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Pro Gaming Comes to Network TV

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the it's-south-korea-in-america dept.

Television 46

GameDaily is reporting that The World Series of Video Games has signed a deal with CBS. Gameplay HD and College Sports Television (CSTV) are also part of the arrangement, which will bring professional gaming to U.S. network television for the first time. CBS will air a one-hour special on December 30th, with highlights from the finals. CSTV will then air snippets from the entire finals series, highlighting games like Halo 2 and Warcraft III. From the article: "The cable and broadcast networks will not be simply recycling the same content either. Each network is to 'explore a unique aspect of the WSVG, providing audiences with a window into the exciting culture of video game competitions and budding stars of the gaming world.' CBS will kick off its coverage on December 30 at 3 p.m. when they air THEY GOT GAME, Stars of the World Series of Video Games presented by Intel. This one-hour special, filmed during the WSVG finals, hosted by Quddus and produced by Juma Entertainment, will detail the personal stories of five rising stars in professional gaming, most notably Johnathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel."

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46 comments

Your life suck (0, Flamebait)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115288)

If you have to watch somebody else gaming on TV!

Re:Your life suck (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17115394)

How is watching a bunch of people get together and play video games (WSVG) from watching a bunch of people get together and play football(Superbowl)? These people practice hours on end just like professional sports players. Its just a new playing field.

Re:Your life suck (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116028)

"These people practice hours on end just like professional sports players."

I had to practice for hours on end to get good at my profession. You don't see people paying to watch me sit at a computer and code every day. Popularity of a sport (or semi-sport for the folks who have a strict defenition of "sport") has nothing to do with the work involved. If there's a video game that enough people enjoy watching in its entirety, then it may be viable as a sport. If I had to wager, I'd bet either a capture the flag FPS or RTS game would be the easiest to present in a live format since there's at most two primary focus points as far as action is concerned in either. That's discarding sports-based video games sice their presentation would be relatively straight forward.

Re:Your life suck (1)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117976)

How is watching a bunch of people get together and play video games (WSVG) from watching a bunch of people get together and play football(Superbowl)? These people practice hours on end just like professional sports players. Its just a new playing field.

Simple. Football is something that many people find enjoyable to watch, and the vast majority of the viewing audience are not football players themselves. The atheletic feats and physical mastery that a lot of the professional atheletes have is all but unattainable to the average individual, so a lot of people enjoy the ability to vicariously experience these contests.

On the other hand, find me a handful of people who DON'T play video games that would tune in to watch them being played on television, and I'd be very, very surprised. If anybody expects this sort of "coverage" to somehow mainstream Professional Gaming, I would suggest not holding your breath.

Re:Your life suck (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17129656)

substitute "porn" for "football" and you got yourself one hell of a comment!

Re:Your life suck (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17138528)

Well, the difference is that watching video games being played can be educational and useful, unlike watching gridiron. The program "Time Commanders" was shown on BBC2 in prime-time, and recreated classical battles (Julius Caesar etc.) and could be considered useful as an introduction to military tactics, as well as historically educational (the "experts" explained how the battles went in real life). No doubt it didn't hurt the subsequent sales of "Rome:Total War" either.

Why not (4, Funny)

FiveDollarYoBet (956765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115320)

Why not, can't be worse than the same old shows that the networks are showing these days.

Re:Why not (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115578)

Actually I think TV these days in terms of quality is probably on the whole better than it's ever been before. Yes, reality shows suck, but when you take away those there are still a lot of really first-rate things on the air.

Re:Why not (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117450)

Actually I think TV these days in terms of quality is probably on the whole better than it's ever been before. Yes, reality shows suck, but when you take away those there are still a lot of really first-rate things on the air.

I might agree that production values are better than they've ever been before. But that doesn't change the fact that practically everything on television is garbage. And if that weren't bad enough we have to wade through all that relentless advertising.

About the only channel I have the patience to watch for any period of time is The History Channel. The Discovery Channel is putting too much emphasis on entertainment over education. Everything has to be extreme.

