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As Gaming Evolves...
A mini-discussion(tm) that me and Phait had on #tf got me thinking, the rant was about whether online "sports" should be called sports and if the people playing these games professionally should be called "athletes".

As gaming gets more and more mainstream what do you see happening to the gaming world in terms of recognition from the masses, things like TV shows, online championships and sports and gaming integrated into everyday life. Do you ever think you would get TV coverage of pro matches and tournaments like you get with football these days?

The most pressing of all might be : how will integration into the mainstream affect the actual games getting released? And also the developers making these games? For instance game sensorship and explicit content.

Fire away...
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Sounds like the BBC3 lads definitely got it all wrong. Personally, as I think about this, what we have here is probably better treated as a combination of specialised mod (i.e. provision for "cameramen," a specialised form of spectator) and reality show. Call it LanParty - it's both non-threatening (hey, it's a party dude!) and gives an idea of the (minimalist) set design.

But, as people have pointed out, the gaming scene is extremely fluid; selection or coding of a game/mod that would stand the test of time would be extremely difficult. 
I don't see a problem with computer gaming becoming professional and mainstream.

1. As the first generation of game players became adults, games went from "just kid stuff" to stuff that at least twentysomethings consider as ordinarty as watching a movie or playing Scrabble. As people who don't take video games seriously start to die off, they'll be replaced by people who do.

2. Most professional sports (baseball, basketball, etc.) started out informally, with rules varying widely among different groups and geographies. In the same way that they became suiitable for competitive play when a standard ruleset was codified, video game genres will become serious when enough people get behind specific rulesets. Example: there are a number of different FPS deathmatch rulesets (doom, quake, qw, cube, ut, q3, etc.) and when an authoritative body starts governing one or more "official" ways to play, you'll have the foundation for deathmatch as a real sport. (For now they just use popular rulesets as designed by third parties, such as id software or the cpm group.) Same goes for other popular genres, like RTS.

One thing that differs between deathmatch and most real sports is that the playing fields are very standardized in real sports. Of course, this isn't true for golf, or stock car racing. I expect that the visual part of level design will be a casualty of this process, however -- the looks of maps will probably be very utilitarian (not to say ugly -- golf courses can be very pretty, but there is not a lot of opportunity for doing unusual stuff, like a course made of purple fiberglass and glowing astroturf.) 
it will become mainstream, its inevitable in fact.
its simply a matter of time.
where "gaming" is now, is analogous to where cinema was in the 1920's.

that is, we are just beginning to explore its full potential. 
The game industry is often compared to the movie industry, and some times that's justified. In regards to comptetition, it isn't.

Professional gaming only works so far as it's something the public wants to see. So instead of asking what's going to happen, it's simpler to ask what we would enjoy watching. A lot of sports have degrees of success on two levels. You can mark progress by score, but on a sub-level by field position or outs. A football game is somewhat exciting in respect to the score, but most of the excitement is derived from watching two opposing forces struggle to push the ball in some direction. I think watching video games would be more exciting if this element of field position were made more apparent. There is jockying for position in fps games, but it's not always clear, particularly for someone who may be casually watching it. The casual observer of a football or soccer game need only look at how far the ball is in the direction "those green guys" are facing.

Successful professional gaming seems more likely with games more resembling sports rather than fps or rts games. Maybe a glorified version of globulos. 
Good Point 
There is jockying for position in fps games, but it's not always clear, particularly for someone who may be casually watching it.

Ditto with motorsport. I've noticed that more often than not, the commentators regularly list off the current positions, along with a bar down the bottom of the screen, whilst focussing on the race leaders. Something like LanParty could do the same.

Suitable FPS game types, as Pushplay observes, would probably be those more resembling sports; i.e. "ball" games such as CTF, Catch the Chicken or the like. Once again though, the problem is indicating to the viewer which "side" has the "advantage." 
Pro Gaming 
Some good points raised here, especially pushplays post.

