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Professional Gaming League Raises $10M 167

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Major League Gaming, aspiring to become the official league of professional videogaming, raised $10 million in funding from Ritchie Capital, and named Matthew Bromberg, the former general manager of Time Warner's Moviefone and AOL Games properties, as president and chief operating officer, the Wall Street Journal reports. 'The championship match for MLG's second season will be held this weekend in New York, where individuals and teams of gamers will battle against others in fighting and shooter games like Microsoft Corp.'s Halo 2 for a total of $100,000 in prizes. ... The company says it is in discussions with various cable networks about deals to have its competitions carried on television. "We want this to be covered as a circuit," said Mr. Bromberg.'"
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Professional Gaming League Raises $10M

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  • The Big 3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alex P Keaton in da ( 882660 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:47AM (#14776821) Homepage
    Watching people play video games on TV?
    It is bad enough watching people in real life while waiting for your turn...
    The three most boring activities:
    Listening to someone describing their dreams
    Listening to someone describe their workout routine
    Watching someone else play video games.
    Seriously- I think that much like building models or programming, playing games is fun if you are doing it, but who wants to watch someone else do it?
    Than again people watch poker and golf on TV....
    • There are some people who really are fun to watch playing video games.

      But the game matters, and the player matters -- I wouldn't want to watch some slow turn-based RPG, or your average gamer -- it's that much more impressive when you see someone playing a game that you know well, and you watch them when they're completely in the zone -- not some camping lamer.

      I can't personally say the same thing about bass fishing, and that makes it on TV.

      I'll compare this to the olympics -- watching skilling is much more
      • Re:The Big 3 (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PFI_Optix ( 936301 )
        I see a pretty big technical hurdle here.

        Nobody wants to watch football from the helmet cam. Remember those things? I think Fox had them. Novel, interesting, and utterly useless. People want to see aerial views of the action.

        To my knowledge, there's not a single competitive FPS out there with a strong observer system that would be well-suited to television.

        I watch paintball tournaments on TV when I can catch them. What's fun is watching the strategies, the overall action. Not what player B is seeing as he b
        • Any of the enjoyable viewing that I've done has been over the shoulder of the player in question.

          It gives you an opportunity to hear their reactions to the game, as well as see the game from their point of view, with the same resolution (although from a greater distance).

          Although I could see some interesting displays foer spectators (quadrants, overhead view of the map w/ all players marked in one, top two player's views in the next two quadrants, and another one cycling between strategic points / player vi
    • Watching other people play video games is like watching other people viewing porn.

      Video games are designed to be interesting to the player, not to be interesting to watch as a non-player.

    • I heard the gamers will be required to paint their faces, wear skimpy outfits and have to oil their bodies. That should make it a hit with all the repressed homosexuals.
    • between
            Watching someone playing baseball on TV or
            Watching someone playing chess on TV or
            Watching someone playing golf on TV or
            Watching someone playing poker on TV or
            Watching someone playing computer game on TV?

      It's just a prejudice!
      • Re:Difference? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:45PM (#14777331)
        Baseball is a spectator sport with tense drama for those who can appreciate it.

        Chess is a nuanced game in which those who know the major strategies can perceive the structure of what players are doing, look several moves ahead, and evaluate the game.

        IMHO, Golf is pretty freakin' boring to watch, but the body mechanics of a great golf swing (and the billiards-like precision of a long putt) are at least interesting to witness. Also, there's the psychological aspect. A two-stroke leader in a golf match is only a couple of tiny mistakes away from losing the lead, and being a good golfer requires being able to handle the fact that a tiny hitch in just one of your swings could cost you half your income for the year.

        Poker on TV is considerable less popular, mainly because most people don't understand the game. The best professional poker players "grind" out their living in straight-up games, but tournament play is what you usually see on TV because it presents the chance of dramatic upsets and "home run" plays.

