Kotaku has a post up on XLeague TV, a British TV channel dedicated to showing actual video game play. Even more than the announcement of the new channel, what I found interesting were commenters’ reactions: the original writer of the post was very disparaging of the idea, calling the entire concept “pointless” and “weak.” So far, the comments that follow offer some voices of agreement, but mostly suggestions that it might not be such a bad idea.
In Korea, they have dedicated tv programmes for their online games like Lineage2 & Starcraft, which shows top players fighting it out. Then again, these games are wildly popular in Korea.
hey, i wouldn’t mind (i have no life…)
I thought about something like this while watching a friend play Halo 1. As stupid as it sounds it just may get a viewership. Just a hunch.
… And so on. It certainly doesn’t end there. This is particularly interesting to me because I’ve been writing a lot lately about how current theories of game enjoyment rely a great deal on the concept of an appropriate level of challenge for the player. Those theories are seriously problematic when you consider how many people watch games without necessarily playing. This includes not only TV spectators, but friends watching each other play, like Cell9Song suggests above. I have one friend, for example, who once told me she made her boyfriend (now husband) buy each new Final Fantasy game so he can play it while she watches. Similarly, a lot of people spend more time watching others playing in arcades rather than playing. It’s unfortunate that this is kind of behavior is denigrated even worse than video game play is already, as suggested by cyhborg’s self-deprecating “i have no life” comment above.
I wonder why it is, then, that that distinction seems absent in other cultures. I’ve often heard people referring to things along the lines of Valee’s comment on video games being a spectator sport in Korea, but this post inspired me to look it up finally. If that clip is any indication, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Robert Summa at Destructoid says:
Oh the pageantry of two nerds sitting at a computer surrounded by adoring crowds, bright lights and the pressure of being the best … simply the best. Color me weird, but I always found the way professional gaming was handled and appreciated overseas to be fascinating and this video is a perfect example of why. Any chance we could ever see a spectacle like this in the U.S.? I doubt it.
An American version of this may not be so near on the horizon, but XLeague TV might turn out to be the experiment others in the TV industry are keep their eyes on.