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On Televising Pro Gaming 44

GameDAILYBiz has a piece written by Sundance DiGiovanni, the founder of Major League Gaming, on why the time is right for televising Professional Gaming. From the article: "Back in the day I would usually begin by pointing out that until recently there had never been U.S.-based gaming leagues or competitive gaming events that were built from the ground up to be televised. I'd point out that video game tournaments had never really been what you would call "TV friendly" and that in order for the spectator value to translate to television you would have to treat competitive gaming like a sport. That would usually be the point where people would look at me like I had horns growing out of my forehead."
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On Televising Pro Gaming

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  • It can be done. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagicDude ( 727944 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @06:42PM (#14396229)
    ESPN broadcasts poker, spelling bees, and even scrabble. If they can be profitable, I'm positive video game tournaments can be too.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @07:38PM (#14396695)
    At a pro football game, I can see somebody run at near-olympic speeds across a field, and stretch his arms out to catch a ball knowing full well that he's about to get drilled right in the rib cage.

    Sports competition pushes people to their physical limits, and when it is being played by people with exceptional physical limits, it can be compelling to watch.

    I'm pretty damn good at playing Quake (if I do say so myself), and on a sliding scale of entertainment value, watching other people play Quake on TV, even world-class players, ranks somewhere between watching somebody write code and going outside to cut the lawn.
  • by MagicDude ( 727944 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:11PM (#14397293)
    Because usually, if you don't know the game yourself, you don't have any idea what's going on.

    I would cite Iron Chef as an example of how you can present an obscure event in an exciting manner which is accessable to everyone. I've never had fois gras, caviar, truffles, homard lobster, or matsutake mushrooms, but whenever they break out those ingredients during competition, I know some pricy quality stuff is going into the dish. I think the same thing could be done in starcraft matches, as long as you have commentators who are high energy and aren't putzes (The worst thing they could do is get "gamer" commentators who are like "woah, that move was gnarly. Wicked awesome. Blah blah blah"). The commentary should be informative without being condescending or confusing. So they could be like "Sam is building a nuclear silo. That has the ability to do 1000 damage to all units and buildings within a 20 meter radius of targeting. Looking at Bill's base, our estimates show Sam's optimal strike point would be here where Bill's detector tower perimeter has a hole." and have a graphic showing the feild of coverage of the missile turrets and what the damage feild would be and such. The viewers don't have to know everything about the game, as long as you explain the important parts that make the game interesting. They do the same thing with poker, when they explain how one player has the unbeatable hand so you know to be interested on whether the other player will call or fold.

    On the same token, part of making these games interesting to the public is to reduce the amount of boring work in the game. Thus, they should start each player off with a moderate cache of resources and a handfull of troops and the basic buildings. You need to get to the action quickly to hold a TV audience's attention. And then add in little twists, like the "secret ingredient" in Iron Chef, things like "flier's only" or "reveal map and no fog of war" or "operation cwal engaged".

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