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The Almighty Buck Games

Gamer Wins $1M For Pitching Virtual "Perfect Game" 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-it-was-against-the-mets dept.
A few months ago, 2K Sports announced a unique contest to promote a new game they were working on, Major League Baseball 2K10. They said whichever gamer was the first to pitch a perfect game and provide proof would win $1 million, with the contest running for two months. Reader yukk tips news that the two months have now passed, and 2K Sports has announced a winner. It turns out the prize was won on the very first day, by a player who had put less than an hour and a half of effort into it.
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Gamer Wins $1M For Pitching Virtual "Perfect Game"

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  • by pantherace (165052) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:15AM (#32123844)

    Fastest baseball game ever, that wasn't called due to weather.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually the shortest MLB baseball game [answers.com] ever was 51 minutes

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        And yet still 3 people died of sheer boredom.

  • baseball? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mirix (1649853) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:20AM (#32123876)

    The most boring possible video game genre.

    Playing baseball - boring.
    Watching baseball - very boring.
    Playing a video game of baseball - even more boring.
    Watching someone play a video game of baseball - kill me now.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:30AM (#32123934) Homepage
      Posting about reading about watching someone play a video game of baseball - I will invent a time machine and kill your father before you were conceived. It's the only way to be sure.
    • Watching someone die due to the "side" effects of watching someone play a video game of baseball - buy popcorn
      • by TooMad (967091)
        Popcorn? Popcorn? It's cracker jacks damn it!
      • by JWSmythe (446288)

            For some reason, I see that as the plot of one of the "Saw" movies. Every time the other team makes a run, some more evil torture is committed to the victim. Of course, they'd have a boyfriend/girlfriend couple, where the boyfriend is being tortured, and the girlfriend is losing miserably. The more she cries, the worse she plays, and voila, dead boyfriend. I wouldn't worry much though, they'd kill off the girlfriend in a subsequent scene. :)

    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:31AM (#32123942)
      One word.

      Cricket.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by anarche (1525323)

        One word.

          Cricket.

        Baseball.

        Proof that Americans never had an attention span.

      • Cricket? You gotta understand what a crumpet is before you can understand what cricket is..
      • by Chelloveck (14643)
        Ah yes. Cricket. A lovely excuse to sit at a pub and drink beer on a summer afternoon. But really, that can be done just as well without the guys in funny clothes running around in the field next-door.
      • Billard?
        Poker?
        Chess?

        At least cricket or golf are played outside.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The most boring possible video game genre.

      Playing baseball - boring.
      Watching baseball - very boring.
      Playing a video game of baseball - even more boring.
      Watching someone play a video game of baseball - kill me now.

      It depends about the video of someone playing a baseball computer game. Does it have that mullet forever hair, 80's throwback Billy Mitchell in it?

    • by CODiNE (27417)

      Personally I don't like baseball, but I can see the appeal of playing the game on a console.

      See geeks like to take long drawn-out inefficient methods of accomplishing something and do it for fun.

      Like killing 500 monsters to flip a few bits in memory. Sort of a physical touring machine, you ARE the program.

      So in a similar sense... trying to precisely direct the velocity and flight path of a baseball using an inefficient and unwieldy instrument which is wholly unsuited to the task... instead of ya know... a

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        trying to precisely direct the velocity and flight path of a baseball using an inefficient and unwieldy instrument which is wholly unsuited to the task... instead of ya know... a potato cannon or something.

        I don't know how much more succesfull I'd be, swinging a potato cannon to hit the fricking ball.

    • Pitching a no hitter on LSD - awesome
      Watching a pitcher on LSD pitching a no hitter while you're on LSD - Whoa! Freaky!
      Pitching a no hitter playing a baseball video game while you're on LSD - Trippy!
      Watching someone on LSD pitch a no hitter playing a video baseball game while you're on LSD - Where's the Hendrix albums?

      It's all just a state of mind man....

  • One of two things comes to mind:

    1) This game is far too easy for a $1million reward.
    2) Read # 1
    • Apparently 2KSports didn't do much research on the level of difficulty for this reward, or they simply didn't care and just wanted it as a marketing tool.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        But apparently they researched how long to keep the contest open AFTER getting their first winner in less than 24 hours. It would be interesting to know how many copies of the game they sold on Day 1 and how many they sold from Day 2 to when they actually announced they had a winner.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          You could probably actually sue them since (IANAL) they didn't make full disclosure about the details of their contest. If the knew someone had already won and didn't announce it just to drive more sales that smacks of fraud.
          I can't cite a specific statue, but I'm sure you could find one that would fit.
          Just a thought, you could probably get a partial refund of the game at the very least.
          • How's that fraud? There would have been a bigger uproar had they closed the contest early they definitely would have been sued for fraud. What they should have done was, if they were going to keep it open for 2 months regardless, was to give each one who pitched a perfect game an entry into a drawing for the $1 million

            • The fraud was advertising "pitch a perfect game and win $1m" when it was no longer possible to win and they knew it.

