The Evolution of the LAN Event
LANs are often times the most hyped up and anticipated events of the year for eSports. There are 1000s of attendees, a great production team, and a large lump of money awaiting the top contenders.
ITG got the chance to talk to some retired Halo players to discuss some of the main factors behind the growth and development of the LAN event.
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eSports is one of the fastest growing industries. More and more money is being put into organizations, players and tournaments, so it makes sense that there's been a drastic change in LAN events over the past 10 years.
Most of the big differences were due to the increased prize pools. Back in the early to mid 2000’s, when eSports was still in it’s infancy and probably wasn’t even referred to as eSports, a year's worth of Halo tournaments might have totaled around $100,000. Now because tournaments are backed by their game developers (Valve, Microsoft, Activision, ECT.) we’re seeing prize pools of over $100,000 per tournament and millions given out over the course of a year. Crowd funding was also introduced to many eSports giving tournaments an extra boost in prize money.
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Like every great rapper has said, “money’s the motivation” and money has certainly been a big motivation for the participants at these LAN events. Often times teams would show up unpracticed and unprepared for their LAN events. Now, that’s hardly ever seen. Teams at LAN events have played and practiced together for dozens of hours and have a game plan ready when entering the tournament. This partially due to many of the best players and teams receiving monthly salaries, but the preparation can still be seen in the amature sceen where monthly salaries are absent.
As earlier stated, game developers are now starting to back their games. LAN events have seen a great improvement in their production because these tournaments are now a representation of the brand. Tournament host are putting thousands of dollars into chairs, stadiums, lights, and their staff. Ex-pro players are being hired to help with the casting, analyzing, and hosting of major events. Renting these men and women for a weekend isn’t a cheap, but they do bring some great knowledge to the casting crew.
The LAN event have come a long way over the past few years, but they still have a ways to go. Hopefully soon every LAN event will be something gamers can be proud of.
Lastly I'd like to say thank you to our retired Halo players Justin Joseph, Zachary Edwards and Trey Christensen who all took the time to help with the creation of this article.