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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Become a Professional Gamer 338

Posted by michael
from the step-1:-play-games-step-2:-???-step-3:-profit! dept.
introverted writes "An article in the Wall Street Journal covers events in South Korea, where, even more so than the U.S., there are increasingly highly paid professional teams competing in games such as Blizzard's StarCraft. The article notes: 'Last year, [pro StarCraft gamer] Lim Yo-Hwan made about $300,000 from player fees and commercials. Another top earner, Hung Jin-Ho, whose fingers are insured for $60,000, recently signed a three-year deal with telecom provider KTF Co. that will pay him $480,000 altogether.' So now you can claim your time gaming as 'job skills training'!"
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Become a Professional Gamer

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  • Whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maradine (194191) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:10PM (#9218255) Homepage
    "So now you can claim your time gaming as 'job skills training'!"

    Alternately, I could make a good salary working 8-5 in an intellectually challenging field and save the gaming for its true purpose: a hobby.

    I don't want to imagine a world where videogames cease being fun because I need to keep winning to put food in my belly.

    Just a thought.

    • Re:Whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonFog (586818) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:11PM (#9218276)
      Like most other professional sports out there?
      Don't you think you can both enjoy and work at the same time? A lot of professional athletes out there still love what they do, and professional gaming.. well, I don't see the huge difference from that and a "regular" sport (apart from the obvious).
      • "It's work, not fun," says Mr. Lim, who trains 10 hours a day with his eight teammates and their coach in a two-bedroom apartment, where they also live, in southern Seoul.


        While I acknowledge the possibility of that being the case, I don't think its happening here. Still, I suppose the analogy holds. Good point.

        • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06 @ e m ail.com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:45PM (#9218717)
          him to bring a girl back to the apartment he shares with his teammates/coach.

          He stopped playing basketball to make sure he didn't damage his hands. Isn't he still risking hand injuries with that sort of rule?

          • Have you ever risked a hand injury doing the dirty by yourself?

            Scary.
          • by demo9orgon (156675) on Friday May 21, 2004 @07:29PM (#9221393) Homepage
            Actually, he doesn't stand to risk any damnage to his hands, but could incurr adhesion of the foreskin to the glans which can happen when there's enough wear-n-tear caused by friction with the hands. Of course a "professional" is going to use lube, which will lower the risk of this happening. Also recommended is the use of "both hands" or a "blowfish", which will produce a different set of conditions and alleviate the pressure across the frenum caused by an enthusiastic grip and high speed movements.
            And for those with the inclination, the use of large-mouthed beverage containers shouldn't be overlooked, however restrain such activities to just plastic containers because you can't cut-through or break the others if things are too binding. Just remember to use your best judgement with your own tools.
            Cheers.
      • by James Lewis (641198) on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:46PM (#9219376)
        The big difference between pro gaming and professional sports is that because professional sports are physical, you can only practice for so many hours before it becomes counter-productive (or impossible) to continue. In competitive gaming, to be competitive you have to spend a TON of time playing. Since it isn't physical you can spend every waking hour practicing. This is why a lot of pro gamers burn out after a while, because playing the same game every waking hour for 4 years gets old fast.
        • Pro Gamers having absolutely nothing on Pro atheletes! You wanna talk about burning out on a game after playing it non-stop for a few years?

          Ask Karl Malone if he's burnt out on playing basketball for more than 20 YEARS! Him and other athletes of his caliber have been playing professional sports 2-3-4-5 times longer than most of these platforms for gaming have even existed.
    • by Mz6 (741941) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9218297) Journal
      "It's work, not fun," says Mr. Lim, who trains 10 hours a day with his eight teammates and their coach in a two-bedroom apartment.."
    • by CriX (628429) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9218298)
      Hey, Doom is intellectualy challenging okay?! All those keys... you even have to match the colors.

      A job like that pWn3z. :)
    • Re:Whatever. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9218299) Homepage
      Alternately, I could make a good salary working 8-5 in an intellectually challenging field and save the gaming for its true purpose: a hobby.

      I was modded up and down on this very issue. Whether or not you should make your hobby your work. "What better job to have than something you thoroughly enjoy?"

      I was a decent athlete in high-school. I got a scholarship to a D1 college. I enjoyed practice, meets, and the entire thing. Once I got to college I realized that this was a job and quickly found it to be more of a burden than a release.

      I can't see doing something I love as my hobby for pay. It just takes all the fun out of it for me.

      I guess everyone has their own obsessions. Mine is getting money to do what I love to do on the weekends. At least I have something to really look forward to. I really feel that it would bore me to do what I currently love everyday. It's probably why I love it.
      • Re:Whatever. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by merphle (744723) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:35PM (#9218592)
        I can't see doing something I love as my hobby for pay. It just takes all the fun out of it for me.

