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Does Professional Gaming Have a Future? 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the fatal-one-thank-you dept.
mr_sifter writes "Three years ago, celebrity gamers such as Fatal1ty were bagging millions in prizes, and TV channels were queuing up to broadcast games on TV. Professional gaming looked set for the big time. It never happened, and in the current economic crisis, sponsors and media organizations are cutting costs, resulting in the closure of many pro gaming competitions (as we recently discussed) and a down-scaling in prize money. This feature looks at whether pro gaming can bounce back, and whether it will always be a PC sport, or if pro gaming on consoles is the future."
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Does Professional Gaming Have a Future?

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  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 11, 2009 @06:49AM (#27540885)

    It's just a marketing tool by PR companies. As soon as they find a better way to sell games, they'll drop it like a hot brick.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Same with NASCAR. As soon as they find a better way to sell cars and engine oil, they'll drop it like a brick.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Quantos (1327889)
        Racing is an incredibly effective way to sell cars.
        My dad used to sell cars back in the 60's, when one manufacturer won a race on the weekend the sales for that car spiked the following week. He loved it when Dodge won the race.
        As for games, I don't buy games just because others like them. I buy them because I like them. Thanks to the readily available demos. Whereas auto racing has a purpose to it's heritage, video gaming doesn't. Until that changes gamers will need jobs.
    • by metlin (258108)

      Eh, when I read the title, I assumed it was about pro gamers - e.g. professional poker players, bridge players, chess players, soccer players, football players etc.

      Those are still called games, last I checked.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @06:55AM (#27540909)

    ... pro gaming. While you have places like Korea and starcraft, it's not the norm anywhere else.

    I remember many startups like "Online athletes" years ago (defunct now) trying to create a "pro gaming" site and pay gamers for winning games, the y failed horribly.

    Also there is a problem with pro gaming - the games keep changing and you can't do real "pro gaming" online because of cheaters and hackers, so you can't be sure the people you're playing against are "clean".

    Gaming is also not like other sports where you stick to one game and then build an audience around that game around those rules. In the video game world everything is constantly changing.

    One of my best friends plays at the WCG every year and would always be in the top 10 players but he never made any real money on it, he won prizes like computer hardware, etc. But I think it will take a leap forward in culture and technology before eSports takes off (a generation or so) when gaming is seen as something normal that most everybody does, and technology has advanced to allow more activity... in which Nintendo's Wii will be seen as just one of the first attempts.

    Many competitive sports games can be really fun to watch but only if the camera work is done intelligently. Things like Orange Smoothie/other mods for Quake 3, etc, allowed people to stream live matches to the web so people could watch the match, truth be told... not all video games are exciting to watch, and this has to do with the lack designing the game and the games systems to do what traditional camera's do for televised sports.

    • by wisty (1335733)

      Normal people don't play sport. And face it, cricket isn't *that* exciting for the uninitiated.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by tverbeek (457094)
        It amazes me that people are willing to pay to sit and watch some stranger play any sport. Spectator sports simply bore me, and the handful of times I've found myself stuck standing around with nothing to do but watch someone play a video game, were a special kid of purgatory.
        • by aliquis (678370)

          But if the players got much more skill than you do / are innovative looking at their moves and getting ideas from them can be quite nice. Imho. Those moment don't make it necessary to see a whole match though.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Televise racing games. Although I don't watch F1 or NASCAR or whatever, millions of other people do. Heck the visuals could actually be better than real racing.

      It would be more environmentally friendly too. (Please don't shoot me!)

      • I'd like this idea if you mentioned TORCS.

      • Are there in-game crashes as spectacular as some I've seen clips of? Does that game exist? I might consider picking that up
      • by PFI_Optix (936301)

        Without the risk of real injury, drivers would be a lot less inclined to be careful. Every race would likely devolve into a big wreck. Despite what many think, NASCAR isn't about the wrecks and most people watching it aren't looking to see a big pileup every week.

        My network admin loves to watch NASCAR and it's all about the nuance of the race for him. I've heard enough accounts of Jeff Gordon's wins (and losses) that I understand what it's about.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Gaming is also not like other sports where you stick to one game and then build an audience around that game around those rules. In the video game world everything is constantly changing.

      In a word, bullshit. Quake still works. So does Doom, for that matter.

      It would not be at all difficult to stick to one game and get hardcore at it. Nor would changing games present that huge of a challenge, I suspect.

