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Can esports survive its coldest hour?

Esports is struggling under the weight of venture capitalists in the so-called 'Esports Winter.' Can it survive?


Steven Asarch


Posted on Sep 8, 2023


Last month, I made the rare trek out of my city to New Jersey to do one of my favorite things: watch “League of Legends.” At the Prudential Center in Newark, thousands of diehard fans of Riot Games’ arena battler packed the stands to spectate the final two series of the League Championship Series season. The esports event was an energy-filled montage of fights and scuffles of esports teams, packed with the excitement of the most diehard players, with chants echoing from the rafters which culminated in team favorite Cloud9 getting demolished by underdog NRG. 

But even in that flurry of confetti and celebration with fellow nerds, it all felt a bit somber with a familiar elephant in the room: Esports teams are in a weird place right now. The once-dreamed fantasy of getting together with a bunch of friends to play games as a job has been warped and deformed over the past decade under the massive weight of venture capitalist money and the ever-growing desire for brands to appeal to the $250 billion gamer market. Now, as the hype machine dies down, fans and organizations alike are facing a cold, dark winter. …

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*First Published: Sep 8, 2023, 12:53 pm CDT