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Post by DarthObvious on Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:15 pm

Mike posted about Pro Gaming on twitter the other day, and I wanted to know what people's opinion of it was. I'll get to mine eventually, but I just thought to post this now before I go to work.

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Post by mikesuszek on Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:04 am

My opinion was: I don't really care for it.

Has anyone seen the Machinima.com stuff? It's tangentially related; it's a site that makes its living/name off YouTube videos, and centers around FPSs (it has some sports stuff too) with unique (mostly garbage, IMO) videos.

This, just like "pro gaming" to me, gives me the utmost of douche chills. It all gives off this awful, stereotypical "gamer" vibe, which is something I hate more than anything else. I hate the "gamer" stereotypes, and I ESPECIALLY hate when I see stuff like Machinima, gamer grub, the VGAs and programs like Attack of the Show that really plays on it a ton, and therefore REINFORCES those stereotypes.

Like, hey, we're all gamers, so therefore we're all sexist, homophobic, violence-crazed, self-centered assholes, right? Sorry, I get those wicked vibes from this crap. It's all garbage! Can't help but think the same with pro gaming.


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Post by amoeBae on Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:24 pm

I think it depends on the specific game and culture really. The USA progaming scene is a bit stereotypical since the culture inherently still places the gaming scene with what Mike describes as the stereotype here. However something like Brood War and now slowly forming Stacraft 2 is established as a legitimate professional scene in Korea. Heck, you had to have a license to even compete professionally in Brood War in the Korean leagues (although this is controversial as it was speculated it was to keep foreigners out of the league and control who could come in). They take things much more serious. Teams live in a house together training and practicing much similar to any other competitive sport.

Another issue is game balance itself. You have a game like Brood War that was developed over 10 years and still is being balanced and so the fairness of the game is there as far as playing the different races versus something more ridiculous on balance like WoW arenas where there are flavors of the month as far as class makeups go for arena teams depending on what class Blizzard decides to give a buff for a particular updated patch. SC2 balance isn't there yet but it's only been out for a year and Blizzard will most likely continue developing it to match Brood War for the professional level.

The culture in South Korea definitely treats it more like a legitimate competitive organization too. There are a couple of dedicated broadcast stations to starcraft tournaments and what not, much similar to say Speed, NFL network, etc. There's a 21 month mandatory military service that South Koreans must serve and there's not many ways to get out of it, basically being imprisoned is the only legitimate way out of it. No conscientious objectors or other alternatives. However for progamers they are allowed to delay their service if they are competing in the highest of the leagues. Some players like NalRa were able to delay their service until the age of 30 which shows even the military acknowledging it as part of their culture and something legitimate on a level of professional sports. Their air force even has a pro team.

Is it a sport in a traditional sense? Not really in my mind. But it's arguable since you have ESPN broadcasting spelling bees, poker and other weird stuff. I, like a lot, tend to compare Starcraft like Chess. There's a lot of metagames within matches depending on the players known tendencies and reputation of play style. And definitely Chess can be considered to have a professional level of play and competition.

The money in it, at least with SC2, is getting big too these days. GOMTV has been organizing the GSL team and individual tournaments. The individual tournament is a monthly held event where the winner gets ₩50,000,000 (KRW, about $46,000 USD). They've been less restrictive on the qualification requirements and basically it's an Open style tournament where foreigners are more than welcome to try and qualify. They had a "super" tournmanet involving top foreigners from other leagues like MLG where the winner received ₩100,000,000 (~$93,000 USD).

Why hasn't e-sports taken off here in the USA? I think it's two reasons. Mainly because we have so many legitimate professional sports consuming our time as it is. Secondly because the older generation culture still has the stereotype of what a "gamer" is and this will prevent any legitimacy to the though of professional gaming in this country. If it ever increases in popularity it'll be a slow game in popularity much like soccer.

Just my thoughts, mainly it depends on the game rather than just thinking of progaming as a whole. Otherwise then it's like saying are board games a professional sport. Which it depends on the board game. Much also like team sports in general. Football? Sure. Ultimate frisbee? Maybe not, for now haha.


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