              • could have a case than.

              • by navyjeff (900138)

                It's not necessarily a fraud. It took them a while to verify the winner's results. If he had been disqualified in any way after they declared that a winner had been found, then the promotion would have ended prematurely, possibly without a winner.

                If I had heard about this promotion in advance, I would've assumed that I'd have to buy the game the day it came out to have any chance at the prize. After a week, I would've expected there to be numerous potential winners. It's common knowledge that there are a lo

                • You're honestly claiming that it took them 2 months to verify the guy's result?

                  And sure, you might ignore it after a week, but someone might see the advert for the first time after that. If they buy the game purely to enter this competition (which already has a winner by that point) then they've been frauded.

                  • by navyjeff (900138)
                    You would seriously buy a game you hate playing just to try for a possible million dollar prize? Do you also eat at McDonald's just to play their Monopoly game?
                    • I wouldn't. And I never said the buyer would hate the game, just that they only buy it to enter the competition. Perhaps they already had the previous year's version or a competitor's version, and saw no reason to buy this one? For example.

      • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix.gmail@com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:53AM (#32124028)

        Having actually played the game, getting a perfect game is not easy.

        You have to get 27 straight outs. You get an out one of two ways: 1) you strike out the batter, or 2) the batter hits the ball and your defence gets the batter out. Complicating things further, it gets progressively harder to pitch accurately when your pitcher gets tired (after you hit about 80 pitches, you have less than half a second to complete the pitching gesture. After 100 pitches, good luck getting a good pitch off even if you pull off the gesture under a quarter of a second).

        So you have to weigh whether you want to focus on strike outs and risk getting your pitch count too high to handle, or you focus on trying to get the batter to hit into the defence and keep your pitch count low. If you try to pitch to hit, you risk having a ball just dribble by your infield or having a blooper drop in between your infield and outfield, ruining your game. Adding to the frustration is a buggy infield AI that sometimes allows soft liners through, or the first baseman running for a ball that should've been the second baseman's thus leaving first base empty.

        In any event, minus the buggy infield AI, the perfect game challenge highlighted something very important for MLB 2K10. When you're pitching, it is a pretty immersive experience. You really feel the pressure when you're delivering the pitch, and you have that split second of helplessness and frustration when the batter makes solid contact with the ball.

        Pitching is definitely the highlight of the game, and the reward did a pretty good job to draw attention to that. Although we can't speak to the financial success of the campaign without any sales stats, it was at least a success in the sense that it was effective in showcasing the strongest aspect of the game.

        • >>>...or the first baseman running for a ball that should've been the second baseman's thus leaving first base empty.

          The pitcher should be on his way to first as soon as contact is made on a right-side infield grounder. If there's a bug in that essential aspect of gameplay... this game fails Baseball.
        • by roman_mir (125474)

          I have no idea what you have just said, but it sure sounds like you deserve that million of dollars or more even just for understanding that and more importantly for caring to understand it.

    • by dominious (1077089) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:52AM (#32124018)
      FTFA:

      "The funny thing is I haven't even come close since then," McGilberry said. "There must have been something special about that day."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        There was.

        You were trying to win a million dollars.
        • Ooh Ooh! Can I hit him with a real bat instead?

        • by lawpoop (604919)
          I remember playing Contra on the NES with my buddy one day. I was trying to show off my skills, claiming that I could beat the game without the 30 lives. I played through the whole game without dying once. I was plenty impressed with myself!
      • by nico60513 (735846)

        FTFA:

        "The funny thing is I haven't even come close since then," McGilberry said. "There must have been something special about that day."

        So he's like Mark Buehrle?

    • Lets presume the company accurately modded the game mechanics of major league baseball. Perfectly reasonable given its heavily statistics based.

      MLB has maybe 1 perfect game a year, or every other year. Lets say once every 2 years to be generous. There's 32 teams, playing 180 games (roughly)...thats 16 matches x 180 times x 2 years with a chance of producing a perfect game. So statistically, a 1 in 5760 chance of producing a perfect game.