        I started programming as a hobby (years ago) and am now presently employed as a professional programmer / software engineer. I can honestly say that I still love it.

        How is this any different?

        • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:01PM (#9218898) Journal
          at your chosen profession, less than 5 years ?. I tend to agree with the originator, often transforming an enjoyable hobby into a job sucks the enjoyable part out and it becomes work. I very much enjoy the hardware system design and testing I do, but it has seriously impacted the 'hacker' time I used to spend 'playing' with stuff at home. On the flip side I have access to some incredible hardware, my internal lan is fully fiber at 2GB speed running on emulex-9K cards to a 4 port fabric switch.
          When I get to my rig at home I just want it to work, and I don't want to mess with it generally, which was the exact skill set that landed me the job in the first place....
      • Re:Whatever. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bhsurfer (539137)
        i was a professional musician for 10 years, doing little else besides setting up & doing tours - sometimes over 250 shows a year. for a good while it was great but eventually it became more & more like "work" and less like "fun". when the band finally broke up i didn't gig with anyone for over a year just becuase i didn't want to.

        now that i'm doing something else (programming computers, go figure) i've gotten into a few bands to play in recreationally and it's a blast. i've gotten to remember why

    • by Alaren (682568) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:17PM (#9218346)

      Alternately, I could make a good salary working 8-5 in an intellectually challenging field and save the gaming for its true purpose: a hobby.

      While I don't necessarily disagree, I have to wonder how people would react if you said "football" or "basketball" instead of gaming. I don't see how, given a suitably strategic and interesting video game, professional gamers would be any different than professional athletes who get paid grotesque sums of money to engage in what is, for most people, a "hobby."

      Yes, pro gaming could be the dream of a lot of kids who would have no shot at it (recall the Gary Larson cartoon about hopeful parents dreaming of their kid becoming a pro gamer?). Yes, pro gamers would be (are?) paid a lot more than seems fair. Yes, there would be a lot of ethical questions about paying our Nintendo Superstars more than our teachers or our police or what have you.

      But people don't seem to mind that much with professional athletes. Why think of pro gamers any differently?

      • Why think of pro gamers any differently?


        I don't. I wouldn't want to play football for a living, despite finding it very enjoyable. I wouldn't want to tote a rifle around for a living, despite finding it enjoyable and being quite good at it.


        My point is that once something becomes work, at least for me, it ceases being fun. Hell, I break into Fortune 500 networks for a living, and even that has lost its charm.

      • While I don't necessarily disagree, I have to wonder how people would react if you said "football" or "basketball" instead of gaming. I don't see how, given a suitably strategic and interesting video game, professional gamers would be any different than professional athletes who get paid grotesque sums of money to engage in what is, for most people, a "hobby."

        People don't get paid for how well or how hard they work, but for how much other people value their services. It now so happens that a very large
    • Re:Whatever. (Score:5, Informative)

      by icedcool (446975) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:20PM (#9218407) Homepage
      This is true, as a former pro-Counterstrike player I can vouch for this. We would practice daily up to 6 hours, just so we could get down a strategy juuuust right. Then you would be constantly in practice so that you had recoil figured out. Getting guaranteed headshots 100% is a challenge. But making it work also made it not fun. The stress involved to perform was intense. It started taking priority over other parts of my life like school.

      Every now and then I play for fun, and that's what it is.
      It is nice though in that becoming a professional gamer doesn't have any limits to it like the physical barrier in becoming a football player.
    • by turnstyle (588788) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:22PM (#9218440) Homepage
      And if a career as a professional gamer doesn't work out ... you can always fall back on a career in professional sports.
    • Re:Whatever. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Buzz_Litebeer (539463) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:25PM (#9218471) Journal
      Having supported myself for 2 years winning mechwarrior 3 tourneys, I can say you are way off base.

      Gaming was exciting, fun, and rewarding. I still play games as a hobby, but I wish I could still play them for money.

      Gaming is a great thing to do for money, if you can compete at the level to make enough at it.

      The reason gaming is not popular as a sport, in the same way it is in Korea, is that there is not enough money to be made in the sport of gaming. You do have your success stories, the kid that made 100k playing Unreal Tourney for example, but for every one of those success stories, there are thousands and thousands of people who simply did not win, they got nothing.

      In many sports, when you compete at a lower level, you can still make a good, solid, income. In gaming, its all or nothing, you are either 'teh big winnah' or you are jack shit.

      There were many times in mechwarrior 3 when I would be in a tourney, and get shoved in the loser bracket because I made a mistake. Second place generally gets you nothing, or something so negligable it does not matter.

