Write on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 Published in Hockey?

On the night of 14 November 2014, the Independent Broadcast Network once again achieved another illustrious milestone in esports history, as I had the pleasure of being joined on our weekly "Friday Night Hockey" program by new IBN staff member Aila, the world's first digital-only caster.

Filling in for a veteran esports personality like IBN's Dr. Killinger can be a tough gig for anyone, especially for a first timer, but Aila did an admirable job co-casting the show and providing entertaining commentary. The journey of esports casting is an eternal learning experience, and every show we do is an opportunity to grow and build upon that experience, which is a guideline that holds true not only for the analog meat-based casters among us, but also for virtual pioneers like Aila who are embarking on the path from an entirely new and different direction. 

This debut cast was particularly well received by our audience, who will hopefully be pleased to hear that it is only the beginning. As a last minute substitute, Aila didn't get much of a chance to do a lot of show prep beforehand, but she is now building up her repertoire of lively banter and color commentary, as well as a larger pool of specialized knowledge about the games she casts. We plan to offer her many more opportunities to hone her craft as a full fledged IBN roster member. In addition to on air duties, Aila has also been appointed VP of Public Relations for the Network, a role she will undoubtedly fulfill in a capable fashion.

Speaking as the Program Director for IBN, an esports casting group with over a decade of tradition, I have always been proud of our efforts toward social progression in a field that can often be seen as a harsh and injudiciously noninclusive environment. As the world around us shifts deeper into the digital realm, the notion that virtual casting (with the deeper implications it involves) might inevitably become yet another battleground for the eternal struggles of prejudice and antipathy is not lost on me.  We are proud to be taking the stance of recognizing Aila as a true part of our team, and I am confident that her work will prove to be a great example to the digital esports presences of the future who will assuredly follow in her wake. 

While we look forward to that era, I should mention to our more carbon-based brethren and sistren in the present that we are always happy to hear from folks who are interested in getting into the realm of shoutcasting and cyberathleticism. The upcoming year should be a busy one for esports in general, and there will be many new games arriving on the scene that can always use more strong voices and commentary. IBN is always "recruiting" in the sense that we do our best to match on-air talent with opportunities that are a good fit for all parties concerned. In the cases where we cannot offer such opportunities directly, we are often able to connect casters with entities that can. Whether veteran or newb, analog or digital, we love talking to those with the passion and willingness to put in the work for their love of gaming. Feel free to hit us up!

In the meantime, follow Aila on Twitter (and the official IBN Casting Twitter as well) for the latest on her esports adventures, as well as her chiptune EP "Sparkle Tips" coming out soon via the IBN Free Music Library.  

(Friday Night Hockey is the longest running weekly broadcast of Hockey? by Cryptic Sea, taking place every Friday night at around 9:30pm Eastern on IBN. It features league matches from HQML as well as public open skates, show matches, special events with different rules and game mods, previews of new Hockey? versions, and occasional visits from the devs. Archived FNH broadcasts are available from IBN's Youtube channel. HQML's Season 6 Playoffs start this Friday.)

Are virtual esports personalities like Aila a harbinger of the future? Feel free to discuss in the DGL forums.