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AMD Sponsors Pro Gaming Team

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the nascar-esque-skins-soon-to-follow dept.

AMD 54

Dillon Hamilton writes "AMD has chosen to sponsor Team NoA, a 6-member professional Counter-Strike team, with their latest hardware along with other unspecified support. NoA (Norwegians of America) is composed of three Norwegian players, two Americans, and one Canadian. All but one of the players (the newest addition and a Norwegian) currently live together in California to practice for the upcoming Cyberathlete Professional League championship tournament in Grapevine, TX, as well as the E-Sports World Cup in Toulouse, France. AMD will presumably be flying Ola Moum, the new member, from his home in Horten, Norway to the States as part of the deal. This is definitely a huge step forward for the concept of professional gaming, not only in the United States but worldwide. With teams like Team 3D and Schroet Kommando getting sponsored by bigger companies, (Subway, NVIDIA, and Shuttle in 3D's case) who knows where this might be in the next few years?"

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54 comments

Not directly related.. (3, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074132)

but if you want to get people more hyped over gaming contests, it'd be cool to see a playback option in FPS's where you can replay the entire battle. It'd increase the competative analysis, plus it would be fun for spectators.

And during live events, it'd be nice if there was a seperate spectator server where people can login see the activity from the match in real-time without directly affecting the match.

Re:Not directly related.. (5, Informative)

jiffah (685832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074297)

CS (and all other half life mods) can use HLTV [hltv.org] which supports up to 128 spectators, without affecting the match (30-60 second delay, players don't see text, not a bandwidth hog). HLTV can also record the entire match. Gotfrag and other sites host a lot of HLTV demo's from playoff matches. I'm not sure if newer games have an HLTV equivalent yet or not. I'm a nerd.

Re:Not directly related.. (2, Informative)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074764)

I believe UT2003/4 have UTV. And most games that are based off of the engine are capable of it.

Re:Not directly related.. (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074994)

As another poset said UT 2004 has a "broadcast" type function where many people can connect and watch the match without causing much server lag.

Also Painkiller has a "demo" record function is which games can be recorded and played back by otheres who own the game. Very cool stuff. I think maybe it's time to try out some ladders ;)

Re:Not directly related.. (1)

molo (94384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075007)

Been there, done that. These were both available for Quake (the original NetQuake), at least as far back as '97.

QuakeTV is a relay server you could connect to for viewing. It had one client connection to the real server.

Demo recording became standard practice in these games a long time ago. Each player would record their perspective, and observers would record too. It became the definitive way to view a match.

-molo

Re:Not directly related.. (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077669)

As for the second point, I was thinking more along the lines of Warcraft 3, which saves ALL the data from the session and play with the playback at one's pleasure. But you're answers were informative and interesting.. Ok, now lets get an external viewer so ppl don't have to buy the games / have all patches the same, etc... to see it.

You can do that in Quake too. (2, Informative)

molo (94384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077878)

You can do that in Quake too.

Record the demo on the server, and you'll have all the information. You don't want the clients to have this ability, because then it can be used for cheating (sending everyone's positions instead of just the people that are visible).

If you want to edit your demos and change perspective, use KeyGrip.

As for not having to buy the game.. the Quake engine is GPLed.. but you still have to buy the games to get the maps. Any demo playback engine will also have to have the maps, since the demo data doesn't contain rendering information.

-molo

well.. (2, Informative)

no-arg constructor (775215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074174)

most modern fps games have demos you can record and play back the entire battle. actually most events post these games on their websites. counterstrike demos have been out for years, and also unreal tournament, quake 3, and even rts games like warcraft 3, starcraft, and the age of empires series have recorded games where you can watch from one or both players viewpoints in its entirety.

Re:well.. (1)

Godman (767682) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075515)

Also, if you aren't sure, just press a couple F buttons. F3 works on a few of mine. :-)

Hmmm (2, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074190)

NoA (Norwegians of America) is composed of three Norwegian players, two Americans, and one Canadian. All but one of the players (the newest addition and a Norwegian) currently live together in California to practice for the upcoming Cyberathlete Professional League championship tournament in Grapevine, TX...

