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Using Money As Incentive For Competition On Consoles?

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the or-is-it-just-gambling dept.

The Almighty Buck 40

MTV's Multiplayer blog reports on a company about to start offering a service that will allow players to compete in matches and tournaments over their PS2, PS3, or Xbox 360 with real money as a prize. Doing so will, of course, require entry fees, but the contests are set up and opted into by the players themselves. Quoting: "To prevent cheating, the company has access to the game data and promises a knowledgeable in-house customer support team. There's also a reputation and feedback system, which Levy compared to eBay, that will allow gamers to make informed decisions about who they're playing against. ... [Company co-founder Billy Levy] ultimately thinks World Gaming will open up the field for gamers who want to make money from games but can't make it to live competitions due to the expense or having to take time off from work or school.

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What's going to kill this first? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25280705)

What's going to kill this idea first? Laws on gambling? Tax revenue at the state or federal level?

Not a good idea. Stick to prizes.

Re:What's going to kill this first? (1)

KingAdrock (115014) | about 6 years ago | (#25280731)

Why? It seems to be a model that works well for Golden Tee [goldentee.com] .

but some Laws have shut down games is some areas (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#25281289)

but some Laws have shut down games is some areas I have hear of places with stern pinball tops that got shut down by law and that is Local only.

This will go across state lines and maybe even us borders.

Will you have to use western union to fund this like you do with on line sports books / poker sites?

Re:What's going to kill this first? (2, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 6 years ago | (#25281727)

I dare say none of those three.

It's not gambling - unless they try to add gambling on outcomes by non participants, which I think would be very unlikely, and the article gave no mention of this.

Tax revenue could possibly do it, but given the steady flow of money into the events through players, they should be able to keep local taxes paid if needed.

Federal Revenue, possibly but also unlikely, see above.

If you ask me, what's going to kill this is getting people to play for real money.

Thnk about the following:
Would I pay to play the same games that I can play for free?
Would the average games who plays too much really have the cash/incentive to whip out a credit card and play the same stuff in a competition?

Personally, I wish em luck, but just can't see this sustaining itself for too long at all.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25280739)

Yay!

Awesome.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25280763)

So can I have my Viagra sponsor logo on my Warhawk?

I can't see them stopping cheating. (3, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | about 6 years ago | (#25280845)

People have been trying to stop cheats for years. It's damn annoying on a MP game when you keep getting headshot through a mountain, by a pistol every few minutes.

And those cheats aren't even inspired by money - just their own motivation to be assholes.

So put real money into it and watch what happens... The cheating will go hightech no matter what they do.

Think "Dogfight" in William Gibson's "Burning Chrome" Anthology.

Someone will always find a way to cheat, and who want to put up cash to let the h4x0r2 screw up your game and take it?

GrpA.

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (1)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#25280983)

Yep, and some kind of cheating rely on packet sniffing, so there is nothing that they could get from the "system ram" to show that the person is cheating.

Imagine a second computer with a radar screen in a FPS, etc.

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (1)

aka_big_wurm (757512) | about 6 years ago | (#25281013)

I don't think the company would care too much about cheating. As long as people pay a fee to enter they make money. Microsoft and Sony will be the ones that will most likely try to shut this down.

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (1)

jasonjas (774456) | about 6 years ago | (#25281361)

If everybody cheated then the non-cheaters would simply just not enter the competition anymore after the first year. That would kill the company too.

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25281213)

>you keep getting headshot through a mountain, by a pistol every few minutes.

But clearly the game as written supports it. Using that "loophole" is no more unethical than George Washington crossing the Delaware to slaughter the Hessians on the day after Christmas (traditionally a truce day).

If it really bothers you, pay the game coders under the table to fix it. Otherwise, do you patriotic duty and get one of those mountain-piercing pistols. We cannot allow a mountain-piercing pistol gap!

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 6 years ago | (#25282109)

Except, very often, the hackers/cheaters are ignored, where those who do just as you say end up being banned. Why? Because the real cheaters know how to not be caught.

It's really a losing situation, since in some cases, the problems can't be fixed in code. Aimbots, hacking range of view, etc, often can't be fixed simply by removing bugs, as they are not bugs. Some programs have attempted to stop this, with kinds of spyware and modified DRM, but most of them fail, and end up again targeting innocent players who happened to have a network or OS glitch set off the hacker detection.

On top of that, the only other way to fix the problem is the way we handle such in real life; limiting the incentives and creating punishments/deterrents, with actual people enforcing them. But this costs money, and people are human and often end up being corrupted, especially on more static games like MMOs.

It's really a catch 22. All that can be done is to accept cheating and hacking are going to happen some extent, and there is nothing we can do about it.

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | about 6 years ago | (#25288729)

It's really a catch 22. All that can be done is to accept cheating and hacking are going to happen some extent, and there is nothing we can do about it.

No... it isn't. Any multiplayer game worthy of its popularity KNOWS that server side checking is a MUST. All multiplayer games that use client side checking (in this case, shooting through mountains), to combat such trivial things as latency issues, are doomed to failure.