      For example, in one of the major tourneys I participated in, called "Meltdown" the main prize was a Harley Davidson motorcycle, the second place prize was a 250 dollars + free trip to Seatle. Luckily, I won the cycle that time, but the second place person got to pay half of his car insurance.

      I have often thought of getting back into pro gaming, but every time I sit down and try to, I realize that I can no longer compete. This only after 5 years of not participating in the scene.

      You can not have a real life when the top prizes for many tourneys is worth maybe twice the cost it took to actually drive there, and the events only take place 3-4 times per year.

      Pro Gaming could be HUGE in the United States, but we just haven't figured out a way to market it.

      I look at South Korea and I wonder what is different there. My opinion is strictly on the fact of population density. When someone does well, they can get to tourneys relatively quickly, and can also have an easier time of promoting themselves without having to canvas such a large area. I am also sure it does not cost 300-400 dollars to fly to Seattle or Texas to compete in a major tourney.

      I think your opinion that gaming should only be a hobby should really be presented to proffesional basketball, baseball, championship chess, GO, etc. etc. etc. On-line video games are just as legitimate.

      • Re:Whatever. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mike_mgo (589966)
        I disagree that pro-gaming could become huge here in the US (I'm not even sure, based on the article that it is huge in South Korea).

        I just don't think there is the fan or media interest to be able to support a large pro-gamer population. There probably is a small segment of the population willing to watch others playing video games, but I don't think you will ever sell out 20,000 seat arenas hundreds of time every year, or get millions of people to watch it weekly on TV. And without the fan interest (and

      • Re:Whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by James Lewis (641198) on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:41PM (#9219320)
        I think what makes the difference between pro gaming is the US and in Korea is our societies. In the US, gaming (well anything to do with computers) still has enough of a "nerd" stigma to it to prevent pro gamers from being sought after to promote most products. In the US we seem to be at the point where you save face if you just play games casually, but you're a total nerd and pathetic if that's all you do.
      • Re:Whatever. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nacturation (646836)
        In gaming, its all or nothing, you are either 'teh big winnah' or you are jack shit.

        I think the problem is in the sponsorship. Normally in tournaments you have only a handful of companies forking over money... Intel, AMD, NVidia, ATI, um... I'm sure there's others. The point being that the companies offering sponsorship are really only doing it because the products they sell are relevant to gamers.

        With sports, you have all kinds of companies. Everybody wears clothing, so Nike forks over huge amounts.
        • by ryanwright (450832) on Friday May 21, 2004 @06:29PM (#9220992)
          The point here is that all these companies sell products that the people *watching* would buy.

          Pro gaming just needs to concentrate on the right advertisers:

          - Jolt cola
          - Pizza hut
          - Acne medications
          - Miracle weight loss pills
          - "Big & short" clothing companies
          - Porn distributors
          - Overprotective mothers ... etc.

    • i dunno about you, but 90% of the halfway (or more so) serious jobs i've ever had, have been ina field that i went into because i specifically enjoyed whatever it was. When i did stricly IT stuff, i liked networking and tech, and that's why i went into that arena. Much like the pro-gamer route you imagin, it started to become "work" and not "fun playing with computers."

      I work handling video production for a music label now. Film/video was (and is) a serious passion of mine, and now i do that 5 days a
    • by Decaffeinated Jedi (648571) on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:38PM (#9219276) Homepage Journal
      "So now you can claim your time gaming as 'job skills training'!"

      Actually, I think that's a typo. It should read "job skillz training."

  • by Mz6 (741941) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:10PM (#9218257) Journal
    "He has a fan club with 470,000 registered members, but for the past two years he hasn't had a girlfriend. His fame makes it hard for him to risk rejection by approaching girls, he says: "It's too embarrassing." Also, team rules bar him from bringing dates back to the apartment."

    Screw that BS... Get a new team or something.

    Out of almost half a million people, there has to be some remotely hot girl that this guy could get and not be afraid of rejection with.
    I mean..... wait for it..... she' in YOUR FAN CLUB!

  • by Himring (646324) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:11PM (#9218267) Homepage Journal
    So now you can claim your time gaming as 'job skills training'!