Well, that's a reality show waiting to happen. Although I suspect all those Blue Crush meets Big Brother shows last year had more attractive cast members to work with, but who knows?

(Does anyone else remember when Red Hat promoted the 6.0 release by having a bunch of Linux users live in a house and have adventures? And the poor marketing person in charge had to deal with constant "I can't go water skiing -- there's a new kernel release, and I get sunburned and I'm allergic to jellyfish!"?)

Pro gaming has really taken off when... (2, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074367)

A. Large numbers of tickets are sold to the events.
B. Average Joe buys team-related merchandise.
C. Non-computer companies sponsor the teams.

Re:Pro gaming has really taken off when... (1)

j.bellone (684938) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074788)

Well, A and C are a go.

Why Counter-strike (3, Funny)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074539)

What could counter-strike possibly showcase in hardware? A 400mhz PII can run that game perfectly smoothly!

Re:Why Counter-strike (1)

Bloodstaind (760278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9099297)

Counter-Strike is well balanced for team play, is fluid, intense without being nausea-inducing, and has an established fan base. And apparently you haven't played CS in the past year. Valve's STEAM program has forced everyone to upgrade in order to play CS. I get 100 fps most of the time, except when multiple smoke grenades have been deployed in my POV, and multiple models are shooting. CS can bring a PC to it's knees.

You have got to be kidding me (-1, Flamebait)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074580)

Cyberathlete Professional League ? Jesus christ, people please move out of your parent's basement, get a job, go on dates, get a gym membership, and live your life. I love gaming but this is just ridiculous.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9074776)

funny thing is, it's just as much a sport as anything else... if it's not your cup-o-tea, then that's ok, but to say these people are wasting their time and that should 'grown up' is not very nice...

of course, you woun't find me going to this extreme either, but some athletes *do* go to extremes to win...

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075306)

You guys seem to have forgotten the definition of an athlete. Define Athlete [reference.com] Who's dumb now? Playing counter strike does not require physical activity. All it requires is hand-eye coordination and Jolt Cola.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

meehray (715859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075750)

From the last 3 post I read, no one called you dumb. And this topic about whether it is a sport or not has been discussed many times over. The definition of an athlete will no doubt evolve over-time. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones to first see this coming.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074809)

Why shouldn't they be able to make a living for what they're good at?
Why don't you tell pro athletes to pick up a book, go to college, then get a real job?

Re:You have got to be kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9075242)

Because he doesn't want to get the shit kicked out of him? I mean, NCAA football players can be scary.

What's a cyberathlete going to do to him? Fart in his general direction?

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

j.bellone (684938) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074822)

Ah if you consider golf a sport, then this could easily be considered a sport. People practice (in some instances, more than golf) have leagues and matches, and have players. Even some instances, get paid on a regular basis (besides tournament earnings).

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075322)

They sit in a chair and press keys on a keyboard and click buttons on a mouse. How many sports are there where a 400-pound man could succeed?

Answer: One, and that's because sumo wrestlers work extremely hard against other 400-pound men in a physical endeavor, and don't sit in a chair in front of a computer screen.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

The Kow (184414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9076022)

Let me introduce you to a game called 'chess'.

Or 'go'.

Or 'shogo'.

Or 'poker'.

Have you seen how many reruns of the World Series of Poker hit ESPN2 lately? It's not just an acceptable competition venue, it's POPULAR. Silly notions like yours are losing their footwork in light of this.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9076656)

Uh, you didn't call them sports, and neither do I.

gg

Re:You have got to be kidding me (2, Insightful)

The Kow (184414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077472)

I have actually heard people call chess a 'sport' before. On TV. On ESPN in fact. Still, I doubt you or anyone else would be satisfied by that justification - I wouldn't. So let's get deeper.

A preliminary look at dictionary.com reveals this as a definition for sport:

Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.

This would seem to further your point, but upon a closer look, you'll see this, as well:

Of, relating to, or appropriate for sports: sport fishing; sports equipment.

The important part: sport fishing! Fishing is not a sport that requires intense conditioning. In fact, neither does bowling, or auto-racing. None of these require conditioning, and therein lies the point.