        Video games, on the other hand, are carefully crafted to amuse the people playing them, with no thought given at all to spectator value. If you are wondering why so many of us are scoffing at the idea of televised gaming, go to your local arcade and watch over somebody's shoulder for a half hour. The mind-numbing dullness of what you are doing will tell you everything you need to know about why gaming on TV is doomed.
        • Video games, on the other hand, are carefully crafted to amuse the people playing them, with no thought given at all to spectator value.

          Well said.

        • I watched some of the HLTV (Half-Life TV, a form of spectator mode) of Summer CPL, and for the matches I watched, there were 26000 people on that HLTV watching the same game. I know that may not be millions upon millions of people, however that sounds like an audience to me. A good way of thinking of it is like a French person watching Baseball, or the average american watching cricket, it doesn't seem that interesting, and most people won't watch it. Those who know what's going on, and how important of a p

        • carefully crafted to amuse the people playing them

          While this is no doubt true I don't think basketball or baseball were originally crafted to entertain millions of spectators.

          It's interesting for people to watch these sports because they have become a part of culture and because the majority of spectators tend to play these same games.

          Modern games are starting to look less like games and more like movies in many respects.

          go to your local arcade and watch over somebody's shoulder for a half hour

          Arcade???? I
        • How the heck is this insightful? You think all the "spectator" sports were designed in mind for the spectator, instead of say, the players?! Yes, the Colosseum had spectator sport with its killings and a soccer like sport were played by the Aztecs (Mayans?) where the losers were sacrificed. But mosts sports become popular because it's fun to play!

          Basketball has changed some rules but it wasn't nearly so popular in the 50s and 60s. You can't underestimate marketing at all. Nor can you determine how some
          • "Reality TV" has shown you can clip/edit pieces of people's regular lives and others will be fascinated by it.
            If you filmed me for a whole week, you may be able to get 24 interesting minutes of footage. Then again, it might take a month to get 24 minutes onteresting footage...
    • Re:The Big 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Radres ( 776901 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:10PM (#14777032)
      You're not just watching someone while waiting for them to finish their turn. You're watching someone who is one of the best in the world play the game. If you personally have played the game that is being played, you will be able to appreciate the level of skill the the player is demonstrating. You will be able to learn things about how a superior player would approach the same problems you face, and also realize where you reach your limitations compared to the player you are watching.

      I think that it's a prerequisite to watching an event that you actually have some experience in participating in a similar event. Otherwise it can be difficult to appreciate what is going on and the level of skill required.

      I've watched some pretty cool videos and demos of video game competitions. There's a video floating around of someone who beat Super Mario Brothers 3 in like 2 minutes. I'll bet that if your friend was able to do that while you were waiting for your turn, you might be intrigued! I've seen videos of top Starcraft and Quake players in competition, and it's like they are playing a completely different game.

      The best of anything is worth your time.
      • Some Japanese kid beat Super Mario Brother's 3 in 11 minutes by using an emulator to slow down the game play, then speeding the video back up to normal speed, and even then I think he did it dozens of times over before getting it right. I bet the Numa Numa guy or Star Wars Kid get more smiles from girls in the hallway than a kid who has devoted his life to SMB3. I watched the video once, thought it was way cool. I watched it a second time to show a friend, at which point it lost it's magic. Then I found out
      • That SMB3 video you're talking about was proven a fake a while back. Too busy (ha) to google, but it had something to do with how the whistles worked- I believe the guy was able to go to the second row of warp pipes by using a whistle in World 1, when you can't get to that row until at least World 2.

        However, there are some really impressive time trials out there, and entire sites are dedicated to them. Seeing a true pro gamer in action can really belittle you, despite the excitement you feel.
      • ...I think that it's a prerequisite to watching an event that you actually have some experience in participating in a similar event. Otherwise it can be difficult to appreciate what is going on and the level of skill required...

        Not true at all. I've loved watching winter sports since I was a kid, and living in the Southwest I haven't had much personal exposure to them. On the other hand I have played basketball and soccer, and would rather watch paint dry than watch either one of those.

        Didn't they al
    • there is one game that never gets old to watch Grand theft auto i never get tired of watching my friends kill hookers
    • I suppose if all you are doing is waiting for your turn, then yes, waiting in line for a video game could be quite boring.