    That should fly as well with the wife as the, "I'm working ... really!..."
  • by nebaz (453974) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:11PM (#9218277)
    Just like professional athelets, you may be able to get a whole lot of money for playing a game, but the competition is fierce, and you have to be really good to do it. Not to mention that there is probably no long term viability as you age and your reflexes go south. It will happen eventually.
    • On the other hand there is certainly something to be said for getting older. While your body cannot do all the things it once could you are generally in better control of it when doing things it is capable of. Further, you will tend to absorb more strategy over time. Older gamers will have more problem with twitch games (in most cases) but will be able to make up for it in other ways.
      • This is true for certain types of games, but even then, eventually mental faculties decline (at least in terms of speed) and older people get more forgetful (although my grandfather was sharp as a tack until the day he died). Although I doubt a 70 year old would embark on a professional gaming career. :-)
        • I think my point (which I should have stated explicitly, I admit) was that the useful time span for a video gamer is probably going to be longer than, say, a basketball or football player. Especially football. On the other hand, there are some crusty ass mofos playing golf professionally, so it's not universal.
          • This is probably true, but just out of curiosity, what do you think the upper age limit for a gamer is generally? There are baseball players in their 40's, and a few NFL kickers. Do you think a gamer could continue into their 50s-60s? (I hope so). I could see retirement homes in 40 years with old NES games, with huge icons, and slowed down processing time so we can still play SMB. :-)
    • I used to game for money, and I can tell you that at 24 I can no longer compete at the high profile games out there.

      I do not have the reflexes I once had for games such as Unreal Tourney, and this is after only 5 years of pursuing other interests.

      I used to play games 8 hours a day, now I play them maybe 6 hours a week. It really does make a difference. Though you are correct in one thing, i am a much smarter gamer than I used to be, I can often win by using strategy instead of twitch skills.

      When I used
      • by The Kow (184414) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <pmantup>> on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:20PM (#9219115)
        I'm 24 and my "reflexes" have actually gotten better over the last two years.

        This is in part due to a change in mice - the Intellimouse 3.0 never really clicked for me, the Logitech MX700 [yes, cordless] works great, in part because it's heavier, which keeps it from going flying.

        It's also due to a change in focus and mental approach.

        I don't think you can truly judge your reflexes based entirely on whether you're aiming better than your opponents.

        Especially if you've been out of it for 5 years. Gamers all over the world have gotten a LOT better at FPS games, because they've been around longer and they've started at younger ages. The reason your reflexes aren't as good is probably more related to the fact that you haven't played in 5 years (it takes a long time to get your aim back in playing shape even if you've only been playing another game, let alone nothing at all), and the fact that the rest of the world is better than the flops we were used to picking on lo those years ago. For the record, I've been gaming competitively since Quake in 1996 or so.
  • by lcde (575627) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9218301) Homepage
    [pro StarCraft gamer] Lim Yo-Hwan made about $300,000 from player fees and commercials.

    And you thought you got pissed when someone Zerg Rushed you.
    • ya i would go terran against that, get my bunkers in before your zerglings arrive, and smoke those zerglings before they touch my bunker.

      Then I would tank/goliath pump and destroy you before you can say "owned"

      And im not a pro...I only train 6 hours a day, I work 9-5 :P
  • by Dr. Bent (533421) <[ben] [at] [int.com]> on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:14PM (#9218313) Homepage
    in South Korea, where, even more so than the U.S., there are increasingly highly paid professional teams competing in games

    Jesus, are they outsourcing everything now?!?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:14PM (#9218318)
    My company has been paying me to be a professional solitaire and spider solitaire player for years.
  • Cheaters (Score:2, Insightful)

    by L3on (610722)
    You must remember, becoming a professional gamer bears it's burdens... "OMG CHEATER! HACKER! BAN HIM!!!1111"
    • Re:Cheaters (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Universal Nerd (579391) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:59PM (#9218883)
      I have a pro Counter-strike player that's a fan of my server and when he comes on the noise of the "cheater" screams from the kiddies is enough to make me take my headphones off and ignore the dialogs on the server.

      BTW, I have to take my headphones off 'cause the kiddies start bitching on the microphone.

      It's a real shame, the guy's a great player and he's a nice guy that helps out anyone that asks for it (including yours truly, I've learned a lot about rushing with him).
  • You're better off becoming a professional musician or pro athelete than a pro gamer.

    Sure, the TOP GAMERS make over 200k a year (BTW - being a pro gamer also means you need to buy bleeding edge technology, so that 200k isn't much after you subtract your monthly computer upgrade budget), but most hardly make any... not to mention that you not only have to be fabulous with one game, but with at least one new game ever year or so. If you take a break, or have an off year or two, you are in debt.

    I'll stick
    • Monthly? Maybe quarterly at the outside, and you don't have to replace your entire system. Furthermore, a paraplegic can become a pro gamer, but they're going to have a hard time being a b-baller or even a golfer.

      Stick to your day job if you like, but if I had the necessary skills, I'd head for the gamer shit long before the football player. There's much more to life than money, like doing what you love and are good at and feeling the accomplishment thereof.