Conditioning is not requisite to whether or not an activity can be considered 'physical', only that the action in question implement some sort of physical faculties. Reaction and coordination are as fundamental as you can get when it comes to sports, and since reaction time and hand-eye coordination are two of the fundamental necessities for any 'cyberathlete' (I really hate that term, mind you, because I *DO* maintain that being an athlete requires some sense of conditioning), then I think you have, right there, a perfect case for why 'esports' is indeed a sport.

It's not a substitute for getting off your ass and going to the gym, however. In fact, several of the top 'esports' personalities do maintain some sense of physical shape. It's an undeniable fact that being in shape can only benefit you, physically as well as mentally. You're a lot less likely to be exhausted after a day-long tournament if you're in good shape.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9080890)

Curling, billiards, skeet shooting..

U R Dum! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9074960)

-1 flamebait

Re:You have got to be kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9075095)

Get a gym membership? This is now accepted as a required aspect of adult life? That people are expected to have a gym membership seems more depressing than the thought of people earning a living at playing videogames.

Re:You have got to be kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9075694)

This coming from a person who likely sits in front of a computer all day.

ROFLMAO

you're just jealous, it's ok, you can admit it :)

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

Godman (767682) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075695)

If its something you enjoy, can do for hours, get paid reasonably well, and there is a demand for that kind of entertainment, that that is all that is needed to make a profession out of it. How do you think sports came to be professional fields?

Re:You have got to be kidding me (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#9076372)

Cyberathlete Professional League ? Jesus christ, people please move out of your parent's basement, get a job, go on dates, get a gym membership, and live your life. I love gaming but this is just ridiculous.

Would you say that to Garry Kasparov [wikipedia.org] about chess?

Korea (4, Informative)

yotaku (26455) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074678)

Actually Pro gaming has already taken off in Korea. This story isn't really news, as AMD, Nvidia and Intel have been supporting Counter-Strike (and various other games) clans for years now. These events are huge in Korea. On the other hand it is slowly gaining momentum here in the US and in Europe which I think is a great thing. I'd much rather watch a game of Warcraft 3, than a game of Football. Personally I think it makes a much better spectator sport. I can't wait for pro gaming to make it to ESPN, maybe then it'll be worth getting all those 100s of sports channels.

Lies! (3, Interesting)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075295)

In a football game, there's really only one thing that you absolutely must concentrate on at any given time to follow the action, and that's the ball. Sure, there's plenty going on otherwise on the field, but seeing the receiver leap up and snag a long pass is more exciting to watch than the left tackle blocking a rusher.

But what do you focus on in a FPS? You can follow a single player, but you miss a lot of the action. You can focus on a spot, but again, you miss a lot of the action. Even as a free-floating spectator, there's too much going on to take it all in. Even if the game has objectives like places to plant explosives, you can't just focus on that one spot, since most of the action is away from there, anyway.

And in a RTS? Well, the early game buildup isn't terribly exciting. At least you can focus on a spot when two armies clash, so RTSes have that going for them. Still, it's a long way from football.

I think the essence of the problem is this: most FPSes and RTSes have a large element of deception, or at least concealment to them. You try to avoid revealing your location to your opponent. The problem is that this makes it more difficult for a spectator to watch because he doesn't know what to expect. In sports, there's much less concealment. Oh, sure, they try to keep their opponents from knowing their gameplan, but you at least know where the players are. If you want to make a FPS watchable, you need to stick all the players in a space where a spectator can see the whole area at once without much obstruction, while still being able to tell what's going on. Naturally, this might ruin the game itself, but that's hardly the point, is it?