Which leads me to this Pro Gaming thing. I don't have high hopes for it at all. I except it to be exceedingly obnoxious in a WWE or MTV Music Awards sort of way. I also predict it will be nothing but incessant advertising for hardware and software companies.

I'm sure that's the primary drive behind Pro Gaming. The organizers have noticed all the money being made in both the gaming and sports industries. It's only logical that someone would try to marry the two. Rest assured this wasn't done in some attempt to legitimize gaming. If anything, this runs the risk of alienating the average non-gamer with all the extremeness.

Well, that's my cynical observation for the day...

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17133898)

About the only channel I have the patience to watch for any period of time is The History Channel.

You mean the all WWII, all the time channel?

TV is surprisingly better now, and DVRs help (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118746)

I agree. Of course it's all subjective, but I've found far more shows to watch the last two years than ever before: Lost, Heroes, The Office, Arrested Development (which is sadly gone), Desperate Housewives (wife sucked me in here, but it's surprisingly good, no surprise it has won Emmys), and Studio 60. And those are just shows on the primary networks. There are a ton of shows on other networks (FX, Sci-Fi, HBO, etc.) that are apparently quite good (Battlestar Galactica, The Shield, Nip Tuck, Deadwood, The Sopranos ...).

Of course, the vast majority of shows are still crap, including all of the reality shows (which are dwindling in number), but IMHO, TV has made quite a comeback the past two years. This is where having a DVR is really useful, since I can batch up a few shows, and then watch them whenever I want to. No more having to slog through some mediocre sitcoms or dramas, just so you can get to the "good show" of that night.

Re:Why not (2, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115816)

Peter: "Everybody I've got bad news. We've been cancelled."
Lois: "Oh no Peter! How could they do that?"
Peter: "Well unfortuantely Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We just gotta accept the fact that FOX has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80's Show, Wonder Falls, Fast Lane, Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Skin, Girl's Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, Freaky Links, Wanda At Large, Costello, The Lone Gunman, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Normal Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddy, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric The Entertainer, The Tick, Louie, And Greg The Bunny...."
Lois: "Is there no hope?"
Peter: "Well I suppose if ALL those shows go down the tubes we might have a shot."

Re:Why not (1)

FiveDollarYoBet (956765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117880)

Good point, Family Guy, Simpsons and maybe The Office and Scrubs are the only shows that I might watch. Everything else seems to be either another reality show, some kind of prime time soap opera or another remake of a cop drama. Lately I've even been skipping through the History Channel and checking out the public broadcast channels.

If it wasn't for sports I'd ditch my tv altogether.

Re:Why not (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17120090)

Agreed. I watch House and Family Guy religiously, along with NFL. I catch Office and Scrubs when I remember it.

Re:Why not (1)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115954)

Why not

This goes a long way to legitimize the sport of professional gaming. This in it's very essence will attract sponsors which will mushroom the industry faster than anything you could have possibly imagined.

So you ask 'why not?' I'll tell you why not! What will happen to those poor lonely golfers when their faithful channel 2 (or whatever) stops playing 'The Pebble Beach Classic' on a lazy afternoon and instead replaces it with 'The Halo Championship Playoffs'. How will you live with yourself with those old men crying everywhere right into their half-full glass of lemonade/scotch!

Re:Why not (1)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116206)

This goes a long way to legitimize the sport of professional gaming. This in it's very essence will attract sponsors which will mushroom the industry faster than anything you could have possibly imagined.
You're right, provided they figure out one more thing. The in-game action is what's important, not the guy at the keyboard. I've yet to see any kind of televised gaming event where they figured out that shots of the guy at the keyboard are useless. Shots of the player at the keyboard are the functional equivalent of cutting to a closeup of a football coach in the middle of a play.

Unless they can get the audience at large into the game, and not focus on the physical players, it's just a bunch of shots of pale kids badly lit by the glow of their monitors. Does that sound like something you want to watch?

