‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion piece
Today’s blog is a thought exercise I do often. It is one where I look at an issue, figure out what my own general position on it is and then break it down from multiple angles to come to a more thoughtful and thorough opinion. In this case, I will focus on examining my own biases. Oversaturation is something that has been an issue in a few esports scenes including SC2, Dota2 and CS:GO. For my part though, I never had a problem with the oversaturation as I think it should be sorted out by players and teams first. Tournament orgs are incentivized to run more tournaments so it is best for teams to pick and choose what they want to play. In reality, it seems very few teams are able to turn down an event leading to exhausting schedules of practice, online matches, travel, tournaments that can last upwards to 3 months.
But oversaturation is also a problem for the viewer. The most common criticism towards that is that it muddies the storylines and narratives and keeps it hard to track. I don’t believe that’s the case, but I look at my position and what I’m capable of and I will be the first to tell you I am one of the worst people to ask on this issue.
Let’s break this down. What is it that makes me the worst, why am I the worst, how am I the worst person for this question?
First, it comes to my job. I am incentivized to want more tournaments because I don’t work at any of them. I write about the tournaments but don’t need to go through the exhausting travel schedules. All it does is give me more data points to draw from.
Secondly, it comes to ability. One of the most common criticisms laid on oversaturation is that it’s hard to create narratives or storylines and it is too hard for even an expert to follow. In this I may actually be the worst person to comment as I was able to follow and keep up with the height of oversaturation in SC2 from 2012-2013. There were about 60-70 LAN events in 2012 with multiple team leagues, online cups and smaller major tournaments. Not only could I follow all of it, I could (and eventually did) write out nearly every significant player’s progress without a problem while trying to practice 8-10 hours a day in SC2 to try to understand a player’s mindset. It got to a point where I couldn’t listen to SC2 panels because there is so much knowledge, parallels and connections in my head that it felt too casual for me. (The 2 times I went to a SC2 LAN I was able to fill the entire downtime explaining the entirety of SC2 to the two casual friends I went with. One of those was IPTL which had over 10+ hours of downtime.)
Third, I just like watching teams/players fight each other over and over and over again.
So I’m paid to want more, I’m able to process and create narratives without a problem and I like watching it. This is why I try not to speak about oversaturation since I know my perspective will be skewed on the matter and I’m so far off the reservation that my experience is completely different from even a hardcore fan who has to do a full-time job or be a full-time student.