Re:Lies! (2, Insightful)

fireduck (197000) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075709)

computer gaming as a mass market spectator sport probably won't succeed for the exact reasons you cited: lots of action spread out with no obvious focal point. However, I think post-game editing can make viewing computer games an enjoyable pasttime. An initial run through of the playing field and commentary on what to look for in specific zone. Some nice split screen action showing how each team is advancing; full screen shots with alternating point of view at conflicts, etc. Essentially turn the game into a coherent cinematic, emphasizing the escalating tension between the teams, and perhaps you've got something. The G4 channel has a show that does this to an extent and it's mildly interesting. Perhaps with a snazzier format and some better editting it would be more enjoyable. Sure, it moves it from a live spectator sport into more of a TV show, but it's probably a lot more interesting. Unless you had some really on knowledgable "camera" people who knew what likely conflicts were going to occur and where (which really isn't too hard), and essentially broadcast the game like a live sporting event (where you hopefully have a camera on the good action and someone in charge switching camera views as necessary).

Re:Lies! (2, Interesting)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075869)

lots of action spread out with no obvious focal point

Exactly why I can't understand the fascination with watching golf. I enjoy playing it and would give a kidney to be able to do that for a living but I'd rather watch grass grow than watch pros play it on TV. Regardless, there's still a mass market for it, so who knows, maybe today's PS2/XBox raised generation are the TV mass market of the tomorrow for professional video gaming.

Re:Lies! (1)

doc modulo (568776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9080117)

The essential thing here is an commentator who knows the game and is smart enough to figure out what just happened.

I play Counter-Strike and when a cunning plan to take out the enemy works, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world. If we could somehow convey that feeling to an audience then it would be very popular.

I have seen an edited replay of a quake 3 match, and that is indeed the way to go because it was much more enjoyable than a live match. Slow motion analysis of some of the action and the voice-over explaining the tactics made it superiour.

Only a very experienced, very smart commentator who is a player him/herself is able to decrypt the complex plans people have working on for weeks instantly. Even then, there's not enough time to explain what the plan was, the game will have moved on to other phases.

So the solution is to "delay"/record a match as a data stream (not just video so you can make any kind of camera shot). That way a team of analysts can figure out what the deep shit was that happened, in a reasonable time, and only an average thinker with good language skills can do the presenting.

Seeing a plan going forward step-by-step, and then at the end seeing it succeed or fail is great, but most non-players need help with seeing the greatness/lameness of the teams. This happens with American football sometimes (from what I've seen) where analysts draw lines on a video replay to explain what happened.

Do it like that and fans will come.

Re:Lies! (1)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9083344)

You are correct that football commentators often use a telestrator to draw lines on a replay of the previous play. But aye, there's the rub!

A game like football works so well on television because after each play, there's a stoppage of 30-45 seconds, giving the commentators plenty of time to discuss what just happened and bring in any other information they want/need to. This sort of discussion happens in a soccer match, of course, but often several seconds of action are missed.

But if you cut away from a Counter-Strike match to show a replay, you'd miss an awful lot of action due to the shortage of stoppages. You'd also need someone to decide very quickly which part of the action to show, since we're trying to do this stuff relatively live, right?

Re:Lies! (1)

Bloodstaind (760278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9099307)

In Counter-Strike, there is a spectator option to enable a "picture-in-picture" window. If you are spectating a player, the window will display a map of the level, with both teams's players represented on said map. If you switch to a map overview for your main window, the P-I-P switches to either a chase cam or a first-person view of your last targeted player. This way, you can see all the action whenever.

Come on now. (1)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078264)

Sports may not be popular on Slashdot, but lets get real. Football is probably the *worst* game you could have picked as an example of something you'd rather not watch.

Maybe it's simply because you've never taken the time to sit down and learn the rules, but Football - at least, American Football - is an incredibly complex mental game, perhaps moreso than it is a physical game. Choosing plays, defenses, substitution packages, and everything that goes into the mental game is just the beginning - then, there's the execution and the physical aspect.

Football is a fantastic spectator sport for many reasons, but one is the wide array of appeal. It has many different levels of action, all of which are important and interesting.

If you wanted a sport to pick on, maybe Boxing, which has little mental game on the abstract, strategic level - and even then, it's still hard to say that there's no thought that goes into a title fight.

Re:Come on now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9091516)

Actually you're wrong, football is stupid.

Why not a pro Doom team? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075082)

Sweet, they get the latest hardware to play, uh, Counter-Strike on...

