eSports Book Club: What We’re Reading and Why

I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy playing video games. I think books cater to two of the few things humans love most: stories and meaning. In one way, it is like immersing ourselves into the brains of the authors, allowing us to learn and see through their eyes. They provide more perspective and meaning in our lives. And in another, more video game oriented way, books can help us focus and increase mental sharpness. So here I am creating one of the first Book Clubs within the eSports industry.

When it comes to reading, I am more of an eclectic, unorganized reader. To the point that I can read about Science Fiction, and then jump right into historical autobiographies. The one common theme is passion: I read about what I am interested in. Reading books about eSports and professional gaming, then, are a natural choice.

At this point, I must say, the eSports literature and book scene is not very developed. Hundreds if not thousands of gaming content pieces are published every day. News, stories, interviews, stream analysis, statistics, you name it, it’s there on the web. So why are there so few books about eSports?

Is it because today’s gamers do not read? Or readings books is unappealing when compared to playing video games? Or because the influencers within the industry do not write? None of them are necessarily true. But the fact is that the competitive gaming book scene when compared to arcade gaming or even other sports, is in its infancy.

But books are great ways of preserving stories in a more personal and individual style. They also serve as the medium to share longer, more intricate stories. They could also serve as the gateway between other industries or older and younger generations.

For instance, it would be fascinating to know more about the real stories behind team rivalries, team chemistry, and inside, personal accounts about specific events in the Overwatch or League of Legends leagues. A book would be a great way to immortalize those moments.

So below are the top five books that we, here at Craft and Gamercraft, have read over the past two months.

OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions

Authors: Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez, Matt “NaDeSHoT” Haag, Seth “Scump” Abner, Will “BigTymer” Johnson, Asley “Midnite” Glassel, Ryan “OpTicJ” Musselman, and Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt

The typical book about the foundations of the team usually gives you a one-sided perspective. What’s impressive about this book is that you get seven different views about the same topic: OpTic Gaming.

From beginning to end, you can see how a passion turns into an idea, which then becomes a business, and then the mythical Green Wall. It is a trip back to the very foundations of the North American Call of Duty, FPS competitive scene, back where there weren’t even any governing bodies.

Throughout, the OpTic crew provides intricately fun stories about the inner workings of the team. They tell the reader precisely what made OpTic the eSports behemoth it is today.

Another exciting aspect is getting to see what happens between competitions and different CoD seasons. From the first Call of Duty to Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Ghosts, they take you into the team dynamics, chemistry issues, and roster changes like never before. Plus, you also get to see how Scump and NaDeSHot, for instance, see and think about one specific play, fight, or situation.

Now, on hindsight, it was so fitting for OpTic to innovate by launching one of the first books about eSports teams. This book is legendary. The stories it contains are living proof that amazing things happen when passion, fun, and work coincide.

Lastly, it is fascinating to see where each of the authors is now. From the time the book was written, they’ve all forged their way through the industry. H3CZ continues to own and manage OpTic Gaming. Scump is now the Captain of OpTic’s CoD team and continues to be one of the most popular and dominant players.

NaDeSHoT, as we all probably know by now, left OpTic to create 100Thieves, which just recently won its first Call of Duty World League Championship. MiDNiTe continues to create fantastic content for her fans and the OpTic community. OpTicJ continues to work with OpTiC and the Houston Outlaws.

BigTymer is still tightly connected to OpTic while running GreenWallSt, his asset management venture. Lastly, Fwiz now works for Google and YouTube, as their Global Head of Gaming Partnerships and Head of Gaming, respectively. What a set of authors!

College eSports: What You Need To Know

Authors: Brett E. Shelton & Chris Haskell

When reading this book, I was particularly pleased with how easy it is to read and follow — it is written as a conversation. Dr. Haskell and Dr. Shelton take the reader on a step-by-step journey of the essentials of college varsity programs to an unparalleled level of detail.

And even if you do not want to – or can’t – start a collegiate varsity eSports program, this book still has a lot to offer. It allows you to see the evolution of the eSports industry more intricately; it gives you an insider look at how college teams organize their rosters, facilities, and responsibilities.

One of the most interesting aspects is the academic and gaming balance. To succeed, gamers need to put in a lot of hours into practice scrims and training. At the same time, they must not neglect their studies. This is where the book comes in handy: it offers several smart, practical approaches to this dilemma.

Haskell and Shelton also emphasize the need to get the program structure right. A good structure would allow gamers to flourish, access to eSports scholarships, and coaches they need. It would also have the right number of games. All of it while maintaining a good position in their respective eSports leagues.

For professors and colleges looking to establish a collegiate program, this book is a must-read. It will serve as an excellent point of reference. For aspiring college gamers, it will help them understand the kind of environment where they will be able to thrive and compete.

Overall, there are some learnings for everyone: Collegiate eSports will explode and make the industry even more popular, profitable, and entertaining. The future looks bright. The college and high school eSports scenes will master their game.

eSports: The Ultimate Gamer’s Guide

This book is an excellent primer. If you are new to the industry or only know about a few games, Mike Stubbs will give you a birds-eye view of the entire eSports scene. The structure of the book is the right one, always avoiding informational overload.

Through it all, Stubbs maintains a good balance. This is perhaps the best book available.

These are, of course, League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, Starcraft II, and Overwatch.

after explaining the huge potential and adoption these games have, Stubbs explains the different game genres.

Through it all, Stubbs maintains a good balance. This is perhaps the best book available.


A Theoretical Guide To Esports Nutrition

I am always on the lookout for good gaming books. I will continue to share my thoughts on the books that boost performance and increase my understanding of the eSports industry. Until then, ad astra per aspera.

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