Esports Shine Forth at The Game Awards 2020
December 28, 2020, by Rakesh Naik
The Game Awards 2020 was unconventional and unique because of the on-going pandemic situation all around the world. This time over, the broadcast of the awards was done remotely with zero audiences in an online setup. Ever imagined that to happen? Me neither. But Geoff Keighley and crew pulled off an absolute stunner this year as well. They used sound stages in 3 major cities, London, Los Angeles and Tokyo. The event was streamed on 45 different platforms across the whole world. In India, popular OTT, linear TV and digital content platforms like JioTV, Airtel Xstream, Disney+Hotstar, MTV, MX Player and Voot re-broadcasted the live event for the Indian audience.
Last of Us Part 2 by Naughty Dog bagged a total of 6 awards including the game of the year. Hades, Ghost of Tsushima, Among Us and Mortal Kombat 11 are among one of the highlights of the event. Keeping gaming aside, we will talk about how esports was perceived this year by the jury at TGA.
Best Esports Game – League of Legends
League of Legends is Riot Games’ golden child forever. From the best production, to stage designs, to viewership and popularity, LoL has defied all laws of modern esports trends and showed us that MOBA is not an old man’s game just yet. Riot Games opened the game in 2010 as free to play, the business model of the game was not popular at all for a decade because almost every developer/publisher would need some amount for the development of updates and maintaining the game servers. Riot Games made the free-to-play model popular with League of Legends. The fact that anyone can download the game without spending a dime elevated the game’s status among major titles like RDR and Assassin’s Creed. As the game evolved, the audience found a sweet spot in spending money on in-game items like skins and LoL has them aplenty. Microtransactions in-turn solved the problem of not making any money for a much-loved game. Then coupled with the fun and competitive element of the game, LoL comes in as a full-blown package of entertainment. The mobile version, Wild Rift, also released this year and made it to no.1 in iOS beating Among Us in November 2020.
Best Esports Event – League of Legends World Championship 2020
Best esports events are always synonymous to League of Legends World Championships. October 2020 marked the conclusion of the 10th edition of the world’s most-watched esports tournament. Adhering to the new normal seemed a bit tough if you look at the team celebrations and greetings. The opening ceremony is always a treat to the eyes, the magnanimous augmented reality neatly synchronised with the performers on stage supported by the ever so great scores from the Riot Games Music Team. What does that result in? Well, Worlds 2020 amassed 46 million peak concurrent viewers and 23 million average minute audience. The stadium lacked the audience and despite the hundred challenges, Riot Games pulled off their best event in 2020. Shout out to Damwon for bagging their maiden Worlds title.
Best Esports Athlete – Heo “Showmaker” Su
Damwon Gaming has been dominating LCK since 2019 and leading the charge of the World champion is the midlaner Heo “Showmaker” Su. The LCK Summer Finals is enough to put forward the proficiency of the greatest midlaners in recent times. Showmaker is often pitted against Faker and Chovy but the former is definitely a cut above. ShowMaker was absolutely a major reason for the team’s utter dominance, with mechanics and decision-making that is unmatched by nearly every other midlaner across the globe. In addition, he maintained a consistently high level of performance that even some of his other teammates couldn’t quite manage at times.
Best Esports Coach – Zonic (Astralis)
The CS 1.6 veteran manning the dominant Danish roster of Astralis is arguably the best in the business. Danny Sorensen couldn’t cross over to the CS:GO player side of things but turned out to be really good at coaching. After joining Astralis in 2016, he took a struggling roster to one of the greatest teams of all time in CS:GO history. From ESL Pro League, Blast Premier, IEM, ESL One to numerous other tournaments, Zonic has bagged them all with Astralis. Zonic on June 23 released his autobiography by the name of ZONIC: The Astralis Story where he explains how esports went from shady basements to sold-out stadiums in a decade’s time along with his journey under the Astralis banner. Do check it out!
Best Esports Team – G2 Esports
Runner-up at IEM Masters this year, GSA League 2020 winners in R6, LEC Summer and Spring winners and a dominant Valorant roster in the EU region. G2 esports has definitely grown as an organisation. Recently, the American business magazine, Forbes rolled out the most valuable esports organisations in 2020 and ranked G2 at number 8. The disparity is of course due to the long list of criteria across a longer period of time. G2 Esports has rosters in CS:GO, Fortnite, Hearthstone, Rainbow 6, Rocket League, Sim Racing and Valorant. The organisation is valued at 175 million USD with an estimated revenue of USD 19 million.
Best Esports Host – Eefje ‘Sjokz’ Depoortere
The stage of literally any big League of Legends tournament is pretty much dull without the vibrant presence of Sjokz. If you all remember the heartfelt speech right after she won the best esports host, you would know what it means to belong from the lesser lot and still making it big.
“There’s always people that say ‘You only made it because you’re a woman’ or ‘You only got this because you’re a girl’, you only got this because you post bikini pictures and all that s***t! The fact is that’s not just true! I’m awesome! I work hard my ass off and it’s sometimes very very difficult! I speak five languages! I have two master’s degrees. I have built this career as a pioneer in this industry for the last ten years.”
Sjokz has earned her name by dedicating more than 10 years in the League community, as a part of LEC and the Worlds now.
That was for the esports awards at TGA 2020. The year has been a little rough on everybody but games and gamers kept us going all throughout. A big congratulations to all the winners.