Photo by Samuel Sianipar on Unsplash

As Business Case Studies mentioned, it was back in 2019 when esports started to be in the mouth of everyone, and this type of entertainment transitioned into the mainstream media.

Microsoft made their appearance in multiplatform games such as Doom, FIFA and Fortnite.  They have exclusive games on their platforms to brag about such as Halo and Gears of War. Now, a new challenger has appeared and it’s not as fun as you may think…

If you are one of those who use Excel only to make numbers and lists, you have to know: you are missing out on a world of possibilities. For years we have been aware that there are those who, like the Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi, take the most creative side of Microsoft’s calculation tool to create detailed compositions. Also, some users take advantage of its versatility to measure their level of happiness, their daily tasks or even excuses for not going to work. In an unexpected twist, his latest app goes further and focuses on eSports. Yes, in esports.

And so far, it’s not bad at all. Its potential is demonstrated by the Financial Modeling World Cup (FMWC), which offered not long ago a masters tournament that was developed with Excel. The competitors who reached the final fought for a prize of 10,000 euros. It is not what the footballers of the Champions League play for, true; but not bad at all for a sport to discover. Neither is its volume of participation: more than a hundred contestants from half the planet, from Africa or Asia to Europe or America.

So, this is how it works. In each round contestants face one to five-page case studies with problems and lists of questions to solve. If they want to advance in the game, they must create and send financial models elaborated in spreadsheets.

The key question is: does Excel work as a game?

In the Financial Modeling World Cup, they have it clear: yes, and a lot. There is a theory that if you spend 10,000 hours doing something, you become a professional. Imagine playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for 10,000 hours. What rank would it reach? What if you spent 10,000 hours in Microsoft Excel, which is really just five years of the routine work week? Yes, that’s right: You become a Global Elite Excel user! We are not sure this will make the contestants stars and make them rich but, it’s something. To put it in simple words you may see Excel sheets that you would never believe in this discipline.

Unlike Global Elite CS:GO or other games, Excel offers one advantage: it is installed on most office computers. “Pro players don’t get paid to play daily, they get paid to win tournaments, while Excel users do Excel daily and still get paid for it. Isn’t it great?”, says FM World Cup, who today claims to be the main organizer of Excel championships. During the summer he held invitational battles and in the fall, from November to December, he decided to launch the FMWC Open.

With esports becoming so popular youngest are not aspiring to become rock stars or athletes anymore. Gamers who in the 80’s were seen as freaks have turned their hobby into a job by creating these huge competitions. The business grew so big that Sports Betting Online is happening all over the world on a par with regular sports. You can bet on your favourite sport, where football is still the king of them in betting. You can as well get bonuses once you have signed up. Also, you can pay with your favorite payment methods from your phone, tablet or PC. We don’t know if the Excel tournament will get that far into popularity though, but we hope these Office Suite enthusiast keep practicing to a point where their events get as big as any Street fighter tournament.

So, the question is, how do winners achieve victory?

After passing the different qualifying rounds, there were only eight competitors left who measured their skills this weekend in the final phases. The winner, in this case, as detailed by FMWC itself on its official Twitter profile, was Andrew Ngai. If you are interested, you can see the “fight” on his YouTube channel. If you want to know more, try your luck, and—who knows?—maybe become the next Usain Bolt of financial modeling in Excel, just check it out.

Conclusion

As eccentric as may sound, we can bet all sports sounded strange to someone at the beginning. Take curling for example… What we are not sure about is how the boss of these office workers who spend hours practicing their Excel skills feel about this whole ordeal.

Nor they may know how to approach the situation. It’s not like they are using the good’ol Space Cadet pinball.