The Brave New World of Online Gaming
2, Issue 2
November 17, 1999
competitive gaming organizations use different formats. The Cyberathlete
Professional Organization, the PGLs chief competitor,
recently awarded a $10,000 prize at the Frag
3 last month. At that event, CPL Founder Angel Munoz announced
the largest prize yet to come, $40,000 to be awarded to the first
place winner at an event to be held in Los Angeles. i2e2,
launched by former PGL and CPL founders Joe Perez and Frank Cabanski,
is taking yet another approach, seeking to hold events both professional
and amateur, as well as online and off. To look at
this in the coldest way possible, these organizations exist to
make a profit off of people playing games they didnt create.
To make money off of gamers. Is it really possible?
about the companies making these games? id Software jumped into
the competitive gaming ring this past summer with QuakeCon
99 (held entirely offline), and Microsoft recently gave
two Harley-Davidson motorcycles away at a MechWarrior 3 tournament
(held both online and off). Microsofts
Gaming Zone is a study in how to run a ultra-successful online
gaming service, but not exactly the premiere place for serious
competition (but if youre looking for a mean game of Hearts,
its the best around), the MW3 tournament aside. Starcraft,
Total Annihilation, Half-Life, Tribes, Age
of Empires...all these and more have been used in competitive
gaming events. With the Dreamcasts multiplayer capabilities,
other games may soon be entering this arena, bringing other types
of gamers with it. How do all of these developers feel about companies
starting up to organize people playing their games?
there is also the issue of bragging rights. How do you really
know who is the best player, when so many different formats are
being used? Will someone, some organization, create a standard
for ranking online gamers?
is the most important question of all. What effect will all this
ranking, paying out, and partnering have on the gamers themselves?
We pretty much take for granted the ability to jump on a server
and play without a rank or registration. Is that time nearing
know the answers to the questions raised here. But this column
will seek, if not to answer them, at least to explore the complicated
issues surrounding them. At its most fundamental level, online
gaming is about you and me. I am a gamer. I like being able to
play, competitively, online. I like the rush I get when Im
winning a game of Quake, and nothing is like the hopeless
despair of losing a hard-fought match. Its a wonderful,
exhilarating experience, and what fuels all of these companies,
all of these organizations, all of us. Ultimately? We all just
want to kick some ass. Its the fact that we need so much
structure (and cash incentives!) to do it that makes it so interesting.
to think I know the online gaming world fairly well at this point.
This past year, I co-organized the Female
Frag Fest '99, an all-female Quake 2 tournament sanctioned
by the CPL, and I am a member of the Quake clan PMS.
I also currently play on the OGL ladder (Quake III open
division), and have participated in a number of other ladders
and tournaments, including the PGL. So while I try to answer these
questions, I will be doing it, not only from the perspective of
a researcher and a writer like everyone else, but also as a former
tournament official, and a gamer.
add this. Online gaming is a very confusing, very complicated
issue. I've pretty much laid out what I intend to cover in this
column. If there is anything not mentioned here, any organization
worth looking into, something confusing, please let me know. Online
competitive gaming is ultimately about the gamers, and this column
will be the same.
Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman needs to come up with better