When Michael Kane’s book, Game Boys: Professional Videogaming’s Rise from the Basement to the Big Time, entered my radar, I was lucky enough to get in contact with Kane and interview him via email. My thanks to Shannon Twomey of Viking for facilitating this interview. Here isa snippet of the publisher’s description of the book: “Game Boys is a pioneering narrative of the rivalries, quirks, and dramas of a subculture on the cusp of big things. At its most personal, it’s a classic sports tale of victory and defeat, punched up for the millennial generation. It’s also an engrossing business-meets-popculture narrative that reveals the entrepreneurial ingenuity involved in bringing gaming onto broadcast TV, in the vein of the X-Games or televised poker. Game Boys is an engrossing read for technophiles, gamers, parents, and anyone interested in the business of sports and trends in pop culture.” My thanks also to Kane for his time.
Tim O’Shea: In the end acknowledgments for the book, you note the “cooperation and trust of all the e-sports loonies who allowed me into their world”. What has been their reaction to the book, in general or with certain leading characters in particular?
Michael Kane: I’ve gotten very positive responses, especially from the people around e-sports who have been attempting to convey its appeal to a wider audience – like the managers, shoutcasters and e-sports enthusiasts at Gotfrag. I think they appreciated the challenge presented in balancing the two tasks of explaining e-sports to outsiders and making it an entertaining narrative. I’ve heard less from the gamers.