e-sports has been included as an official event for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou. This is a representative example of the changed status of the game industry. Therefore, South Korean people’s expectations for the e-sports team are high. In particular, expectations are very high for sports in which South Korea is a contender for the championship, such as 'League of Legends'. However, the recent South Korean e-Sports Association’s(KeSPA) selection process for the ‘League of Legends’ national team was literally a mess.
This is the first time e-sports has been included as an official event in the Asian Games. It is a historic event, but at the same time, there is a lot of work to be done to prepare. And in relation to the South Korean e-sports team, the role of the South Korea e-sports association(KeSPA) would be the most important.
However, the process of selecting the LOL national team by the South Korea e-Sports Association was literally a mess.
Let's take a look at the overall process of the South Korea e-Sports Association selecting the LOL national team. They announced in March that they would select six LOL national representatives. However, after the LCK was over, it was announced that 10 candidates would be selected as the primary candidates, and 6 people would be finally decided by conducting a ‘public evaluation match’ with an overseas team in Gwangju. It was very different from the initial one, and there was no explanation as to why the selection process had to be so different. (As this issue became a big controversy, a Q&A data was published on the 20th.)
As a result, the 10 players who were selected as candidates had to move to Gwangju, and play a match against foreign teams. It is understandable that 10 people are selected first and then 6 people are finally selected. However, moving to Gwangju, staying in a camp, and having a public match with an overseas team was a decision that did not make sense in many ways. Because some players have very tight schedules.
For example, the five T1 players who won the LCK had a cluttered inside of the team due to COVID-19 right after winning the championship. However, they could not rest properly and had to go to a camp in Gwangju. And, since most South Korean LOL teams are located in the metropolitan area, it is also questionable why they had to go to Gwangju to play games with good stadiums in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do.
In addition, T1, who won the LCK, will participate in the MSI which starts on May 10th. T1 also needs plenty of rest and practice to properly prepare for MSI. In the midst of this, moving to Gwangju, staying in a camp, and playing games without knowing whether or not he will become the national team is a huge waste of energy.
There is no way that the South Korea e-Sports Association was unaware of this overall situation and the players' schedules. This is the reason why there is no choice but to criticize the lack of consideration for the players. It was appropriate to announce the national team after the LCK was over, and to schedule training time appropriately according to the players' schedules after that.
There was no consideration for the foreign team designated as the match. The Hong Kong team ‘PSG Talon’, which was designated as the match, as of the 14th when the announcement was made, even their own league had not ended. The finals ended on the 17th. If even a small variable occurred in their schedule or in the process of moving to Korea, the selection could be canceled.
Due to these various reasons, the matches promoted by the South Korea e-Sports Association were criticized by a lot of people. The players and team officials did not express it explicitly, but it must have been difficult. As public opinion became unfavorable, the South Korea e-Sports Association announced on the 18th that the matches are postponed. And on the 20th, the call-up training, which was conducted by the 10 players selected as candidates for the national team, ended. And three days were literally blown into the air.
In the past, the Korea e-Sports Association has shown poor results in various ways. However, if it is an important situation such as the selection of the Asian Games national team, I expected that they would do better than before. However, what I actually saw this time was a mess itself. It is questionable whether the important task of selecting the LOL national team can be entrusted to an organization that works in this way.
e-sports is included as an official event in the Asian Games for the first time. Please, let's do better.
김창훈 기자 firstname.lastname@example.org
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