of the Atlantic.)

I think it's certainly been the case that video games can have somewhat of a bad reputation outside gaming circles. Indeed, anything that takes place online or uses a computer can be negatively defined as "not real", as if something requires physical form to be counted as "real". I should probably back away from the philosophical minefield that I'm about to step into, but suffice to say that I don't think Miku is any less "real" for being a computer construct, to take one example.

And this kind of bias against online society as somehow less than face-to-face interaction is very much alive and well today, in case you were curious. "The online, social media stuff does not matter because it is behind a computer", you say...?

These people in the LCS are making a living off of video games. They are professional sports players, in a very real sense, although perhaps less well paid than some sports stars. We live in a world where the definition of the word "sports" is changing before our eyes - to accommodate this idea of "e-sports", the arrival of video games on a professional stage.

Don't tell me that it can't be done. It's being done as we speak.

(Oh, and in a development as critically important as any of the above, my favorite team kicked major butt, going 3-0 in the first week. Priorities!)

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