Gaming is hitting mainstream media. This January the BBC – no less – devoted a whole day to the question of the place of gaming in the current media landscape. They themed it around the question of whether gaming should be seen as a sport – which given the level of competition, sponsorship, prize money etc. that gaming currently attracts might seem like a no-brainer to some of us. Their audience is possibly a bit behind the curve on this so we’re prepared to cut them some slack.
The BBC’s move to cosy up to the gaming world struck us as interesting because for all their historical place in the media they are in the same competition for users, visitors, viewers and readers as anyone else. They’re clearly recognizing that if they don’t come with us gamers, they’ll get left behind.
It will be interesting to see if and how and when the results of big gaming contests get reported. At the moment sports dedicated sites – Blue Square is the pick of the crop right now – have a clearly defined ‘traditional’ sports focus. Don’t be surprised though, if prompted by the BBC’s early move, providers don’t start to complement their existing content with some gaming pieces.
Games like FIFA 15 and NBA 2K15 highlight the huge crossover between gaming and sporting audiences. It’s only a matter of time before someone starts to tap into that media space, and with the BBC having made this move it is inevitable that the competition will have to sit up and take notice as well.
So far the likes of Major League Gaming have enjoyed something close to a media monopoly. The mainstream media have pretty much left them in a ‘silo’ to get on with their own – as they see it – minority, niche activity. That can’t last.
The thing is, as the BBC’s move signals, that ‘minority’ tag is losing its bite. As the whole gaming generation matures, their interests are bound to feed into the mainstream. As the BBC’s attention highlights, they are also going to re-shape it in a major way.
Keep your eye on the sports pages for future developments.