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Competitive Gaming Hits the Mainstream

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the has-to-be-better-than-televised-magic-the-gathering dept.

PC Games (Games) 78

thegamebiz writes "Amped eSports has a recap of the 60 minutes segment profiling gaming icon Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, while also providing commentary on the effect it could have on the business as a whole. From the article: 'As millions of Americans sat with eyes affixed to their televisions during the second week of the NFL playoffs, a different type of sport was being birthed into the public spotlight merely a channel away ... It's time to wake up, America. eSports has hit the spotlight and with it comes the realization of a dream that has existed in the mind of every child since Fred Savage took his brother to California for a Nintendo tournament in The Wizard. Professional Gamer is now a valid career path.'"

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Hrmm? (4, Interesting)

BHennessy (639799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14543940)

'As millions of Americans sat with eyes affixed to their televisions during the second week of the NFL playoffs, a different type of sport was being birthed into the public spotlight merely a channel away...'

How does millions of people watching another program on at the same time help the cause?

Re:Hrmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14544039)

"gaming icon Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel"

Who?

Re:Hrmm? (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546847)

"gaming icon Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel"

Who?


You're thinking about this good looking fella [fatal1ty.com] (pardon the pun). He's "well known" in the gaming scene, and has his own line of sponsored merchandise and all.

Re:Hrmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14544447)

Other bollocks:

"Jonathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel, whose face is recognizable to nearly every internet user"

Nearly every internet user? I use the internet, I don't recognise his face. Nobody in my house, who all use the internet recognise his face. Nearly every? Bollocks.

"professional gaming has grown into a household term"

Household term? My housemates knew of no such thing. Bollocks.

"The shift in popular culture's opinion of gamers was confirmed by Edward Castronova... who explained, "Our reigning stereotype of the video gamer is a 16 year old kid"

So the reigning stereotype is of the geeky twat. Public opinion has not shifted if that's still the reigning stereotype.

Know, I'm an undergraduate computer science student, living with other young students, and we have never heard of professional gaming.

This article is bollocks.

Re:Hrmm? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544645)

I tried to say all this in a comment on amped news, but it doesn't work. I sent them this support [wiredlabs.net] message:

Tried in both Firefox 1.5 and IE 6.whatever to "leave a comment" on http://esports.ampednews.com/?page=articles&id=655 2 [ampednews.com] but the link doesn't work. I looked at the source, and it doesn't even look like it SHOULD work...

For what it's worth...

Re:Hrmm? (2, Informative)

Tanamo (945016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547792)

You have hit the nail right on the head there.

This is what I think of as "baseless hype" or, more commonly, "all mouth and no trousers". I used to live with a marketing bod who explained such things to me, it is a way of claiming various successes and achievments where none actually exist - it's like lying, but in a positive way...

Take:
"As millions of Americans sat with eyes affixed to their televisions during the second week of the NFL playoffs, a different type of sport was being birthed into the public spotlight merely a channel away ..."
which means that millions of people were watching something on a different channel, and quite possibly nobody was watching the public birthing, but you've established the association of "millions of Americans" and "eyes affixed" with your "different type of sport", so it's all good!

or:
"whose face is recognizable to nearly every internet user"
which all depends on your interpretation of "nearly every", in this case they're taking it to mean "more than 1, but not actually that many"

or:
"Professional Gamer is now a valid career path."
it's really not.

see how easy it is...

Spectator gaming... (2, Interesting)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14543960)

It just seems stupid to me. Gaming is very much about the gamer and his/her experience. Making it be about the audience seems like it'd turn gaming into nothing more than a puppet show. Machinima already does that.

But isn't that true of any sport? (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544049)

Surely it is the taking part that counts. Yet that doesn't stop hundreds of millions of people from following sports events.

No I don't see the appeal either but then I don't watch "regular" sports anyway so perhaps I am just weird.

Just as there is a "market" for chess matches or curdling or downhill skiing or soccer there will be a market for "gaming".

If it will ever be big I have no idea. Why did soccer get big but not field hockey? Why do americans watch football and europeans soccer.

F1 is a big sport. Perhaps it is only watched because you want to see lethal crashes but if that is not the case then why should people not also watch a F1 race with virtual cars?

It would not be my cup of tea and it may not be yours but we hardly matter now do we? Computer "sports" would allow events that could never be held in real live, why hold a chess match when you can televise a battle between armies? The BBC already had a program like this.

Re:But isn't that true of any sport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14544219)

"F1 is a big sport. Perhaps it is only watched because you want to see lethal crashes but if that is not the case then why should people not also watch a F1 race with virtual cars?"

You answered your own question. Nobody dies in a virtual car crash.

Re:But isn't that true of any sport? (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545985)

Spectator sports often start as people watching better people to enhance their own skills.

This is huge in Gaming, demo's are available all over the internet.

There are probably enough gamers to have a show and it'll probably start with coverage of the biggest gaming events like WGC etc....