      Many competitive sports games can be really fun to watch but only if the camera work is done intelligently.

      I don't know. I might like watching highlights -- things like Quake Done Quick, for instance -- but quite a lot of these games just wouldn't be fun to watch. Either it'd be all action, with Quake, or a lot of camping, with Counter-Strike.

      Many competitive sports games can be really fun to watch but only if the camera work is done intelligently. Things like Orange Smoothie/other mods for Quake 3, etc, allowed people to stream live matches to the web so people could watch the match

      "Spectator mode" was probably the best way, since unlike

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You are spot on with the constant change problem. It takes very long to build an audience. Look for example at snow/skate boarding and how long it took them to get where they are now, which is still far behinde more traditional sports. Most games just don't live that long. Starcraft is a notable exception. Games are just not made to last long, because there is no money in that.

      Real online games could perhaps change the picture. Games that are made to play online. They are still rather new and just start to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Things like Orange Smoothie/other mods for Quake 3, etc, allowed people to stream live matches to the web so people could watch the match, truth be told... not all video games are exciting to watch, and this has to do with the lack designing the game and the games systems to do what traditional camera's do for televised sports.

      Well you also have to realize that the televised sports aren't all that exciting to watch. They put in a lot of time, money, and effort into the production of the televised events. They have camera's all over the field with directors choosing the shot, when to do an instant replay, etc. They have a team of people just for putting that yellow line down on the football field to mark the first down. They hire experienced sportscasters who exist largely for the purpose of describing what's going to in such

    • by Kneo24 (688412)

      The "constant" changing problem is almost null. These things are done at "live" events with hardware that isn't theirs. The only cheats they can do are exploits, and only if those exploits are clearly not mentioned in the rules.

      It's just not a matter of you sitting at home stroking your cock while you load up aimbot.exe and wallhack.exe for these things.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      No, it's not the norm, because it doesn't exist, but it have to start somewhere.

      By that logic any new TV show/games/.. would fail everywhere to because they haven't been seen there before.

      And there are atleast gaming contests in other places, even if they may not show on TV.

    • by Kabuthunk (972557)

      It annoys me that it's not more prevailant. Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, but I LOVE spectating games... oftentimes more than playing them. For any old games I'm familiar with (and sometimes ones I've never heard of before), I very much enjoy watching speed runs of it from speed demos archive, and have about 1/4 of my hard drive currently filled with said video files.

      I would honestly PAY in order to see streaming video of live online play for say... Starcraft, WOW, or most anything. Well, except s

      • by nomadic (141991)
        It annoys me that it's not more prevailant. Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, but I LOVE spectating games... oftentimes more than playing them.

        You are the exception to the rule. It is boring. And you are actually annoyed that the rest of us don't like it? You sound like one of those European guys, furious that Americans don't care about soccer...
        • I don't understand watching any game that last hours with 1 or two points scored.

          Add to that, the game can end in a tie!

    • by QBobWatson (30044)

      EA actually spent a lot of time and money making Command and Conquer 3 into a viable spectator sport with their Battlecast viewer. You can stream current matches or watch archived ones. They even have an online TV show, Battlecast Primetime, where they show some of the best matches with commentary. It's fun to watch if you've ever played the game, and I have no trouble believing a gamer could make money with that kind of forum.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SL Baur (19540)

      But I think it will take a leap forward in culture and technology before eSports takes off (a generation or so) when gaming is seen as something normal that most everybody does,

      Why a generation or so? In my age bracket (40-50), the oddball is someone who does not play computer games of some sort.

      The "problem" (as I see it) is the medium. How much has baseball (for example) changed in the last 50 years? Only a tiny handful of outdoor sports have gained enough popularity over the centuries to become viable professional sports.

      The closest thing to a timeless computer game I've encountered is Rogue/Nethack. It is boring as hell to watch someone else play. As much I like World of

      • While gaming is more popular then it was a decade or so, it's not as mainstream as the press portrays it. 90 million consoles and the ~12-30 million PC gamers (as in non casual games) is a far cry from 6 billion+ people that inhabit the earth.

        PS3/Xbox 360 have sold roughly between 20 and 30 million, while wii has sold ~ 60 million worldwide. DS with 100 million, still a far cry away from being mainstream worldwide.

        I'm speaking from a less north american centric or developed country centric perspective.

        And

        • by SL Baur (19540)

          I'm speaking from a less north american centric or developed country centric perspective.

