Quote from Warden »
I actually have to agree here. LoL, SC2, etc have a full "show" to watch. SCG at its best doesn't come close. However, there are some caveats to point out:
1 - Magic has a trillion variables such as the cards within a deck, matchup type, and "the stack". eSports the variables are more contained. Like there are only X units in a videogame, so viewers understand the limits and permutations. Magic has a lot more in scope/volume the viewer needs to learn. Not a bad thing, and certainly makes Magic "deep", but for viewing you have to work to mitigate this. Without it, you speak gibberish. And the appeal of eSports is for casuals/new people to enjoy.
I don't know if I would agree with that. Each of these games has it's nuances. Starcraft 2 there's the thing about what each unit can attack (air or ground), and what units are good at dealing with others. In LoL I actually caught a few games of that. Each of the individual characters has it's own unique things it can do. I still don't know what any of the characters do but I can watch the game and see them use a move and I'm not to confused about what happened.
Magic is very complicated from a rules perspective, but as the game plays out it's not hard to follow. In a game if you cast Restoration Angel on Thragtusk after your opponent tries to kill it, there's a lot of complicated things going on there but as a viewer even if you don't know what the stack is, at the very least you see the result of the play and use context clues to think "ok, Restoration Angel was used to save his creature".
I will say that one of the things that Magic has going against it entertainment wise is the games aren't usually climactic. I would actually say the same about LoL from the few games I've seen, seems like when a team wins it was obvious they would win like 5 minutes ago. Starcraft is usually more dramatic because of the custom of conceding a game that is obviously out of reach. Sometimes you get a one sided game and it takes them a while to leave, but often you see a rush or timing attack or huge final battle at the end and usually if one player wins a battle decidedly, the other guy will usually just concede right there.
3 - eSports is a big production. Honestly, the production values make it almost like an ESPN for nerdy competitive gaming.
This is the one big thing that makes me think that they could make it happen with Magic like they do for eSports. Because with eSports, the way they make money is through advertising (and entry fees I guess?). With Magic, specifically SCG Opens, SCG has another revenue stream they can use to help "fund" this production until it can get running on it's own feet. And this revenue stream would be directly effected by putting more money into their events. They sell cards and have a website with articles. So the more popular the game is, the more people potentially buy cards or read articles, and in general the bigger SCG is as a Magic brand.
It's possible I'm a unique demographic, so maybe it doesn't make financial sense to go bigger with their events because they don't feel like enough people will watch. But all I know is that I would be more into watching SCGs if they put more into the production. Currently I don't have cable TV, I watch A LOT of twitch steams. A lot of said streams are either Starcraft or Magic. And I can tell you if I watch a stream, it's because before I click on it I know what I'm getting into and I don't have to hunt for a specific matchup or a specific player. For example, right now I've watching one of Joe Losset's past streams. He does a lot of Legacy (which I don't even play the format, I'm a Standard player). But if he's streaming an interesting deck, I'll watch.