      However, I live in an apartment style dorm with a few friends, and, because of our crazy schedules, much of our best social time is spent watching someone play a game, be it a classic MegaMan or Final Fantasy or some newer hit like Jade Empire, etc. We root for (or against) the player, poke fun at the storylines, chat about (IRL) current events, give play-by-plays for the game
    • The three most boring activities: Listening to someone describing their dreams Listening to someone describe their workout routine Watching someone else play video games.
      I agree wholheatedly on items 2 and 3, but actually dreams are quite interesting. Even though you can't usually make rational sense out of them (except sometimes when you know the dreamer very well) they often are imaginative, absurd, and witty.
    • All I can say is: I'm a lot more inclined to watch someone play video games than I am to watch major league sports. Probably because I play video games and don't play team sports. And professional game players ARE on an amazing level when they play. I played video games my whole life, and after 2 years of playing Quake 3 all the time, I was still third tier. There's a tier of people who can challenge top pros but can't really expect to beat them unless they improve, and I could make those people work (a lit
    • "Listening to someone describing their dreams"

      I had a room mate who had a wikkid dream once. Could have been made into an awesome Shadow Run campaign, or atleast a decent movie.

      "Listening to someone describe their workout routine"

      I've compared my workout routine with other's numerous times. It can introduce you to new exercises and work out styles. It can also help you find someone with a routine similar to your own that you can work out with.

      "Watching someone else play video games."

      When I was a kid I used
    • I would agree with you if this was a "get the best score at space invaders game". I just actually happened to attend my first ever tournement for a popular online game (as a spectator), and you're really watching two or more players who are the best in their category facing off in a game of skill. Its no different than poker or chess that someone mentioned. People watch chess (admittedly its not a super televised game), how is that different than the nuances and split second decisions of an RTS game. As
    • You have seen how much money is made by big brother and other lame detached from reality "reality" tv shows haven't you?

      I couldn't believe it when i first arrived back in the uk and was flicking through the channels. ITV2 had extended coverage of big brother. I watched it for 5 minutes trying to understand the appeal.

      In that five minutes it flicked back and forward between two scenes. In one scene someone was sleeping. In the other scene someone was sleeping. There was a dramatic moment though, one of
    • I'd definitely rather be playing, so don't get me wrong here...

      But when we were playing SoFII on some of the better teams' servers, watching them scrim was actually really rewarding. Watching the little clever tricks people use, or watching their skill, the drama of seeing two opponents cautiously approaching the same corner from opposite sides, seeing the matches where the last man on a team actually manages to chew through half of the other team and win the round...

      There are some good things to see flyin
    • Don't be so harsh on listening to someone describing their dreams. Listening to one's dreams and subsequently giving advice on them is what helps turn dreams into realities.
    • I think you could make it interesting for FPS games, but it would take some work. First, it would have to be a teamplay event or some really clever scenario to cover an entire round or series of rounds. Otherwise, the only objective is to rack up the kills which does get boring to watch pretty quickly, no matter how good the players are. Cuts between floating commentators' viewpoints and individual players' viewpoints would help keep it interesting. Commentators that know the levels and the players and
    • I imagine it would be amazing to watch once done correctly.

      Imagine a quake-type game where there are, say, 4 teams of 40 people each broken up into squads of 5. This would be very similar to watching an actual war, it would require tactics, leadership and lots of skill.

      Whatever the game, the trick will be depicting it in such a way that the viewer can get a good sense of what is going on from all angles, a completely different view than any of the players would have.

      Goes along with the reality show I'd rea
      • Imagine a quake-type game where there are, say, 4 teams of 40 people each broken up into squads of 5. This would be very similar to watching an actual war, it would require tactics, leadership and lots of skill.
        That is an absurd statement. Did you mean that it may be similar to watching a war movie? I am guessing you were never in the service.... War is often 23 hours and 45 minutes of doing nothing exciting, and 15 minutes, if that, of fighting...
        • Yes, I meant that watching it would be a heck of a lot more interesting than watching a bunch of people trapped in a house or eating roaches, don't you think?.

