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Real Time Strategy (Games) Games Idle

Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers 351

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we-watch-channel-zero dept.
dtmos wrote in to say that "This summer, StarCraft II has become the newest bar room spectator sport. Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches. As they root for their on-screen superstars, StarCraft enthusiasts can sow confusion among regular patrons... But for sports-bar owners, StarCraft viewers represent a key new source of revenue from a demographic—self-described geeks—they hadn't attracted before."
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Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:00PM (#37192142)

    I guarantee that if I'm at the bar watching a White Sox game, and somebody turns it off in favor of some video game, there's going to be hell to pay.

    (replace "White Sox" with your favorite team that plays a real sport based on physical prowess)

    Come on, bring out the -1's. Show me how malevolent you really are, slashdot moderators.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:09PM (#37192262) Journal
      Luckily, finely honed reflexes and well developed fine-motor skills are not forms of physical prowess... so the status of Real Sports is safe.

      C'mon: Obviously, for the basic reason that our metabolisms sure as hell didn't evolve for sitting on the couch and letting our fingers do the work, getting actual exercise is healthy and useful(some people are even into it for its own sake, I'm told).

      Plunking your ass on the couch and cheering as your tribe fights the away tribe, though, bears basically the same relationship to real physical activity that plunking your ass on the couch and cheering as your RTS-er of choice drops some stimpacked marines on the opposition's mining outpost. That is, None At All.

      Spectating isn't a sport, no matter what you are staring at.
    • by Yamioni (2424602) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:11PM (#37192302)
      I have to respectfully disagree. Starcraft and other competitive online games are just as much a sport as baseball and football. Just like traditional sports, they require that you have good reflexes. They also require that you strategise and think ahead, predicting your opponent's moves better than they predict yours, in order to succeed. Just because the player isn't wearing protective gear and sweating in the sun doesn't mean it is any less intense; the focus is just shifted more off of the player's body and onto the mind. That also doesn't mean that the sport is less enjoyable or interesting to both the participants and the spectators. Different strokes for different folks ya know?

      We live in America. Majority rules. If ten people want to watch the Sox play, and 20 want to watch Starcraft, the bar owner is going to change the TV. And if you start shit about it, they will happily tell you to leave. Money talks. Mouthy assholes who think the world should cater to them and their every whim walk.
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      The downfall of America continues, right in your own sports bar. And you thought it was bad enough when you walk into the bar in April or May and end up watching women's college softball, the Little League World Series now, or "World Championship Poker" at other random times during the year,. . . I guess they've got to fill the airtime somehow,. . .
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Considering starcraft is far less boring than baseball I don't understand your point. Of course I find football barely watchable, too much stopping. Hockey is a decent game to watch at the bar though.

        • by Andy Dodd (701)

          I can't tolerate football at all on TV, and I can barely tolerate it in person, for the same reason as you - too much time spent watching the clock tick with nothing happening.
          I somewhat enjoy hockey on TV, but I LOVE it in person, especially in a highly energetic rink like Lynah Rink at Cornell. Sometimes you can burn 8 minutes of a period without a single stoppage of play. (Which actually sucks if the rink doesn't let you take your seats during play and you get to the game 2 minutes late.)
          I'd find enter

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            I agree with you on the hockey there. I actually find it more enjoyable to watch amateur and university games as there aren't all the stoppages in play for TV commercials. I didn't pay $60+ a ticket to watch the TimBits play hockey. Olympic hockey used to be good, although I think the last time around they incorporated commercial breaks as well.
          • Try watching football on a DVR. Much more enjoyable.
    • by IDK (1033430)

      I guarantee that if I'm at the bar watching a White Sox game, and somebody turns it off in favor of some video game, there's going to be hell to pay.

      If the video game supporters outnumber the 'real sport' supporters, I would think not... Instead of a game of who can be the smartest*, you prefer a sport where the luckiest win first and the best win second. * Where smartest here means the one who can outsmart the opponent, is better at strategy and can think faster.