      Presuming this is a moderately successful game title, they sell..
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by The Flymaster (112510)

        There have been 16 perfect games in MLB since 1900. That is about 1 every 7 seasons, not every season.

      • by Rudolf (43885)

        MLB has maybe 1 perfect game a year, or every other year. Lets say once every 2 years to be generous. There's 32 teams, playing 180 games (roughly)...thats 16 matches x 180 times x 2 years with a chance of producing a perfect game. So statistically, a 1 in 5760 chance of producing a perfect game.

        Shouldn't that be 32 teams x 180 games? In each match, either team can get a perfect game.

  • the definition of 1337.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SeaFox (739806)

      It could have been an hour and a half playing Major League Baseball 2K10 after having spent years with earlier-year versions of the game.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by _xeno_ (155264)

        It could have been an hour and a half playing Major League Baseball 2K10 after having spent years with earlier-year versions of the game.

        According to Kotaku [kotaku.com], this version of the game has different pitching controls from the previous versions.

        Although according to the same article, he spent two weeks prior to the game's release playing the demo and practicing for the contest.

        So, yeah - not like he only spent an hour and a half on this. He practiced.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "We're very happy to give the money away," said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports.

    Because insurance companies couldn't possibly come up with the odds of throwing a perfect game, 2K Sports didn't take out insurance and now will pay McGilberry a lump sum of $1 million out of its own pocket.

    They're happy to pay out a million bucks? That's really going to affect some bonuses I bet.

    I believe they'd probably be happier driving nails through their balls than having to fork over that kind of cash.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      2K Sports is a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive. Take-Two have a revenue of $968 million (2009), and Net Income of $97.1 million (2008). Although $1million seems like alot to us mere mortals, it's chicken feed to them. They would probably have spent it on traditional marketing anyway.

      Personally, I like the fact that it was won so quickly. Goes to show the game isn't rigged, and the goal was achievable.

    • by TheLink (130905)
      > I believe they'd probably be happier driving nails through their balls than having to fork over that kind of cash.

      I wouldn't be happier especially if:

      1) They are my balls
      2) The 1 million dollars weren't mine in the first place
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by boxwood (1742976)

      ummmm they probably are happy because first they got some attention when they first announced the contest, a lot of people went out and bought the game so the could participate in the contest, and now they get a lot of articles written about the contest and the happy winner of the game. People reading those articles will think more positively about 2K Sports, and the baseball game. They aren't looking at it like they're giving away a million dollars, they're looking at it like they're paying a million dolla

      • by eharvill (991859)
        I had never heard of the contest until this morning. Not the best marketing IMO. That being said, I am probably within their target demographic, but I just don't care about baseball computer games. I think I have seen some baseball video game commercials on TV, but I couldn't tell ya the platform nor the franchise.
  • There was no $1 million prize. Not from the publisher's perspective, at least.

    They paid $1 million for marketing. Who they payed the $1 million to was irrelevant. The only difference here is that the money went to some schlub consumer instead of a marketing firm.

    Seems fairly disingenuous, but I don't even think I'd go so far as to call it unethical.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:14AM (#32124110) Journal
      Yeah, I'm jealous too :-)
    • In the UK at least it comes under something stronger than simple false advertising law iirc.

      There was a scratch card company (maybe even from Camelot the lottery company I forget) that was taken to court over the fact they sold hundreds (thousands? more?) tickets after they knew the main prize had been won, so people were buying tickets under a misapprehension.

      If there is similar in the US as I'd expect, I'd think 2K Sports only (slim) hope would be claiming you didn't have to purchase anything to enter, so

      • by Asmor (775910)

        Well, there's certainly plenty of plausible deniability. The prize was not for the first person to give them proof of the feat, it was for proof of the earliest example the feat.

        It's certainly within the realm of possibility that someone might have done it in an hour, or even in 89 minutes, and not turned in the proof until just before the deadline.

        Thus, they didn't "really" know who the winner was until the end. In fact, one could argue they'd be remiss to announce the winner early when they set a time spa

        • by TheLink (130905)
          Yeah, it all depends on the rules and fine print.

          And if it turned out the initial winner was cheating, it's likely that the next person to do it (without cheating) wins.

          Heh, I wonder what his wife thinks of him playing computer games now... How much does a 401k record keeper job pay?
  • by OnlyJedi (709288) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:47AM (#32124258) Homepage

    Sounds a bit low to me. If he were a real major league pitcher, he would get paid nearly $1 million just for showing up to a game, even if he lost.