Sadly, I don't have a lot of confidence that the guys down at CBS will be able to figure this out anytime soon.

Host (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115376)

In an obvious attempt to make competition gaming cooler they get, Quddus, an MTV VJ to host it.

BOOM! HEADSHOT! (4, Funny)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115412)

Sometimes I think maybe I wanna join the army I mean it's basically like FPS except better graphics, but what happens if I get lag out there, I'M DEAD! And I mean I even heard there's no respawn points in RL.

Re:BOOM! HEADSHOT! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17117106)

"And I mean I even heard there's no respawn points in RL."

From what I hear, the Bhuddists and Hindus have a solution worked out. [wikipedia.org]

The downside is that once you re-spawn, your character class, race, sex are chosen for you and start with no items, skills or EXP.

The upshot is that your re-spawn traits and flaws are based on your previous character alignment.

Thumbs up! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115428)

This could be a perfect venue to bring back the US National Video Game Team. [seanbaby.com] Bring on the jumpsuits!

Highlights (5, Funny)

Beek Dog (610072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115448)

When will we be seeing highlights on Network News?

"There was a showdown in Vegas tonight, as G0atsxHax0r defended his title against sLUtfuCKer, a rising star from Alabama. sLUtfuCKer came in with high expectations but was disappointed by G0atsxHax0r's three early headshots. He got a reprieve when the judges penalized G0atsxHax0r for excessive squatting over a dead opponent. But in the end, sLUtfuCKer was thoroughly pwnd."

Re:Highlights (1)

ectal (949842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116236)

Tone down the player names slightly and that's not terribly far from the pro gaming stuff I've stumbled across on cable.

Re:Highlights (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17119460)

I used to go the CPL tournaments. I remember there being a counter-strike player by the name of "AssMaster." He wasn't good though.

Honestly... (1)

Possibly Malignant (933521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115470)

I can't wait to see how they present this. I've never watched a televised gaming competition, and I can't imagine how a network can even hope to convey the experience of actually being present.

Re:Honestly... (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117862)

I can't wait to see how they present this. I've never watched a televised gaming competition, and I can't imagine how a network can even hope to convey the experience of actually being present.


They seemed to put it together well with Starcade [starcade.tv] . Maybe a Q/A and player competition format could still be used. BTW, you can see a few episodes of this particular televised gaming competition online.

Honestly...sharing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17121676)

This way. [parsons.edu]

More of the same (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115508)

What will be aired on CBS will be more or less a documentary, like we have all seen before, on a few gamers. Cool, but call me when the actual game they play is casted on CBS, in its entirety. That will be news. TFA says will do this on their other cable station, but really, this is not new. When any network station allots more than one hour to professional gaming and actually tracks the progress of a tournament for the viewers, ending with a championship game, live or otherwise, that will be a newsworthy event for the community.

Re:More of the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17123024)

This doesn't come close to what you're talking about but I remember a long time ago Nickelodeon had a show which was like a small half-hour multi-game sega tournament. I think one of the games was Chuck Rock.

Ironic (3, Interesting)

kaizokunami (982824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115618)

There was a story about this in the NY Times [nytimes.com] as well, which included a little more detail about the network TV portion of this. CBS will only be showing small snippits of actual gameplay on the special. There's a quote from one of the special's producer's which I find really telling: "The one hurdle that was a challenge, and is still a challenge for video gaming...is you can't put people shooting at one another on network television."

Um... you can't? Better tell that to all those cop dramas.

Re:Ironic (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115858)

How many of those cop dramas do you actually watch? My wife is a big fan of the genre so I get roped into it more often than not. The ones that are aired on network television have suprisingly little shooting at one another. Most of the network cop dramas consist of cops whining about business and professional relationships with a little crime solving mixed in.

Re:Ironic (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115974)

That's true. Of course, back in the 80's people were gunned down constantly in cop/PI shows. Think how many people Magnum offed.