The biggest problem is these tournaments aren't a single sport, to watch for your country you would need to watch Starcraft and Counter-Strike... And that's a pretty broad spectrum.

Curdling, eh? (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14550678)

Just as there is a "market" for chess matches or curdling or downhill skiing or soccer there will be a market for "gaming".

I don't recall ever seeing a curdling match. Is it more common in dairy country, like cow-tipping?

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

evilNomad (807119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544083)

Uhm, big Counter-Strike matches often gather several thousand spectators on a daily basis, and REALLY big lan events gather 20000~40000 spectators, it is much much more than a puppet show.. This night alone more than 5000 people were spectating European matches, at the same time, and afterwards normally the replays of the matches gather the same number of downloads as people who watched them live..

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544322)

Uhm, big Counter-Strike matches often gather several thousand spectators on a daily basis, and REALLY big lan events gather 20000~40000 spectators

Wow, that is incredibly lame. I used to love playing Counter-Strike and was downright addicted to it, but I could never imagine myself actually watching it passively as a non-player. What a complete waste of time! Why sit there and watch someone else play Counter-Strike when you can hop on and play it yourself!?

Re:Spectator gaming... (3, Interesting)

Meest (714734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544459)

Why watch Cycling when you can hop on your bike yourself? Why watch skateboarding when you can go outside and hop on yours? Or What about NASCAR when you can drive around your block?

Because it is fun to watch for the person interested in the game. The intensity of the game when a team is down by 3 rounds and its a 1v3 situation with a minute ten left on the clock is a very tense and amazing time to watch. Its also great to watch because you get to see all the players playing that you always hear about. much like watching your favorite player on TV for Football.

You may enjoy watching "the Bus" make an amazing play. I enjoy watching tr1p make an amazing comeback in a hopeless round.

Re:Spectator gaming... (2, Insightful)

evilNomad (807119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544465)

The same reason as you watch any other sport? You enjoy seeing people do something really good, sure I can play soccer, but i enjoy watching the big stars playing, i played soccer for 10 years, but do not play anymore, still I enjoy watching it, so why should CS be any different? The game has as many aspects as NFL, the tactics, the "hits", the individual performances, the trick play..

Just because you do not understand the sport, there is no reason to call it lame, nor look down at it, believe you me, when i watch baseball, being from Europe, I too think "what a weird sport"..

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545900)

it is probalby the fact that one is both intensely physical and mental while the other is mainly mental and reaction time. I think its great that people can get together and play games and make money and compete, but it isn't for me simply because in my mind, these new games always lack the physical aspect that traditional sports have. It's the same reason I don't enjoy watching chess(but I can look at it after the fact for info about why certain moves are good).

of course, as you said, it is my opinion. But watching Polamalu read a QB's mind and sprint across the field to get the interception has that added piece of being physically damn near superhuman. Seeing a video game player read another player's movements and then just move hte mouse there lacks that little bit. Of course, computer games are evolving every single year and I might be eating these words in a very short time and become one of those spectators.

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546330)

Maybe when you can bet on it like any other game now.
I predict in less than 2 years (if not already) we should be able to see gambling houses hosting bets on klan matches.

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544323)

Gaming is very much about the gamer and his/her experience. Making it be about the audience seems like it'd turn gaming into nothing more than a puppet show.

Much like competitive sports itself. It used to be about people getting together after work and blowing off some steam with some healthy competition. Now it's about billions of dollars and fat people watching while drinking beer and eating potato chips. I used to love to play sports as a child but I would prefer a root canal over watching them on TV.

Re:Spectator gaming... (2, Interesting)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545815)

I used to play an unhealthy dose of Unreal Tournament and Wolfenstein games online, and I would get my hands on any clan scrimmages clip/replays whenever I can. It was insane seeing how creative some teams are in their attack plan.

Then someone would give me a clip of some other game I have never played. Immediately I would loose interest. I think there is a market for video game TV, it just has to be a popular game in a 3rd person view. Otherwise it must be some serious eyecandy.

Re:Spectator gaming... (4, Interesting)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545105)

So you are saying every commercially successful sport out there is NOT about the sportsman/woman and his/her experience? I'm a hardcore gamer myself (in terms of hours spent), and I very much enjoy watching pros duke it out in a game I enjoy playing myself. And even recorded speedruns etc. of a single-player game can be very entertaining. By every definition, PC/console gaming can be a sport like any other.

Re:Spectator gaming... (2, Informative)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547570)

By every definition, PC/console gaming can be a sport like any other.

Looking on dictionary.com, every relevant definition involves the idea of "physical activity" taking place. Sorry but pressing keys on a keyboard doesn't fit the current definition.

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

toad3k (882007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547910)

What about hunting? Archery? Sport shooting. Golf. Billiards. Cricket. Curling. Fishing. Racing.

