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Hi-Tech / Internet

Teenagers make millions playing computer games

Inside it 18.12.2018 at 09:53

News information technology, technology news, it industry

"They can build the stadiums!" Teenagers make millions playing computer games. Now it is a sport

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To the layman eSports is uncharted territory. He was unaware that the competition is team computer games collect the whole stadiums of loyal fans. The Correspondent Of".ru" visited the tournament MegaFon Winter Clash and talks about who is watching these games and as players earn millions of dollars on their hobby.

Winter battle

Trade-exhibition complex "Crocus" is huge. Once before he had to get on land transport, and now in his door you can just go out on the subway "Myakinino". Walking down the deserted corridors, past closed eateries, past the empty exhibition space and finally find yourself in a hall full of people. However, most visitors now are in a huge dark hall, the green arch with the word "Megaphone".

Going for it, first not understand what is happening: a few dozen people sitting on the stools in front of a huge screen, which are worn here and there characters of a fantasy computer game. Suddenly, from behind him came the loud noise of the crowd, and if you go there, it turns out that the first screen and the Ottomans — that's just foreplay. The display, which stands there even more, but this is not surprising, and the fact that the rostrum with great capacity filled to capacity. T-shirts many viewers the logos of the teams for which they suffer, all tensely watching the progress of the match. Every success of their favorites accompanied by the exclamation, literally blowing eardrums.

there are two teams — Team Secret from Europe and PSG.LDG from China — competing for a spot in the finals eSports tournament MegaFon Winter Clash. From the stands the players of the teams not visible — they sit on the dais, their faces hide the computer monitors. On the screen with frightening speed rush of colorful characters and creeps. Here, the adversary's throne is destroyed and the hall is on the rampage. The match finished. The Europeans lost, the Chinese in triumph.

They played Dota 2, most popular game of its genre in the CIS — or rather, more correctly in this context to call it not a game, and eSports discipline, because eSports was included in the Russian register of sports in 2016. The original Dota was a map for Warcraft III, and since this series is very popular in countries of the former USSR, widespread in the former Soviet Union.

the Second part has little relation to Warcraft — it was developed by the company Valve. She now makes every year in the prize pool for the International, $ 1.6 million. Four months before the tournament, Valve introduces the so-called compendiums ("battle pass"), and the people who play Dota 2, buy them for yourself, and a percentage from those sales goes into the prize Fund. Thus, the prize Fund of $ 1.6 million to start the final stage turns into tens of millions.

the Launch of The International has given a great impetus to the development of not only Dota 2 but all of eSports. It was first held in 2011, when it was awarded 1.6 million dollars. The team won first place and received a million dollars, and then The International began to be held annually, the prize grew. In 2018 the tournament was held in August, and the prize Fund amounted to $ 25.5 million. Yes, many of those people who sat behind computers on stage, are now dollar millionaires.

For "the Megaphone" the tournament is the first such event. Starting this year, the company implements long cyber strategic programme, thus decided not to waste time on trifles and not to hold Amateur tournaments and go big. Invited five top world teams, including one from Russia — The sixth participant was determined on the basis of qualifying games. Prize Fund, of course, still inferior to The International — 300 thousand dollars. But overall, this is a large sum for such events, and, as they say, step is the hardest.

I Came, I saw...

After the match, a motley crowd fills the hall. Two girls stand and look at cosplayers depicting characters in the game. One of them, Svetlana began to play Dota 2 "a boy": "He liked me, had common interests — and I started to play. And it went on without the boy."

it Seems that the game really captured her more than her relationship with a young man — it's been about four years. Why do people go to tournaments? "Some attend for the sake of these sensations: seeing a team that... — says the girl. They do not think they are just people — it is for them the idols they admire them. Meet the team a nice one, too — an autograph, a photo to take. Some come for the atmosphere — to see it all live".

Alex and Yuri came to the tournament for the first time. Alex discovered Dota when it was a map for Warcraft III. Right now he is not playing and only watching the matches. This process he compares to football tournaments: "If you take football, there are 22 millionaire running around on the field and kick the ball. Here is almost the same thing, only not all millionaires." "Actually, there's a storm of emotions — [watch] here at home — totally different atmosphere, big screen, the crowd start up..." added Yuri.

as well as in football, there are certain combinations that carried the players, their tactics and tricks: five people, working together, showing their abilities. Captures their speed of reaction, thinking, fast restructuring strategy during the game. According to Yuri and Alexei, entertainment is not the only goal of those who attend the tournament, because less experienced players, watching how they play the stars, can pick up from them some new techniques and redefine your style of play.

Only forward

In the big sports has a good tradition, when the team who won some big tournament, fans meet at the airport. Recently, the Russian team won a major tournament in Kuala Lumpur. When they arrived at five in the morning to the airport "Sheremetyevo" they were met by 150 people fans. This in eSports has never happened before.

