Competitive gaming's legitimacy gets a boost, as gamers will compete at ESPN's next X Games

For the first time in history, Major League Gaming pros will compete at the X-Games.

by

[For more coverage on the MLG-ESPN partnership, be sure to read GameSpot sister site onGamers]

As the debate about whether or not competitve gaming is a legitimate sport continues, one of the world's biggest authorities on the subject, ESPN, has lended some fodder to the argument that eSports does indeed have a place alongside other, "legitimate" sports. ESPN and Major League Gaming announced today that for the first time in history, MLG pros will compete at ESPN's X-Games for a shot to take home a medal.

MLG and ESPN announced a partnership today that will bring the first-ever Major League Gaming X Games Invitational to the inaugural X Games Austin in June. Eight of the world's best Call of Duty teams will compete in a three-day tournament for a shot at a medal.

MLG will have a dedicated area showcasing the event at X Games Austin. The gaming tournament will be featured next to other X Games events in fields like BMX, Moto X, and skateboarding. Famous rapper Kanye West will also perform at X Games Austin.

It's unclear how much of the ESPN/ABC X Games TV broadcasts will focus on gaming, but MLG says highlights of the tournament will air on both networks. The complete tournament will air exclusively on MLG.tv channels on the web, mobile apps, and the MLG app for Xbox 360.

"The popularity of competitive gaming and the MLG Pro Circuit is at an all-time high with millions watching the best gamers compete each month on MLG.tv," MLG EVP of sales, Don Reilley, said. "This collaboration with X Games will help further bring MLG to the mainstream while we provide advertisers with quality exposure and deep engagement with our fan base on MLG.tv across all platforms."

If you'd like to attend X Games Austin person, you can buy a three-day pass for $89, which also includes access to the MLG tent. For $189, you can get an "extremely limited" VIP upgrade, which gives you reserved seating at the MLG tent, a behind-the-scenes tour, meet and greet opportunities with top Call of Duty players, and a swag bag.

MLG is making numerous and significant moves of late. Earlier this year, the group announced expansion plans for Brazil, and just last week the firm revealed that it will build the world's first dedicated gaming arena off the coast of China.

For more eSports/competitive gaming news and analysis, be sure to read GameSpot sister site onGamers.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

90 comments
179107199999
179107199999

Tony Hawk Dave Mirra Shaun White and many others represent what the X games were about.Call of Duty....wow. So it so Xtreme it merits a badge of Xcellence. I guess it is Xtreme to sit in a chair and use only your fingers and eyes to pull of some sick killstreak plays. I hope they show the Xtreme camping side of Call of Duty.I'm Hype!! Can you tell! This is so so sick! Yeah who cares if someone can pull of another 900? Who cares when you see kids who forsake video games in order to try to an awesome trick that pretty much comes close to touching the heavens.We want Killstreaks! And we WAnt the NaO! In all seriousness.This is stupid and Call of Duty is a cancer. Thanks ESPN for spreading the cancer. Let the X Games be for the athletes. Those competitors know of physical pain and sacrifice.A call of duty player knows nothing of the sort.If anything do more with the Rally events.Those were cool

tightwad34
tightwad34

That is taking it way too far. The X games? Really? I saw recently that someone wants to make hopscotch an Olympic event. SMH. What in the hell is going on? Shit is getting way out of hand.

alenth
alenth

Competitive games are fun, and being part of the community is also nice, however I despise the concept of E-sports because it sells out the concept of community, there is a good reason why some communities like the ones from fighting games dislike e-sports.


Also Lol@COD being the main game, this game was never meant to be competitive due to its casual and unbalanced nature, this disgusting game shouldn't be there in the first place, but I bet activision is behind everything.



bi1lbillington
bi1lbillington

tbh im sure espn couldn't care less what people think its all about making money and they realize esports is a growing thing. I'm not 100% sure what the viewership is of esports but i read they get some crazy view idk i think it will be cool to see.

Skele7or
Skele7or

Sounds good to me. Seems like people are too caught up in semantics - what is a sport, what's not, who can be considered an athlete, etc. Just calm down and be happy with how far gaming has come. 

JayQproductions
JayQproductions

Can we please stop trying to pretend that gaming is in any way a sport? It's embarrassing.

qewretrytuyiuoi
qewretrytuyiuoi

Would have been better to do a Starcraft 2 tournament imo, there is a lot more skill and planning involved and anyone who has seen a starcraft player at work will know how fast their fingers and minds need to work.

For those of you that have not seen a SC2 player doing his thing I would suggest going to Youtube and searching for " Ax.Impact's First Person APM "   and watch his fingers, this player is by no means the best or fastest in the world but it will give you an idea of what's needed.