Surely if most of these are sports then videogaming can be a sport also.

Re:Spectator gaming... (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14550379)

As usual, the problem lies in drawing the line between activity and non-activity.

For example, Chess is no sport by this definition or my understanding, because in theory, you can play it by telling someone else to move your pieces and still it would be solely your game, your effort, because Chess is ALL about thinking (plus psychological warfare).
But while moving the mouse or pressing buttons/keys isn't in the same league as football or weightlifting, it is physical movement that cannot be delegated and is essential to the gamer's performance in a match. Furthermore, the reflexes a 3D-gamer must have to be a pro can compare to the best of traditional athletes.

I believe, to determine whether or not physical activity is necessary for a certain game (so it can be counted as a sport or not), it should simply be determined if the required body movements can be delegated to another person and it would still count as 100% your own effort.
The physical coordination and the reflexes are a big part of pro-gaming and can never be delegated, with the possible exception of turn-based games, which are a different story indeed.

And what do you think will happen when the Nintendo Revolution controller [wikipedia.org] is released into the wild? Can swinging and shaking a physical controller to control a video game not be sport?

Not there yet, not there by a long way. (4, Insightful)

AEther141 (585834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14543985)

Gaming has been bumbling along as an occasional novelty in the mainstream media since the CS explosion and the massive LAN events of the early noughties. The real point at which gaming can call itself mainstream is when the goofy gaming shows obviously hosted by non-gamers are replaced by serious coverage of tournament events, when CS and QT are presented like poker - serious coverage that the tournament entrants would appreciate, competent commentary by people gamers actually respect and just the occasional explanatory note to naive viewers. When the network execs begin to understand that their thirteen-year-old PS2 owner is a totally different kind of gamer to the WOW-playing, LAN-gaming faithful and realise that gamers aren't one demographic but a broad spectrum with widely diverging tastes and interests. For the moment, gaming is an odd novelty that the mainstream still don't quite get.

Re:Not there yet, not there by a long way. (2, Informative)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544298)

So, for example, if they had a new HD channel entirely devoted to gaming [voom.com] with tournament coverage, strategy from game designers, etc... coming out Feb. 1st?

Of course, you need Dishnetwork and a new MPEG4 receiver (VIP622 is nice) to get the Voom channels right now, but over time that barrier to entry will ease.

Re:Not there yet, not there by a long way. (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545858)

QT? Quicktime? Qt? Google is doing nothing for me here.

Re:Not there yet, not there by a long way. (2, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547636)

"goofy gaming shows obviously hosted by non-gamers are replaced by serious coverage of tournament events"

ABC just learned a valuable lesson in the NFL by allowing Monday Night Football (the ONLY NFL product to steadily lose ratings over the last 4 years) to die a tragic death by making the event less and less about football. They wanted a Super Bowl every week and realized that it wasn't hardcore football fans who liked all the non-football stuff in the Super Bowl and that non-fans aren't going to watch every week no matter what celebrity you have stop by to say hello or what comedian you put in the press box as a commentator.

Much like the NFL, competitive gaming is only going to as far as the product itself can carry it. They shouldn't try to fluff it up or make it super cool. I think compretitive gaming can be cool enough as it is. If it's not, no amount of fluff is going to make up for that.

Hahah. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14543988)

Yeah, it's as viable a career path as "Being Bono" or "Becoming Tom Cruise" is. How many people have made professional gaming an actual career? I don't mean 2 years of income. I mean at least 10 years of steady income.

Re:Hahah. (4, Funny)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544108)

How many people have made professional gaming an actual career? I don't mean 2 years of income. I mean at least 10 years of steady income.

It's not about the money man... It's about the chicks... errr the fame... err the free Mountain Dew sponsorship deals, that's it.

Re:Hahah. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544138)

It's always the Mountain Dew, dude!

Re:Hahah. (1)

vishbar (862440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544140)

You forgot about the Bawls. Gallons of Bawls.

Loads and loads of Bawls.

Re:Hahah. (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544370)

That's like those ads in the paper in 2002: "REQUIRED: 5 years solid experience C#..."

Re:Hahah. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14548131)

LOL! I actually saved an ad from the mid-90's looking for web developers "Ideal candidates will have 5+ years Java programming experience."

-Eric

Re:Hahah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14544327)

Practically no one. Frankly, it's too early to tell if Jonathon "Fatality" Wendel is just a flash in the pan. The only other name that comes to mind was Dennish "Thresh" Fong, who's been around since the 1990's, but isn't currently an active "professional" gamer. What he did was to spin his gaming success ($100,000 in prize money along with a Ferrari) into cred within the gaming industry and has made a very tidy profit from it (consulted at id software, wrote for various gaming magazines, created websites which sold for profits, and now I believe is back to writing for magazines again).