Re:Why not a pro Doom team? (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9080455)

Counter Strike is without a doubt the biggest and most popular online shooter. Because it's so large and well established, it's the obvious choice. Most gamers have at least a passing familiarity with it, much in the same way that most people have a passing familiarity with the common TV sports.

People know generally that a baseball pitcher throws a ball at the batter, who hits it, and then the batting team gets to run around while the fielding team gets the ball. (I even know this and I'm aussie). Likewise, most gamers know that in CS there are two teams, who play against each other to score goals (plant/defuse bombs, rescue hostages, etc). Pick a slightly less mainstreamed game, like say, Natural Selection, and you'll get a big "huh? what's going on?" from a large proportion of gamers.

Re:Why not a pro Doom team? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 10 years ago | (#9080624)

Actually, I was simply referring to the fact that Counter-Strike isn't exactly what one would call "cutting edge" technology and doesn't really benefit from having the latest equipment.

Never a game I'm good at (2, Insightful)

Fake Trout (720903) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075156)

I've played and beat probably close to 50 people in various WI game tournaments for Mario Kart: Double Dash!! I always see prizes and big contests for FPS, but I've won little more than I've put in if you added up the value of the prizes. Professional gaming will come of age as soon as its more than just PC deathmatch games getting big prizes.

<sigh> (2, Funny)

rubicon7 (51782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9076252)

a 6-member professional Counter-Strike team

So, they're really good at playing a video game. Okay...

You know, I'm really good at cluttering up my apartment, and procrastinating - maybe I can pick up a sponsor!

Re: (1)

RotJ (771744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077648)

a 14-member prfessional basketball team

So, they're really good at tossing a ball around. Okay...

What's your point? Skill is skill. There are professional chess players and professional Scrabble players and proffesional sword swallowers. The only difference is whether there are enough people willing to watch it on TV and buy tickets and buy merchandise. Bowling somehow managed to get on TV. So Counter-Strike isn't out of the question. Actually, G4TV already has a show [g4tv.com] airing video game matches.

Re: (1)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078503)

So, they're really good at tossing a ball around. Okay...

Basketball, like many sports, also requires ATHLETICISM in addition to skill. Thus, joe schmoe at home is in awe of the sheer athletic prowess that these men (and women) posses. Unfortunately, with video games, it is soley twitch reflexes and strategy but ZERO athleticism. Basketball is not just tossing a ball around, but playing videogames is just playing videogames.

Re: (1)

RotJ (771744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078949)

I don't want to get into the athlete vs. non-athlete argument. I was pointing out that Rubicon's comment showing his disdain for prizes and sponsorships given to gamers could be applied to anything. If enough people are sufficiently interested in and are willing to watch something, somebody will be willing to sponsor and give prizes to whoever does that thing best. If a lot of people are interested in watching someone good at cluttering their apartment and procrastinating, he could probably get a sponsor.

Re: (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9079793)

Basketball is not just tossing a ball around, but playing videogames is just playing videogames.

So you are a SELECTIVE reductionist? Very interesting.

Re: (1)

doc modulo (568776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9080216)

I don't like physical sports because there's a lot of cheating going on there.

There is a lot of cheating going on at "e-sports" as well, but there is none at high-level LAN events because the players only play on pre-checked equipment and everyone can check their screens for wallhacks etc.

Doping in physical sports can be taken without getting caught. Any speed cyclist who wants to have any chance at all will have to take doping. That's what it takes. I think even sports with a good reputation like tennis have cheaters who use doping. With speed cycling, the best cheater wins. Cheaters in society are called criminals, cheaters in sports are just called cheaters but they make me sick nonetheless.

Tennis and basketball need brains as well as physical prowess, but you said that you prefer basketball because of it's physicality.

I like exciting brain-sports like Counter-Strike because it's NOT physically intensive. You know that there are no doping cheaters in Counter-Strike (unless you count caffeine).

Re: (2, Insightful)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9080510)

I've seen some of these players go at it. I've played a few rounds of CS in my time, I'm not a bad gamer, better than most of my friends, but I'm certainly not a pro.

So I would say that I am in AWE of these players, because they are so much better at something I enjoy than I am. They deserve some respect for this.