    • The thing is though, you can arrange these ahead of time to be played when there are no good games on. Baseball tends to have a game on almost any time every single day during the season but when you reach the fall, winter and spring sports you're talking about several days when there just isn't any games on. Sure, Americans play football all weekend (college on Saturday, professional on Sunday), and then there's the Monday night game, along with maybe a few more. But even with other sports, there are da

    • by N1AK (864906)
      Why would we want to downmod you, your post's a great example of just how pathetic some people can be when it comes to a ball being hit/thrown/bounced around.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Agreed. StarCraft is a sport the same way that FarmVille is a video game. It might fit technical definitions, but it's not the same thing.
      • Different people watch things for different reasons. "Sport"...? Perhaps you are correct. "Game"...? Sure as shit StarCraft is a game, with as much strategy/tactics as any "real world/physical" sport. I love the NFL, but I would take watching StarCraft over baseball/golf/tennis anyday. Game On!
    • by Methuseus (468642)

      Don't you dare turn off my curling match for some stupid baseball game!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      It may or may not be a sport. What's clear is that it has no more value than a sport. It's just utterly contrived competition to keep us distracted. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your perspective, but ultimately it's the same thing whether it's sports or video games.

      I don't know why you'd go to a sports bar to watch Starcraft when you could play it at home. And I don't know why you'd go to a sports bar to watch baseball when you could organize a pick up game yourself.

    • by ph0rk (118461)
      John M. Roberts defined games in three categories, paraphrased here:

      "The categories proposed by Roberts at al. are staged; games of chance do not require any skill or strategy (dice games, coin tosses), games of strategy may or may not involve chance but do not involve physical skill (chess, go, poker), and games of physical skill require skill, and may or may not involve chance or strategy. Amusingly, this would place [video] games in the same category as footraces, boxing, and soccer – that of ph
    • I guarantee that if I'm at the bar watching a White Sox game, and somebody turns it off in favor of some video game, there's going to be hell to pay.

      I'll tell you right now, that practically any bar you are at, sport's or not, will gladly change the channel to whatever brings in the most customers and gives them the most business. I've seen sports bars show X-Files, Sex in the City, Battlestar Galactica, instead of their normal sports because having 40 people watching their favorite TV show and drinking tru

    • Yeah it's not like sports bars are full of TVs or something. I mean this is likely to cause a riot when all the people huddled around a sports bar's single TV realize the TV isn't on commentating on the frenetic pace of baseball.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I want them to try it in a london pub during the world cup...

  • Sad to say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m50d (797211) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:04PM (#37192196) Homepage Journal
    but said demographic can also be very stingy. I suspect a large proportion of them will be teetotal, and many of those who aren't will buy a single drink and nurse it through the evening. So I'd be interested to hear whether the bars actually make enough money for this to be worthwhile.
    • by hodet (620484)
      will also be one massive nerdy sausage party.
    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      Man, if only you bothered to read the article, you'd have seen this quote:

      "It was unbelievable," said Jim Biddle, a manager of Bistro 153 in Beaverton, Ore., which hosted its first Barcraft in July. The 50 gamers in attendance "doubled what I'd normally take in on a normal Sunday night."

      So even if they aren't buying drinks, they're buying enough stuff to double the bar's normal take.

      Besides, if you've ever hung around gamers, beer (or really any alcoholic beverage) is a large part of the modern adult video gaming experience.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        Yup. Kid gamers aren't people you'd want as bar patrons - they'd get in the way and wouldn't bring in much money.

        But I agree with you - adult gamers WILL consume beer, and I think they tend to also gravitate towards higher-end beers that are probably more profitable for the bar.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      FTFA:

      "[the gamers] doubled what I'd normally take in on a normal Sunday night."

      I'm not sure why you'd think video gamers are necessarily teetotal. Many are college student. Sure, they don't generally go to frat parties and drink Bud Light, but plenty of gamers I know drink readily. And the teetotalers aren't likely to show up at a bar, in any case, so I think it could be very profitable. Your mindset is likely why events like this haven't happened in the past.

      • by anyGould (1295481)

        I'm not sure why you'd think video gamers are necessarily teetotal. Many are college student. Sure, they don't generally go to frat parties and drink Bud Light, but plenty of gamers I know drink readily. And the teetotalers aren't likely to show up at a bar, in any case, so I think it could be very profitable. Your mindset is likely why events like this haven't happened in the past.

