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Professional Gaming on the Downturn, Cheesy TV to Blame

Illustration for article titled Professional Gaming on the Downturn, Cheesy TV to Blame

Professional Gamer David Treacy, or "Zaccubus" to his—erm—fans, recently spoke to Alienware about the changing face of professional gaming. Based on his interview, however, there's not much to talk about.

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While Treacy compares the world of pro gaming to the economy ("It grew rapidly over the last decade, then almost imploded on itself.") he also mentions that the hardware is getting better, new games are being produced, and huge corportations (he cites Coke, Pepsi, Subway, and Adidas) are signing on as sponsors.

If there's no audience base for professional gaming, then Treacy blames television for being ill-equipped to properly capture the essence of gaming events. "Every TV show I've seen so far has been way too cheesy and not indicative of what pro gaming is about. Trying to squeeze an event into a 60 minute broadcast doesn't really work for gaming... Only recently, thanks to MLG, can we see what gaming events should look like: Great shoutcasting, well presented, and without the need to cheese it up for regular people to understand." Without this cheesiness that Treacy is referring to, what could possibly be left?

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Don't get me wrong, I love watching people who are better than me at video games play them for money, especially when I don't know those people.

Oh wait. No I don't.

Treacy also describes the difficulties that one must endure in order to really make it as a pro gamer, a thankless profession that only pays about $30,000 annually before sponsorships. His advice to aspiring pros boils down to the following: It's really hard. "It's not easy to go pro. It takes time and if you don't pick the right games you could spend over two years mastering a certain game only to have it blown out of the water as no one is sponsoring it anymore. So pick wisely. Oh, and don't rage so much from losses. You only learn from your mistakes."

Here's to staying one of the Regular People.

Illustration for article titled Professional Gaming on the Downturn, Cheesy TV to Blame
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Pro Gamers Staying Alive [via Alienware]

(Top photo credit | Flickr)


Related Professional Gaming on the Downturn, Cheesy TV to Blame [Kotaku]

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DISCUSSION

Haters are out in full force today with their armchair logic, it seems. "Why watch something when I can play it?" The same mentality could be applied to any recreational activity. Golf, football, skateboarding, MMA, etc. "Why watch 2 guys punch each other in the face when I can punch someone in the face myself?" Well, because you're not willing to stand in a ring for 5 minutes with a guy who's fists can shatter jaws. Just like you're not willing to play Street Fighter 4 for 8 hours a day to compete with Daigo.

It's a myriad of different elements. Having an active interest in the medium, and watching players who are far better than you accomplishing feats that you can only dream of. "But I don't like sports either, so that doesn't matter." Okay, and maybe that is true . . . or you're lying to yourself and you're one of the ~25 million people that've watched the SSF3 fight between Daigo and Justin Wong, or one of the ~10 million people who've seen both ships in Ikaruga played by the same person, or maybe one of the ~15 million that've watched Super Mario Bros beaten in 10 minutes.

Fact is, gamers like watching other gamers pull off impressive shit. Sure, not everyone, but a whole fucking lot of people obviously do. Mario, Metroid, Megaman, Shadow of the Colossus, and Portal speed run videos are all ridiculously popular on Youtube. Killstreak vids, quickscoping kills, melee only videos, and what have you all garner views in the millions. There is clearly a very real audience for this, as anyone can tell from the ridiculous popularity of EVO, Starcraft, and WoW broadcasts.

And a lot of it is presentation. I don't even play Starcraft, but the production values that've gone into producing quality broadcasts makes it immensely watchable. From everything happening on screen to wonderfully entertaining shoutcasting by Tasteless, it's no wonder that it's one of the most popular "sports" in Korea. Same thing with EVO and WoW where a lot of time and money is invested into quality broadcasts and the skill level of players involved is superb.

When it's treated with respect, it'll gain respect. When you treat it like a bunch of silly boys who need to "grow up and get real jobs", you get . . . the Kotaku comments section.