Re:Hahah. (1)

FriedTurkey (761642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545922)

If anybody saw the MTV Real Life on professional gamers they interviewed the Pac Man champion from 1982. He was a huge celebrity at the time. Now he has the really sad life going nowhere. He talks about his time as a celebrity like it was the only happy time in his now pathetic life. That Fatality dude should get a back up plan and go to college. Video Game champion of FPS games is cool now. FPS games will be replaced by some other genre. Just like the Pac Man champion can't make it as a FPS champion he will be replaced.

Re:Hahah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14546669)

Well you can make nice amount of money if you are a Starcraft gamer in Korea

Media hype (3, Insightful)

Flizesh (775141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544051)

Seems like media hype to me and 60 minutes trying to be on 'the edge' of something new. Sure, pro gaming might be getting bigger but there are millions of gamers but only a handful of people who can make an actual living off it. Plus on 60 minutes they touted "Fatal1ty" as the best, which seemed kind of lame.

Re:Media hype (4, Interesting)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544257)

"Professional Gaming has Arrived!" has been a headline I've seen for a dozen years, if not more. It's not going to happen, because there's no audience for it. At best, it will be something like a movie critic. You can't go to movie critic school and have offers ready for you when you graduate. You make it on your own. I think pro gaming, if and when it ever arrives, will be very similar.

I didn't see 60 Minutes, but did they mention Golden Tee Golf at all? I know there's people that play that in leagues and make $15,000+ per year. Not income-worthy, but that's a pretty good supplement for the average joe.

Re:Media hype (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545877)

there's no audience for it.

Just like people said there was no audience for poker. Or skateboarding. Or prime-time football.

Re:Media hype (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14548789)

Picking nit, but here goes anyways:

Skateboarding and football are completely different because they exist in the real world (or meatspace, if you're so inclined). Those are sort of physical activities / sports all in general. Golf, ultimate fighting, handball, crew, jai alai, ice hockey, futbol, table tennis, etc. Video games are not this.

And poker is something completely different. Yes, it's not a sport in the physical sense. But it's a specific card game that has existed in one form or another for close to two centuries. I fail to see similar interest in televised bridge, backgammon, Magic the Gathering, Chinese Checkers, Settlers of Catan, gin rummy, spades, etc. Sure, some of these have had televised specials, but the fact that there's not multiple series covering every aspect of the World Series of Parcheesi should clue you in that only select board/parlor/card games can succeed.

Video games may get to be as popular as poker or skateboarding as TV. But as mucha s prime-time football? MNF regularly got around 15-16 million viewers each week. That's not going to be feasible.

Re:Media hype (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14551354)

I agree that gaming won't (at least in the near future) get as many spectators as poker, and especially not football (I never said this). I do think that it has the possibility to grow to the popularity of the X-Games, Outdoor games, or strongman competitions.

But in regards to televised card/board/non-physical games, I think poker succeeded because there's a lot less required knowledge of strategy than, say, chess. You can not understand the subtleties of poker and still enjoy it. On the other hand, chess is pretty boring if you don't at least have a bit of understanding of some more advanced strategies. I think that video games have the ability to succeed here because it's pretty easy to follow an FPS match.

Re:Media hype (1)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544303)

Aye. I'm inclined to agree with your assessment of hype. The kid's fresh-faced and young enough to be photogenic, too, which helps.

I was talking about it with a guy at work today. His son's team won the CS prize at the LAN game this past weekend. Got a bunch of cool stuff for it -- about $800 worth of gear. The kid wants to make a living as a pro if he can, or just have some sponsor pay for all kinds of travel if that's all it ends up as. I can't say it's a bad idea, but it seems like if that's your career path, you should have a day job just in case.

Fatality is just the most obvious example of people that make money at playing games. There are people that play madden in $$ tourneys that would qualify just as much for the exposure. I have to say that I like the fact that they picked a PC gamer as their example over a console player, but to really flesh it out they should have had a group of pros of mixed ages and genders, who play a variety of games. They way it got pigeonholed as a CS-on-PC thing in the story wasn't all that great.

Re:Media hype (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545924)

funny you say that. was at home and watching TV for the first time in ages and what do I see: MTV following the lives as several pro gamers, none of who were Fatal1ty. It was kind of interesting to see these people who want/are pro gamers. It just looked horribly boring from my perspective but then again, I don't play games much any more.

Keyboard Smashing... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544120)

I can't wait until we have a televised first person shooter match and someone has a fit of rage by smashing a keyboard into the table with keyboard buttons flying everywhere. Should score a high rating with the "video games causes violence" crowd.

Re:Keyboard Smashing... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544143)

Let's see that again in sloooo-motion, Ron!

Re:Keyboard Smashing... (1)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545766)

Ballmer Kong?

You can watch CBS News 60 Minutes Video... (2, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544305)

Click here [cbsnews.com] to read the article and watch the streaming video. It was posted on Digg [digg.com] earlier.