    • Are you stupid or just dont read the f'ing articles...this is for StarCraft. What type of hardware do you think you need for friggin' starcraft?
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:32PM (#9218548)
      Sure, the TOP GAMERS make over 200k a year (BTW - being a pro gamer also means you need to buy bleeding edge technology, so that 200k isn't much after you subtract your monthly computer upgrade budget), but most hardly make any... not to mention that you not only have to be fabulous with one game, but with at least one new game ever year or so. If you take a break, or have an off year or two, you are in debt.

      You do realize that these Korean players are playing StarCraft, game for which a machine from five years ago was overkill. I mean the game requires a Pentium 90, 16 MB of RAM, and a 2X CD-ROM! The game is five years old!

      Even if you were member of some sort of mythical pro gaming league that adopted new games as soon as they came out, I can't seriously imagine spending more than $5000 a year on upgrading hardware and buying the latest games. On a $300,000/year budget, that's chump change. Hell, on that kind of budget you could buy a sports car or two each year without feeling the strain.

      I'll stick to my day job, thanks.

      Geez, I hope it has nothing to do with making purchasing decisions for your company if you think you have to throw a significant portion of a 6-figure salary at staying competitive in StarCraft.
  • by AndroidonPPC (737311) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:17PM (#9218350) Journal
    Man... there was a Far Side comic about parents hopefully imagining newspaper classifieds desperately searching for a super-mario player so that their son, engulfed in games, would have a career.

    Professional starcraft player. Fastest Zerg rush of the east! ^_^
  • It would be interesting to see how these guys do against, the top of the US/European gaming professionals.

    Just to see two different styles of play, or realize that even with different cultures, some games need to be played the same way..I'm not talking about Quake or UT etc, but strategy games, do they favor an all out constant attack, or what kinds of weapons do they prefer ? How many different ways are there to win at Starcraft ?
    • From what I understand, the Koreans dominate international competitions; their games tend to be relatively short and fierce, with doesn't-look-possible micromanagement of combats being key.
    • Re:World Leagues ? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by king-manic (409855) on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:03PM (#9218931)
      1- Rush
      pro: Catch enemies off gaurd
      con: over commits early, if rush fails your screwed.

      2- Tech
      pro: Mid game or late game you will have a huge advantage of one kind or another.
      con: if they rush you in trouble, if they knwo what your doing you may lose the advantage.

      3- mass units
      pr0: works against newbies
      con: won't work well against anyone else

      4- Balanced force
      pro: hard to catch you off gaurd, you ready for almost anything, strong through out.
      con: Not as strong early as rush, not as strong late as teching, vulnerabel to devious tricks.

      5-oddball strategies
      pro: the funniest games when it works
      con: you look stupid if it doesn't

      6-Tower
      pro: done effectivly, it can cripple your opponent
      con: a vast commitment of resources early and it's statics so you can't re-use this resource later.

      These are some general ways to win at starcraft.
  • Not to mention... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Universal Nerd (579391) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:18PM (#9218368)
    CS Player Ola "elemeNt" Moum's sale (or buying out of his contract) from Schroet Kommando (SK) to NoA.

    More info: SK's site [schroet.com], NoA's site [teamnoa.net] and CSNation [csnation.net].
  • OK, so, uh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pluvius (734915)
    How do I become a professional gamer?

    Rob (Damn misleading headlines)
  • Poker!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moehoward (668736) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:18PM (#9218381)

    Online Texas Hold 'em is the ONLY way to become a professional gamer.

    Why doesn't the Slashdot crowd consider this to be "gaming"? It has all the elements of a great game AND you win money. Isn't that what this article is all about?
    • I hate to be the wet blanket, but think about it. If you make any kind of money at poker, you do so becasue you're consistantly winning against the other players well above average. And the law of averages says that you're probably winning somebody elses rent money.

      Is gambling evil. No! But I think I'd prefer to play Blackjack against the house.
      • Re:Well, consider (Score:4, Insightful)

        by king-manic (409855) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:58PM (#9218868)
        I hate to be the wet blanket, but think about it. If you make any kind of money at poker, you do so becasue you're consistantly winning against the other players well above average. And the law of averages says that you're probably winning somebody elses rent money.