Too bad.... (1)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115884)

That they choose to feature one of the most pompous asses on the professional (ugh!) videogaming circuit. Falls right in league with the same tactics they use for covering everything else under the sun I suppose - just would have been nice to see a change....

no violent scenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17116164)

I heard a rumour that stated the network was unhappy with the idea of showing violence on this, which leaves such mind-numbing excitement as watching CSS players at spawn buy weapons, people reloading, people doing nothing. thrilling. really. I love games, love playing them, have no issues with watching game-play over someones shoulder, watching game-play video on the net if the video demonstrates some high level of skill or something funny/cool. I have tried to watch everything that is video game related that gets put to TV and so far I have been bitterly dissapointed by everything except for Tech TV's (or G4 or whatever the heck its' called) Icon's show, the occassionaly review show isn't too bad as well, but certainly not great (most of them tend to focus on two hosts, which would be good if i had a video game craving of playing two hosts, but i don't - i ONLY want to see a game). That's my pathetic two cents, game shows should have games in them and not two lame (i didn't get that MTV job) hosts that they usually have.

Anyone remember Gamepro TV? (1)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116208)

http://www.retrojunk.com/details_tvshows/465-gamep ro-tv/ [retrojunk.com]
and
http://www.nesplayer.com/television/gamepro_files/ gptv.htm [nesplayer.com]

Growing up, I lived in North Central Indiana, and never got any cool shows. I was lucky enough to get a Chicago station (WGN) that aired G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., and The Transformers. As well as The Bozo Show, but that's another story. I wanted desperately to be able to see Gamepro TV. It might have sucked, but I had no way of knowing. Sometimes I miss the olden days where we had to wait for magazines to find out what's new in gaming.

Aww man, I can't wait... (1)

TheSexican (796334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116274)

for the World Series of knitting on Lifetime! Granny Maude vs. Aunt Mary-Beth Sue for the world championship!

Re:Aww man, I can't wait... (1)

Isca (550291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117018)

At least there you'd the off chance thatin their quest to knitt faster and faster, they'd accidently impale themselves or a cameraman who got to close.

Conflicted... (1)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117216)

There's a part of me that thinks that choosing to spend your mindless recreation time watching other people engage in their mindless recreation time is intensely creepy and vouyeristic. There's also a part of me that thinks that the fact that many people are willing to passively watch people play video games on television is quite possibly the horrendously inevitable culmination of a 'do-nothing culture.'

But I suppose it's really no worse than watching people play poker, either.

Re:Conflicted... (1)

mjhacker (922395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118324)

At least with gaming there is more emphasis on skill and cunning; you have to truly outwit an opponent. In poker, it's a game of luck and knowing when to fold. That's about it (and not that there's anything wrong with poker, but watching gaming at least makes a bit more sense).

Isn't that how sports watching started though? (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118904)

There's a part of me that thinks that choosing to spend your mindless recreation time watching other people engage in their mindless recreation time is intensely creepy and vouyeristic. There's also a part of me that thinks that the fact that many people are willing to passively watch people play video games on television is quite possibly the horrendously inevitable culmination of a 'do-nothing culture.'
Isn't this how sports watching start out though?

Sports started off as just a recreational activity. You could say that watching people play a game is silly, when you could be playing it yourself. But I can think of two main reasons why people watch sports:

1. Professionals playing the game are a lot better at it than you are
- It can be fun to see the amazing skill involved at the pro level, versus what happens in your regular pick-up games
- You can also learn from the best, and maybe pick up a few techniques you can apply to your own game

2. Team aspect
- There's the whole "ra-ra" mentality, of cheering for your college/country/region or your favorite person
- If you can't be good enough to play professional, then you can live vicariously through your team

Granted, not everyone buys it. There are certainly many folks that "don't get" sports (and stereotypically, this includes a lot of geeks/nerds). But I can't see how watching video game competitions is that much different than sports, in the reasons above.