Career path? (1)

thaerin (937575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544344)

Professional Gamer is now a valid career path.

I can already hear the cost of Big Macs going up because all the McDonald's employees have now come the realization that they're better than these other professional gaming chumps and are going to dedicate their lives to it. Sure, it might be a "valid" career path, but for how many people exactly? We're not talking about something like the fast food industry where there's always an open job for a warm body. You're talking about quite a niche market. While there may be tens of thousands of gamers out there, how many of them actually have the disposable income to support the companies who're using this to advertise to what they believe is worthwhile demographic? Look at Abit. Heaven knows how much they've sunk into the "Fatal1ty" brand and it doesn't appear to have helped with news of them potentially being bought out because of how poorly they're doing. Sure, it's a pipe dream to be a professional gamer, but as is often said "Don't quit your day job!"

Re:Career path? (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545003)

In Korea you can get Starcraft and Warcraft trading cards inside Dorito bags. I imagine pro gamer is no different than pro skatebording. Fatal1ty is this generation's Tony Hawk, look for a Fatal1ty branded skateboard at a toys r us near you.

Re:Career path? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546489)

"Sure, it might be a "valid" career path, but for how many people exactly?"

Quite right. If by "valid," they ean there is a glimmer of hope of being able to make a living off it, sure.

But to me, and countless others, a "valid" career path means a reasonable expectation of being able to 'keep food on my family' and pay for housing, kids' education, etc.

And if by "path," they mean some kind of nebulous mechanism whereby I can work hard to perfect my gaming skills and happen to be charismatic and happen to be in the right place at the right time, and happen to be able to struggle on a pittance for years before I make the big-time, then sure.

But I happen to think of a career path as linear, or branched-linear, where there is actually a path to follow.

1998 is calling... (0)

ThePlague (30616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544397)

...and they want their "next big thing" back.

While we're at it, we'll take "Linux on the Desktop" back as well.

Good, ill, or both? (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544429)

This could be both good and bad.

Games which are heavily endorsed will receive much more attention, of course. CounterStrike, for example, had a huge following of dedicated gamers well before it was ever picked up officially by Valve. Day of Defeat had a decent sized following before it got picked up as well. With this "revelation" however, people will be attracted to the games in which they think could potentially earn them money or make them famous (silly isn't it?) rather than playing games in which they simply enjoy. It'll be difficult to put the game in gaming if this goes full-scale.
I already know teams who compete in tournaments like CAL and CPL for a shot at winning some money and popularity...a lot of them don't even enjoy the games they play, it's like they're working rather than playing.

If more games had a shot at being put on the big screen, so as to diversify the content, this wouldn't be so bad. It would also give pr0 gamers more variety in their goals, rather than just playing CS, Painkiller, or Unreal.

Re:Good, ill, or both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14545780)

It'll be difficult to put the game in gaming if this goes full-scale.
You mean "gam" right?

Re:Good, ill, or both? (2, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545926)

[Pro gamers] will be attracted to the games in which they think could potentially earn them money ... rather than playing games in which they simply enjoy.

I doubt many NFL players hate football.

beware of the hype (2, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544562)

Professional Gamer is now a valid career path.

And just like Pro-Footballer or Pro-Soccer player, it's not all the dream it's sold as.

As in any other business, thousands of young people enter that career path every year, and most of them never make it past "it pays the rent". In fact, I would be surprised if a considerable percentage came even that far.

Re:beware of the hype (1)

mkosmo (768069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544945)

As in any other business, thousands of young people enter that career path every year, and most of them never make it past "it pays the rent". In fact, I would be surprised if a considerable percentage came even that far.

Especially in gaming, since so many 12 year olds think they are the best. There are many more people that consider themselves the best in their game than there are people who consider themselves the best in an athletic sport. Professional gaming does exist anyways, CPL being the longest lasting example. Even TSN acts as commentary. The more gaming that occurs, the more a public spectacle it will be, and the better well known. I cant wait till the high schools have UIL sanctioned gaming teams. I would have loved to try out for that ;)

The main problem (1)

itior (943153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544758)

The main issue with gaming becoming mainstream is that it's such a fast-paced industry that can change at the drop of the hat. If you take more established competitive sports, like football or soccer, the basic rules have remained very similar for the past hundred years, with the odd tweak here or there. In contrast, watch what happens when a patch is released for a particular game (once every year or so?). The rules change, balance changes, some things become more powerful, others weaker and it can change the game dynamics greatly.

This also completely ignores technology advances which generally means the latest and greatest games will become more popular.

Frankly, there isn't much in it for the spectators.

Re:The main problem (2, Interesting)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546118)

Counter-Strike has been around for about 8-9 years with few changes.

Re:The main problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14546830)

But it has changed. I remember the "pros" bitching endlessly about the awful changes in CS 1.6 when it was introduced - the new guns, the shield, the new select number for guns, minor changes in the maps that just ruined their tactics, etc. In fact, not too long ago people still played CS 1.5 because it was different enough - i don't know if it's still the case.
    On the other hand, you have people still playing games like Quake II or III - but not a whole lot in the "pro" world.

