Poker is a huge competitive sport right now, and StarCraft II is becoming more popular every day. To Playhem co-founder Keith Swan, he sees synergies between poker played online and competitive online StarCraft II.
"A big initiative that we're currently working on is bringing poker into the e-sports world and changing the way online poker is experienced," said Swan. "We think of online poker as much closer to a real-time strategy video game than we do to a physical game of table poker. To be good at online poker you need strong quantitative skills, be able to process information about your opponents, think quickly, employ calculated risk taking. The skin may be very different, but the skillsets are very similar to a game like StarCraft II or League of Legends. And not surprisingly there are a bunch of StarCraft players who are also online poker pros. We think there are some very cool ways to create new types of e-sports style competitions around online poker, and we'll be rolling out some of those features in the coming months."
Poker has transformed itself from a game mostly played in private rooms to a worldwide competition with tournaments broadcasted on television. Competitive sports leagues like MLG are making competitive games a more compelling offering for people to watch online and Swan thinks the sky might be the limit when it comes to e-sports' mainstream appeal.
"If you talk to David Ting from IGN or some other people in the space, they'll tell you that e-sports can be the next major sports league," said Swan. "The prior generation played football and baseball and that certainly wont go away, but the current generation spends as much time playing video games as they do on an athletic field. CBS Interactive had some amazing statistics that the average concurrent viewership for the first round of last year's march madness was 650,000. MLG Anaheim last month was 450,000, so these e-sports events are approaching traditional sports at a rapid pace."
Read the full interview on [a]list.