          If that's the case, I _really_ think you're wrong.

          I live in a 3rd world country and weighed my wife's reactions in my response. I've also seen Internet Cafes in the jungle filled with children playing online (and console) video games.

          Gaming is ubiquitous, even in the 3rd world.

          • +1

            I once worked on a Japanese ODA project in northern Viet Nam, setting up a wireless WAN network with some Cisco IP Phones and a few PCs in a place that didn't have paved roads, didn't have a hospital or clinic (as far as I could tell), and which had never before had a telephone in its high school (which had only a few hundred old books in its library). Not exactly a high tech kind of place. However, before the computers were even warmed up, students had descended on them and installed Yahoo Messenger, fil

  • by drsquare (530038) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @07:04AM (#27540941)

    No.

    Long answer:

    No, not really, outside of Korea anyway. But they eat dogs.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      Third , fourth, fifth, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10 answers:

      [_] Future? I didn;t know it had a present or a past? [br> [_] It's what I tell my mom every time she nags me about moving out of her basement. I say she's interfering with my "career." I'm 37. And I smell funny.
      [_] Isn't "professional gaming" illegal outside of Las Vegas?
      [_] If you take away professional gaming from the career pros, only losers will have professional gaming careers ... oh wait -
      [_] I can't decide which is worse, being a prof

  • Not just pro gaming. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @07:09AM (#27540965) Homepage Journal

    The economy is pretty bad and will take a long time to get fixed. When it is fixed, it's not going to be anything like the free ride a lot of people were used to in the past decade.

    Pro gaming isn't going to be the only area. I expect actors and pro athletes to take a hit too.

    Does it make sense to pay someone millions of dollars to play a game or pretend to be someone else in front of a camera while millions are losing their homes and jobs?

    Take pro sports. Where do they make their money? Well. One way is selling tickets to games. But ticket prices have been soaring. Here's a historical look at Yankee ticket prices [riveraveblues.com]. It's really insane to think a box seat goes for $250 after season ticket discounts. That's just not something a lot of people are going to be able to justify. Same goes for merchandise.

    Another way that sports franchises make money is through advertising. Both in the venue, on tv and through endorsements. Many people are spending less. They either don't have the income they used to have or they need to save more to cover the losses in their savings and retirement plans. It doesn't matter who endorses that new toy/car/carpet/whatever. People will be buying less. That means less money is going to be spent on advertising and we already started seeing advertising budgets cut.

    The economy grew too high, too fast with nothing to support it. The current administration and previous administration kept pumping money into the system to keep it from collapsing. That can't go on forever. We're not going to recover from it. The best we can hope is that all this money that is being printed is being used in a way that will go into new industries that can help fill the void all these scammers created.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, athletes and actors can take a big hit in salary and still be well paid for what they're doing (either they take a big hit, or we stop using the stupidly expensive actors for movies that could've been made a lot cheaper and a lot more profitable without them). I don't see how their roles in society are more important than that of a farmer, that actually gives us something we need to live. Or a doctor, that straight up saves lives. Same goes for the CEOs and really anyone that's worth more than 10 mi
    • Does it make sense to pay someone millions of dollars to play a game or pretend to be someone else in front of a camera while millions are losing their homes and jobs?

      Yes it does when you remember that hundreds of millions of people watch. It's not like one person is paying an athlete $10 million a year, it's millions of people paying him.

    • by coaxial (28297)

      Does it make sense to pay someone millions of dollars to play a game or pretend to be someone else in front of a camera while millions are losing their homes and jobs?

      Yes, since in hard economic times, people still pay for entertainment. Most famously, Hollywood made money during the Great Depression. ( "Throughout most of the Depression, Americans went assiduously, devotedly, almost compulsively, to the movies." [virginia.edu])

      Baseball ticket prices? Let me quote from your link:

      Meanwhile, some bloggers and fans always

      • The inflation adjusted price for a movie ticket during The Great Depression was about $4. Today it's about twice that. Almost every industry inflated prices to get a piece of the free money that was flying around these past few years.

        Today people have more options. Cable, DVDs and even illegal downloads.