    He has a point. The main problem with professional gaming is that, well, the games people like to play (and see, by extension) change very often. Unlike football where i can sit down and enjoy a match played 20 years ago, i don't think i'd like to see someone playing Pacman.

A couple things. (2, Interesting)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544973)

First, it can't be live. There's no way to intelligently comment on a live video game, and essentially commentary is why people are watching. In most sports you can see displays of athletic prowess. Other sports (just using it as a term, don't want to debate what's a sport), like poker, you need interesting commentary. Poker is slow enough and widespread enough that there are a lot of people that are well-versed in it that can keep up with the game compellingly on live TV. Not so with video games. People aren't going to sit there watching someone else playing video games unless they're very dedicated, and downloaded replays are much more interactive.

So what do you do? Save the replay. Let both sides walk you through the game afterward and explain the problems they had at key steps, and how they lost the game. Explain their strategies for gamers that are interested in the specific game. This isn't going to be terribly compelling except in small chunks, but then again, it has almost no production cost.

Secondly, get someone that has some authenticity. People that obviously don't know what they're talking about discussing games just makes me angry. And I know a lot of my friends that feel the same way. MTV-style gaming shows don't really appeal to anyone, because gamers who aren't hardcore don't really want to watch gaming television, and people who are hardcore just despise it.

Third, fuck the cheat codes. No one, no one, no one watches TV to get cheat codes. I don't even buy strategy guides anymore unless they're very well made. Cheat Code TV is a shitty, shitty idea.

Fourth, as for content, how about interviews with industry leaders? People showing clips from upcoming games. Even spotlights on independent games, or mods. Or documentaries on the game-making process. Hell, I'm nerdy enough that I'd watch gaming news: suchandsuch a clan opened up dungeon X in WoW, patch Z was released for MMO_flavor_of_the_week with suchandsuch changes, soandso art designer quit company Q.

Finally, there could even be room for a debate-style show. Get industry "pundits" *shudder* together to discuss stuff that will at least inspire interesting flame wars. Are video games art? Is storyline important? Which console is shaping up to be the best? Do graphics matter? What's the best fighting game? Did Blizzard ruin balance in WoW with the latest patch? Is Jack Thompson a lunatic? Hell, bring Jack Thompson on to defend himself! Shit like that.

Re:A couple things. (1)

evilNomad (807119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545054)

"First, it can't be live. There's no way to intelligently comment on a live video game, and essentially commentary is why people are watching. In most sports you can see displays of athletic prowess. Other sports (just using it as a term, don't want to debate what's a sport), like poker, you need interesting commentary. Poker is slow enough and widespread enough that there are a lot of people that are well-versed in it that can keep up with the game compellingly on live TV. Not so with video games. People aren't going to sit there watching someone else playing video games unless they're very dedicated, and downloaded replays are much more interactive."

Just like any other sport of course you can comment, what you comment on is what to do next, say there is a tricky 2vs2 in Counter-Strike, and one team has the bomb planted and the clear advantage, what on earth to do? The expert commentator explains how this situation can be won or lost, just like in poker the commentator talks about the chances of this and that.. Further more there is the aspect of money, very important when playing Counter-Strike, also a great subject for commentators to keep track of.. Furthermore a NFL commentator spends the most time with tactical stuff, or pointing out key plays, stuff like that, this can be done in a game too, because that 2vs2 could probably have ended very differently had something been changed.. Seriously, just because YOU do not understand the game, do not underestimate it.. It has plenty of dimensions.. Btw, the prime method for watching a Counter-Strike game is via HLTV - Halflife TV, there you are the producer and can do picture in picture, follow the player you like, or just roam around the map...

So, live games can be broadcasted for sure, succesfully for anyone who knows the game, like with any other sport really.

Re:A couple things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14545528)

....Who Plays CS 2v2.... 5v5 is CAL/CPL, infact I can't even think of an FPS I'd play 2v2 in as a team system - certainly not unreal or quake or battlefield or call of duty - what game are you playing?

But yea, I agree with pretty much everything else :)

Re:A couple things. (1)

evilNomad (807119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547912)

What i meant was, they were down to a 2on2, of course they play 5on5, my point with the 2on2 was that all the predefined tactics were gone, the bomb was planted so the CT's had to be aggresive, just like the reciever being 1on1 with a cornerback in the NFL, something you could spend a lot of time watching in reply when he makes the great catch..

Re:A couple things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14545687)

You are thinking in terms of the established sports model for commentary and distribution. When I started playing starcraft, I would have loved to have seen how the elite played. And the broadcasters in S. Korea have 'solved' your commentary problem (at least for starcraft). Also with i-tunes and cable, the costs of entry go way down. Someone must have realized that only takes a couple of thousand downloads or a hundred thousand viewers to make back the return on the investment (costs). I figure it wont be long before we start seeing competitions for download on i-tunes.

