America Stinks at Video Games?

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he was the one Moment for american football When David Beckham, the British superstar player, signed with a team in Los Angeles about 15 years ago.

Hu Shuo-Chieh could become Beckham of American e-sports, the term for competitive video games as a spectator sport. My colleague Kellen Browning Wrote about the stars Like Hu from Taiwan and other countries where e-sports are the biggest.

Kalen talked with me about what it is for these button-pressing professionals who are coming to the US, and why the United States is the second-tier country in the world’s largest competitive video game.

Shira: I know that some readers will be surprised: people pay strangers to play video games against each other? It’s a jobThe Tell me how big it is.

Kellen: Competitive video games began decades ago with games like star CraftEspecially in Asia. It is now global and huge, especially for games played on personal computers League of Legends. Last October, around 46 million people watched online for at least part of the World Championship in Shanghai, China. Three million people tried to buy tickets to watch in person.

E-sports are not as big in the United States, but they are still popular. Company that owns the league of legends competition Where are you It is one of the most popular professional sports leagues for people 18 to 34 years old. And Fan enthusiasm Is like a traditional game. People buy jerseys, pro video game players advertise and competition is fierce.

And aren’t Americans great in the competitive league of legends?

No, the best teams and players are in South Korea, Taiwan and China and some in Denmark, Spain and France. When they go to international competitions, American teams are trended. One reason that North American e-sports teams are recruiting foreign players is to improve on the world stage.

How much can these foreign stars do?

Hu – who goes by the name SwordArt – signed a record-setting contract, at least for the Western E-Sports League, at $ 6 million over two years. Overall, the average salary of a starting lineup player in the North American League is $ 460,000. Big names can make a lot.

These people – and they are almost all men – burn quite young outside, especially in countries where they practice for 18 hours per day. They may retire at the age of 25 because they have repetitive strain injuries or cannot click the button as fast as they used to.

How is it for these young video game professionals to go to the US team?

This can definitely be a culture shock. It helps players of the same team Will often train together, Generally in Los Angeles. Many teams provide translators and help with accommodation and visas. But it can certainly be challenging for those who struggle with English or learn to drive. Some players have left after one or two seasons because they are homic or have earned enough money to leave.

Confess, Kellyanne: What are your favorite sports and who are your favorite e-sports professionals?

I like to play edge of empire, A PC game in which people compete to build a historical civilization. I play a little NBA 2K. But the only e-sports I have seen are the ones I write articles about.

Tip of the week

Brian x. ChainThe personal technology columnist for The New York Times has inexpensive hacks to try if you’re sick of seeing your blurred face on a web video call or you’re looking like an underwater:

Many of us are riding the bus struggle bus. Our video quality looks grainy, and our audio sounds crummy. What to do?

One option is ordering high-quality Webcam and microphone, But a lot of gear from home to work or school has been sold out during the epidemic, and demand has pushed prices higher. Mics are also expensive partitions for a task.

So here’s a cheap solution: use what you have.

Front cameras on modern smartphones and tablets are of better quality than web cameras built in most laptops. So for video calls, try turning your phone or tablet against something in your house, as a lamp or stack of books. To get a better viewing angle, you can shave a book under your phone case. You can also buy Low cost stand.

For sound, just use a decent headset. The earbuds that come with your phone usually have a good-enough microphone. If you really want a new pair, I recommend investing in it Good wireless earbuds Because they are versatile. When you are not using them for video calls, they can come in handy on a jog or for regular phone calls.

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