At an event in San Jose this weekend, TechCrunch went full esports. The confab, the Intel Extreme Master digital tournament, saw professional players from around the world duke it out in League of Legends and Starcraft 2, two of the most popular video games around.
The event was more than just a tournament, however, with booths, gaming stations, and an oddly flexible laptop also hanging around.
Esports is a growing entertainment category, especially in North America and Europe, where League of Legends has become a household staple. The popularity of streaming services like Twitch, which Amazon picked up for around a billion dollars, has brought competitive video gaming to a wider audience. The event in San Jose was testament to that fact. If you asked yourself five years ago if there would be an event in a hockey stadium for computer games, it would have sounded silly. Now, it seems almost pedestrian.
Expect more of this sort of thing in the States. With video games themselves becoming increasingly normal, their upper end on the skill side of things will only grow.