PPV (the good kind)

Before I start, we don’t really have many exact details on how this is going to work, so it’s pretty much all speculation. I’m going to assume that this won’t be a hugely widespread thing, and that when this is introduced, the in game obsing feature will actually be just like obsing the game, unlike how it was for The International  qualifiers, which was basically unwatchable due to the heroes skipping around and there being a 2 second delay from an action happening and it appearing on your screen. Also I doubt every tournament will have this, but we’ll have to wait and see. If it’s done well, I can only see positives.

I’m also going to assume that the people using this will be able to listen to the in-built audio, so they can basically control what they want to see, while still getting real time commentary (or none at all). Sounds good to me.

Anyway, this is a direct way of making money without having to rely on sponsors or the iffy fill rates from streaming services. Having direct sources of revenue is the best possible thing for any organisation. Tournaments will still stream, and they’ll still get viewers. Giving the viewer more options and the ability to completely control how they see and hear the game is amazing. If tournaments can stop having to rely on the tit of sponsors and praying they make enough money from streaming to make money, then it’s beneficial to everyone. Yeah, Valve is going to take a cut, but it’s their game and it’s not like they aren’t putting the money back into the community, albeit millions to the best of the best.

And I like you lurppis, especially when you argue with Richard Lewis 😀

And compulsory music:

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The year of the Dragon

To put it succinctly:  what the fuck is wrong with people?

A caster goes out and says  some stupid shit about Dragon (you know, the guy who has had a pretty shady past), Reddit goes crazy and wants to fucking lynch the caster. Prompting this from the  tournament organiser:

“…However, being a strong believer in the adage, “actions speak louder than words,” I’d like to extend an offer to Dragon, and indirectly to his fans, in an attempt to make amends. If his schedule permits, it would be our pleasure to sponsor Dragon at IPL 4 in Vegas — player pass, hotel, and flight included. We would love for him to represent Playhem at the event, but understand if his preference is otherwise…”


Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me?

A bunch of misspoken words about a sus guy leads to Playhem wanting to spend thousands of dollars to send him to IPL? And people are supporting this decision?

Those thousands of dollars sure couldn’t be spent on investing into the tournaments, improving infrastructure or hosting more showmatches. How can anyone justify this, from an internal or external point of view.

Can this really just be Playhem trying to ‘buy’ fans? Trying to make themselves seem like they’re going over and above their duty and do a Reddit-esque personal sponsorship. I’m not a fan. Why waste money slapping your name onto a player that won’t do well anyway.

“…All-in-all there are nearly 30 of us who wake up every morning and work into the hours of night with the singular goal of making Playhem something special.”

I don’t get it. For esports (TM)?

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The World Cyber Games are now a joke.

The fondest of memories seem to be tainted year after year. From dramatic prize money cuts to the most baffling game choices to the WCG being too stubborn to accept that the past of e-sports that they created has moved on and are refusing to evolve to join the new.

For me it’s like running PC benchmark tests on a computer from 2004. The WCG is that old PC. In 2004, no doubt it scored highly, but as time went by there was better and better hardware, and the PC from 2004 didn’t score well any more. You’d think that it would be a good idea to throw out the old heap and upgrade, if your business makes money by having a better benchmark score, then it makes sense. WCG didn’t seem to think so.

It’s not its fault entirely, the GFC caused most every company to stop spending, and Samsung was no exception. After a steady prize pool increase from 2000 to 2009, the 2010 WCG event had its prize money cut in half to $250,000, it’s lowest since the first ever WCG.

But even before that it was going down hill. In the early days of WCG the games were true competitive titles, things like StarCraft: Brood War, WarCraft III: TFT, Quake 3, Counter-Strike (except when they used CS:CZ and CS:S, wtf?) and FIFA. Forward to 2007 and you see Carom3D and Tony Hawks Pro Skater, and 2008 to 2011 put more emphasis on these “mobile games”, turning WCG from the best and (this sounds lame but whatever) most pure e-sports competition into a bad marketing tool for Samsung.

