What Is An Esport? Microsoft Excel Multiplayer Battle Poses This Very Question

What Is An Esport? Microsoft Excel Multiplayer Battle Poses This Very Question

Written by 

Mackenzie O Brien


9th Jun 2021 12:25

Over the years, many people on the internet have wondered what constitutes an esport. Sure, there are games that everyone thinks of when it comes to esports, like Dota 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Nowadays, however, the definition has changed tremendously. No longer is esports purely associated with first-person shooters or MOBAs; instead, it represents a variety of genres and styles.

What is Esports?

The question of what makes an esport has puzzled the gaming community for decades. With games like Farming Simulator 2019 drawing massive tournament crowds, the definition of esports has changed a lot over the years. TSM's legendary signing of renowned chess Grandmaster Hikaru "GMHikaru" Nakamura brought chess to the forefront of the esports world. Nakamura's huge online presence and penchant for online battles showed the world that chess is an esport.



Microsoft Provides an Answer

Now, Microsoft has challenged peoples' idea of what makes an esport once more. The software company announced on Twitter that it would be hosting an esports competition. There's only one twist, however; the entire competition would take place in Microsoft Excel.



Microsoft brought together eight of the world's best financial modellers on June 8 in the Financial Modelling World Cup's 888 Battle. The Financial Modelling World Cup stated that this event would showcase eight players from eight different countries battling it out on June 8, and they most certainly delivered. The event featured modellers with the highest skill levels in the world, all competing in one standalone event.

The 888 Battle Rages On

In this competition, John Lim (Australia), Michael Jarman (Canada), Andrew Ngai (United Kingdom), Anup Agarwal (India), Gabriela Stroj (Poland), Jason Webber (South Africa), Jeff Heng Siang Tan (Malaysia), and Stephanie Annerose (United States) showed off their financial modelling prowess throughout the one-hour duration of the competition.

The event drew a small crowd of 78,000 Excel fans, but it drew plenty of interest online and on social media, as well. Many people tuned in just to witness the rise of another unconventional esport.

In the end, Michael Jarman took home the first prize, scoring 700 points total. John Lim was a close second, scoring 675 points. All the modellers brought their unique approach to Excel with them during the battle, which gave each a unique advantage over the other players. Fans were excited to see these young professionals battle it out, which got them hyped for more Financial Modelling World Cup Events.

What Does Excel Mean for Esports?

Excel users and financial modellers alike have been curious about when the software program would garner an esports following. The Financial Modelling World Cup brought Excel to the world's attention, as it partnered with Microsoft and some of the best financial modellers in the world to bring Excel to the forefront of esports.

Before the 888 Battle, the Financial Modelling World Cup had hosted other competitions over the years. While their YouTube channel only dates back to December 9, 2020, they have been hosting Excel competitions for a while now. Their website boasts that these competitions are educational for both the viewers and the modellers themselves.

Their events have sparked a lot of interest in Excel again, with many people excited for the upcoming Stage 6 competition on June 25 -28. This competition is part of the ongoing Financial Modelling World Cup, which will wrap up by November 30, 2021.

The Internet Reacts to the Battle

With all of the financial modelling events coming into fruition, many are wondering if the software program qualifies as an esport. It most certainly does, as it has drawn a significant online following. People from around the world have gathered to witness one of the world's most unique competitions, which was certainly exciting for both fans and participants.

Now that the Financial Modelling World Cup has made its professional events open to the general public, upcoming competitions might gain more traction on the internet. Microsoft's viral tweet about the event certainly helped attendance grow on Tuesday, which brought the Financial Modelling World Cup to the forefront of the esports world.

While what can be classified as an esport is still up for debate to most gamers, it is safe to say that it can encompass almost anything. It seems that any online event that brings a crowd together over a mutual competition seems to meet the current definition of an esport. Whether players are gathered over chess or Excel, they are still playing an esport. The definition is fluid and still changing, so who knows what the weird esports 2022 and beyond will bring.

All we know is that the internet can't get enough of Excel being an esport. The event spawned plenty of memes and confused reactions from the gaming public. Despite the confusion, the competition gained a lot of positive reception online, which helped the Financial Modelling World Cup for future events. Now the competition has fans and a following, which has given it plenty of internet fame.

With the next set of challenges just around the corner, the internet is more excited than ever for the upcoming Financial Modelling World Cup. The esports world got a small taste of what Excel can bring to the table, which will be revealed when the next World Cup event kicks off on June 25.


Images via Microsoft | Financial Modelling World Cup

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