Who are these people? For example, one of the most famous players of Novel "RAMZES666" Kushnarev only 19 years old. He was born in Novokuznetsk, and computer in his childhood he was not, so my free time will be spent in computer club. There he met with Dota, and eventually realized that it is not just a game — not to mention the fact that he played significantly better than others. Soon, they took him to his first team where he has already begun to get over their fascination with money. "From that moment I began to grow in their careers and got to where you are now," says Kushnarev.

On the question of whether he was playing Dota 2 the real work, the novel smiles: "does Alexander Ovechkin hockey for his real job? The fact that he is one of the best in the business and gets pleasure from his activities, does not negate his hard and painstaking work. So of course I think eSports their work." For those who do not understand all this, considering, they say, so what, what kind of work the mouse to click Yes for the computer to sit, he just does not respond. "If people think that anyone can "poklatsat mouse" and make a million dollars, then go ahead, I'm just glad the influx of new people in the industry," — he sneers.

the primary goal, he sees the victory at The International — of course, it's the dream of every professional player in Dota 2 and even says that everything else is secondary for him now. Well, what next? "In our sport the player can end his career already at age 26 or 27, continues Kushnarev. — As a rule, then the player remains in eSports. Is a coach, analyst, commentator". On pensions hasn't thought — "I'm early," he laughs. — it's not only Dota 2 but also other command computer games. First of all, is a sports organization, like, say, a community of "Spartak", which the players of conditions to ensure that they played and won. For example, in Counter Strike for plays a man with nickname "pashaBiceps" in the world his name is Yaroslav, he is a pole, and he's one of the most popular eSports in the world by number of subscribers in social networks. Starred in commercials and is the face of several brands.


Like any normal sporting event, tournaments, coverage of Dota 2 commentators. One of them — Vladimir Maelstorm Kuzminov. As for RAMZES666, for it is his one and only "real" job is to comment on eSports games he started when he was still at University. Of course, his earnings were minimal, but then, with the development of the industry, all came to the conclusion that this was his main job.

"I have always been interested in computer games and how a normal game goes at such a competitive level, he admits. — It's different here, there are things that you never thought that's how it works in the game — and it so works! Someone plays, and he wants to play better. He's watching, watching. Gradually starting to get involved. The interest of the audience growing, so now the commercial brands from different sectors to actively join the eSports. And the matches look quite different people."

He ' also plays in Dota 2, but, according to him, soberly assess their strength — with professional players he had to compete it is useless. And here to watch and comment matches exactly what he likes and wants to do. He and his colleagues watched how the others behave, commentators, something borrowed from them, something from sports, some from each other... "what happens there, nodding Kuzminov on the screen. — It is difficult to make understandable to the layman, commenting on the game, but many "newbies" comment just helps to join eSports. The people who are watching, in principle, do not need to explain, they understand. They need the emotional charge, you have to decorate the game. And how to do it — it's a tough question. Everyone has their own methods."


the General Manager of Epic Esports Events Maxim Maslov, the organizer of the tournament EPICENTER, as well as this, MegaFon Winter Clash is bursting with enthusiasm of a middle-aged man. It is evident that here, in the shadows of the huge hall, every minute of shuddering from the noise of the fans, he feels at ease.

As he says himself, in Russia Dota tournaments are held for a long time. Gradually began to catch up business, in this case spun a lot of money, and the matter became a dispute. "I think that began to flourish in 2013-2015, when tournaments began to appear in large numbers — Studio, club, small... — says Maslov. All this led to the fact that in the end there was a real large arena tournaments in 2016. And since then, we have — a full point on the world map where you go to the best team."

MegaFon Winter Clash he calls "cozy" — just because hall is not, in principle, would seat so many people, who comes to the EPICENTER, held in the ice Palace CSKA Arena. The scale of these events is really amazing — in the stands, thousands of fans of eSports.

"we Have a real army of fans of Russian teams. may collect stadiums, a lot of them!" — says Maslov. But how did this happen? "Every decision you make in the game can be contrasenia, and the enemy you can beat, — says Maslov. — The level of complexity is probably even more complicated than chess. Therefore, it is an endless story, when people look like playing the best, root for them... the Mechanics are very similar to conventional sports."

of Course, he admits that, as in sports, first of all, spinning is a lot of money. Tournament organizers are doing something interesting, and the attention of viewers to advertisers — because the tickets are not the main source of income.

It is not only interested in Epic Esports Events. Attracting advertisers is one of the reasons that such a large company as MegaFon has been actively interested in eSports. "Sponsors in eSports is not so much, but at the same time, according to a recent study by Nielsen, the eSports audience is very receptive to those brands that invest in the development of the industry, says Alexander Zherebtsov, head of sponsorship and partnership of MegaFon. — We want to occupy this niche and to win the loyalty of fans of eSports".

However, business is business, but what motivates the organizers in person? "The main motivation for me is the happiness of the people who come to tournaments — confidently says Maslov. And, of course, that's our thing that we do, the work on which we walk, but the happiness of the people first". "This is my favorite job?" — asks the correspondent of".ru". Maslova's face for a second, breaks into a wide smile. "Yes. Oh, Yes!" emotionally he says.