        Sure people will still go. But probably not as much as they used to if prices stay the same. Can't help people being stupid for the short term rather then trying to rebuild the 10's of thousands they lost in

  • by grizdog (1224414) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @07:15AM (#27540989) Homepage
    Piloting drones for the military, or one of those rovers on the moon or another planet, or submersibles used for underwater repairs or construction or treasure hunting, or robots that work with bombs or hazardous materials, and things like that. It's not professional gaming, but gaming will prepare you for those jobs at least as well as anything else will
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Weedhopper (168515)

      It's not just stuff like this. There's an obvious digital divide in the OR. You can tell the difference between people who can quickly and intuitively grasp the difference between camera angles and on screen manipulation and those who don't. Age is a huge factor.

  • It already has a future in Korea. Does it have one in the USA? Possibly. How big? Not very. Americans like their athletics real.

    It's probably about the level of, say, American Gladiator: a viable niche at best.

    • Americans like their athletics real.

      Two words: pro wrestling.

      • by badasscat (563442)

        Americans like their athletics real.

        Two words: pro wrestling.

        Even pro wrestling is "real" in that the moves they're performing are real. When a guy jumps off a ring corner 20 feet into the air and does a backflip down on top of another guy, that's real. And without a lot of training and a lot of practice, you're looking at serious injury or worse without proper training.

        You can debate the difference between a "game" and a "sport" but for me, it really comes down to the risk of physical injury. A big reason (though not the only reason) people like sports is because

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Shitloads of people watch poker on television. The differentiating factor isn't physical activity. It's the sense of jeopardy.

    • Not true. Most of our big sports stars have been using cheats and gobbling powerups for years!

      Americans like their athletics real.

  • Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evilNomad (807119) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @07:48AM (#27541107)

    As long as someone is willing to sit and watch someone play a game, why wouldn't there be basis for a pro-gaming? Would you like to advertise directly to 1.000.000 16-25 year old males that play a lot of games, and buy a lot of hardware? Well then pro-gaming is where it is at, and you can get some really cheap well targeted advertising. When the advertising dollars are there, the rest is easy.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      long as someone is willing to sit and watch someone play a game, why wouldn't there be basis for a pro-gaming? Would you like to advertise directly to 1.000.000 16-25 year old males that play a lot of games, and buy a lot of hardware? Well then pro-gaming is where it is at, and you can get some really cheap well targeted advertising. When the advertising dollars are there, the rest is easy.

      Advertising is dying. Look at how decimated the newspapers and magazines are, as ad dollars dry up. The "new media" are going to have the same problem, because, as more and more people get directly connected, and search gets better, people won't need advertising to find what they want. They're already "ad-blind." When I mentioned this to a friend, he asked if gmail still carried ads, since he hasn't noticed one in ages. No, he doesn't use ad-blocking software - he just doesn't notice the ads ... guess go

      • by EMeta (860558)
        Ahh, but compare the decline in advertising by the gaining appeal of gaming. And advertising still pays for thousands of television channels and radio stations quite successfully. In my childhood, video games were extremely nitch. In my kids', it will be difficult to find kids who don't play some form of interactive electronic game at least monthly. As video games continue to get more diverse, this trend will only continue. And the nitch of people who are crazy serious about gaming will only increase a
        • by tomhudson (43916)

          Nonsense. Advertising in all its' forms is on the way out in terms of effectiveness. Case in point - 2 years ago, the 2nd-largest advertiser in the entire world was GM. That worked out to be really "effective", didn't it?

          People aren't "crazy about gaming" - they're "crazy about a specific game." Advertising to them isn't going to get them to drop their craze for another any more than advertising to slashdot users is going to get them to switch to joeblowtechnewsfornerds.

          There are many products that ad

    • by Miltazar (1100457)

      If they want to advertise to people who would be interested in gaming, why not just pay the game company to has advertisements inside the game itself? It's happened before. Advertisements for pro-gaming isn't going to save it.

      Pro gaming needs a single game. It needs a game specifically designed for competition with a time-proven system. The only thing that I can think of that comes close is counter-strike, but even that is kinda iffy.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @07:56AM (#27541133) Homepage Journal

    Just imagine... professional porn watching, and you can tune in and watch your favorite porn watchers watch porn. And, the professional stamp collector watching channel - exciting action, watching those philatelists lick hinges. Why, soon EVERY leisure activity can be a spectator sport. Watch people read the latest exciting novels, watch them watch movies. Watch people watching people watching people watch TV!

    Hey here's an idea for a new show - Guitar Hero Hero Hero! Watch someone pretend to watch someone pretend to play guitar!

