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How Street Fighter helped lay the foundations for the esports boom

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The world of esports is big business, with players from Canada and around the world competing for prizes regularly into six figures. Today there are more than 80 players who’ve earned over $1m over the course of their careers.

Some of the biggest esports games today include Dota 2 – the favoured game of the top ten highest earners -Fortnite, Counter Strike and League of Legends. Players sometimes switch between games as new titles are released, but the majority tend to stick to one.

In many respects, esports remains a relatively new phenomenon, with its mainstream success and huge prize pots a fairly recent development. But the genre of competitive gaming actually dates back nearly 30 years, with cult beat-em-up Street Fighter II playing a key role in its popularization.

In this article, we will examine the game’s early role in the rise of esports.

 

 

A cult classic

Street Fighter II was released in Arcades in 1991 and was eventually ported to home consoles. It was the game that helped launch the beat-em-up genre, where two fighters compete on a single screen, and it enjoyed huge success in Japan, North America and across Europe.

The simplicity of the concept and the one-on-one nature of matches made it a favoured game for competitive players, while the controls made it easy to learn – although difficult to truly master.

This made the game the perfect catalyst for the gaming tournaments that would evolve to become esports. More games in the Street Fighter series were developed, eventually leading to the first-ever Evolution Champion Series in 1996.

The tournament continues to this day, with last year’s event held at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, although because it only features beat-em-up games, it’s no longer recognized as one of the biggest events in the esports calendar.

As we can see, modern esports betting markets are dominated by shooting and battle arena genres, where a higher number of players compete at the same time. But back then, simplicity ruled, and ‘Evo’ is still appreciated today as helping to lay the foundations for the success of esports.

 

Going global

The first truly global tournaments appeared after the turn of the century, with the development of faster and more sophisticated internet networks making competition between remote players a reality for the first time.

Classic tournaments, like Evo, relied on players being in the same place at the same time, but esports’ footprint truly grew when it became possible to pair players from across the world, making it easier than ever to find worthy competition.

And this in turn laid the groundwork for esports to truly explode in popularity during the 2010s, with new sponsorship and viewing opportunities helping grow prize pots, which itself helped encourage more players than ever before to try and turn their hobby into something more lucrative.

It’s certain that esports will continue to grow, both here in Canada and overseas. The first dedicated esports arena opened in California in 2015, and this is perhaps a sign of things to come, but it’s important that we don’t overlook the key role that the humble button-mashing beat-em-up played in its development.

Published By Harry Miller

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"High level chaos" if Edmonton Oilers were to get Alexis Lafreniere pick, CBS sports says – Edmonton Journal

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Article content continued

Alex Janvier standing on his artwork: Tsa Tsa Ke K’e (Iron Foot Place) in Ford Hall in Rogers Place (photo by Jeff Nash / Edmonton Oilers) OFFSHOOT STUDIOS/

I talked to Janvier again about his experience at residential schools, and you can read about that in the column linked below, but I wanted to add here his comments about his love for hockey and his thoughts on hockey as a unifying force in Canada.

“That’s the only thing that is Canadian, that ties anybody, nearly anybody, together. Not politics or the parties that run politics. They can’t do that. Hockey is the only thing that unites Canada together. I know that because I played the game myself.

“That’s the Canadian glue. It doesn’t matter what background you are, skates and a hockey stick and a puck. The puck unites us.”

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Blue Jays agree to deal with first-round pick Austin Martin – Sportsnet.ca

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The Toronto Blue Jays and 2020 first-round draft pick Austin Martin have agreed to a contract, Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae has learned. The deal is pending a physical.

Financial terms of the contract have not been disclosed, but the fifth-overall pick carries an assigned slot value of $6,180,700.

Martin was viewed as the best “pure hitter” in the draft and posted an eye-popping .377/.507/.660 batting line in 16 games with Vanderbilt before the 2020 NCAA season was shut down. He was expected to be drafted within the first three selections, but ended up falling to Toronto at No. 5.

The Blue Jays announced Martin as a shortstop on draft day, but it’s unclear where he’ll line up defensively. His versatility is another one of his strongest assets and he could end up at third base, second base or centre field if Toronto elects to move him off shortstop. It’s also possible he’ll be used as a super utiity-style player without a true, defined position.

Baseball America ranked the 21-year-old 16th on their latest Top 100 prospect list. First-overall pick Spencer Torkelson of the Detroit Tigers — coming in at No. 11 — was the only member of the 2020 class above Martin.

Fourth-round selection Nick Frasso is now the only Blue Jays draftee unsigned.

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Washington Redskins undergoing 'thorough review' of team name – CBC.ca

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The Washington Redskins are undergoing a “thorough review” of their name.

The National Football League team said Friday it has been talking to the league for weeks about the subject. In a statement, the team said recent events around the U.S. and feedback from the community prompted the formal review.

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” owner Dan Snyder said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan, and we are supportive of this important step.”

The recent national debate over racism renewed calls for the franchise to change the name, and sponsors this week started mounting their own pressure. Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change.

FedEx, the title sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover, Md., said Thursday, “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.”

On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all of the team’s gear from its online store. Nike did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment.

Changing course

Coach Ron Rivera, who said in a recent radio interview that now is not the time to discuss the name, called it “an issue of personal importance.” Rivera said he’d work closely with Snyder during the process.

Washington mayor Muriel Bowser said recently the name was an “obstacle” to the team building a stadium in the District.

The current lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and the old RFK Stadium site in Washington is one of several options for the team’s new headquarters, along with locations in Maryland and Virginia.

Experts and advocates have called the name a “dictionary-defined racial slur.”

Until this point, Snyder has shown no willingness to consider a change.

In late June, the team removed racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame. A monument to him was also removed from the RFK Stadium site.

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