        And even the teetotallers will buy a few non-alc drinks and a plate of nachos or something.

        Back when those little trivia boxes were all the rage, a half-dozen of us were regulars at the local bar, and while most of us didn't "drink", the bar made enough money from us that our table was always waiting when we got there.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      As part of said demographic I bet you are wrong as hell. I drink like a fish, so do most of my geek friends. We also all have wives/girlfriends though.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:16PM (#37192382) Journal
      You just aren't selling it right:

      It isn't a shot, it's a potion of +1STR, +1CON(Side effects may include; but are not limited to, -1DEX, +1d6 illusory CHA, -1d6WIS).
      • by rwv (1636355)

        +1STR, +1CON(Side effects may include; but are not limited to, -1DEX, +1d6 illusory CHA, -1d6WIS).

        More Strength, More Confidence, Less Dexterity, More Confusion, Less Wisdom. Yeah... that sums up being drunk.

        • by gknoy (899301)

          And yet it's so nerdy that some of us would try it on principle. I probably would, just for laughs.

          "Let's see ... Amber Harvest, Sultry Redhead, Hoofeweizen, Potion of Stats!? I'll try that this time."

          • What sane, right-thinking, person would fail to try at least one upon learning that "YeastMaster's Exalted Potion of Courage" was on tap?
    • by jovius (974690)

      There actually exists a sideparty of the Assembly Demo/Lan/Festival event in Helsinki that's called Boozembly. The very first Assembly events back in 90s were total drinkfests. Maybe that's something Finnish or Nordic but what I've gathered nerds generally are more wasted (and not only on alcohol) than regular people.

    • by brkello (642429)

      I don't know what world you live in. People go to bars and they drink and eat. If they are going to nurse a drink, might as well stay at home since they are a bunch of introverts. People who watch Starcraft are like anyone else, they are going to go out with their friends and drink. I've actually gone to MLGs...so I know you are clueless on what this demographic is like.

    • by Kreigaffe (765218)

      Said demographic is hardly stingy. Kids that grew up on video games are now adults. Not 18, not 19. 30 year olds. Many of them have quite a bit of disposable income. Many of them drink.

      And here's another fun thing. Drunk gamers do not tend to be the violent, confrontational types when they get drunk. Drunk gamers aren't at risk of getting into brawls because one team or another won or lost. Sports fans riot after big matches. Gamers do not. I'm guessing a bar full of nerds watching Starcraft is a

    • If you're interested, read this from the article:

      "It was unbelievable," said Jim Biddle, a manager of Bistro 153 in Beaverton, Ore., which hosted its first Barcraft in July. The 50 gamers in attendance "doubled what I'd normally take in on a normal Sunday night."

      The expansion of Starcraft spectatorship into the US is great. Now there is even more motivation to pay money to Blizzard while I nurse failed dreams of becoming a pro-gamer.

  • Over 1,000 channels on my cable box, several hundred of them dedicated to sports. And not *one* dedicated to videogame competitions. So apparently a pretty niche market (though personally, I would love to be able to spectate Halo tournaments, Arena battles in MMO's, etc.). For that matter, almost no videogames have any kind of "spectator" mode for players who just want to watch (and not participate).

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      I remember several years ago, USA would show Halo tournaments at like 9am on Sat. I remember I would watch them sometimes back in college on Saturdays after pregame meal but before we had to report to the field house for a home football game.
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      I thought they tried this with G4? But then they bought out TechTV, merged the two, and both died a long, slow, horrible death. Oh well, at least there's always good science fiction on the Sci-Fi Channel! Oh, wait!
    • I've seen a few Warcraft and Starcraft competitions on TV while visiting Shanghai a few years back. It's the kind of spectating sport you would see among the likes of poker, pingpong, and shuffleboard on ESPN2 here in the US. Unless your watching with others in the same room, it can be rather boring. I suppose I feel that way because multi-player gaming is nothing more than social interacting. When you watch others play games while spectating alone, I get a feeling of being left out. Perhaps that's why broa

      • Well, I recently got into StarCraft II, and I actually enjoy seeing how incredibly well pros play the game and how all over the place the action is, compared to my typical games on the ladder.

