OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions is an inside look into life and minds of four-time Call of Duty MLG Champions, OpTic Gaming.
OpTic Gaming was established in 2006 as a semiprofessional Call of Duty (CoD) sniper squad. They began posting their videos on YouTube in 2009 and began their legendary run as Pro CoD Gamers in Major League Gaming. With almost 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and an avid Twitter followers of each member, OpTic Gaming now has the largest following of any gamer team.
OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions is 36 chapters long, and divided into 7 parts:
Part 1 : The Birth of Optic
Part 2: Building a Pro Team
Part 3: Modern Ware 3
Part 4: Black Ops 2
Part 5: Ghosts
Part 6: Advanced Warfare
Part 7: Optic Today and Tomorrow
Each chapter is written by a different team member than the previous, which provides a constantly rolling narrative each with its own unique perspective and insight. With 8 different writers, it would likely be hard to keep a constant narrative. Work on a group project, or read any Pearson text book, keeping a constant message is nearly impossible. Yet the authors work together on paper as well as they do in their videos, showing how well they work as a team on and off the console.
The book reads like a blog. It reads very personal and feels directly connected to each writer. It pretty much plays out like a voiceover on a flashback with small excerpts (or cutaways) to a personal insight on a certain topic or situation. Reading the thoughts of the writers as they experience new found fame, stardom, and help start a movement helps put the reader in their shoes. What I found even more fascinating, was the foresight and marketing of the people who were reaching out to the team members. Each member kind of stumbled into pro gaming. They all loved the game, and had inklings of the future potential, but at their core really just wanted to make the most out of playing. They all have to develop a business mindset as well as an entertaining persona while playing. They quickly learn to understand the need to be both an entertainer and professional player to not only grow the team and fanbase but also become more relevant and mainstream. With a few opportunities, well-placed inquiries, they were able to take their game to the next level. It’s like watching each element of the perfect storm come together piece by piece. Or maybe more like each kill streak piling on more and more kills.
I found OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions to be an extremely insightful book on what is likely the future of sports. I have to admit I am not a huge eSports fan myself, but I can see this book as being the same as reading Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. It is a deeply personal inside look from masters of the trade. H3CZ’s insight and foresight is the lifeline of the team’s financial success and in large part the gaming entertainment industry. His pieces alone would make a great entrepreneurial advice/inspiration piece. There are few people who understand what it means to pursue a career that is nontraditional, let alone a career that most people deem childish and less than a hobby. OpTic Gaming is a team of people who not only faced those difficulties but overcame them and are thriving.
Being a sports memoir, I did not get that feeling of deep inspiration that many traditional sports greats usually embody and project. This could very well be due to my personal view on gaming as a sport. But I just don’t see the power and dedication of the sport calling to the players the way it does to say, Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning. This is not to put down eSports, but I feel the lack of intense physical discipline lessens the overall impact. eSports will likely have their own hall of fame and history books, but somehow it feels much more commercialized than traditional sports. As interesting as I found everyone’s story, it does not make me respect them as athletes as much as I do as business savvy individuals who get to do what they love for a living.
OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions is a fascinating read on the world of eSports and one of their greatest and most pioneering team. As a sports memoir, it may not have the powerful impact that inspires intense dedication to training. However, it is a great read on taking your passion from a hobby to a career. OpTic Gaming pursued their passion and navigated the terrain, and helped create the next big sports craze. This is their story, no filter, no buffer, no lag.
OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions is on stands now.