An analysis by Global Workplace Analytics revealed that the number of people who worked from home has increased by 140% since 2005, and current circumstances have led to an even greater increase in recent weeks.
Remote working and telecommuting are slowly becoming the norm, and businesses have been quick to adapt. An article on the reasons why business continuity plans should include telecommuting by HP outlines that about two-thirds of small businesses already allow some sort of remote working arrangement and that 70% have acknowledged the link between flexible working arrangements and increases in productivity. Still, many businesses are struggling to make the transition, and this is where esports can shine.
The esports industry has always been at the forefront of remote working, and the restrictions imposed by the global pandemic have highlighted this fact. During these trying times, the esports industry serves as a field that others can look up to when it comes to dealing with remote workers. For instance, Daily Esports noted how the video game giant PlayStation plans to continue paying employees whether or not they are able to work remotely. Likewise, Sony will also continue to employ a work from home arrangement, although they’ve warned the public about the risks of delays in the production of some titles.
Current circumstances have likewise led to the eventual postponement of almost all of the major professional sports leagues across the globe. Last month, ESPN wrote about the NBA’s decision to indefinitely suspend its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus. Last week, the Tokyo Olympics were also suspended until December 2020 alongside multiple esports leagues. As Radoslav “Nydra” Kolev discussed in a previous post that LA Major, Epicenter Major, DOTA PIT Minor and Rift Rivals have all been cancelled, while MSI 2020 has been postponed until July and LEC and LCS have been indefinitely suspended.
In spite of these cancellations, esports has shown the viability of working through a pandemic through the resumption of certain leagues. For instance, the entire group stage of the ESL Pro League in CS: GO will be played online and the offline finals will be moved from Denver to a studio location in order to mitigate the risk of potential travel restrictions. Last week, the Call of Duty League resumed through an online-only esports tournament which can be enjoyed by viewers through live broadcasts on YouTube.
Blizzard Entertainment and the Overwatch League also announced that the remainder of the regular season would commence and shift to online play, after the success of the first weekend of online-only matches. As an answer to the biggest concern of the viewers over the competitive integrity of the potential players who will be playing from home, Jon Spector, Vice President of the Overwatch League, reassured spectators that there is nothing to worry about since they have been tirelessly putting up appropriate safeguards to detect and address potential cheaters. Spector went on to explained that they’ve instituted structured competitions based on team and player location, tested different server locations and begun installing multiple safeguards including software that runs on all PCs.
Even as an industry that has always thrived within the realms of the online world, esports leagues still face unique challenges brought about by the global pandemic we are all facing. However, the resumption of a number of leagues goes to show just how these challenges are easily surmountable.