The mobile phone games are such a joke, in fact, TorcH (the same one everyone in the SC2 community should know) heard that there was a qualifier for one of the mobile phone games that he had on his phone. Learned it and went to the qualifier and won, practising it for just a few days. He got a free trip to China for that. Yep. I’m sure you could ask him about it, he told us about it on vent like 18 months ago so I can’t remember much more.

Anyway, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the people running WCG for 2012 are especially out of touch with reality. Let’s have a look at some of the titles up for vote:

  • ‘Casual’ – enough said. Guitar Hero is a fun game, not a competitive game.
  • SSF4 and MVC are the logical choice for the fighting games… but is this really Capcom finally having their games used again in WCG? Given the huge amount of rage emitted from the FGC about “fucking esports fags” and the like, I’d doubt WCG even spoke to Capcom about this…
  • FPS: Portal 2. Yes. Portal 2.
  • Racing: Meh
  • RPG: Hahahaha. Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 aren’t even released. Skyrim? Holy fuck what are these people doing.
  • “RTS & MOBA”  probably has people raging about “omg lol isnt a rts game u nub”, but who cares. At least the games are actually released. Anyway – Total War: Shogun is there, lol. And if only 2 of those games (SC2, Dota2, LoL, HoN, WC3) get in then I seriously see shit hitting the fan. A Chinese event without 4 (lol bl HoN) of those will be a fucking failure.

As an e-sports fan for 8 years, it makes me sad beyond words to see this once all important    organisation fall so far from grace. My nostalgia goggles will still make me care, because if it weren’t for WCG, then it’s arguable that Counter-Strike, WarCraft III and possibly StarCraft: Brood War wouldn’t have grown up the way they did. If it wasn’t for WCG, Grubby and Sky would have the most important achievements of their careers. If it wasn’t for WCG, 3D wouldn’t have launched their international domination and perhaps American CS wouldn’t have even happened. If it wasn’t for WCG, I might not have been here writing this.

And now it’s all turned to shit. T_T

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An age old question

Question: Is ‘esports’ really a sport?

The answer: It doesn’t matter.

You can argue semantics all you want. You can discuss leagues, formats, the physical aspects. You can argue for or against everything. At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter.

People are always looking way too far into the future, and are ignoring the huge number of underlying problems in the ‘industry’. For some reason, fans seek legitimacy – either in the form of someone saying “it’s a sport” or having every one of their friends being the biggest esports fan along with them, or being able to watch it on TV. I really never understood this obsession with trying to force esports to explode.

Just think about it. Would you really want the current state of esports (that means everything, not just SC2) to truly be shown to the world at large? I’d much rather players, ‘industry figures’, tournaments and their admins, the media and fans all grow up a lot more and take stuff more seriously before they really hope this stuff goes ‘big’.

Let’s just hope there isn’t a bubble about to pop.


PS. It’s 6am, and I havent written anything in 3 months, so excuse my anger and whatnot.

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First of all, my main PC crashed. Buying a new HDD today to hopefully solve the problem.

On topic: I was just accused of being bitter. Well, I am pretty bitter, but that’s beside the point (my logic is amazing). I was ranting a little about how SC2 the distribution of stream viewer numbers is horseshit.

My argument is this: I think it’s a fundamental flaw in the StarCraft 2 scene that the popularity (read: average viewer numbers) on a stream are rarely correlated with the players skill. Of course there are exceptions: IdrA being a prime example. When IdrA turns on his stream it’s usually surrounded by fanfare and hundreds of comments on /v/ and reddit and TL, along with ~10k+ viewers. IdrA streaming, however, is a rare thing. The habitual streamers, like CatZ, Destiny, TLO, iNcontroL, Dragon etc all pull very large numbers on average. But why is this bad? Because, relatively speaking, these players are bad.