Don't misunderstand me CoD pro's are also very skilled in what they do I just feel that SC2 is a more difficult game. It also has the largest prizes that MLG do, there is a yearly $1,000,000 tournament that is held in South Korea iirc.


treemasterx
treemasterx

This is not a advancement in gaming, its an advancement for bro gamers 

BuzzLiteBeer
BuzzLiteBeer

How does this make any sense? Pro-gamers are skilled individuals that are entertaining to watch; that much I agree. But they aren't "athletes" and gaming is only a sport in the sense that chess is a sport. I don't see how it is relevant to action sports. What's next? Gaming in the olympics? This is ludicrous...

3dmatrixgamer
3dmatrixgamer

Titanfall, StarCraft2 and Dota2 would be a perfect choice.

dbene
dbene

maybe next year it can tour with the World "Rock, Paper, Scissors" Tour and the National Thumb Wrestling Association.

tom2750
tom2750

whether you class gaming as a real sport or not is the X games not a extreme sports event not just a sport event the key word being extreme

shingui5
shingui5

This is cool and all, but it's a shame it had to be a CoD tournament >_>

I guess bros shooting each other is more relatable to people at these events than Starcraft 2. 

dbene
dbene

I'm sorry...I love sports and I love video games, but they are completely different things. Why the push to make playing video games a "sport".

Laying around on your ass playing a computer game is an "anti-sport" IMO.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

You know there was a guy who got killed at the X games when he was crushed by his snowmobile. There's actual physical risk when it comes to sports. I might be the only one who says this but adding video games to the X games kinda kills the legitimacy of the event.

179107199999
179107199999

@Skele7or  Gaming actually got worse. Paid DLC for trinkets. games being simplifed to a point that kids can beat them and they provide no challenge. Games being sold half finished so you can buy the DLC later.(At least for games from Bethesda they already have a lot of content) Funny how Microsoft and even Sony were going to implement DRM and MS was going to go a step further by having a constant internet connection for the Xbox1. Call of Duty got so bad people would call SWAT on another player just because they didn't like how they played or because they lost.With advent of the internet. Online gaming turned pretty trashy.Players rage quit or cuss you out for literally being better than them.Players kicking you out of a lobby because you play different. Kids cussing and camping in Call of Duty not even trying to play the objective.Nintendo tried to approach gaming in a new way so we don't play the same as we gamers have done for decades and yet the same gamers who say they want something different laugh and scoff and Nintendo and still play regular and still complain they want something different. Console wars are a farce.Back then when people had multiple systems.We had are likes but when we went to a friends or relatives house and they had a different system we still played.Superior consoles didn't matter its was all fun.It was better back then.Now we have all this tech and we still get the same type of games.Though,some developers are breaking from the norm.And as for gaming as a sport.A sport can mean just a game for instance you can make sport of a buddy. Gaming is a sport in the definition that a sport is a game.To say otherwise is nonsense.

Skele7or
Skele7or

@JayQproductions  Perhaps you should stop trying to pretend that you have the authority to decide what is a sport and what isn't. I'm not exactly an eSports advocate, but the ratings and ESPN partnerships speak for themselves. This article is just another example of how times are changing. 

LtReviews
LtReviews

@JayQproductions  

No one is saying it's a sport. 

So can we please stop pretending that's what this means?

Basically, they just share a similar audience so they figured they could give each other viewership boosts by combining their demographics at the same event.

 

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@BuzzLiteBeer No one said they are athletes.  X Games does not mean "action sports."  It means sports that are out of the ordinary, hence the inclusion of gaming.  Understand?

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@tom2750 extreme means "of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average."  Gaming is not average or ordinary for the X Games, so it fits.  Make sense?

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@dbene Of course they are different.  Who said all sports are the same?

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@bunchanumbers Sports all have different levels of physical risk.  Football and snowmobiles have high risk, basketball would be medium risk, and gaming and fishing would be no risk.  Physical risk does not determine if an activity is a sport.  If it kills the legitimacy of the event for you then don't watch it.  I don't think snowmobile fans will boycott watching coverage just because some gamers are playing a video game somewhere at the X Games.

Damascuss
Damascuss

@LtReviews @JayQproductions"The X Games is an annual sports event, controlled and arranged by the U.S. sports broadcaster ESPN (with coverage also shown on its sister network ABC), which focuses on extreme sports. The inaugural X Games were held in summer 1995 in Rhode Island.". I'll do it one more time "The X Games is annual sports event". Do you see it now, maybe once more? "Sports Event". 

teske4444
teske4444

@Fitcherman @BuzzLiteBeer  I could be wrong, but I thought the 'X' came from 'eXtreme sports', and I'd hardly call video games extreme.  Most, if not all, of the events are extreme due to the high-risk nature of them.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will find myself watching the gaming portion, but I really don't think they belong with the rest of the x-games.  If you go to the X games website, you can look at all of the athletes going.... not participants.

supness420
supness420

@Fitcherman no, no it doesn't make sense, but they will do it anyway. does that make sense?

