The finals of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament are taking place in Katowice for the third time, yet Polish people still lack understanding of how beneficial it is for our country.
Playing computer games might appear to be a sheer pleasure. However, for some it is a job with thousands of dollars income. This gives us a small hint that maybe games have stopped being perceived as entertainment for the so-called “no-lives”, pimpled teens with no friends and “real passion”. The value of the gaming market has been estimated at approximately seventy million dollars, a sum comparable to that of the film industry. The Grand Theft Auto V game earned eight hundred million dollars just during the first day of sales.
No wonder gaming has developed even further, giving its lobbyists bigger financial opportunities in the form of e-sport (electronic sport). The passion for computer games has merged with the competitive side of human nature and has attracted thousands of not only young people.
Nowadays, the phenomenon is widespread all over the world. “The majority of companies are starting to realise how big the potential of the e-sport is, both in terms of marketing and public relations. They stop taking it for entertainment for teens with hang-ups.” says Adrian Kostrzębski, the PR manager of the ESL and Turtle Entertainment. Companies related to gaming and electronics have perceived the chance for huge promotion. Unfortunately, Polish concerns as well as the government fails to get it.
This year Katowice hosted the famous Intel Extreme Masters tournament for the third time, with even bigger prizes and numbers of people than ever before. The first tournament in 2013 offered total prize money of three hundred thousand Zlotys and was visited by fifty thousand people. This year the total amount of money available to be won by gamers was two million Zlotys. The exact number of visitors has not been given yet but it surely exceeded a hundred thousand.
The huge scale of this event was possible also due to cooperation with the local authorities. At the press conference about the whole event the mayor of Katowice, Marcin Krupa, emphasised the role of e-sport in the development of the city. He mentioned huge sums of money that helped in the development of not only the circular concert hall called “Spodek”, one of the most famous places in Poland (now twice as big as before – mainly because of the IEM), but also of Katowice.
However, he is one of a kind. Other authorities within the main government cannot understand that gaming is something valuable and continue to make it hard for Polish players to develop professionally, ignoring the need to build some basic facilities for them. Polish representatives seem to believe that this is a silly trend that will soon disappear from the market, despite data which proves a huge and constant growth in gaming influence. Poland lacks e-sport venues (and treats the phenomenon as unworthy of its attention. One of the top world teams is almost entirely Polish. Nevertheless, Team ROCCAT cannot train and prepare for tournaments in its own country, it had to move to Germany.
The generation of modern parents is said to be the last one still negative towards gaming. Younger people passionate about technology are predicted to be less short-sighted and more open minded, even towards people that give up full education and traditional professions to fully commit themselves to e-sport.
Computers and the Internet used by young people are usually associated with them wasting their time and lives. However, it is widely known how useful can they be. The only thing that has to be changed is the way we view it. The stakes are high: money, fame and huge development opportunities for our country shouldn’t be wasted by ignorance. We’ve already scared off a lot of excellent Polish football players so that they had to run away to different countries to develop their skills and career, why repeat the same mistake with gamers?