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[osu! Esports] Evolution of OSU! Game: Staying True to Its Roots & Lessons Esports Can Learn.

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Evolution of OSU! Game: Staying True to Its Roots & Lessons Esports Can Learn.

[Image: osu-1.jpg]
Figure 1. OSU!

OSU! A name I am sure you have heard in some way shape or form if you have been part of the anime or the gaming community for the last decade or so. But the context you might have heard it in is bound to be different for everyone. Despite its massive cult following it seems there are still people who regard it as either a meme game or a game for hyper-obsessed gamers. Even though contrary to what the majority believes OSU! Is probably the only game to have kept its core systems intact throughout its history. A hollow statement some might say, but it is true nonetheless. 

It is also important to note that OSU! despite its infamous reputation has still managed to hold many major community events ranging from 1v1 showdowns to entire community-organized challenges. But amongst all of this, only one event stands hands and shoulders over the rest and that is OSU! World Cup. A massive endeavor organized entirely by the community to have the best of the best OSU! players face off against each other. Just to decide who in the end will be crowned the World Champion. This event is also quite special in certain regards as in the world of esports it is known far and wide for having the largest prize pool for a game outside of the legacy gaming genres. This means that other than fighting, FPS, MOBA, and Card games it is the only other game to have a cash prize of 10,000 dollars. All of this just goes to show how a dedicated community can manage to not only keep a game alive and relevant but also elevate it beyond its initial perception.

[Image: osu-gameplay-3.jpg]
Figure 2. OSU! Gameplay

Another aspect of the game has been its adaptation to the evolution of gameing controllers, or what can be perceived as a controller. To this day most OSU! players in casual and esports settings still use the humble mouse and keyboard, but many have opted for new and more advanced options. Some of these options could be broken down into 4 major types, Graphics tablets (2007), Mechanical keyboards (2010), Touch screens (2015-2017), and lastly Rapid Triggers (2021). Each of these not only brought change to the way the community interacted with the game but also in the way esports was held. Mechanical keyboards and rapid triggers have not only elevated the skill ceiling of the game they have also made it far more difficult for normal players to achieve the same level of high play as players with these input options can. But despite that, it seems the community found a way to not only incorporate them into the pre-established meta but also to make them coexist alongside the older inputs.

[Image: osu-gameplay-4.jpg]
Figure 3. OSU! Gameplay

This level of dedication and adaptability is what is lacking from gaming and esports as a whole as with major tournaments, we can see hard rules in place which allow for only one type of play. This results in many esports starting to feel hollow after a certain amount of time. But at the same time if the rules were changed it would result in an imbalance in the way players compete with each other. That is where OSU! comes into play as it not only gives players the flexibility to play as they wish but also limits them in only the crucial aspects to ensure a just game. Hence it is prudent for esports to take a page out of OSU’s playbook to adapt and evolve or it will fall to the passage of time to eventually be forgotten just like those that came before it.

Figure 4. OSU! World Cup 2023


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