They try to alleviate burdens of latency times by doing such stupid tricks as client side checking (I shot you on my screen, but you weren't moving cause I have 5 second ping, who do you think SHOULD get the kill?).

Latency should affect the single player with the issue, not the other players who have near instant pings.

Other issues such as aimbots/radars should be a non-issue again with correct collision detection algorithms. If a player is CONSTANTLY aiming 100% at the head on client side, then it should be easy to detect. Even the server could verify this after figuring in ping times. The radar issue is caused by the server sending player location too early in the game (if your 500 meters away, AND behind a wall, you shouldn't even be sent the location of the player) once again this is collision detection, and server side math only.

I've played many FPS games, and most tend to get the majority of these right, but not all of them at once.

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292939)

So I program my gun to randomly miss, or hit the body a lot of time, and then still get head shots occasionally and adjust upwards til i get caught. Then I create a new character, adjust it down a little and carryon...

Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (3, Informative)

Catil (1063380) | about 6 years ago | (#25284549)

Agreed. Feeling cheated in various online FPS games, I wrote some cheats myself for research purposes to see how hard it really was and if it was even worth my time playing those games competitive in an online gaming league.
Although that was several years ago and the game and anti-cheat programs have been updated many many times, the majority of my old cheats will still work while some of them would need a simple adjustment of two lines of code to make them work again. That's because I didn't even bother breaking any anti-cheat. I simply caught hashes of the textures used on other players on OpenGL and D3D level, determined where on the screen they were, and was able to make aimbots that even compensated my ping and worked with non-direct hit weapons like rocket launchers by anticipating the movement of other players. I submitted them to two anti-cheat teams but unlike catching the particular cheats I submitted by looking up it's memory signature, which could even be circumvented by a simple byte-hack, there was nothing they could do.
One of my cheats, for Unreal Tournament 1, somehow got leaked by the AC team to a private cheater forum and is probably in use until today. When I still played the game some years ago, I set up a server with a custom map made by me, where I used the player textures that the cheat identifies on some pillars in the map. During the two weeks the server was running, I saw at least four people that seemed to have a great aim but somehow often shooted at the pillars too.

Those cheats can even be done on a driver level, making it almost impossible to catch by anti-cheat methods, unless all API developers, graphics card manufactors, driver coders and Microsoft would work together on it without screwing it up at any of the many possible points that could create a hole. Won't happen anytime soon, I guess.
You might want to say that TFA is about consoles, but modern consoles are just computers, too. There is barely a difference.
They should keep money out of gaming for every game that doesn't completely run server-side and requires to trust the client at some point, which includes pretty much any realtime 3D game. Any major pro gaming league and other competitions always perform the finals, where serious money is involved, at a LAN and get very suspicious if people suddenly don't play as good as they did online before for that reason.
Hell, with enough money involved, even I might get interested in the dark side again. Playing games while earning money and without any serious risk? Better than trusting a bank to invest it these days.

This story makes no sense. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#25280861)

ultimately thinks World Gaming will open up the field for gamers who want to make money from games but can't make it to live competitions due to the expense or having to take time off from work or school.

Here's a metric: If you can't make enough money from gaming to take the occasional vacation from work or school, then you're not good enough, and should not get a handout.

Re:This story makes no sense. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25281067)

No one is handing anything out, it just seems like an online poker alternative, except you get to play an fps instead of using cards.

Re:This story makes no sense. (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | about 6 years ago | (#25281291)

Yah, because only professionals should get to compete for cash, etc. For that matter, lets do away with all just lower level competition altogether. First to go, the Olympics.

Re:This story makes no sense. (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#25283183)

Now you mention it, getting rid of the Olympics does have a certain appeal...

Re:This story makes no sense. (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 6 years ago | (#25281737)

It's not a handout. It's more an A grade league for the top end, and a "Little League" for the kiddies with some small cash prizes derived off entry fees.

How will they handle lag / disconnect protection? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#25281255)

How will they handle lag / disconnect protection? So people with a good ping can't get a leg up on people with higher pings?

Will they have disconnect / time out protection?

Game / system crash protection?

Will you need to pay for live + per game fee + World Gaming fee + more?

Re:How will they handle lag / disconnect protectio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25282893)

It's all bullshit. This is exactly like the last 20 companies who did the same. There were a bunch of companies in 2006 -- UGX1.com (now defunct) and gamersaloon.com amongst others -- that did the same thing. You play a game on Xbox Live then you both report the score. The only different thing these guys are doing is running a bot to check the scores or just saving the passwords from the gamers and logging into their Xbox Live accounts to check the scores. Basically, they're just making money off of you playing on Microsoft or Sony's servers.

Re:How will they handle lag / disconnect protectio (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 6 years ago | (#25291391)

Will launching a DoS attack on all the other competitors be considered cheating?

Gambling is illegal (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 years ago | (#25281851)

Chances are that a contest that you must pay to enter and that gives out money as a prize will be considered as gambling by most countries.
That's going to get them in a lot of trouble.

