World Australia Europe Latin America Malaysia New Zealand United Kingdom United States Half Life Challenge-TV CPMA


Contribute .
#Challenge on ETG.
#Challenge on Quakenet.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

News Archive
Help Wanted

Powered by:
Powered by

Challenge Player Index
Challenge ProMode

Jjonez 24 Jan
Hoony 10 Dec
Khaile 28 Apr
PhaNToM 20 Oct
dethkultur 14 Sep
CHiNX 20 Aug
Mr.CleaN 24 Jun
twoAM 23 Aug
Wiebo de Wit 08 Aug
RooS 31 Jul
jude 19 Jun


Killer Instincts

CPL Europe

Link to Challenge World
feel free to use this

The Wow Factor

The Importance of Mad Skillz ? 5 comments
Why do we watch Quake demos and why do we watch "Quake TV"? Why would a massive Internet audience want to tune in to watch the finals of a FPS tournament? These are questions with large dollar values attached, and whoever answers them will reap the rewards. Currently, there are more than a few contenders jockeying for position in this race.

The mass audience is the "holy grail" that pro gaming needs to attract in order to support bigger prizes, more infrastructure, and more "pro gamers". More eyeballs means the sponsors will provide more money, it's as simple as that. With the increasing spread of affordable broadband, a number of new companies such as Gamerscast and Gamecaster are positioning themselves to provide the content for those eyeballs. Most likely, they hope to sell that content to huge Internet portals which are looking for exciting content to offer on their new broadband services.

There are a lot of ingredients involved in making that content exciting and compelling to watch - such as the prize moeny at stake, the "fame" of the "star players", and the stories behind the players, but the ingredient I would like to focus on here is the "wow factor" in the game itself.

There seems to be a difference of views out there as to how important "wow factor" is to the future of the "sport". As an illustration of one view, the Gamespot article that you may have seen, Virtual Blood, Sweat and Tears, takes a good look at the history of "pro gaming" and along the way identifies "wow factor" in the game as important for building a mass audience:

Not everyone has the ability to become a top Quake player, just as not everyone has the ability to hit 70 home runs in a season. But as FiringSquad hardware editor Kenn "Spear" Hwang said in a column for Gamers Extreme, "I find watching the top players duking it out interesting to [watch], but I'm not going to worship someone who just clicks a mouse faster than me." This may seem like an obvious statement, but replace mouse-clicking with slam-dunking or home-run hitting and plenty of people will immediately change their tune. It's this kind of respect that computer gaming needs to garner if it's going to eventually attract a mass audience.

This is a slightly different view to that presented by Muiy, who in his celebrated CHUS article, Future of the CPL, appears to be saying that it's not the "wow factor" the game needs:

Computer gaming can only hurt itself by trying to market itself as an extreme sport. First of all, there's nothing extreme about the activity itself or the competitors. The activity, essentially, is moving a mouse and hitting keys. And the competitors, well c'mon, the only thing less extreme than a bunch of suburban teenagers are our mothers.

And the big reason why computer gaming shouldn't be marketed as extreme is because it'll marginalize the potential this sport can have. Extreme, gen-x sports like snowboarding or rollerblading have already started to dip in popularity from a spectator standpoint. The reason for this is because it was sold to viewers as an exciting thing to watch, rather than a legitimate sporting event. Legit sporting events are sold as "Do the Lakers have the dedication to win an NBA title" or "Can anyone run with Tiger Woods." Extreme sports are sold as "Check out the 360s these guys can do!" - and once the wow factor wears off, there is nothing left to hold a viewers interest.

Computer gaming needs to be presented from a legit sports standpoint because the wow factor of watching makaveli do a nutty rail combo is going to wear thin really fast. Way, way, way faster than watching street luge competitors crash into hay bales at 70 mph.

Now Muiy was talking more about how as a sport it would be better to keep the game grounded in solid competition, rather than "extreme sports" coolness, which tends to have the limited lifespan of a fad. But at what point do you separate the "wow factor" from the "fad"? It's an interesting question which I think is important to think about.

What is it that will captivate and hold the attention of a mass spectator audience? Sure it's "Do the Lakers have the dedication to win an NBA title" or "Can anyone run with Tiger Woods." Yes, those things are important. But so is the "wow factor" of watching Tiger Woods break records right left and centre, and so is the "wow factor" of Shaquille O'Neal scoring slam dunks. I don't believe the two ingredients are in conflict with each other, I don't believe it's an either/or situation here. Instead, I think what Muiy is saying, and what is important to recognise, is that we cannot rely on the "wow factor" alone. There must be more to the "sport" for it to have respect and longevity.

But this does not mean the "wow factor" is unimportant. The excitement of seeing the sparks fly when two ninjas meet on the virtual battlefield is very important to the future of the "sport" for mass spectators. Extraordinary gameplay exhibited by true masters - the "wow" factor - will be what the spectators focus on and remember about a match. When Fatal1ty made that double rocket jump out of the lava, and when he fragged Makaveli mid-air in the Razer-CPL final match, that was what created a buzz. And those were exactly the moments that Gamecaster chose to focus on with it's slo-mo realvideo action replays. In fact, despite the fact that there was little tension in the game after it became apparent that Fatal1ty had the game well under control, the game was still memorable and exciting to watch thanks to those "wow factor" moments.

It's worth thinking some more about, especially if we're talking about the design of the future gaming platform for competitive gaming. Unlike "real-world" sports, computer gaming enables the players to break the laws of physics and perform the impossible - it seems particularly suited to the "wow factor".

Read our Disclaimer. Quake, Quake II, Quake ]|[ and the stylized "Q" are trademarks of id Software
All trademarks used are properties of their respective owners
? 2000 -