E-Sports are sports too!

I'm a football fan and have been for the greater part of my life.  My Buffalo Bills obsession began as a kid with the heartbreaking "wide right" game, and 25 years later I'm still holding my breath waiting for a Super Bowl win.  Before LAN Mob started to devour all of my free time I had rarely missed a game in over two decades.  I'm the type of devout fan that has allowed the train wreck of a franchise to remain in Buffalo all these years.

Super Bowl Sunday has become a bit of a holiday with my family.  An excuse to partake in fried foods and beer and even if you're not that into the game, there is always the new commercials.  Some of the other employees here at LAN Mob are also big football fans, but some are not, and that's fine.

One such non-fan employee happened to be scheduled to work during the big game earlier this month, and just before his shift began stopped at the local Wendy's for a quick dinner.  He was blissfully unaware of the game, and the conversation went somewhat like this:

Wendy's employee: "Why are you here?!  Who do you want to win the game!?"

LAN Mob employee: "I don't care."

Wendy's employee: "Ohhh you don't like sports?  So do you like YUGIOH or Pokemon better?"

*Wendy's staff laughing in unison*

LAN Mob employee: "Can I just have food..."

I know for a fact this LAN Mob employee is a huge fan of spectator sports, but not of the traditional sort.  He finds most athletic sports to be rather mind numbing and of little interest.  But he also happens to be a skilled gamer who can play a handful of games at a competitive level.  He will sit for hours intensely watching Twitch streams of competitive games - League of Legends, Smash, Melee, Street Fighter & more.  These feature players and teams at the highest level of performance who have sunk thousands of hours into their craft competing against the best in the world.

So what can we learn from this?  The fact that local Wendy's staff are real dickheads?  Or that in 2016 bullying is still alive?  Those are both sad truths, but the most important takeaway is this - the explosion of e-sports has still not reached critical mass.  With any new trend there is always a turning point where mass acceptance is reached, but the fact remains that too many people are still tied to their cable TV boxes, consuming the reality TV and sports being spoon-fed to them.  The Internet and sites like Twitch, YouTube and Netflix have created a new sort of on-demand entertainment for people willing to make some effort to search out content that interests them, but it's still being under-utilized.

We feel pretty strongly that with e-sports rise we're on the cusp of an emerging market, and this is why we're investing heavily in things like sponsorships (see our Pound 2016 sponsorship page), Twitch.TV and YouTube.  We also know for a fact there are local gamers out there who have world-class talent to show, and we're trying to find these people and help them move up to the next level.  This is a big part of our company culture and will continue to be so going forward.  So if you like Pokemon or YuGiOh, you can come hang out with us, we won't judge!  We'll show you some other games you might like, too!
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