Don Bowden

Bits and Pieces from Intel Extreme Masters World Championships

We are into day four here at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships, preliminary events are finishing up firming up the competitors for the push to the finals taking place tomorrow, Saturday March 9th. As always you can find all the latest news and information about the tournament on the Intel Extreme Masters website.

This morning I was fortunate enough to talk with some of the players and believe me it was an interesting conversation. To a person, everyone of the players spend 8 to 10 hours a day practicing their chosen game, be it StarCraft II or League of Legends. I was talking with StarCraft II player Grubby asking how he practices against other players without giving others insight into his technique and strategy. The answer was trust, he has a select group of friends he practices with that he has total trust in to not divulge any of his strategy or tactics to other players. You can imagine how this could affect the outcome of future tournaments if secrets and strategies were known to his competitors. He also practices by playing in “ladder’ tournaments anonymously so other players don’t know who they are playing against.

As I was talking to these players I was thinking, wow, 8 to 10 hours a day playing a video game can’t be very healthy, right? Wrong… most player have a very strict regime that they follow daily. Stephen Ellis of team Evil Genius says his teams day starts at 9:00 am with a healthy breakfast followed by an hour workout, a couple of hours of individual practice online followed by 6 or so hours of team practice, dinner and the rest of the evening to themselves, and this is happing six days a week. Seems to me like a pretty structured training schedule on par with any other athlete.

While there may not be a “physical strength” aspect to these competitions there is definitely extraordinary skill involved in hand-eye coordination and mental focus. These players will average between 250~350 keyboard/mouse actions per minute for the entire length of the match; this requires incredible concentration and focus, a different type of athlete for sure but an athlete none the less. These players are the best of the best and are incredibly passionate about what they do and to a person have expressed their appreciation for what Intel has done to elevate eSports with Intel Extreme Masters, allowing them to compete on a world stage. 

Our consumer zone has been a hopping place as well, lots of people stopping by to tryout the games we have for the general public to play. An added bonus to this stop has been our display of Intel Inspired Ultrabook convertibles. We have several models from Lenovo, Toshiba, Dell, Sony and ASUS out for the public to see and touch giving everyone the opportunity to see first-hand how cool these new touch enabled devices are and how easily they convert from notebook to tablet.

If you haven’t already done so join the excitement and go to ESL TV and watch the matches live on-line. I’ll be posting next week with a wrap up post of the event so check back, and the Schnitzel count is now at 7.

I welcome any and all comments so please feel free to let me know what you are thinking.

Don Bowden

About Don Bowden

Don is a Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer in Intel’s Corporate Demos Group supporting various Intel events from executive keynotes to trades shows. His latest gig is with the Intel Extreme Masters Gaming Series where he provides general technical support. Don’s an avid gamer, mostly first person shooters, his real passion is on-line racing with which is the closest thing to driving a real race car as you’re going get. Don is also a skier, photographer and avid motorcyclist, making two cross country trips and a trek to the Arctic Circle and back from his home in San Jose, CA.

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