Re:Isn't that how sports watching started though? (1)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17119700)

I agree, to an extent, but sports is (in general) an activity that has almost always included a live audience, while video gaming has not. And I think there's a definite reason for this. People enjoy sports because of the vicarious nature of the competition -- they can turn their team or players into an 'avatar' that acts as a proxy for their own emotional involvement. I think the very nature of gaming (i.e. the fact that the 'competitors' are themselves projecting onto an avatar) tends to eliminate this sort of connection. People don't want to cheer for people that are 'just like them' -- a big part of the success of spectator sport is the idolatry inherent to it, and I'm sorry to say that the vast majority of the country just doesn't consider a finely-honed video game skill to be an admirable trait.

I love gaming, it's by far my favorite hobby, but I'm still keenly aware of the sheer and utter boredom that most non-gamers experience when I ask them to 'hold on a minute' and put them in a spectators' position for even a couple minutes of play. Video games are just not a vicarious pleasure.

It depends on the game (just like the sport) (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122782)

I love gaming, it's by far my favorite hobby, but I'm still keenly aware of the sheer and utter boredom that most non-gamers experience when I ask them to 'hold on a minute' and put them in a spectators' position for even a couple minutes of play. Video games are just not a vicarious pleasure.
I think it depends on the game, just like it depends on the sport. A twitchy shooter game is probably going to be a lot more interesting thatn, say, a competitive game of Tetris.

But that's just like any sport. IMHO, football is a lot more interesting to watch than baseball, or golf. Then again, you certainly have more than enough people watching those two sports, as they're multi-billion dollar industries. Yet bowling and other sports aren't there yet either.

Also, I think there's a maturity that has to happen outside the sport itself, such as how you do the announcing, set up cameras, the scoring systems, etc. I will say that some Capture the Flag games might be VERY interesting to watch, even for an outsider, if only you had the cameras set in the right place, and a decent announcer for the match. The same goes for some RTS games. Instead of being only limited to the player's view, if there were an "outside" camera ... that might make things a lot more interesting.

It's akin to the TV setup for Texas Hold'em. If I were just watching a game in person, it might not be that interesting. But on TV, I'm able to see what cards everyone else is holding, I've got an announcer explaining strategies and why certain players are doing certain things, and I can even see the statistics of how likely a player is going to win. All those things are, in a way, "outside" the game ... yet make it, IMHO, a whole lot more interesting to watch now.

Hilarious (1)

British (51765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117642)

Any time I see anything about new television programming about video games, I always bet(and win) that it won't be on G4. Once again, I was right. I'd like to go within earshot of Morgan Webb and yell "What's that one tv network with all that video game coverage..uh, yeah, SPIKE TV."

Many moons ago, I think it was on the sci fi channel they had some video game competition involving "blockade running", done not on PCs, but these video game pilot "booths"(think Afterburner, etc). It was quite possibly the saddest thing you've ever seen with the biggest dorks as the players. Anyone remember what I'm talking about?

Never thought... (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118260)

I never thought I'd be a video game watcher... but once I got GameplayHD with DishNetwork I gotta say i watch a lot of people playing video games in HD. No clue... half the time i don't even know what they're talking about (read Starcraft), but I'm there, watching it, with my wife looking at me like "Why in God's name did i marry this loser?"

ETTV? (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 7 years ago | (#17120506)

if any of you have played around with ettv (enemy territory tv), you could put together a decent program. i think that it wouldn't be such a far fetch to televise "live" competitions with a couple of mintues delay to make sure the most action is broadcast.

i'm guessing there will be name restrictions, and it will likely only be the best gamers. i don't know about the rest of you out there, but i prefer to see people who don't eat, sleep and play -insert game here-; i get much more excitement from watching eight mid-range players with two excellent players (5vs5 capture the flag, or somesuch) in fps games. seriously, the excellent players get pushed hard by the numbers and the mid-ranges always have to worry about coming in contact with the best player on the other team... it's a nice game.

how would rts's be handled? would they even get attention? especially considering the lack of attention span that most americans have.

Great (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17120546)

Like I give a shit about "professional gamers". Being good at games dosen't make you a good person. Less so than professional sports.
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