    • by RobDude (1123541)

      How many people would pay to watch some kid play a video game in his basement vs. how many people would pay money to watch a real major league picther?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by killjoy966 (655602)

      Not likely. In 2008, average salary for a starting pitcher was $4,429,366 [ap.org]. There are 162 games during an MLB season (not including playoffs) meaning a pitcher only makes $27,341.77 per game. Even if you assume he only gets "paid" for the games he plays (there are typically five starting pitchers on a team) then he only gets $138,417.68 per appearance.

      Even the highest paid starting pitcher currently in the league only makes $23,000,000 per annum making his per appearance fee $718,750. Of course there's also

  • Misleading (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ollabelle (980205) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:12AM (#32124708)
    And for long did they know the prize was already won and everyone else had zero chance to win? That's the part that bothers me.

    I remember a similar situation with Virginia's scratch-off lottery tickets: a fixed number of tickets are printed with winning numbers, and once those prizes are all claimed, the Lottery Agency is supposed to pull the remaining tickets since they're all losers. But of course, they don't.

    • by eharvill (991859)
      Similar situation in Georgia a while back, but I believe someone was able to sue, and win, the GA Lotto about false claims of odds of winning or some such.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bigpistol (1311191)

      FTFA:

      2K Sports kept the contest open for two months and couldn't believe what they saw when they reviewed the time code on McGilberry's perfect game. Was it really possible that a gamer threw a perfect game in the first 24 hours the game had come out?

      Looks to me like they kept entries then reviewed them once the 2 months were up.

    • by KZigurs (638781)

      uhm? Are you sure they have to pull them back?
      That would be a bit against the way lottery math works.

      • by BTWR (540147)
        uhm? Are you sure they have to pull them back? That would be a bit against the way lottery math works.

        I see your point from a mathematical POV, but not in a legal one. When you advertise "You could win up to 1,000,000 today with 'Scratch-Off-Millions!'" after the million dollars was won, you are in fact lying, since that's no-longer possible.

        A casino can advertise that you can win up to $10,000 on this roulette table because you can, every time. But they can't advertise "win the 1,000,000th-customer pr
  • ...the "winner" of this contest throws like a girl.

    Excuse me, there's a woman from N.O.W. at my front door...

  • I wonder if anyone else submitted a legit no hitter.
    I can understand keeping it quiet on 2k's part, you don't want people to stop buying the game because they are trying to win the prize, but I would like some more stats like how many people submitted a complete no hitter, how many were legit, how many spoofed one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Has to be better than a no hitter. A perfect game means no walks, no errors, no hits.
    • The article makes it sound like they didn't review any submissions until after 2 months. Obviously they chose to do this intentionally to artificially extend the duration of the contest, but I don't think they were deliberately and knowingly hiding the fact that someone had won so soon.

      It's pure genius, really.

  • The 2K baseball games are horrible. They are full of bugs and totally unrealistic. I picked up 2K7 out of a clearance bin a couple years ago and in my second game playing I struck out 23 batters. 23 out of a possible 27 outs were strikes outs. No, I wasn't pitching as Randy Johnson or someone like that, I was pitching as Ted Lilly!! If you want a real challenge, pick up MLB: The Show. Overall a more realistic baseball game, and you definately won't be throwing a perfect game after an hour of playing.
  • Will they pay or try to find a way out of it?

  • Wasn't there a South Park episode about this?

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/127947 [southparkstudios.com]

    My favorite line from the episode:

    "No one plays just a little Heroin Hero..."

  • Here I was thinking they were having a contest to "pitch" ideas for the perfect baseball game. Curse you homonyms!
  • Doing the right thing pays off..... Imagine that.
  • "We're very happy to give the money away," said Jason Argent [google.ca], vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. "This was something innovative we dreamed up and we were really able to make some noise in the marketplace."
  • by dingen (958134)
    I get shortening 2000 to 2k. And I suppose 2k1 to 2k9 make some sense. But 2k10... that's exactly the amount of characters needed for 2010. What's the use of an abbreviation when it's not shorter?
    • Marketing. Think about it. What's easier and more unique to verbalize, "two-kay-ten" or "two-thousand-ten?" People already say, hear and think the latter all of the time. So if someone says "two-thousand-ten," other people won't think "oh yeah that baseball game." However they will recognize the phrase "two-kay-ten," and they are used to using the "two-kay-(number)" format to refer to the games. In my opinion, it's brilliant, despite all of you nerds whining that it's the same number of characters. The diff

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