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Interview with International Gamer Eric Yorke-Slader

What is online gaming?


Online gaming is any type of game played via the internet. It could be as simple as correspondence chess where 2 players e-mail each other their moves in turn, or as complicated as a massively multi-played online game where thousands of players from all over the world are playing together.


What got you interested in this passion?


I’ve always been interested in computers, and when I played my first online game (Diablo) I immediately loved it so much that I couldn’t really see myself playing single-player games after that! It’s definitely a social thing for me, but I also enjoy the way that some of the games challenge me to think in a different way.


It is becoming a huge worldwide market. Why do you think this is?


It definitely is, and there are many factors at play but I’d have to say that I think the main reason is accessibility, specifically around cost. In a lot of places in the world there is incredibly affordable internet available, and gaming LAN (local area network) cafes are hugely popular in places where most people don’t own their own computers. Online games have become very accessible to the entire world and not surprisingly, they’ve grown and continue to grow in terms of popularity as a result.


How many folks have you met because of this sport and where do they reside?


I’ve met more friends online than I have in my entire life offline. They reside everywhere from South America to places all throughout Europe and Asia, and of course, there’s also lots in America and Canada. In recent years, I’ve actually been able to meet many of them in person at different events we’ve all travelled to or on vacations we’ve planned to visit and hang out with each other. But there are still many I’ve never met IRL (in real life) and I probably never will.


I hear there is a lot of money in gaming. Tell us about it. 


This is something that has only recently become true, in the past 5-7 years or so.  With the popularity and accessibility of online video streaming, large companies and sponsors have noticed the massive potential market stemming from online gamers. Some prize pools for online gaming tournaments have reached double digit millions, and in almost any decently-popular game, you can easily find a competitive scene with money and sponsors contributing to it.


Tell us about the semi-recent event you attended in Vancouver.


The event was called The International. It was for a game called Dota 2 and had a total prize pool of over $25 million. Think of any sports arena or even a concert where the game/main event takes place in the centre of the venue and every seat in the building is filled with fans. That’s what this was like, except the main event was The International – an online gaming tournament. And the venue was indeed packed with fans. It’s the first (online) gaming event I’ve ever attended as a spectator and I finally met a lot of my friends (who I have known for many years and talk to almost every day) for the first time in person.


What brought you joy this week?


Seeing my girlfriend and my puppy be so in love with each other.

And mint chocolate ice cream from Made By Marcus. Have you tried it? It’s amazing.