          And from an observers POV, it would be much more interesting than any of the other crap they have come up with.

          But I did mean something that would be a lot more like what you are describing. It probably would end up 23.75 hours of prep and sleeping and eating and the occasional skirmish when the oppertunity presents itself, all edited down to a nice
    • The three most boring activities:
      Listening to someone describing their dreams

      Wow, you are a selfish prick. If you listen to women talk about their dreams more you might get laid more! At least PRETEND you are not bored!

      Than again people watch poker and golf on TV....

      I find TV poker to be very meditative - I like all the real-time statistics of who has the best chance to win!
  • South Korea? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GoodOmens ( 904827 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:48AM (#14776828) Homepage
    Just like South Korea? Will we have our own 24/7 dedicated gaming channels?

    If we are trying to be like South Korea, I would rather have in home fiber to more homes then just what verizon offers in the NE ....
  • ok (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:49AM (#14776838) Homepage
    As a lifelong gamer with a deep respect for the field and a belief that games are a form of art that will eventually be accorded that status by society as a whole, I can tell you that I have absolutely, positively no interest whatsoever in watching other people play games. And I doubt a lot of other people have either.
    • I agree. If people really wanted to watch TV about video games, G4 would have been a more successful channel. As it stands, I would rather get information from games from the internet or a magazine, and not have to sit through commercials. And I would rather see games first hand, either by playing, or watching a friend. At least when I make fun of friends for making mistakes, they can hear it.
    • I think that you could make a video game that would be fun to watch.

      But it would be very different from current video games (it wouldn't just be "Halo, but displayed on a lot of screens), and probably would be a lot less fun for the players to play. Consider how American football's rules get tweaked periodically -- that's not to make the game more fun for the players, but to make it more entertaining to watch.

      Among other things:

      *) You probably want some kind of "edge" or advantage that goes back or forth.
      • More importantly, people tend to only watch sports they've played or participated in. I think sports video games are a decent idea, but the argument becomes, why not just watch real live sports instead? What might work better is the ultra-violent (gonna get some interest group mad here) niche, the likes of which would never happen in real life, and probably be banned from network TV come to think of it. I may not be the target audience, but I can't imagine watching any video game play based on real world sp
  • This sounds a lot like major league soccer, that new sport (not so new to the rest of the world) that hasn't caught on in spite of long effort. Or women's basketball. And if venture capitalist thing that something being zany and hi-tech is enough to make it worthy of funding, they should remember the XFL, eulogized and dissected in Brett Forrest's Long Bomb: How the XFL Became TV's Biggest Fiasco [amazon.com]
  • Now there will be whole new cliques of "console jocks" who stuff those who can't beat them at Smash Brothers Melee and Grand Theft Auto into lockers.

    Whose dumb idea was professional gaming, anyhow? We make enough people rich and arrogant for being able to play inconsequential games as is.
    • "Whose dumb idea was professional gaming, anyhow? We make enough people rich and arrogant for being able to play inconsequential games as is."

      Dang, just barely too long to be a sig... Seriously though, exactly what i was thinking.
  • I been a "professional" gamer for 15 years now, i should get in on this competition.

  • "That's what makes it a sport," says Mr. Sepso. "It's not chance. It's really based on skill."

    No, that's what makes it a game, though he did narrow the definition a bit by stating that Halo, et al are not games of chance.

    game n.

    1. An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime: party games; word games.
    2. 1. A competitive activity or sport in which players contend with each other according to a set of rules: the game of basketball; the game of gin rummy.

