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Pro Gaming Network Television Coverage Begins Sunday 92

Posted by Zonk
from the i'm-not-happy-until-its-prime-time dept.
The New York Times has an article on a first for pro gamers: network television coverage of a match. Sunday at noon EDT CBS Sports will be airing coverage of the World Series of Videogames. Events will include Guitar Hero II, Fight Night and World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena combat. The article explores some of the challenges of making gaming understandable on television: "The dollars are already quite mainstream. Americans bought about $13 billion worth of video game systems and software last year, more than they spent at the film box office (around $10 billion). Advertisers for Sunday's broadcast include KFC, Intel and the Marines. But for gaming to make it as a major-network TV sport, the big hurdle will be translating a medium that is by its nature meant to be experienced firsthand into a compelling hands-off spectator experience. It is a task that in some ways is no less daunting than that of the early baseball television producers who eventually realized that a camera way out in center field would provide the best view of pitches." Update: 07/28 23:19 GMT by Z : Fixed day of the weekend the show is on.
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Pro Gaming Network Television Coverage Begins Sunday

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  • I for one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SilentOneNCW (943611) <silentdragon@@@gmail...com> on Saturday July 28, 2007 @06:41AM (#20021659) Homepage
    ...welcome this extraordinary event. It is high time that the geekier sports such as video gaming be given a chance on network television. Imagine the thousands of gamers that will be affected by this.
  • Games on TV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Evangelion (2145) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @06:50AM (#20021681) Homepage
    I recall when Doom 3 came out, the QuakeCon that year webcast the matches that were being played there (some Doom3 1v1 deathmatch, as well as some Q3 CTF matches there). I was watching these on my living room TV as they were being webcast, and I kind of realized something about watching games or sports on TV -- they are only truly interesting if you know enough about the game to play it yourself.

    i.e. being a Canadian, I wasn't able to avoid learning how to play hockey as a child. Not that I'm any good at it, but I know the rules, I know the point of the game, and I understand what it means when different things happen. However, I find Football (either kind, take your pick) mind numbingly boring -- because I never really played them, I haven't really internalized the rules, and don't know enough about the tactics of the game(s) to be interested in them.

    Similarly, watching Q3CTF and Doom3 (especially the 1v1 matches), I really got into them because I understood what they were doing, and I could anticipate the reactions and behaviour of the competitors. The same is true with watching (PvE) WoW videos -- I get into them because I understand what's going on.

    I have a feeling that's going to be the largest impediment to gaming on TV -- sports rules change very slowly, and not by very much. Even if you haven't watched NHL hockey in six years, you'd be able to sit down and clearly understand what's going on[1] within a few minutes. If someone was watching Q3 videos online six years ago, and then sat down today to watch -- umm, Halo2 or something? what are people playing these days? -- it wouldn't be even close to the same. It would be like watching an entirely new sport every few years.

    [1] This does not extend to league management.
  • Re:Uh, yeah. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jettawu (1030820) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @08:05AM (#20021979)
    Maybe what those games need are mods to reduce the violence and make the gameplay easier to follow in order to gain spectators.

    Specifically, most FPS games are very bloody and also take place on maps that are not designed for spectators to view the game. Soccer/Football, Baseball, American Football, etc all have large, open fields that allows the audience to view every active member of the game.

    Just reducing the current games to open maps wouldn't be enough, though, as just that change on its own would make the game less entertaining I think. The gameplay would have to be modified to allow for the more open maps... as it stands, most FPS games don't have gameplay types that would be very interesting on an open map.
  • At first.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chineseyes (691744) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @08:21AM (#20022069)
    I agreed with you but then I thought about when I was a child. At one of the local hangout spots there was a street fighter arcade machine where literally dozens of people would stand around for hours to watch this guy I knew in middle school kick the crap out of every person that dared to challenge him with every character there was. Just to entertain himself he would allow himself to get the crap kicked out of him on purpose until he had almost no energy left then proceed to taunt his opponent while he blocked their every move and slowly killed them.

    We were all amazed as kids and enjoyed every second of it, how it will play out with adults I'm not sure; but it will only work if they can find gamers who do things that are sufficiently unique and amazing that people will want to watch for extended periods of time.

    Plus people watch poker and NASCAR so anything can make it on tv.

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