179107199999
179107199999

@Fitcherman @dbene  Its sport as in a game.Not Sport as in athelets testing their ablities. What they need to do is have an Assasins'Creed type event. Who can actually get a mark in a quick time using parkour and Altair's movements. That'd be the very definition of extreme

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

@Fitcherman @bunchanumbers  Actually, even gaming has risks. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome for the hands, benumbed rear for the "rear", backache, swollen thumb, the feeling of burning in the eyes, massive headaches after hours of gaming.

179107199999
179107199999

@Fitcherman @teske4444 @BuzzLiteBeer  I remember when the X games 1st came out. It was meant for Extreme sports.Cod is just a video game.gaming is to be ostracized from an event with athletes.This isn't an evolution of the X Games. LOL saying Call of Duyt is unusual and out of the ordinary is hilarious. Its been out for years and has been the same game since forever.How about this though. Lets have a game that has great motion control that actually forces gamers to be in shape for a virtual sport. But that'll never happen because not many are willing to train and sacrifice like real athetes do.If something like that was to happen like a combination of Oculus Rift and Kinect and a good sensor suit or something.Imagine a Bushido Blade type fighting game or even Soul Calibur. Something that touches the imagination.That would make for an extreme event. sitting a chair pressing buttons....Not so much....

teske4444
teske4444

@Fitcherman @teske4444 @BuzzLiteBeer  In that case, why not toss in backgammon and cribbage? I'm just saying that I don't see them as extreme sports in the sense of what I see X games as.  They might be unusual, but X games is known for the high intensity/risk in the sports they provide.  If you want to get in to definitions, look up the definition of 'extreme sport'.  The definition talks about hazardous and high levels of inherent danger.  The only risks in gaming are heart attack and epileptic seizures....

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@Fitcherman @dbene@olddadgamer@bunchanumbersSure they are.  Pro sports are entertainment, but they encourage people to play, which discourages obesity, promotes physical fitness (and the benefits to reducing obesity are many). 


This is a reply to a comment WAY up there....

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@olddadgamer @Fitcherman @dbene @bunchanumbers I agree.  I'm always surprised how pro gamers look relatively slim and in shape.  They are actually slimmer and in better shape than the general population.  To be that dedicated to something means you typically know how to take care of yourself.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@Fitcherman @dbene@olddadgamer@bunchanumbersIronically, I think a lot of dudes on this site assume they're the only ones with lives, wives, houses and workout regimens.  I think we'd be surprised, if we all met, how goddamn good looking we are.


My bad, should have added husbands.  I think we'd also be surprised how many of us are women.

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@dbene @olddadgamer @Fitcherman @bunchanumbers You are generalizing when you say gamers don't get outside and aren't active.  I'm a gamer and 99% of people couldn't keep up with my workouts that take place "outside."  To stereotype every gamer is simply ignorant.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@dbene @olddadgamer@Fitcherman@bunchanumbersAgreed.  It's why, as a dad, I limit the amount of games my kids play, don't give 'em phones, and spend a good amount of time kicking around balls, running around, and letting them explore the woods.  All things in balance.

dbene
dbene

@olddadgamer @dbene @Fitcherman @bunchanumbers  


It may help reflexes and stuff like that , but you have to admit the overall effect it has had on lack of physical fitness/productivity cancels that out to a high degree. No way 30 years ago this many teenagers stayed indoors all day and never play outside.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@dbene @olddadgamer@Fitcherman@bunchanumbersDunno, man.  I'm certainly in the games are art crowd, and art, I think is good and productive in society in a number of ways.  Plus, I do think it's good for reflexes and problem solving skills.  


But I'm with you on the sport.  I'd rather have this showcased as an art form than a sport.  More accurate, in my opinion.

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@dbene @Fitcherman @bunchanumbers It's not garbage.  It's gaming entertainment.  I don't see why you care if it is such garbage.  If you don't like it then don't read about it and don't watch any of it.

dbene
dbene

@Fitcherman @bunchanumbers  

It's not a sport. you can say it as many times as you want but it's not. Everyone who is not a complete NERD fool who has never went outside to play knows this.

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@bunchanumbers @Fitcherman Nobody cares if you don't consider it a sport.  The fact is, it is a sport and its increasing popularity is leading to events like it being included in the X Games.  Don't like it?  Don't watch it.