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Regardless of what esports enthusiasts think about Tanner Barnard, they cannot deny the power that he wields in an ever-expanding online world where the line between virtual and real has become so intertwined that it can be hard to tell where games and reality end and begin. In this article, we explore this power and the impact that the man who has become an esports success story has on the entire industry.
The Rising Popularity of Esports
The trajectory of Tanner Barnard’s career in the world of esports is something of a whirlwind and is representative of the general rising popularity of this genre of sports too. His innate talents have catapulted him to esports stardom, going from an adolescent with a passion for gaming, to an internationally recognized esports athlete.
Over the past few years, we’ve started to see a huge rise in the number of esports tournaments and professional players working up through the ranks just like Tanner has. The games that they play are extremely varied, ranging from high-stakes poker tournaments to teams battling it out in Call of Duty.
What adds spice to the mix is how esports introduces fans to an entirely fresh way of connecting with their beloved sports and players. Most of these tournaments are streamed live for fans to watch, and engage – even bet money on who they think will rise victorious.
The growing attention on esports has led to more markets offered at online betting companies, including sportsbook companies. On top of this, there are also options that have been embraced by online casinos, and in recent years we’ve seen certain online slots that are esports-themed, using the world of esports and online gaming betting for the graphics and overall theme of a slot game. The esports arena is even impacting how certain games, like casino and slot games, are developed.
It’s clear to see that Tanner Barnard's rise to fame can be likened to that of esports itself, as online gaming has flourished from a mere pastime into a professional, coveted arena.
Who is Tanner Barnard?
Tanner Barnard is a professional video game player who is rising among the ranks of esports success. You’ll most commonly see him competing in COD: Warzone tournaments, where he goes by the name ‘Royalize’.
He's clinched victory in more than 150 online tournaments—quite an impressive feat. What's even more mind-blowing is that he's shared the gaming stage with big names like Offset, Quavo, and Marshmello. Beyond the pixels, Tanner's impact extends to the cultural shift in sports engagement, where digital arenas are becoming the stage for a new group of esports athletes.
How Tanner Mastered The Virtual Arena
Central to Tanner Barnard’s draw is his skills. When he’s playing in a Warzone tournament, he commands attention and holds the stage with his unique brand of skills. His ability to plot a winning course of action, to carry it out with precision, and to work within delicately calibrated systems of feedback that are continually revised in response to lived experience has set him apart in the world of esports.
Ultimately, his ability to make extraordinarily well-conceived decisions in real-time, while under pressure, is a testament to the kind of impressive mind and taste that anyone can appreciate – even if you’re more used to watching traditional sporting tournaments, more people are being drawn to these virtual sports.
Using Social Media to Increase Engagement
What speaks volumes about Tanner’s influence is his emphasis on community building. He is often live streaming on Twitch, MILLIONS.co, and interacting with his audience through social media and gaming forums. Through doing so, he helps create spaces for fans to feel like they belong to a community and can share what they know, while also cementing the community of fellow enthusiasts, fans, and players through affinity and shared culture.
Tanner Barnard could answer questions from fans while streaming, explain why he made the choices he did, and maybe even run a game with them. The idea of giving fans a chance to participate in the sports and join a community of similar fans is a really attractive option – especially when you think about how one-sided traditional sports engagement is.
Innovative Content Creation
For esports athletes, being a professional is not just about playing against your fellow veterans; you’re creating content for your fans. Players such as Tanner have a presence on Twitch and MILLIONS.co, where they stream their competing sessions live, and on YouTube where they post vlogs and tutorials. Tanner used to produce content for Toronto Ultra but now has more of an independent approach.
The content is designed to provide the viewers with an exclusive look at the lives of these players, as well as the world of pro-competition gaming. This new form of media creation fits a variety of tastes. While hardcore gamers may be viewing this content as a way to improve their own strategies, an average viewer invested in the athlete’s personality will be able to relate with the personality behind the controller – even if they’re not even initially invested in the game they are playing.
This additional layer of content creation enhances the fandom experience for fans watching from the sidelines. It shows how esports players are taking advantage of the latest digital technologies and using them to propel their sport – and themselves – to more mainstream success.