2, Issue 2
November 17, 1999
The Brave New World of Online Gaming
competitive gaming. It sounds so simple, doesnt it? People
go online, and play competitive computer games. But when you factor
in the people, organizations, egos, and money involved, the world
of online competitive gaming gets very complicated.
heart of online gaming are the people who log on every night and
hangout playing whatever game they play with their friends online.
You can find them on ladders like the Online
Gaming League, on services like HEAT.NET,
and playing in online tournaments. What is it about gaming that
keeps them coming back, upgrading their computers to make them
better at the games, shelling out wads of cash for the fastest
possible Internet access, practicing for hours on end to get that
perfect rocket jump?
are the gamers who have earned the tag Professional
or Cyberathlete. They have made something of a career
out of winning tournaments both online and off, and are now sponsored
gamers, paid to play. There arent many of these people,
the most well-known being Dennis Thresh Fong, but
thousands are trying to join him every day, every time they start
up a match. A few years ago Thresh seemed as amazed as everyone
else that he was making a living playing games. Now its
just part of a days work. What is the life of a Professional
gamer really like?
started a few years ago, when this curiosity popped up on the
horizon. It was called the Professional
Gamers League, and for a small fee, you could compete in their
online league over a gaming service called TEN. The league finals
would be held live, with finalists being flown in to compete.
And there would be prize money for the winners. Not just prizes,
or a new computer...this was a chance to win cold hard cash. Theoretically,
the PGL pointed out, if you won every "season" (the
idea being there would be four a year), you could live off of
the leagues. Hundreds of people signed up and competed in the
events. But TEN wasnt exactly the best of services, and
paying a fee to play was restrictive to a good number of people.
People stopped paying attention to the PGL, to the point that
their last event came and went without many noticing. Then TEN
shut down, or turned into POGO.com,
an entirely different kind of online gaming service, and certainly
not one that would run servers for games like Quake (the
game most commonly used in these events).
flew about the PGL being closed, about it not being possible to
run a business doing these events. loonygames spoke with PGL Press
Secretary Garth Choteau, who assured us that the PGL is not, in
fact, closed, and that they will even be at Comdex this week with
sponsored players Kornelia, Sybek and K9-Gloucester playing Quake
III: Arena in the Acer booth. The league itself is currently
on official hiatus, and the PGL is looking at a number of
prospective partners, presumably other online gaming services.
The PGL is, by league design, dependent on online gaming services
to provide servers for their games to be held on. Will the PGL
find a suitable partner? Or will the PGL be forced to change format