Re:Gambling is illegal (2, Insightful)

NoName6272 (1376401) | about 6 years ago | (#25282017)

Well, carnival games are gambling as well; you pay money, to play a game, to win a prize, with uncertain outcome. That is basically the definition of gambling.
I mean look at WoW, they had a tournament (a few people I know couldn't shut up about it...) awhile ago, and there was an entry fee. Since that was world wide as well, am guessing this will sneak through one of those loop holes or technicalities that we all so love.
Either way, if they can't control cheating, then it will die. If they can (and I mean real control) then its possible it will survive for some time, possibly start something else off.

~
NoName

Re:Gambling is illegal (1)

deletedaccount (835797) | about 6 years ago | (#25283007)

Not in that many places and certainly not in Europe. It's a grey area in America. Perhaps they'll decided there's more skill to this than poker, who knows?

Re:Gambling is illegal (1)

Icarium (1109647) | about 6 years ago | (#25283705)

Odd. There are all kinds of sporting and recreational tournaments that require an entry fee and have prizes consisting of, or at least including, cash. I've never seen my local chess club being accused of organising gambling even though they hold several such tournaments a year...

Re:Gambling is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25284729)

SKILL GAMES are not gambling. That's why Poker for money is excluded from most gambling legislation. That's why I can pay 80$ to enter a Jiu Jitsu tournament and compete to win $1000. It's about skill not chance. That's the difference between gambling and competing.

Re:Gambling is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292525)

Chances are that a contest that you must pay to enter and that gives out money as a prize will be considered as gambling by most countries.

This isn't about chance. This is a question of law. Contests of skill with cash entries and rewards have been legal in every jurisdictions I've lived in. Chances are that you don't know much about the law.

Three words: (2, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25282281)

Trusted client problem.

Imagine the creativity that will be applied to hacking consoles with actual money - any actual money whatsoever - as an incentive. You thought bot runners were bad on PC games? Look at online poker.

If this works, why wouldn't MSFT or Sony just do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25282861)

it themselves and cut out the middleman? Microsoft could just enable betting on Live and Sony could do the same thing with Home. Plus, since they have proprietary firmware anyway, they can check to see if there's anything modified in the game memory, etc. Why would they let WorldGaming take the money when they could just keep it all?

"Service"? "Incentive to Competition"? get real! (1)

fantomas (94850) | about 6 years ago | (#25282963)

"Company offering a service" ... "incentive to competition"? Oh please, get real....

It's a commercial company that wants to make money and has come up with a business model to make lots out of daft gamers. Does this company have charitable organisation or non-profit cooperative status? I'd guess not. I don't see "service" or "public good" as part of their agenda.

It's just a straight-down the line business model. People pay to compete, the company pays out a percentage of the entrance fees and keeps the rest. Some of the money covers their operating costs and they make a healthy profit on the rest.

Public service? give me a break....

Re:"Service"? "Incentive to Competition"? get real (1)

ethanms (319039) | about 6 years ago | (#25285623)

Umm... it's not a public service, and they didn't say it was... you seem to have taken that leap all on your own...

It's just like any other gambling organization... they pay out some fraction of what they take in, the remaining fraction is their income... as a player you hope you're one of the small minority of who walks out with more money then they walked in with, and the ones who walk out with much less will console themselves by saying how it was fun to play, and they enjoyed the free buffet.

Sounds like this model is similar to other online gambling models where the site acts as a broker between individuals playing and not much as a "house" that you can beat.

You know it's going to happen. (1)

Underdonk (1380073) | about 6 years ago | (#25283551)

Bring on the steroid scandals!

they all laughed at me... (1)

ethanms (319039) | about 6 years ago | (#25285341)

...when I started work on my Halo playing robot... well who's laughing now???

stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25285657)

cease this maddness

No cheating? HAH (1)

GunDawg (1365295) | about 6 years ago | (#25286101)

With the stuff going on with the on-line poker cheating (UltimateBet), best to stay away from this too.

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

Done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25286713)

Ultimate Arena did this 4+ years ago. Too many cheats...it's a broken model.

UA is now Xfire (http://www.xfire.com) and completely out of that arena (pun intended)

Money = incentive ... this model is broken until "secure" gaming comes around which won't happen for a long, long, long time. (Even once a solution is created there's market ramp time to get new games out which use it.)

Stuff like Punkbuster works...to a point. It doesn't catch everything...it simply can't.

Good luck to them.

Disclaimer: Xfire affiliation

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | about 6 years ago | (#25295503)

It's not a handout. It's more an A grade league for the top end, and a "Little League" for the kiddies with some small cash prizes derived off entry fees.

PC Version (1)

out0v0rder (1339995) | about 6 years ago | (#25317923)

Anyone ever heard of Skillgrounds? I borked around with them a couple years ago but got banned for reasons I shall not go into. Anyways, they end up taking 15% of the fees! and trust me, THEIR ANTI CHEAT DUDES ARE WATCHING YOU!
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