Re:A couple things. (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546066)

"Seriously, just because YOU do not understand the game, do not underestimate it.. It has plenty of dimensions.."

I don't think I was talking about a specific game. I understand plenty of them, thanks.

"Btw, the prime method for watching a Counter-Strike game is via HLTV - Halflife TV, there you are the producer and can do picture in picture, follow the player you like, or just roam around the map..."

Exactly. This is something you can't do on TV. See downloaded replays are much more interactive. Hence delaying it so that someone can edit together the highlights, giving it at least one advantage over just sitting down with it yourself.

Furthermore, maps in most FPS are much more complicated than a football field. How easy is it to always get a great angle to give people the live perspective? How much would that benefit from delaying it?

"So, live games can be broadcasted for sure, succesfully for anyone who knows the game, like with any other sport really."

And I point you to: there are a lot of people that are well-versed in it that can keep up with the game compellingly on live TV. Not so with video games. How many people do you honestly think know the game and its strategy well enough that can also articulate it compellingly off the cuff on live television?

Re:A couple things. (2, Interesting)

CommiePuddin (891854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546279)

Furthermore, maps in most FPS are much more complicated than a football field. How easy is it to always get a great angle to give people the live perspective?

Much like existing spectator sports, you position cameras at strategic locations in the map, controlled by "cameramen," who will move within the space to get the most advantageous shot.

Not to mention that the "helmet cam" is built into the system.

Well placed shots are not any more difficult in this realm than it is in existing spectator sport. It's all about having a good director who can frame up the right shot at the right time.

Re:A couple things. (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547503)

"Well placed shots are not any more difficult in this realm than it is in existing spectator sport. It's all about having a good director who can frame up the right shot at the right time."

I tend to disagree. In most sports, you have a wide open arena, and a ball that's pretty much the center of all the action. In an FPS, you can have people fighting everywhere, and who knows where the exciting fights are going to be? Plus, it's easier to track and frame a relatively slow moving ball than a player circle strafing and bunny hopping like a jack rabbit while firing grenades or rockets down a couple different hallways at a threat you can't necessarily see.

Hence, my suggestion about not having live games. You can do some very interesting and even cinematic things with a capped demo if you know what's going to happen ahead of time. To wit, where exactly are the advantages of having a live game versus replaying it a day later with commentary from the players themselves? It seems like the presentation and the depth would both be far superior.

That said, there are certainly games and modes that could be done live, don't get me wrong. Most RTS could definitely be compelling, and certain FPS (like 2v2 Counter-Strike that was mentioned above, though I think that'd be boring as dirt to watch for almost everyone).

Re:A couple things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14558282)

In race events there is always action on different parts of the track, for instance... and comentators and/or spectators manage to have a global idea of what's happening all time.

Re:A couple things. (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546418)

Furthermore a NFL commentator spends the most time with tactical stuff, or pointing out key plays, stuff like that, this can be done in a game too, because that 2vs2 could probably have ended very differently had something been changed..

To be honest, most NFL commentators are simply blowing some serious smoke out their asses for the time they're on the air, especially the "color commentators". Ever listen to the ESPN Sunday Night crew? Joe Theissman is only a couple of notches better than Joe Namath in the "blatantly obvious" dept. Al McGwire sounds like...well...a cranky, constipated overweight white guy with too much stress. When Al and Joe go at each other, it's almost so tragic it approaches comedy. What is cool is when Dan Patrick or other semi-intelligent sports journalist gets Joe Theissman to comment about a tangible subject. Joe usually spouts off a quick blurt of words, to which he so easily gets tied up into a rhetorical knot and he doesn't have the sense to say, "hey, time out", but instead just keeps digging deeper and deeper...

The only other team that would be better in this department for ESPN would be getting John Clayton and Sean Salisbury together into the booth. The hostility between those two is pretty tangible.

Even better stupid commentary is done by the color analysts for the lesser network games.

The ex-coaches are sort of palatable, but only for awhile. Quit calling out plays unless you have an audio feed from the offensive coordinator to the quarterback, or at least a copy of their playbook. "Yeah, it looks like they're running a 28-star salute black fadeout left half-back twizzler". OK, I'll buy THAT for a dollar, because it probably actually was a "50 cent green two pack over tackle". It's easy to confuse the two.

OK, so I probably listen to too much sports talk radio. At least it's sports, and it's a given that it just doesn't really mean much. If only all the idiots that hang off of every last word of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Bill OReilley would just realize the same thing...