I always thought that Unreal Tournament (any version of it) would be best suited as a "specatator sport" and I always really wished that you could get HUD overlays of who is in the lead and bar graphs etc of wins for you and bots as you played more and more games. iirc the original UT had overlays on billboards with scrolling text saying who the current leader of the match was, this was really cool and is the only example I can think of for "sports like" environment to a game that isn't based on a real life sport. 
Team Sports Vs Individual Sports 
Team sports seem to be much more popular, which is why I think team games like CTF and it's variants probably have the best chance of working as spectator sports. Particularly games with "positions", like TF and such. Although with any game certain positions will develop. 
A Small Problem Of Proprietariness 
A more serious attempt at televised gaming would need to make the "playing field" as flat as possible. That means standardising not only the software used, but also the hardware - identical computer systems, identical makes of monitors, keyboards, mice, headphones etc. A nice little windfall for some electronics firm or other.

But then there's the question of maps. Using maps currently in the public domain would be out of the question - especially any with ripped textures (the copyright wrangles would be dreadful.) Besides, they'd probably have been played to death anyway, so all their little secrets would already be known.

So that would mean some mugginses would need to be employed to crank out maps that are not only aesthetically pleasing (since their work will be on view to the general public, after all), with all areas immiediately identifiable, but also bastions of good gameplay. And might not be released to the general public - if ever - until after that season is over. (And that means some sort of development kit, with all the leak potential and non-disclosure agreements that implies.)

I can't believe I'm taking this idea so seriously... 
I can't believe I'm taking this idea so seriously

Some forward thinking person might take it so seriously and make a lot of money on it. 
Yeah Right 
Some forward thinking person who knows how to develop the concept and who to approach, and how to sell it. 
Mr Controller 
But then there's the question of maps. Using maps currently in the public domain would be out of the question

Huh? But tournaments already use custom maps, e.g. CPL using ztn3tourney1 (with ztn's permission of course).

Besides, they'd probably have been played to death anyway, so all their little secrets would already be known.

I'll never understand why people always say this :]. Would football be better if they randomly chose a different pitch layout every match? 
I don't know anything about the existing tournament situation, but my concern was to flatten the playing field as much as possible, so that the only lumps and bumps come from the players' respective talents.

But, now that I think of it, a game isn't as interesting to watch if the players spend half the allotted time going in circles, trying to learn the map. So you've got a bloody good point there. I never thought of that... 
It isn't half as much fun to watch people playing on a map that the spectator doesn't know. 
And Joe Sixpack 
wouldn't know even the most common maps from a hole in the ground.

Still, going with the motorsport riff, one could do a quick run-through to help orient the folks back home, before the stage^H^H^H^H^Hgame starts. Kinda like WRC reports. 
Joe's Hole 
This entire idea is lumpenproletarian in concept. 
That was very Kafkaesq of you to say. 
Essentialy, Obscurant Language Aside, 
I was just defending my good buddy Joe SixPack from the scurrilous and highly dubious as well as nebobly nebulous charges FC leveled against him. I don't know what has gotten into FC these days; the Academy has corrupted his once pure and beautiful soul. 
Hey, Take That Back! 
You stole that line from me, pal! 
Dang, Didn't Work, 
post # 26 should've read, 'posted by SpiroAgnew.' Joke is ruined. 
Pure And Beautiful? 
You've never actually seen my soul, have you?

Besides, I'm a cynic, and Anti-Nowhere League's my backing band. 
Sorry For The Taunts, FC 
but I was stoned on the White Lightening when I wrote that. 
White Lightening is completely legal to purchase in most parts of the Southland, just didn't want to leave a mis impression. 
Oh, And Beautiful 
in the same way Baudelaire could describe a cat carcus in elegant and enchanting language. 
Incidentally, If You Do See My Soul... 
Don't make any sudden movements or loud noises, move slowly away, and don't turn your back. I think it's on heat. 
much like you treat a fiend 
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