  • Hi, it will depend on the gaming market in general: Complex, PC based games favour professional gaming. Casual games on the Console are hardly done in a professional way. CU, Martin
    • There isn't a separation between console gaming and PC gaming, like there was in the old days. Where have you been for the past decade? It isn't like 1989 when consoles sported a huge number of 2D side scrollers and a goodly portion of PC gamers were a bunch of wargamers and roleplayers playing PC games with hex and/or grid maps.

      Quakefoo is Quakefoo no matter which platform it's on. You could do competitive gaming with SOCOM on a PS2 or Team Fortress on platform-foo, or even competitive gaming with some

      • by mseeger (40923)

        Hi,

        you tie the two arguments together while i meant them to seperate:

        • Casual gaming ist bad for pro gaming as casual gamer will not be as interested in Pro Games as e.g. some real time strategy players will be. So he will less likely be an audiance and an customer for advertised goods. This true for console as well as PC gamers.
        • PC gaming is more tied to modding and additional gadgets than the console is. If i look into Mediamarkt (something similar to Fry's here in germany), than PC addons beats Console ad
  • Ultimate Gamer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ferret96 (1293480)
    The Spike Channel is trying to capitalize on this with the show "Ultimate Gamer". I saw one episode and the show seems more like MTV's Real World than any real gaming competition. While that kind of show doesn't appeal to me, I think I can see what they are trying to do. How do you create a delivery system around a game that makes it interesting to watch? With sports you can go to the field or watch it on TV and in either circumstance you are watching something that is dynamic that engages your attention
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @08:24AM (#27541227) Journal

    While you MIGHT want to link pro-gaming with pro-sports, the simple fact is that very few sports can be done on a pro-level. Especially the kind of pro-level that hands out small fortunes in prize money.

    I read a story just recently about a dutch soccer player who played for one of the smaller but still big enough to matter teams, who in between matches worked as a constructor and now does once again. Okay, so his team wasn't in the top, but still, soccer is HUGE and he could NOT earn enough with the sport to make it his full time occupation.

    The top darter in holland drives a tram. I am sure there are many other examples of sports that are at times aired on tv, where an individual might even be famous and they still need an ordinary day job to pay the bills.

    You also have to consider the audience. Yachting attracts big sponsers because the people who watch it spend big money. Is gaming like that? Would you slap down several thousand bucks for a seat at a programing event? Did you buy the new X-fi soundcards? Gamers are two markets anyway, the geeks and the new MTV crowd. Cater to one and you loose the other. Doesn't happen with soccer. The geek gaming crowd isn't going to spend a fortune on a branded item. They know the deal and will get something cheaper instead. The MTV crowd? They got lots more to spend it on, you are competing with all other entertainment and mobile phones and clothes for their money.

    So no, I don't think pro-gaming has a future, it will always be like one of those small sports where sometimes someone gets their 15 minutes of fame and if they are smart make enough to live comfortably for the rest of their lives but equal to say Soccer or baseball or whatever is your countries big sport. No.

  • Whenever you get set-up well in a game you save. Let's just hope these guys used that good practise when it came to their prize money
  • Are there any taped matches with English commentary? I remember watching a starcraft 2 game(demo) a few months ago and the commentator's energetic way of reporting on the game made me curious about it.

    Links would be most welcome.

  • Wcg ultimate gamer sucks in many ways some of the big ones are

    > Why is this on SCI-FI and not G4 or spike tv?

    > Some of games they picked so far and joke of some of the Real Life Challenges.

    > reality show type setup / rules that takes away from being about who is really the best at the game and may even keep some real good players but really bad looking ones out of the show.

    > XBOX 360 only come on fps games are not the best on that system and most of good people with mouse + keyboard and not the

  • by dr_wheel (671305) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @09:06AM (#27541411)

    A little background about myself: I spent the better part of my teens and early 20's playing at a high competitive level in games like Quake and Counter-Strike. I've won semi-major events; I was even on a few teams with notable CPL/WCG winners. You could say that I was right on the cusp of becoming a pro gamer.

    There are a few reasons that I didn't go "pro" like a budding career and the fact that only the very cream of the crop players actually made enough money at the time to consider pro gaming a worthwhile endeavor. I knew I wasn't the best player around, and carting myself around to places like the CPL to finish in the bottom half of the top 10 or top 5 didn't make any sense to me. Working a steady job and earning a living from 9-5, 5 days a week, did.

