The term “video game” quite simply means, “an electronic game in which players control images on a television or computer screen.” In the world of gaming, some people consider everything playable displayed on anything from a phone screen to a console to be considered a video game. Video games are an ever-expanding genre. While it is clear that players desire narrative and story, at what point is there a divide in the massive category? Will there be a divide in what is considered literature and what is considered an eSport?
In gaming, it seems to be essential that a game contains a single player campaign. By enabling single player, it allows for narrative and an in-depth storyline to hook gamers. Many games also try to add in a competitive multiplayer aspect. Adding multiplayer to games might take away from narrative specific to that campaign, but it allows for a larger audience to partake in the competition, like the ever-popular Call of Duty franchise has shown. Call of Duty is a first-person shooter video game.
It began on the computer and expanded to handhelds and consoles. There are currently twelve games in the main series, and although they seem to mimic one another just in another setting, they have, for the most part, been incredibly successful. Call of Duty has sold over 100 million copies. This is not only a thriving game in terms of single player; it is also booming in terms of multiplayer as well. As of 2012, there were 40 million monthly active players across all titles (citation needed).
In 2014, Titanfall was released, first on Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. It was anticipated to quickly overtake Call of Duty as one of the most popular first-person shooter games. Articles like this one, claimed it to be a “Call of Duty Killer;” the game had won favoritism before it was even released. In the game, players control mech-style titans and battle it out with six on six matches in space colony arenas. Unfortunately, the one thing Call of Duty had that Titanfall didn’t was a single-player campaign. While there is some narrative in the game, it is only accessed through the multiplayer modes. Titanfall ended up falling far short of its expectations simply because too many gamers desire a storyline, even in a first person shooter experience.
For those gamers that do not want a narrative, or very little of one, they flock to
larger massive multiplayer online games such as the ever-growing League of Legends. League of Legends is an online battle arena game developed by Riot Games for computers and it is free-to-play. In the game, a player takes on the role of a champion and fights against other players with weapons and magic. It has grown to become one of the most popular games ever. The number of people who play League of Legends is unprecedented due to it being so accessible to everyone. Although video game tournaments have been part of gaming culture for a while, League of Legends arguably mainstreamed eSports, organized multiplayer video game competitions that are watched millions.
I think the title “video games” applies to too wide of a genre. Because of the mainstreaming of eSports, and the more widely accepted idea that video game narrative can be art, the idea that these two very different types of games fall under the blanket is becoming more and more unreasonable. As time goes on the divide between games and eSports will become more present and eventually will be considered two different genres.