They get stream viewers because they are ‘enjoyable’ to watch, or are quite… unique (especially in Dragon’s case). Sure, I sound like a no-fun nazi: “stop watching things you find enjoyable”, but when this far and above trumps the players with actual amazing skill, I find it to be fundamentally problematic. You don’t watch pee-wee baseball because it’s cute and fun, you watch Major League’s because it’s the best of the best. You don’t watch a 10 year olds soccer game, you watch Serie A and the EPL. Why should StarCraft be any different? I’m worried that when the bubble bursts and the novelty that is esports starts to fade, the infrastructure won’t be able to support a blow and will collapse in on itself.

Bringing people into the game showing them Day9 casting bronze league 3v3s spamming memes, or Destiny going on a rant and making pornstars cry, or Dragon winning a game and doing a funny dance is NOT beneficial for the longevity of StarCraft II. If people really want this to succeed, introduce your friends to the game to be able to appreciate the game when the ‘celebrities’ of toady are gone in 12 months.

With more and more Koreans starting to stream, including pretty much of all NS호서, SlayerS and pretty much everyone else, we’ll have to see what people want to choose.

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What a complete failure.

“SMM plague [sic] with technical difficulties” reads the GosuGamers headline. No kidding.

I’ve had the stream open for about 5 hours, and for the first 4 hours and 45 minutes I saw 1 WoDota clip which was apparently criticised by the organisers because the players were watching that instead of playing their games, and the hero draft of EG vs LGD, which was meant to start 4 hours ago. The draft happened, then “P” and LGD paused, saying “delay”. Yep, delay on LAN.

When the PCs are crashing in every game (read the article) and there are either wins given on a stupid basis or remaking games that were being won by a team, you can start to feel sorry for them. Except that SMM is meant to be the biggest and most important DotA tournament in the world. SMM is where the best gather to play for the most prestige and bragging rights. When the games are crashing nonstop I can’t find a fibre in my body that feels sorry for this event.

The stream had 11,000 viewers when I tuned in 5 hours ago, and now has 15,000 – each and every single one of us staring at an almost static picture of a crowd looking far less than impressed. It might as well be a mirror, because this simply isn’t good enough.

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Team Leagues

On the eve of the return of the Proleague, I have to ask a question: Why on earth haven’t GOM decided to cut down on the individual leagues and created a proper StarCraft II team league?

Almost all Code S finals are one sided snoozefests punctuated by the occasional funny Tastosis moment, but GSTLs are recieved with huge fanfare, hype and tesnsion filled matches that can give easy player storylines (Prime in GSTL1 playoffs, CreatorPrime bursting into tears, DongRaeGu being Bisu of SC2, etc). In Broodwar there is less emphasis on the individual leagues – MSL and OSL running 3-4 per year, generally one every ~3 months. Of course, since OGN and MBC (well, until recently with MBC…) both run starleagues, there’s two chances for players to compete in individual leagues. This is ok for SCBW, because the Korean market is much, much more developed and mature and the infrastructure is set in place to allow two individual leagues.

Without teamleagues, teams are pretty much nothing more than a bunch of players training together. The lower ranked, unknown players never have a chance to be recognised as skilled players, and it gives people stuff to discuss, fantasy-play, and create content around. Maybe I’m just delusional, but here’s what I could imagine:

Let’s imagine if GOM changed to this:

  • 4 Code S seasons every year, each lasting about the same amount of time current seasons take. Broadcast the top 32, get rid of Code A and just have OSL/MSL style Survivor tournaments.
  • A ~9 month long team league, 2 or 3 times a week while Code S is on, and perhaps more days while no Code S. I’d prefer all proleague (WC3L style) rather than winners league (NGL style), but fans seem to love WL.
  • Basically, copying the SCBW format.

GOM can better use the money they throw into the individual leagues (read: ~50% of the prize money being awarded going to 2 players) by creating a proper team league. It will attract more views, more content, cost less, give money to teams  that can prove they deserve it, allow more unknown players the chance to shine in the public eye, and it will give the Code S seasons some prestige that I think it needs.

And here’s some Eric Clapton, just cos I can.

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