    Yes, 2.1 ment
  • eh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'll bite. I'd actually like to see something like this. However, it's probably going to suck as they have to deal with the most vile species known to man, gamers. Not only that, but anyone who seems to take a swipe at this kinda thing (*cough cough ARENA cough cough*) generally picks the most brain dead, socially inept, personality vacuums that they can possibly find (so in otherwords they pick perfect examples of most of the yahoos you find taking a swipe at professional gaming). Plus you know it's just g
  • Fantastic (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Because there's nothing more exciting than watching a room full of Ritalin-addicted 14-year-olds "pwn" each other at Halo all day.
  • As if MLG players don't already have big enough egos as it is. Now we'll do even more to make them even more full of themselves. I think the first requirement for anyone who wishes to be part of MLG is to announce, frequently and loudly, how they're better than anyone else just because they're "pro".

    I had enough of this MLG crap when I was playing Halo 2. I hope they stay there while the rest of us move on to other games.
  • Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by taskforce ( 866056 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:05PM (#14776990) Homepage
    The CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League) http://www.thecpl.com/ [thecpl.com] is by far the most respected league out there. The launching of a new league is hardly a news... new ones are made or broken every ,month.

    And when people compete in CPL games they tend to play better games than HALO... I'd say professional gamers by and large consider HALO a complete joke, as they will this league.

    • I miss Counterstrike CPL matches. Does this mean that I am technically a former professional gamer? Damn, I was still on a dial-up!
    • I agree. The CPL is a huge event that is gaining popularity every year. It's not uncommon to see 10,000 specatators watching a Counter-Strike match via HLTV, and more watching through Team Sportscast Network online streaming. Especially for highly anticipated matches between Internationally known teams. For people who love videogames, it's quite an experience to see them played by the best. It reminds me of Summer 2005 when Team EG won in tripple overtime against Team SK.swe (basically, an underdog vic
    • The MGL has been active somewhere in the neighborhood of two years as far as I know, so it is not a new league. It just has new funding and I guess a new direction.
    • Re:Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by deckone ( 911663 )
      Thank you, finally someone caught the real culprit here.. they're playing Halo 2.. why the hell would I wanna watch Halo 2, when i could go over to any college dorm and watch it.. How about an actual computer game like Q4/BF2/CS:S/Lemmings I don't care.. dont make me watch untalented console players play a horrible game.
    • MLG is hardly new. It's beginning its 3rd full year season next month.
  • Lol (Score:5, Funny)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:11PM (#14777043)
    Sports are too energetic for the current generation to anything but stare at a TV, now even computer games are too energetic. hehe.

  • If the concept worked, this show would still be on the air. Quite simply, watching other people play video games sucks.
    • You have to take it in context. This is not about physical interaction of players. It's about skill in playing the game. Many FPS games allow spectating of existing players in the game and I have used this feature many times.

      There is a reason why people watch "boring" sports like golf and that is because they get to see the cream of the crop. It would suck to sit through 2 hours of amateur golf where no-one can break 110 let alone come near par. Where watching Tiger Woods light up a course can be fun
  • who cares, lets see how they do... watching madden nfl gaming "playoffs" on espn during the college football season was actually pretty cool. You got to follow these people that had a chance to go meet professional athletes that they would play as with the team on the football game... then depending on whether they won or lost they got to stay with their team which was actually the bus that they travelled to different sites on. It was like survivor with video games. Will this ever take off? I frankly don
  • Let me be the first to say...

    BOOM! HEADSHOT!! [purepwnage.com]
  • by InsaneLampshade ( 890845 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:26PM (#14777167) Journal
    The article mentions that a total of $600,000 will be given away as prize money..... but they raised $10,000,000, so what happened to the rest of the money?
  • If there is money to be made off of this, how long before major game makers take people watching people playing games into account during design.

    The watching of the game doesn't have to 100% live, it could be delayed. I'm thinking a server simply ships all the commands going on in a game to a replica, or several replicas that then can have many cameras attached. Major matches could have millions wanting to watch, and mostly live.

    On top of that you'll want commentators. Replay and a lot of other things to re
    • CS made a pretty neat system to allow spectators to watch on a nearly separate server. Not sure how it worked, but when our clan played CPL matches and I wasn't on the squad, that's how I watched.

    • This has been done, and done, and done before.

      Five years ago, I was watching my clanmates in matches using the QuakeTV mod (one or two spectators join in as the camera, and they would flip between views in a CTF match).

