The Simpsons is one of the longest-running TV series of all time, and the Matt Groening-created animated sitcom which began in 1989 is now in its 30th season. For the 659 episodes to date to continue to attract audiences, the writers have had to pay close attention to mainstream trends and make sure they represent current culture. It has had hundreds of celebrity guest stars including Clint Eastwood and Michael Jackson over the years, and has covered almost everything from space travel to baseball. One of the latest episodes centred on eSports, suggesting that competitive gaming is beginning to be recognized on a much larger scale.
How Big is eSports Right Now?
The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean opted to create the episode, E My Sports in the latest season of the massively popular show because of the sector’s rise to prominence and its cultural relevance. In the last seven years, competitive gaming has risen to the fore. In 2012, the global revenue from the industry was $130 million. This figure increased rapidly and revenue in 2019 has exceeded $1 billion. By 2022, eSports is projected to be worth $1.7 billion, and at this time it will have taken over a lot of traditional sports. At first, there were many skeptics who wondered whether this type of gaming would take off, but sites like Twitch have helped a great deal.
Now, there is even a buzzing betting market for the games, with bookies like Betway offering odds on the CS:GO ESL Pro League and the Hearthstone World Championship. In addition to this, the major competitions are proving to be big money spinners as well. Dota 2’s The International in 2018 had a prize pool of over $25 million, and the LoL World Championship had over $6.4 million to distribute among winners.
Advancing technology in recent years has made it possible for eSports to become a well-established and lucrative industry, in which professional gamers can become virtual athletes across various genres of game. This initially came about through the online gaming phenomenon, with titles like Valve Corporation’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Activision’s Call of Duty series leading the way in terms of collaborative competitive gameplay. Now, it is serious business and a large amount of money is being pumped into the industry. As games become even more realistic, the spectator figures of eSports are likely to rise a lot more as well.
Simpsons Creators Collaborated with eSports Giants
In the recent, unique episode of The Simpsons, Bart gets in on the pro gaming scene and starts playing a fake MOBA game called Conflict of Enemies. To make this as realistic as possible, the show’s creators collaborated with a number of top names in the eSports business and asked them to help make sure it was accurate. League of
Legends developer Riot Games was on board to make sure the episode was in touch with the real gaming culture, and there was a guest appearance from real-life eSports commentator David “Phreak” Turley. The characters even go to South Korea to compete in the eSports final, a fitting place for this seeing as the Asian country has had
such a big impact on the industry.
While the quality of The Simpsons episodes has noticeably dropped from the golden era of the 1990s, this was considered a strong episode and it received good reviews. Den of Geek gave the episode 4 stars out of 5, and said that the “more The Simpsons reward bad behavior, the better the episodes get.” Other reviewers noted that it was a big improvement on the lackluster storytelling of recent seasons, but still far from the best the show can be.
The Simpsons has been highly relevant to modern culture in its lifespan, and has even predicted some major events such as Donald Trump becoming president of the USA. The fact that the American cartoon has turned its attention to eSports is great for the competitive gaming industry and will help boost people’s awareness of it.