This morning, I’d like to talk to you about Chris Puckett. You may be wondering why I’m doing this for starters, when this isn’t an esports blog, but bear with me on this. Here’s a guy who has played, organised and supervised countless MLG events: he began in 2004. He’s been involved with Activision Blizzard’s latest acquisition since then and when he retired as a player became a commentator. Now, he’s been announced as the front man for ActiBlizz’ brand new esports gaming channel. This is a guy who was originally banned from MLG’s own forums back in 2003, ran the Halo Nationals in 2004, and has a biography that is well worth a read, but could probably do with an update. Let me pick my favourite part:
Why can’t you just be nice to the new guys?
It’s a problem I’ve had my entire life. I just can’t seem to be nice to anybody unless they are pretty girls. But to be honest, underneath the asshole exterior I’m really a nice guy.
However, in fairness to Chris, he’s clearly worked very hard for quite a long time to get to this stage in proceedings (13 years and counting) and I’m not going to doubt that he’s the best person for the job, because he clearly, absolutely and totally is. The timing of this announcement is quite crucial too, considering that on Friday a rather significant announcement was made about esports elsewhere.
So esports will now have a ‘World Governing Body’ and I suspect it is no surprise therefore that Activision Blizzard made their announcement when they did. Sky did a feature here and if you don’t like pictures there’s an MCV article that gives you the basics: it’s being established in the hope of establishing stricter regulations, shared prize pools and (hopefully) some level of legitimacy, but with current contests run only by publishers? Well, it’s already looking like a bit of an uneasy stand-off, especially as there’s only esports teams on board and none of the companies involved. Clearly, the marketplace is beginning to establish itself, and it will be very interesting in the weeks that follow to see if WESA (World Esports Association) can actually pull two fairly disparate areas of interest together. The following pro teams have become founder members:
Ninjas in Pyjamas
What happens next will be very interesting indeed.
You may now wonder what someone who has not exactly been championing the sports cause is doing here reporting all of this. Well, like it or not this is a very significant part of the future for the company who makes my favourite MMO, and pretending all this stuff doesn’t exist would be not only childish but extremely narrow-minded. What I bring to the table is a true measure of impartiality to all of this, and I can see exactly why it would be wise for Activision Blizzard to have their cards on the table the same day that WESA goes public, because MLG’s already finely poised as a broadcaster with aspirations beyond what’s already being produced. I’d suggest you take a look at this article I threw together for MMO Games to give you an idea of what MLG’s already achieving with CS:GO as a benchmark for future ventures.
Needless to say, if you didn’t know who Chris Puckett is before you started this article? I guarantee you he’ll be far more prominent by the end of this year: in fact, I’d expect to see him front and centre at Blizzcon in November for starters…