But the best roadshow idiots have to be the sports guys blabbing on 1080 The Fan in the afternoons, here in Portland. On one hand, they try to ride Tom Potter, the mayor, out of town because he basically said the obvious to reps from the Florida Marlins baseball team that there really isn't that much interest in Portland for a MLB team. So they then go on and on about this and that meaningless and contextless stat about how popular baseball really is in Portland, that Tom Potter wouldn't know his head from a bucket, etc., but then today were just, yeah, the people of Portland seem to just not really give a rats ass one way or the other about the Seahawks making it into the Superbowl for the first time ever and how Seattle/Puget Sound is just going crazy (earlier it was in the lack of fans to see the Univ of Portland and Univ of Oregon basketball games over the holidays, or how the fans just aren't coming back to see the Portland Trailblazers any longer, etc.).

Me? I don't see why Portland & the state of Oregon should have to shell out a few hundred million dollars to a private business with no terms on paying back the state or city over a period of 10-30 years to "attract" a baseball team. Especially when interest in the existing AAA baseball team is...lackluster (the Pacific Coast League has owned and operated the team the last couple of years...). But if Phil Knight wants to dip into his Nike stock pool and throw a couple of hundred $$$ of his own money into buying property and building a facility, more power to him. Hey, isn't that what Paul Allen did with the Rose Garden?

Advantage: commentator (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546262)

The commentator has an advantage that the players don't have in the match: he can see everything.

"MacKenzie is dropping back from the blue team pack, twisting in behind an oil drum. Jason from the Red team is sneaking up on them from behind, but he has no idea who lies in wait for him."

"Mayatama is trying a box style defense on the Zerg, but it doesn't seem to be holding. Will Jerrelly's Protos style seems unbeatable at this point. You know, Bill, Will played with Mayatama's Okinawa team for his last two years in college, but this is the first time these two men have ever met in person."

Most sports banter is just that, banter. Background on the players, the event, putting things into perspective. It's also a lot of obvious filler. "Unitas goes back to pass. Ohhh! And they've sacked him at the 15 yard line. That's got to hurt. They're going to need to make up some yardage to get a first down... Ok, I've got nothing. Over to you, Bill."

Sports commentator on videogames could be good, but they've got to improve significantly before they're up to the entertaining-but-empty level of professional sports commentators. Even tennis has commentators, and look at how much explainable strategy is in that game.

Re:A couple things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579989)

Funny, the japanese have absolutely no problems having live commentary for 2-D fighting games tournaments (ie. Super Battle Opera)

It hits the WESTERN mainstream maybe, a little bit (3, Informative)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14545134)

Gaming is very big in S-Korea, and has been at least since Starcraft came out. There is a huge industry with idols, fans, groupies, big sponsors, big money, regular TV shows, heck, even their own TV channel. THAT's what I call Mainstream. No problem with TFA, but don't give the impression that the US went there first.

Re:It hits the WESTERN mainstream maybe, a little (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14547555)

Competitive gaming is still very very much a cult activity in Korea. 99% of Koreans talk shit about the .2% of the population involved in competitive gaming. It's bigger than the US but it's not at all mainstream.

Wait a sec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14545289)

When did Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel become an icon?

Fatality is a douchebag. (0, Flamebait)

zardie (111478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546259)

As per subject.

I've been involved with running large LAN gaming events for the last six years in Australia and never have I ever met someone so arrogant and up himself as this guy. He came over to win "only four thousand dollars worth". Australian dollars, so it's not THAT much - but the cheek!

While he would be considered a celebrity in gaming circles, I'd hardly consider him the be-all and end-all of competitive professional gaming.

Re:Fatality is a douchebag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14546957)

Did he pwn you, hence the bitterness?

Re:Fatality is a douchebag. (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14549981)

When you describe to someone your expectations of yourself, you come off sounding like a dick.

Especially if you win a crapload of money at a video game.

What do you say "Yea, im the guy that won 18000 thousand playing mech3" when chatting with people?

There is no good way, at least I never found any, and I was in an incredibly niche game, give the guy some credit. Hell, he is from Kansas City MO, Im from the area, and you arent trained to handle people thinking your so good at something by the culture in the area.

When you go to an event somewhere else, for you its not a big thing, and your just trying to get in and get out and there is no reason to be self deprecating because you know just how good you are, but you feel bad about necessarrily expressing it.

Oh well, my own little bit of hell of having dealt with those that just thought _I_ was arrogant, and I didnt ever intend to be when I was in a similar position when playing mech3.

What televised gaming needs (1)

Macdude (23507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14546564)

Before gaming can hit the big time on TV there is one key feature games need. Television production support. The TV crew needs the ability to place, move and control multiple cameras, in game, so that they can shoot the game as if the game was real. Give the producer a few dozen cameras, fixed and mobile, the ability to have the camera crews manipulate the cameras (move, pan, tilt, zoom, focus) and you've got a system that they can work with. Sport stadiums are designed with TV cameras in mind, video games producers will have to coordinate with the TV producers starting at the design stage of the game so the TV producers will have the tools they need.
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