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Real Time Strategy (Games) Games

Why People Watch StarCraft, Instead of Playing 122 122

generalepsilon writes "Researchers from the University of Washington have found a key reason why StarCraft is a popular spectator sport (PDF), especially in Korea. In a paper published last week, they theorize that StarCraft incorporates 'information asymmetry,' where the players and spectators each have different pieces of information, which transforms into entertainment. Sometimes spectators know something the players don't; they watch in suspense as players walk their armies into traps or a dropship sneaks behind the mineral line. Other times, players know something the spectators yearn to find out, such as 'cheese' (spectacular build orders that attempt to outplay an opponent early in the game). Rather than giving as much information as possible to spectators, it may be more crucial for game designers to decide which information to give to spectators, and when to reveal this information."
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Why People Watch StarCraft, Instead of Playing

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  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Monday May 16, 2011 @03:24PM (#36143102)
    Or maybe it's like any other competitive sport, there are people who enjoy watching it being played at a higher level than they themselves are able to participate at?
  • Similar to Poker (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ELitwin (1631305) on Monday May 16, 2011 @03:36PM (#36143240)
    This seems similar to watching poker on TV where the viewer knows what cards all the players are holding. There is still suspense with regards to the flop (and turn/river) and whether the betting/bluffing strategies will work.
  • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Monday May 16, 2011 @04:25PM (#36143926)

    I've been to a chess tournament with some of the world's top players (Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik included). The hall was packed pretty full of people watching the game boards on the big screen. So yeah, people watch even chess.

    Of course chess doesn't really make a good spectator sport. One problem is the speed - a single move will take several minutes, can take half an hour even, that isn't exactly fun to watch even if you're into chess. The other problem is the level of skill involved. You have to be a very skilled player to see the reasoning behind Kasparov's moves. If you're an enthusiast, 90% of moves at that level will leave you clueless as to why they were made. This is rather different from Starcraft, where a bronze-level player may understand what the pro player is doing, or from football, where a fan can appreciate quality passing without being able to do anything remotely similar.

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