The beauty of sport is that it doesn’t matter your language, you can share a love for the competition that transcends communication barriers.
Today, I was reminded that esports do the same thing. And that emotion and fan energy is the glue that binds us in that moment.
Commentators were in the venue to serve global audiences in English, Japanese, and Portuguese, as well as the host French language.
As the event began, I could have run off to a press room and watched a video feed of the match with English commentary, but instead I decided to stay put and soak up the moment in the room as best I could.
And it quickly became clear that the words didn’t matter nearly as much as the way the commentary was delivered.
Great commentary enhances the match you’re watching through intonation and raw energy. Hearing explanations and details are useful to assist in understanding the nuance of what’s happening – and are very valuable between rounds and matches to develop a viewer’s understanding of the game.
But the real ‘sell’ in the heat of battle is how excited and emotional a commentator becomes.
Did someone just make the clutch play that decided a round against all odds? Whether that’s someone kicking a ball on a field, or someone shooting a virtual gun or digital fireball, in competitive terms it’s the same feeling for fans and commentators.
You don’t need the words to explain that kind of moment. You just need the rising pitch and volume of the commentary – and the crowd in the room – to drive that point home.
It’s a simple thing, really. It’s entirely sensible that this can be the case. But with so many people still struggling to grasp that esports really do offer many of the competitive and spectatorial values of traditional sports, it was a moment that drove that equivalence home.
Let yourself get swept up in the excitement and you’ll always get more out of the experience – whatever the sport, digital or not.