New America NYC Event:
Are eSports The Future Of Entertainment?
Tuesday night we were lucky enough to attend another New America NYC. This event was about the future of eSports. You can learn more about it here and on the video below.
It was interesting, but not what I was expecting. The panel was led by Seth Stevenson who claimed ignorance of eSports and video game culture. This was great for audience members who had no idea about eSports as Seth was a perfect guide. It also had the unfortunate side effect of dumbing down the conversation for those of us in the audience who already follow it or are already gamers. At first I was put off by this, but as the conversation evolved I learned a lot not just about eSports but sports in general. Thankfully the other speakers were really interesting and engaging: Victoria Jackson, a sports historian, gave a great overview of history of women’s basketball and chimed in with her view on whether eSports was a true sport based on historical context; Craig Levine, CEO of ESL America, was the most knowledgeable of eSports as a participant and from the business side of things; Finally T.L. Taylor, a professor of comparative media studies, offered a sociological view on the impact of eSports. Each had a very different background and experience with gaming. Whenever the conversation started to drag they helped keep it interesting.
I do wish there was more time to talk about everything. The conversation got better as the night went along, but it ended too soon for my taste. I would have also loved it if we had another person on the panel who was an actual eSports player.
As a gamer and a part of the gaming community I really wanted to have a more open dialogue with the speakers and audience on this topic. The monetization of my childhood hobby and how it’s being shaped and directed by people for profit is understandable and yet the indifferent tone was still disturbing. The idea of creating a university program for eSports had me sick to my stomach. I can’t imagine anything worse for eSports than a university requirement. But healthy conversation shouldn’t always be easy to listen to. I did feel like I learned a lot. Victoria’s insight was truly fascinating. T.L.’s sociological viewpoint provided a more well-rounded and general overview of the market. I also loved how she is working toward equality in the sport while being cautious about transforming things too quickly. She wants to make things better, but not do it in the wrong way. We chatted a bit afterwards and I could tell this was a smart woman who must be adored by her students. Craig’s perspective was really interesting. I do wish he had more time to talk about his experiences. Seth was a good moderator though I wish he had more experience and researched the topic a little better. At the end of the night I really feel like the experience was worth it. I hope New America comes back to this idea and explores it further.
Once again thank you to Civic Hall for hosting the event. Huge thanks to New America NYC for putting it together and allowing me once again to film it. Thank you to everyone who spoke and fights for such an important cause. Finally thank you to the New America staff for once again putting together the event and being so helpful and kind to everyone who attended.