Jorge: Let us pause to mourn the death of the Championship Gaming Series. It lived a bright but all to short life... like a candle in the wind Scott... a candle in the wind...
Scott: Hold on, let me put away the world's smallest violin I was playing in tribute. Here's the greatest thing: the title of their farewell notice was "An Idea Whose Time Came too Early."
Jorge: I like how presumptuous they are: They could make more money in the future, but now is just not the right time.
Scott: Such visionaries.
Scott: You've actually seen competitive gaming in person, right?
Jorge: Yea, at Blizzcon they had Starcraft and World of Warcraft tournaments going on. They had flashy slanted televisions, green backdrops, and a couple of attractive announcers yelling into mics about how exciting and mind blowing it all was. It was all very weird and uncomfortable.
Scott: Which makes their failure as a company understandable.
Jorge: Have you ever participated in competitive gaming Scott? Are you that l33t?
Scott: Not even close.
Jorge: Isn't this something popularly abroad? I recall seeing a stadium full of people watching a Starcraft tournament somewhere on the Internet. If it works overseas, how come it doesn't work here?
Scott: It seems like if this was going to happen in the U.S. it would have happened already.
Jorge: Yea, but I wonder why. I think I actually would watch a Smash Bros. tournament. That could be rad.
Scott: It seems like everything that these CGS folks were doing, except for the massive prize money, could be done by normal gamers with their own equipment and youtube.
Jorge: I think one of the fatal characteristics is the forced, top-down approach where these figureheads are trying to shove "e-sports" down our throats. It's so canned. Maybe gaming is not exciting enough for this treatment. Just give up.
Scott: There are plenty of people who will watch the Superbowl of Football, even though they don't play football. I don't think there are many people who would watch the Superbowl of Counter Strike if they didn't already play CS.
Jorge: But I think I would be interested in watching people play videogames I don't have. If I am at work and can't play games, I might actually enjoy watching others play, even just to hear their strategizing.
Scott: It can be fun watching people compete at the highest level, to excel at something, but it seems like it would only appeal to folks that are already into games.
Jorge: So if this could be marketed well, do you think championship gaming would be a good thing? Are we missing the "competitive edge"?
Scott: I could see myself getting into it recreationally: using it as background noise while I'm surfing the web or brainstorming post ideas.
Jorge: Right, it would be a good substitute for actual gaming. But why then have the competitive aspect when I can just watch an average team play TF2?
Scott: But how about the celebrity issue: what if there become superstar players? Like how Bret Favre has a following regardless what team he's on, would some players become entities larger than the teams?
Jorge: Maybe, but I don't think it could happen. I know I will never become a football player. I will never be an eight foot tall behemoth with a good throwing arm. However, I think most gamers believe they could be professional gamers if they had enough time to invest. Also, no matter how exciting a 64 person match of Resistance 2 to can be, it will never lend itself well to broadcasting. That is just a limitation of filming such an event, so I doubt there could be a Favre of gaming.
Scott: Did you ever have that phase growing up when you thought you could hack it as a pro-gamer?
Jorge: No, never. I watched The Wizard and thought "Wow. That kid is way better at videogames than me."
Scott: I think there's a major philosophical and artistic aspect to this conversation, since we look at games as art, rather than sport. How could you have a competition based on creativity or vision?
Jorge: I would really like to see Iron Chef for game developers! Jonathan Blow versus Shigeru Miyamoto. They've got a team of ten coders, and one month to make the coolest side-scrolling platformer imaginable!
Scott: I think the ethos of competitive gaming subverts most of the analysis we do on our site.
Scott: I'm afraid that if competitive gaming took off, it would push the market towards something like Counter Strike and away from something like World of Goo.
Jorge: And those outside the gaming world may perceive videogames as that type of non-serious purely competitive experience.
Scott: I think the real solution is to go away from "competitive gaming" as a blanket category and instead just focus on competitions in certain games.
Scott: Instead of "competitive gaming," just "competitive StarCraft" or "competitive TF2."
Jorge: I agree, and this is something that has to come from the gamers and publishers. In which case CGS is right about future profitability. CGS may rise again... *shudder*
Scott: It can "rise again?" Like the South?
Jorge: Or zombies... or confederate zombies.
Scott: The very worst kind.