Headline June 30, 2016/ ''' *ESPORTS* - PAKISTAN? : 300 MILLION GLOBAL WATCHERS '''



TO HUMOUR PAKISTAN  -this great nation- I did make it a point to  call the relevant ministry to ask : ''Does Pakistan have a professional Video Gaming team?. Somewhere? Someplace?!

Ever since the great O'Captain Imran Khan, took Pakistan's Cricket to great heights, Pakistan has, by and large, only  produced losses and losers : Cricket, Squash, Hockey, Boxing, Wresting, Indoor Sports, Outdoor Sports, and on and on we go.

Just about the same goes for the entire Developing World. All sunk into low energy despairs.Deprived of anything beyond the daily grind of life and survival.

The ministry official, it turned out, had never heard of no such sport. Leave alone, Pakistan fielding a professional video team?

Trying to get to the  Baseline, I turned to Jonathon Margolis, who now delights in narrating some rare and unique insights, just before the start of Euro 2016:

The British Teams are inevitably knocked out early, and a very familiar groan is heard all across the UK : Why many Brits will complain, are we still only reliably good at sports conducted sitting down, like motor racing, cycling and equestrianism.

The same will be said in August at the Olympics, when British rowers will probably do well, while the IK's triumphant 2012 performance in standing-up sports isn't likely to be repeated.

Like many fans of what I regard as truly physical sports, I share the views of the sceptics down the pub about the games conducted essentially from a comfy chair.

So, it is a port if you're sitting in a chair?

I was recently talking to some folk from the  chipmaker  AMD at a conference when the subject of  professional video gaming    -surely the sitting est of sitting pursuits   -came up.

I was aware that  professional gaming  has an estimated  300 million  global audience ,  but know nothing about these  ''exports''.

AMD, it turns out, sponsors a stable of teams under the name Fnatic, and its world-beating League of Legends team in particular is widely acknowledged as the  Real Madrid of gaming.

This team's five members live with their managers, coach and statistician in a   ''gaming house'' ,  which sounded bizarre, remarkable and depressing all in one.

To me,  along with perhaps most people over  40, the notion of computer gaming being a sport, let alone a professional one,  flies in the face of pretty much  everything. 

Surely you might as well sleep or eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts for a living?

To counter my bemusement, AMD  offered a visit to the gaming house. I was dimly aware that this was an honour akin to being allowed to hang out with Ronaldo,  Bale and co,  except it was a bit lost on me, as I haven't played a computer game since Caterpillar on my kids Atari.

But soon, I was at the  League of Legends  house in Berlin, which is the global exports hub.

I imagined the house resembling the  student flat in  The Young Ones. But it was a bright  7 bedroom penthouse off the chick  Kurfurstendamm more in the style of a Big Brother house.

It was early on a weekend morning, so the hum of powerful PCs was more notable than the hum of human activity.

A couple of sleepy team members  -one  Dutch and one Korean  [Koreans are the Brazilians of gaming]  were working out gently at their screens playing each other at some low-stress game.

What was hard to compute for me was that these guys, who looked like anyone's 20-ish son eating breakfast cereal at their computer, were almost as famous as footballers, with fans in the tens of millions and earnings in six, if not quiet seven  figures.

Crowds of  50,000  can gather for big games, and  40 million have been known simultaneously to stream tournaments online where proze money reaches  hundreds of thousands pounds. 

No wonder, then, that Fnatic's Dutchman, Fabian Diepstaten, had just appeared in Vogue's Netherland's edition with a full page photo   -in a feature on his nation's rising personalities.

''When we go to  KFC  or McDonald's down the street here, we do get stopped for photos by  13 to 24  -year-olds. It can be quite difficult,'' said FinLay Stewart, the team manager. 

Our address is kept secret, but they find us. And yes, they are groupies, although we have a house rule that only real girlfriends can come into the house.''

Brits are not famed as players, so  Mr. Stewart, 24, is the only one in the house, although  Fnatic is a  45-employee UK business based, in Shoreditch.

From Chelsea, he joined Fnatic straight out of   Exeter University. Gaming doesn't seem a bad way to cut your business teeth; Fnatic is considered the first big brand in  esports and has a growing apparel and computer hardware catalogue.

I learnt a lot about my epsorts on my visit, but did I leave persuaded that it's a sport?

Well, I quiet like that   seven-stone  weaklings  can excel at it, although they can also do well at chess   -or amateur radio, which, weirdly, is considered a sport in the old communist countries.

The game maybe a bit to  warlike  for my taste, but then again chess can be quiet aggressive too. In fact, any sport lacking aggression is a bit limp really.

And I admire that being a brilliant strategist is as important as a wondrous hand-eye co-ordination, so I think I'll say perhaps to esports    -although I may not be streaming games just yet. 

And by and by, as this ministry official huffed and puffed about the Great Jehangir Khan, Torsam Khan, Azam Khan, Jan Sher Khan,and Hashim Khan, I fired the second barrage:

''Does, Pakistan think that having a great sport talent is a rule blessing or an exception?''  And before this good man could answer, I pulled vertically up to the safety of TOR, to consider and mull  *Cyber Security*.and read more on-

Esports   heaven. *A League of Legend final in Katowice, South Poland*.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Pakistan and the World. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and !E-WOW! -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Transform-Transcend '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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