Skeet shooting is an olympic sport. It's serious, standing still and shooting clay pigeons is one of the mainstays of the contemporary olympiad. Is it a sport? Yes. Does it require athleticism? Not really. Standing up and pointing a gun is not particularly athletic, but it does require tremendous amounts of skill. Only the best in the world, the absolute elite amongst humanity can win a gold medal. Would you then say that these people, much like video game players, don't deserve to compete in a recognised competition?

Re: (1)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 10 years ago | (#9082892)

Skeet shooting is an olympic sport. It's serious, standing still and shooting clay pigeons is one of the mainstays of the contemporary olympiad. Is it a sport?

Under my definition of sport, certainly not.

Standing up and pointing a gun is not particularly athletic, but it does require tremendous amounts of skill. Only the best in the world, the absolute elite amongst humanity can win a gold medal. Would you then say that these people, much like video game players, don't deserve to compete in a recognised competition?

Yes, I would. Skeet shooting is as much a "sport" as checkers or shopping online. It is a skilled activity which requires no physicial exertion, and thus, not a sport and thus, should not be in the Olympics.

Definitely nothing new (3, Informative)

The Kow (184414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9076526)

Before the Dotcom burst, there were a number of 'esports' teams getting sponsorships. After the economy tanked, the whole process slowed down a bit, but it's been an interesting barometer to notice that a lot more teams are getting sponsorships lately, some with old companies, some with new.

Also interesting is that most of the sponsorships I've seen go to teams in Europe, like the bevy of top-notch German and Swedish gaming clans. The reason for this is that gaming there is a far more common thing. Gamers view LAN tournaments as the ultimate competitive venue, because of the low latency, the presence of tournament computers that generally eliminate any framerate issues that one's own PC might have, and because there are often prizes for gatherings such as that. The close proximity and population density, combined with the greater popularity of competitive gaming in these regions leads to a lot more corporate attention.

The LAN tournament scene is only recently looking to pick up lately in the US. Before the only tournaments you could find were for Counterstrike, and generally run by either the CPL, or by the WCG (an Olympics style competition, with a limited number of entrants per country, making it very difficult to qualify). So far this year there've been 2 relatively large ones here on the West Coast, both featuring flavors of Unreal Tournament and the Battlefield series (BF:Vietnam and BF:1942), as well as Call of Duty. There are few more that I am aware of planned for the summer, as well as one in Colorado and a particularly large one in Kentucky.

All of these tournaments feature some notable prizes. The NVidia tournament featured $4000 prize machines (which I think are actually worth more like 2.5-3k, not that anyone's complaining) as well as $500 cash to the first place winners. On a more realistic level, Newegg.com held one with P4 3.2 GHz CPUs, motherboards, and a $100 gift certificate for first place.

So you can see the money flowing into these events, and the question a lot of people ask is 'Why?'. The reason companies are so interested in gaming and gamers is because video games are notorious for pushing computers to their limits. Because of this, hardcore gamers tend to seek out the highest-performance equipment they can get their hands on. This makes them perfect opinion leaders for the rest of the hardware market.

Of course there are some doubters and nay-sayers who question whether 'esports' is really a legitimate venue for competition because it doesn't involve a bunch of steroid-hyped testosterone-appealing dudes in uniforms. The simple fact, though, is that competitive venues will thrive wherever they can sustain themselves. Magic: The Gathering tournaments weren't big by accident. There were people who wanted to play it. Similarly, e-sports has been a competitive platform of its own for several years now. First with the PGL, and through various incarnations to the CPL, as well as other tournaments such as the annual World Cyber-Games (WCG) which have a HUGE following in Korea, and will be having their first event hosted outside of Korea this fall in San Francisco, and smaller tournaments such as the aforementioned NVidia tournament hosted alongside the GeForce 6800 unveiling, the Newegg tournament(s), Million-Man Lan in Kentucky, PDXLan in Portland, and so on.

If it were all a big joke, people would be laughing, but they're not. They're shelling out money to travel to these events and compete and hopefully come home with some pretty respectable prize purses.
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