League of Legends is running its season one championship, viewable here. At one point the stream reached 210k viewers, which sounds like a damn good amount of people. Riot was showing off its new spectator mode, and I must say it looked very clean and gave a lot of great info.
In Inquisition’s vent we had a few of us just sitting around matching some matches, and the whole thing was a pretty fun “group activity”. During one match the commentator said to call up some buddies, order some pizza, and enjoy competitive LoL. I think he was trying to be funny, but the suggestion is not exactly crazy. In a way, being in vent and watching is like a future version of having people over to watch a sports game. Or close anyway.
I have no doubt that there is a serious future in such gaming/viewing. So long as you understand the game being played at a basic level, you can follow along and enjoy, and a game like LoL is almost as fun to watch as it is to play, given the right conditions.
The conditions, however, are not there yet. The stream needs to be in high-quality HD, needs to be smooth, and can’t pause, artifact, or run at different delays for different people. The delay made watching with others tough, as someone would mention a great ult, and 10 seconds later I would see it on my screen. Once the quality/timing is a reality, the overall enjoyment will really go up.
Imperfect as it still might be however, it is a fun view into the future, and the matches I’ve seen have all been intense and interesting, showing off just how balanced and viable so many of the champions really are, and just how important the player is behind the champion (teams would ban specific champions against specific teams, even though those champions might not normally be considered ‘ban worthy’).