      The spectators would just join a mirroring server, with like max_clients set to 128 (or whatever it could handle).

      The real problem here is one of interest. It is only interesting to watch a game if you know something about the game. I find football and soccer to be dreadfully boring, primar
  • The Wizard! (Score:2, Funny)

    by calculi ( 51698 )
    The final match should be Super Mario Bros. 3!
  • RTS game competitions would be interesting. Some games would work really well, like StarCraft, Age of Empires, etc. Some like Battle For Middle Earth II would be awesome to watch 8 people dueling it out on. Epecialy if you had a running commentary on it for the viewers (this would need to be hidden from the players though). That would be more down my alley. But watching a FPS? Yawn...
  • How do they convince people to fund something like this? It's just going to be money down the drain, and any 14 year old could tell you that.
  • Major League Gaming is notorious for not actually paying out its prize money. Amongst their Tekken 5 tournaments, alone, there are guys still waiting to be paid for tournaments they won nearly a year ago (http://tekkenzaibatsu.com/forums/showthread.php?t hreadid=85134 [tekkenzaibatsu.com])
  • if anything it's going to be techtv's or g4 (whatever the fuck it is now) having lame ass FPS tournaments. it's highly unlikely that the point is going to be to just give viewers a spectator view of the entire game, they'll focus on each player, give some lame ass interview where johnny-too-many-twinkies tells you how gaming has been a suitable replacement for actual human contact, and that he doesn't regret the fact that he's 27 and still hasn't felt anyone up because he can just buy a real doll after he k
    • Somebody mod the parent up! That description is dead on.

      If you want proof just turn on NBC any evening this week.
      - Show a couple of skiers
      - Do a 10 minute personal story about one of them who happens to look good on TV
      - Show a couple of skaters
      - Show 10 minutes of a staged argument between them
      - Flash 1 second clips of all the sports you'll never see on the broadcast channel
      - Cut to studio where a couple of people are talking about something totally uninteresting
      - Show a couple more skiers
      - 10 minute story
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:19PM (#14777594)
    ..... I've got three words for you:

    World Poker Tour
  • Enough Bashing! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by j3one ( 949806 )
    Come on, Gaming is not a fad or a trend... YOung adults grew up on this stuff and love just as much as teens now days do. Gaming rocks, because of the compitition factor. And as games get more and more visualy apealing, they will be more fun to watch. Although I admit the core group of people tuning in will be other gamers, or at least those who aspire too. TONS of people game, few get 10,000 for thier skill. People want to compete and get better, so they play against others who wipe them up, and they will
  • We shouldn't be watching people play the newest FPS or whatever piece of crap Microsoft churns out next. If I want to watch someone play games on a grand scale, I want to be watching them play CLASSIC games. The games that actually matter. Super Mario Kart. Tetris. Dr. Mario. That might draw in all the people who played games back in the 80's and hasn't done so since, as they'd actually recognize the games and get interested.
  • That would be fun watching a CS clan math on TV. I'm not a football fan, but I can imagine becoming like one if they started showing MLG matches... Drinking beer, eating cheez-its watching Starcraft finals.
  • Awards (Score:3, Interesting)

    by duerra ( 684053 ) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:34PM (#14778185) Homepage
    Ok, so this is slightly off topic, but it is still somewhat related.

    What I would like to see, instead of watching people play games on TV, is an actual awards body for the gaming industry that isn't a complete joke. You know, something like the gaming equivalent to the Oscars or Grammy's. Not that SpikeTV bull crap.

    I think there is a lot to be said for the people that make some of the best games every year. Not to mention, lifetime achievment awards for greats like Shigeru Miyamoto, etc.

    I'm still shocked that with as much money as the videogame industry pulls in each year, we still don't have an awards body like that. Or if there is, why it isn't being broadcast on national TV each year.
  • Remember EVO 2004?

    The Beast is Unleashed! [google.com]

    Even people with a mild interest in Street Fighter can appreciate the skill that took.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?