Update: The second part of the interview has been released and can be found by clicking here.
In a recent interview with Wellplayed.org, compLexity Founder & CEO Jason Lake discussed the “past and heritage” of eSports. In the interview, Jason breaks down the past and present success of compLexity gaming, from maintaining professional standards unmatched in the eSports world, to taking part in building the future of eSports for the next generation of gamers.
Below is an excerpt from the interview:
WellPlayed – One can argue about the true origin of eSports at length, be it Doom, Quake or the old-school arcade competitions that preceded them all. But would you agree that Counter-Strike did something above and beyond what had been done before in terms of competitive gaming? How significant of an impact did CS have when it came to growing eSports in the west?
Jason Lake – I think if you asked ten people where/when eSports began you’d probably get ten different answers. However, it’s my opinion that the Quake/CS era really marked the beginning of professional gaming. Quake highlighted the fact that skilled gamers in organized competitions could create extremely exciting entertainment while winning Ferrari’s and buckets of cash. Counter-Strike took that concept and added the whole team dynamic, thus merging raw skill with the ability to work with others to achieve a common goal. Thus, both Quake and Counter-Strike played instrumental roles in launching eSports as we know them today. Although my friends Slasher and djWheat will throw things at me for this, I personally believe Counter-Strike was the bigger of the two. I say that primarily because large events like CPL and ESWC focused more on CS, so it had a greater impact on the larger pro scene. Also, before my beloved brothers at r/StarCraft pick up their pitch forks, let me note that StarCraft obviously had a big impact on the growth of pro gaming, but its impact on the Western world was negligible until recently.
WellPlayed – After some initial years of a strong eSports boom in the early 2000s, would you agree that a few years of a steady decline followed, wherein eSports (at least in North America) struggled? If so, to what would you attribute those tough times? Is it something concrete that we can try to avoid in the future, or will it happen again?
Jason Lake – I agree that a decline most definitely occurred, and I’d say 2000-2005 was a boom for gaming. Large teams were fairly stable, smaller organizations were developing, and there were plenty of quality events to attend. In my opinion, the failed experiment of the CGS combined with the decline of Counter-Strike, the lack of compelling replacements, and a global economic slump created the perfect shit storm that plunged eSports into the dark times of near obscurity circa 2007-8.
I honestly don’t know if there is a real answer about avoiding a similar crash in the future. It’s a combination of different aspects that makes eSports boom or bust: the games available, the fan base, financial stability, etc. Everyone involved at a high level is cautiously optimistic that this boom is more of a steady upward curve and not a bubble but history will be the judge of that. Can we continue to inspire new fans and attract the corporate support necessary to float this boat? Let’s hope so.
To read the entire interview, click here. Part 2 is expected to be released tomorrow and this post will be updated when it is.