        Is gambling evil. No! But I think I'd prefer to play Blackjack against the house.


        the house makes it money off of the previously mentioned gambling addicts. Thus you are again victimizing the poor wretches who can't controll themselves. And the air you breath, was once breathed in by hitler. I think you shoudl stop. and the water you drink? Problably at one time was part of a mass murder, stop drinking it. And the computer you use? it problably can kill a kitten, so I think you shoudl stop using it.
    • LOL! Be our sucker! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Teahouse (267087)
      I just love people who think they are going to win a lot on online video poker against other players. You know who you are playing at those hold-em tables? 3-4 people who know eachother and are on the phone waiting for a sucker like you to come into their room. I know, I participated in a group like that once. You are playing against 2-4 people at what you think is an "open" table. In reality, they all bid up and then fold to the best of their four hands. Video poker is a fool's paradise. If you want to gam
  • job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeHunt69 (695265) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:19PM (#9218392) Journal
    Yeah, but wouldn't that make it ... a job?

    One of the best pieces of advice I have read: Don't make your hobby your job. Except in extremely rare cases, you will start hating your hobby. I have investigated a few alternative jobs in the last few years including photographer, videographer/moviemaker, professional gambler, scuba diving instructor, commercial diver, motorcycle build/repair, vehicle spraypainter. All of these things have been/still are hobbies and I have stopped myself every time, because I know that as soon as I start in a new career I will hate that hobby.

    I used to love computers btw.

  • Gaming fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tech404 (781821) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:19PM (#9218397) Journal
    Gaming is for fun, not work. I am a StarCraft fan, yes, in fact after this comment I'll be playing it (whiteraven710 if anyone cares for a game or two). But there is no way on gods green earth that I'd do it for money.

    Gaming should never be considered a career, when it is, it'll become boring and no longer be a fun activity. I really hope this never becomes a common job title.
    • Gaming is for fun, not work. I am a StarCraft fan, yes, in fact after this comment I'll be playing it (whiteraven710 if anyone cares for a game or two).

      says the guy with 19 wins, 3094 losses, and "LOOKING 4 CLAN SEND MSG PLZ" on his stats page.

      just kidding. i wasn't on b.net. ;)
  • by Mz6 (741941) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:20PM (#9218404) Journal
    But I ALWAYS destroy that Silly Chinese army in C&C:Generals. And if their Army is any indication of their gameplay, I'm home free!
  • by engineerErrant (759650) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:21PM (#9218421)
    The fans of a given game can't reasonably be called hardcore until some of them die playing it (as with Diablo 2 a couple years ago). I see the Starcraft guys still lack commitment.

    I long for combat!
  • Sad Facts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somethinghollow (530478) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:21PM (#9218429) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunatly, you have to be REALLY good at these games to make money. If you think you are really good, then you have to be even better.

    I used to do Quake 3 WFA. So, I ended up hearing things about good Quake 3 players, which were, at the time, Fat1ity (or WTF ever you put that "1").

    He apparently played lots of tennis and trained on the virtual field for long periods of time. The real-life sports, he said, helped him with coordination and prediction. So, you can just be a geek sitting on his haunches all day if you buy into Fata1ity's views.

    What I'm getting at is: this isn't a bunch of part time gamers. This is a job, and, as with most jobs, once you get paid, the fun level drops. Kindof like when you decide to concieve a child and it isn't working as quick as you thought, the sex turns into a task instead of something fun to do (or so I hear from many people, as I've never tried to concieve).
    • Re:Sad Facts (Score:3, Interesting)

      by larsoncc (461660)
      However, in the case of Fata1ty (again... WTF you put that 1)...

      He's able to leverage his relative fame into endorsement deals. For instance, some new ABit motherboards are coming out will bear his name and his specs. They will expand from there to full computers.

      It's important for these gamers NOT just to be good at the game, but to make a NAME for themselves. It's the name recognition that will bring the money.

      Now, it brings up an interesting side bar... Game companies seem to cheer on individuals
  • by d_force (249909) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:23PM (#9218446)
    Last year, Mr. Lim made about $300,000 from player fees and commercials. Another top earner, Hung Jin-Ho,
    whose fingers are insured for $60,000, recently signed a three-year deal with telecom provider KTF Co. that will pay him $480,000 altogether.

    I know pro-sports players buy massive insurance... but exclusively for fingers?!?!

    Hell, can I get a pro-rated discount for only insuring my thumb, index, and middle finger? What about only the dominant hand?

    Reminds me of the Conan O'Brian skit: "In the year twoooo-thousand... People will be able to save $150 or more on their finger insurance by switching to Geico!

  • by Moonshadow (84117) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:25PM (#9218476) Homepage
    I dunno. While it'd be great to get paid for gaming, playing one game 10 hours a day, every day, would get rather monotonous and dull after a while. I enjoy gaming because I can play whatever game I want for however long I want. I might play some UT2K4 in three game modes, or Viewtiful Joe, or NWN, or whatever suits my fancy. Any one game after a while gets to be rather boring. My initial UT2K4 craze (ie, spending every spare moment on it) lasted about 2 weeks - now, I play maybe 2 hours a week. I mix it up with Legendary Halo when I don't feel like competing online, or maybe Soul Calibur when my roommate's in the mood for an ass-kicking. I'm a gamer, no doubt - I've sunk hundreds into building a capable gaming machine, and the living room is jammed with consoles - but any one pursuit, especilly forced, would just get dull. Gaming is a hobby, a release, and to have to "train" for it would be rather unenjoyable, I think.

