Zachu / Jani Korhonen

The future of electronic sports in Finland

Basically eSports is about people who are practicing hard to become the very best of their sport. We may see a kid playing in front of his or her computer, but that isn’t necessarily just for fun. That kid may just be trying to develop new strategies with the other four members of their team for the tournament next weekend. Furthermore they might have a manager of the team who is expecting results in their next trial. It is a hard work, and it doesn’t differ from any other sports.

For many years, like in every other subculture, there have been lots of voluntary workers doing a pioneer work around their hobby. In Finland all of the electronic sports competitions have been held in computer events arranged by volunteers. There are a dozen organizations who arrange these kind of events in their home cities around the country. In these competitions, they even have sportscasters, reporters, and classified referees for the matches, all done as voluntary work. This whole eSports wouldn’t exist without these hard working citizens who do not even get paid for their hard labor.

The arranging of computer events isn’t everything these volunteers have been doing. Until now, games have been considered as the root of all evil, just as it was in the 90’s with the television. If there was a mentally ill guy shooting in a school, it was blamed on TV. It took years and years of active lobbying to finally show the decisionmakers that gaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it can be a regular hobby for a regular kid. In the year 2009, the lobbying bore fruit and the first youth house dedicated to gaming was founded. The active work of the organizations made someone at the top of the food chain finally realize that there are much more gamers than there are skaters.

If this isn’t enough proof that things are going forward when considering the eSports, there is still one huge thing that has happened in the past few years: The rise of the Finnish eSports Federation. This happened in anno Domini 2010 and the project behind this was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. After the federation was founded, media and the policymakers finally had a trustworthy place to route their questions. This alone has made the credibility of eSports to go up like a rocket.

Five years ago there was only a handful of people who could’ve believed that some day there might be such a thing as a guy who is making his living on playing computer games. Now there are those fathers who drive their kids every week to the local gaming youth house to practice on their game or participate on a contest. It isn’t so awfull if your son or daughter is a gamer. After all there’s a federation behind this hobby, just like in icehockey or football.

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