        • by gknoy (899301)

          I'd be frustrated if I couldn't hear the commentary about WHY it's good play, or what brilliant feat of timing, control, or other skill the players just did ... because I sure as hell am not good enough at Starcraft to even recognize it. Announcers make sports more fun to follow for non-savvy spectators, whether it be football or Starcraft.

    • by Yamioni (2424602)
      I have always thought that World of Warcraft could do well with a spectator mode. Heroics, Raids, Battlegrounds, Arenas; all great places to sit and watch other players for entertainment, or even to learn how to play better. Being able to watch the top raiding guilds in the world plow through Firelands or watch some of the top arena teams compete would be a great way for anyone to learn new strategies and up their game. Or you could just get drunk and watch crappy players wipe/lose over and over; bonus poin
  • by BitHive (578094) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:15PM (#37192362) Homepage

    Another reason not to go to sports bars.

    • Another reason not to go to sports bars.

      Well, I daresay it will even more so restrict the number of women attending the bar. As if having a sports bar isn't bad enough, making some part of it isolated to video games will make the problem (lack of female attendance) much worse. Imagine if a rear section were dedicated to...*gasp*...RPGs!

  • I had the impression that tournament play was still primarily Starcraft, not Starcraft II. Has the sequel really caught on that well?
    • From what I gather, there's a big SC2 pro scene, but Brood War is still where most of the money is.

    • by brkello (642429)

      In Korea, SC:BW is still alive and well. But SC2 is gaining a lot of ground. There are large SC2 tournaments all over the world now. People streaming their ladder matches get thousands of viewers. Major tournaments for SC2 are surpassing 100k viewers. The sequel has caught on really well.

  • Yet another reason for the bartenders and waitresses to turn hockey off in favor of something else :'(

    At least this will be more entertaining than basketball, I hear starcraft players actually incorporate defense into their game plan.
    *ducks*

  • When will it be on ESPN8?

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:30PM (#37192620) Homepage

    How long do you think people who come to the bar to watch football/baseball/hockey/hoops are going to put up with that before finding another bar? Maybe this works after 1am east/10pm west but I still think most bar goers would rather see sports center or a replay of a game. If this is really that popular then someone will open a gaming only bar.

    • by brkello (642429) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:43PM (#37192830)

      You act as if sports bars put all their TVs on one sport. Having one set of TVs on Starcraft 2 is not going to matter. Besides, businesses will do what makes them money. If they find more people come in for the SC2 events and they make more money...say goodbye to baseball or whoever else is the least represented crowd.

    • by craklyn (1533019)
      I was present for the opening night in Chao Bistro in Seattle. Their restaurant/bar is already naturally separated into two sections, so they had Starcraft 2 in one section and the normal bar in the other. The bar owners tend to run these events on traditionally slow nights, so there's room for normal patrons and gamer patrons at one time.
  • People sitting around watching other people sitting around pretending to be active? I'll pass.
    • by drb226 (1938360)
      You don't watch the people playing, you watch the people playing, aka their on-screen avatar or whatever.
  • Geeks are not having the "channel changed", as in they're just waltzing up and changing it, so much as they're having it reserved. If you tell a bar owner "Hey, me and my friends are going to come get drunk over here if we can change the station", you better believe he's is going to give them the thumbs up.

    "It was unbelievable," said Jim Biddle, a manager of Bistro 153 in Beaverton, Ore., which hosted its first Barcraft in July. The 50 gamers in attendance "doubled what I'd normally take in on a normal Sunday night."

  • Some Locations (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saishuuheiki (1657565) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @12:45PM (#37192860)

    For those interested in where this is actually happening, here's a forum thread which has locations (with map) and descriptions for a tournament this weekend
    Barcraft Thread [teamliquid.net]
    Barcraft Location Map [google.com]

    Some locations: Seattle WA, Toronto, San Diego CA, Washington DC, New York City, Portland OR, Tampa FL, Gainesville FL, Edmonton (Canada), Honolulu, Waterloo (Canada), Chicago, Boston, Dallas TX

  • bars will change the channel and gladly hand over the remote for you to do it, so long as you're a paying customer.

    money buys you one more round. if the idiot box plays any role in keeping you sated then its done its job.
  • changing channels for video gamers. Whod thunk?

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