    Back then, I watched a lot of demos of other players and teams. You know what? I hated it. It felt like homework to me. When I attended lans, I rarely watched or was interested in spectating matches.

    Why? Because gaming, especially at the highest levels, is way more fun when you are actually playing. Gaming, to me, is all about the adrenaline rush that you get when you're storming a base, or grabbing quad damage, or fighting back to win a round when it's 1v3. Spectating, to me, is for losers. Spectating is what I did back in high school when I lost a round of Street Fighter II and had to sit and wait for my turn in a rotation of friends.

    I have probably said it here before, but it bears repeating. Pro gaming relies on sponsorship which, in turn, relies on spectators. And gaming is a is a poor spectator 'sport', or at the best, a niche market.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      I've never understood the spectator part of any real sport either.
      • by dr_wheel (671305)

        'I've never understood the spectator part of any real sport either.'

        That's an entirely different discussion. Major sports are exciting (imo) because they show us the very limits of what we are capable of physically. I watch and enjoy many different sports from baseball to (American) football to tennis and even motorsport.

        Watching a human being hit a 100mph fastball, knowing that if he were to blink his eyes he wouldn't even see it coming across home plate, or seeing a wide receiver grasp a football by the t

        • by bcmm (768152)
          I've never watched a professional game, but I have seen videos of Quake III, and the limits of what we are capable of mentally (in terms of timing, fast decisions and reflexes) can be equally impressive.

          For example, I've seen trickjumping videos where the players seem to be able to estimate speeds and distances unbelievably quickly and accurately, doing things like launching a rocket at the exact split-second required in order for the player, rocket and a hard surface to meet at exactly the same time a few
    • by Ka D'Argo (857749)
      I disagree. While it would be awesome to have pro level skill and be able to hang with the likes of fata1ity, zero, cooller or socrates, etc when you know you'd probably never be good enough to win anything spectating is fun as hell. I love being able to stream video online of high calibre matchups, just intense balls to the wall action of the best players duking it out for supremacy. I hate traditional sports other than a somewhat passive enjoyment of baseball but e-sports? awesome stuff. Counter Strike, Q
      • by dr_wheel (671305)

        There was a time when I was interested in online broadcasts, too. But it was mainly to see who my team might be playing next round in a playoff bracket, or to see what kind of tactics the winner/winning team might be using to possibly gain an advantage. So again... like watching and studying demos, it was a menial, self-selving task.

        I know that you're not alone and that there is a entire community of gamers that enjoy watching/listening to e-sports. But like I tried to say before, it's a niche market.

        Think

      • by frission (676318)
        I agree, I do enjoy spectating certain types of games. Street Fighter tourneys might be one of them. I'm looking forward to this indie documentary http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/90660-I-Got-Next-A-Street-Fighter-Documentary [escapistmagazine.com] SF is interesting to watch because you get to see how pros play, learn new combos, styles of fighting, etc. It's 1 on 1, and all the action takes place on one screen. i think it's hard to spectate FPS games, or team based games, where different screen "see" different ang
    • Why? Because gaming, especially at the highest levels, is way more fun when you are actually playing. Gaming, to me, is all about the adrenaline rush that you get when you're storming a base, or grabbing quad damage, or fighting back to win a round when it's 1v3. Spectating, to me, is for losers. Spectating is what I did back in high school when I lost a round of Street Fighter II and had to sit and wait for my turn in a rotation of friends.

      Football is boring to spectate. Why? Because football, especially at the highest levels, is way more fun when you are actually playing. Football, to me, is all about the adrenaline rush when you make that 3rd and long pass, or the breakaway run, or the clutch sack. Spectating, to me, is for benchwarmers. Spectating is what I did back in high school when I wasn't the biggest or fastest and had to sit and wait until we were up by 21 in the fourth quarter.

  • by genjix (959457)
    I'm a professional poker player and I make a reasonable income. Many other regulars I know were former Starcraft players. It's just a natural cycle of things. A few years ago people used to play Chess, but I know a few of them moved to Poker. As an example: Bertrand Russell or 'Elky' used to be a world champion at Starcraft, now he's a champion poker player.
  • What the Dream Team [absforathletes.com] of professional gaming might look like
  • Pro gaming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rob1980 (941751) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:32AM (#27541885)
    Professional gaming looked set for the big time. It never happened...