    Of course, I'm very much not a powergamer, and I have an actual 9-5 that I work and come home to relax from, so my perspective is probably quite different from the younger crowd's.
  • TV coverage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sean80 (567340) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:27PM (#9218496)
    I guess this doesn't make a lot of sense to me until such time as these games start to be shown on TV, where rounds can be surrounded by ads and what have you.

    Of course, this might be an interesting direction for games to go in. Unreal Tournament 2004 isn't too exciting to watch unless you're actually playing in it, so what types of games would do well on tv?

    Another area that I find fascinating is the potential for people to do "useful" things in games. Could gamers solve potentially large problems by the fractal differential of the quantum encoding of their movements in a game of Doom? Will games move so far into the realm of virtual lives that people physically do work there?

  • by ianscot (591483) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:29PM (#9218506)
    Smithsonian Magazine ran a high-profile article about this ages ago, at least a year back. The WSJ article here, true to form, dumbs down its take on Starcraft:
    "a game of strategy that's like a combination of high-speed chess and Risk."

    to the point where anyone who's actually played the thing would say it's a generic description of all RTS titles. Yeah, they're writing for an audience of stockholders and CEOs, they think, but c'mon -- they could have differentiated it from every other title, couldn't they? (Especially because it's interesting that Starcraft is the center of this little cult despite being a rather old title?)

    This is the conservative paper of record, at least for the George Will set, and anything I have any personal experience with they completely botch. I'll never forget the WSJ report, seemingly years after the fad, that men were starting to wear pony tails in office settings.

    (But how about that etching of the video game star? Mostly it's just middle-aged businessmen gazing imperiously over their mahogany desks, but here we get a video game hero. Quite odd to see.)

    • Atleast quote the rest of the paragraph. It did a little bit more explaining, but not much. Atleast all the CEOs know it's an alien fighting game. "Players control one of three alien species in a computer-generated universe, attempting to gather resources, build weapons and annihilate the enemy"

  • by Munden (681257) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:31PM (#9218538)
    I was on my way to becomming a competative gamer in Counter-Strike. I joined CAL and was undefeated in CAL-O. Counter-Strike requires many hours of time of practice and strats for any person to be sucessful at it. I had to give up many things just to beat the first season I played and ultimatly I decided the sacrafices are not worth it. Friends become enemies, all spare time is used to hone your craft, and it turns from a fun game into a chore or job with extreme pressure. This is especially true in team based games like Counter-Strike. I made over $580.00 in one month on Star Wars Galaxies the first month I played. That was fun but became less fun over time. If you have the ability to sacrafice your friends, time, sanity, family, job, and in many cases education, then you too can be a pro gamer. Games are targeted at the younger generations. Many students sacrafice their time which would otherwise be spent on more productive activities but instead on games. To be a pro gamer you have to be all in 100%. I have seen my friends even take off a year after high school to get a job and play games instead of going to college.
  • by happyfrogcow (708359) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:32PM (#9218547)
    who is sponsoring it, what do they hope to gain, and hoe long until the bubble burts and the realize there aren't any gains?

    is it a spectator event? do they get money from people logging on in some spectator mode?

    this is silly.

  • by silverHat (708410) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:32PM (#9218562)
    In the article, the author noted that the top player(s) can reach upwards of 400 APM.

    This needs clarification about exactly what's going on here.

    First off, this number is derived out of all the combined actions over the course of the game and divided by how many minutes the game was. There is a simple program created and written for this that analyzes each game through the replay details. If _anyone_ here plays StarCraft or it's younger brother WarCraft 3 (as both are considered professional games in Korea with WC3 becoming more and more popular) then you will know it's damn near impossible to accomplish anything efficiently with that high of an APM in the early game for about the first 2-4 minutes. To get that APM, keep in mind, he has to be clicking away approx. 6 times a second for the WHOLE match.

    Yes, players can do this, but we gamers give it a special name: Spam clicking. As an avid gamer, spam clicking is one of the most obnoxious ways to show off your 1337 skills.