    I will tell you why it never happened: the same reason other dot com creations like Webvan and Pets.com "looked set for the big time" and then promptly disappeared. The difference between professional gaming and Webvan is that professional gaming refused to die. A friend of mine was active in that stuff for years and despite being pretty good at what he did, all he ever won was an $800 check that had to be split 4 ways with his teammates. That was after multiple trips to all four corners of this country and at least a couple outside of the country. Not enough people give enough of a shit for sponsors to care enough about professional gaming, therefore there is no money in it for the participants unless you win the whole thing. Even low-rent sports leagues like the AFL pay their bottom-rung players something.

    The day an organized league with a valid, sustainable salary structure comes into town is the day professional gaming makes it. Otherwise all it'll ever be is a smattering of competitions for people who can afford to take long weekends to go sit in some hotel conference room and jam themselves full of Red Bull and play video games in tournament brackets.
  • Having spent a large amount of my youth playing games like real-time strats and shooters ... and having gone to competitions and doing really well, I can give you the simple answer as to why the "games" would not do well.

    Real time strategies ... are too slow. I've played games with people of equal caliber that latest 5 minutes, and others that lasted well over 3-5+ hours. It's not consistent and most people don't understand what is happening. It's like watching chess, sure it's intriguing, but it's borin

  • A lot of them seem to be turning to online poker, which is obviously more profitable but requires similar skills.

    If there was a way to play Counter-Strike for 1$ a kill, then you'd have professional gamers.

  • Maybe I'm ignorant of what pro gaming is like these days, but I can't see it becoming mainstream (that's not what we're talking about, really) until the games themselves are: (1)Nuanced enough that individual styles of top-flight players can be discerned by laypeople and (2)that the technology to render a sufficiently immersive experience in a particular model of is a achieved and plateaus.

    The second condition has been fulfilled by games like Pac-man, off the top of my head. The first condition has has been

  • In a world where you can be (relatively) famous for the ability to eat more hot dogs in five minutes than anyone else in the world, I can't see how gaming is all that bad.

    (Why not combine the two? Oh, wait. There's already a competitive eating video game. Holy crap, I think I might just explode.)

  • I've found that there is no better way to ruin a perfectly good hobby then to make it a career.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Oh if only I had mod points.

      This is the single best piece of advice that you can give to any teenager or young adult who's approaching a big decision point career-wise. The number of people I know who are stuck in IT jobs they loathe and despise because they enjoyed playing around with computers while they are at school is just insane.

      • No, you'll confuse and worry them. Do what you like and try to get paid for it.
        • No, you'll confuse and worry them. Do what you like and try to get paid for it.

          Do it, do it, do it, until you hate it.

          That'll take about six months. Enjoy the other 44.5 years before retirement.

          They have every reason to be worried: life sucks, and they're just about to find out how badly.

  • First, PC games are not long-term. Even Starcraft has only been around for about 10 years, and its replacement is coming up this year or next. FPS's typically remain popular for 2-3 years at the most. Compare that with any real pro sport. Some of them have been around longer than the US has been a country; almost all of them have been around before computers existed. So when this year's $BIG_POPULAR_FPS dies out next year, which one is going to replace it as the next "pro" FPS? No one really knows until the

  • There is not enough money in gaming to support a large number of players. Hockey and Football support all of the players at the high end while in gaming only the top few can make a living and the pay drops off sharply after. I do not think that this can change right now.

    Gambling may be an interesting avenue. Anyone can try playing poker. A loop of interest can exist between watching and playing. I think that getting people to try and win 50 bucks playing Quake or Street Fighter would generate interest in th

  • The question is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jerrei (1515395)
    do professional gamers have a future?
    • by Renraku (518261)

      The unfortunate side is that gaming usually favors people with the most time. There's nothing stopping an unemployed person living in mom's basement from sitting around all day and playing Counter-Strike. But the person that has the 9-5 job and the wife might get to play 30 minutes a night, if they aren't tired from the day. They're less likely to want to spend time to be competitive.

      So what you end up with is someone that won $500 for being #1 at a tournament, but they've spent the past 12 months of the

  • Let me see, have you completed and/or installed as many games as I have on WINE?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/rofthorax [youtube.com]

    I think I should get some prizes too.. I doubt F4tality or whatever his name would not have the balls to get games running on WINE, nor to play them to the end.

    Let's see you install COD4 on WINE F4t4lity or whatever your name is..

  • by Boronx (228853)

    Yes. The potential to make gaming visually interesting is so much higher than in sports.

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