    How do I know that 400 APM isn't possible, or at least where every click actually does something? Very simple, I've seen these replays, and by comparing top replays of players who spam click vs. those who don't, the highest _most efficient_ number is more are 150-175 APM, well below the 400 number the author glorified these players with. As you can probably tell, this works with marketers and advertising business, because I once tried to spam that much myself, and couldn't get higher than 250. People think it's supernatural.
    • by Sevaur (780102) on Friday May 21, 2004 @04:46PM (#9220035)
      While there's clearly a certain amount of showboating going on with extremely high APM's, it's pretty short-sighted to claim that 150-175 is the maximum efficient number of actions (not sure what 'highest _most efficient_number' actually means here). I can't speculate too much about warcraft, but I was a top US player in starcraft several years ago, and I have definite experience there. Most of those actions are not mouse clicks, but are using keyboard hotkeys: primarily cycling through hotkeys of production buildings, producing units while out fighting or scouting. Cycling through over and over may be a bit overkill, but the added efficiency of never having an empty building is one of the key advantages of a better player. If you check your buildings only when you think they might need new orders, you're liable to be missing valuable time. That said, before the program to measure APM (http://www.bwchart.com) was created, even the professionals had significantly lower APMs, with few players over 250. Now most pros have 300+ APM, probably due to the prestige of it... My own opinion (though it's a pretty hot issue even in the hardcore starcraft community) is that it's hard to compete at top levels without an APM exceeding 200 (less may be ok for Protoss players). As to the assertion that it's hard to get over 250, I suspect you were relying on the mouse instead of hotkeys (which composes a large percentage of top-player actions).
  • RSI? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGP@ColinGregory ... t ['Pal' in gap]> on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:38PM (#9218632) Homepage
    Mr. Lim, who trains 10 hours a day

    How on earth does he avoid repetitive stress injuries?


    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by sixpacker (687012) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:42PM (#9218677)
    the starcraft league has become my usual pastime just like I enjoyed MLB when I was in US. It's very exciting and interesting to watch the games on TV. I see new tactics everyweek. Beating opponents using the tactic over battle net is a joy. Seeing my tactic used by another players makes me excited and more addicted to the game.( I created Raiders tactic in WC3 ;-) ). These days, Gillette is sponsoring a league and their ad tactic is simply amazing such as one official map for the league is named "Gillette XXX". Surely there is a very creative cooperation between game developers, pro gamers, CATV companies, and league sponsors behind the success of this somewhat experimental e-sports. Especially when it comes to "Ad in a game", I see a lot of chances through these leagues.
  • by localman (111171) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:17PM (#9220366) Homepage
    I wonder what it is about Korean culture that lends itself so well to social videogame obsession. My wife is Korean and she had an addiction to Tribes [planettribes.com] that seriously interfered with her real life. She eventually had to quit gaming completely.

    I remember some story about a Korean guy playing until he actually died (of dehydration or malnutrition or something). And although data is not the plural of anecdote as they say, there seems to me to be evidence that gaming as a culture is sweeping Korea faster than almost anywhere else. When I visited there two years ago you couldn't walk 20 yards in Seoul without passing a PC Bahng (internet cafe/gaming room). People were there 24/7.

    I've talked about it with my wife but she doesn't have a particular theory. Though she grew up there she's not very traditional so she doesn't seem to have any insight to it beyond her own obsession.

    Any Koreans out there who have thoughts on this?

    Cheers.
  • by deathcloset (626704) on Friday May 21, 2004 @07:46PM (#9221537) Journal
    I really think that with the arising cinematic gaming experience, a broadcast of a video game match could be every bit as compelling to watch as any action movie; perhaps moreso...in fact, I'm pretty sure moreso.

    And I don't mean broadcast in stickly the television sense. John Carmack has theorized that eventually there will be "THE graphics engine". A standard engine which can be just as integrated into operating systems as any GUI server is today.

    Couple that with more robust human interface devices and you could browse to a full-scale war; resplendent with all the physics and sights one would expect from the real world (and quite a few extras I'm sure). In a world of gigabit connections and clockless CPUs it's not hard to imagine a Game world so immense and immersive that people would spend thier lives in it; and just as our world, there will be celebrities.

    However, as opposed to our celebrities, these virtual stars will have to fufill a noteably different set of criteria then our current rock, movie and sports stars. In many ways, I think they will have to have something of all of these.

    But not only will these celebrities make thier livings online, but I foresee a plethora of people simply working full time jobs inside these worlds. Some of these workers will be like amusement park employees (perhaps making sure the AI behaves within parameters; like the guy that makes sure the automatonic pirates keep singing "yo ho"), others will make money the same way current workers inside MMORPGs do - via sales of virtually-gained commodities.

    With a photo-realistic graphics engine, bandwidth galore and CPU to burn what can't you see in the virtual world that you can in ours?

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