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Nerd’s Corner: Cash for combat

28 November 2012 By Brent Girard, Columnist No Comments

“Call of Duty: Black Ops II” gained more than half a billion dollars worth of sales in the first 24 hours of its Nov. 13 release, so chances are you have it by now.

If you haven’t gotten the game yet, fear not: Season 1 of the Black Ops II League Play starts today. You may have noticed this new option in the multiplayer menu. It’s Treyarch’s attempt to make the game more competitive, fair and fun.

League Play automatically assesses your skill level after five matches and pairs you up with similarly skilled players. As you become better, you will increase in rank. The game also comes equipped with CoDcasting, which is a lot like Spectator Mode from “League of Legends,” letting people who like to watch the pros switch between an overhead view and first-person view.

Players in this mode can shoutcast, meaning they can comment on the game as it’s happening.

In addition, “Black Ops II” has built-in YouTube livestreaming for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Unfortunately, the Wii U does not have this functionality (but are you really surprised?).

All these steps are taken by Treyarch to catapult its new game into the E-sports arena. Millions of viewers tune in to big sporting events held by Major League Gaming, CyberAthlete Professional League, the World Series of Video Games and others.

They serve as a great marketing avenue for developers and many provide cash prizes for their game directly.

Competitive gaming has been around since the 1980s Arcade era, when Atari held the Space Invaders Tournament that had more than 10,000 participants.

Of course, fighting games lend themselves most easily to the competitive realm, most notably “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat,” and the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

In the last two decades though, real-time strategy games like the “Starcraft” and “Warcraft” series have highlighted the eSports community. Early PC also made first-person shooters like “Doom” and “Quake” popular in tournaments, though mostly offline at the time of their initial release.

These are all fun games, but would you want your whole life to revolve around them? Would you want a career traveling every week in stuffy planes just to play a game? If you’re at all sane, then the answer is an emphatic “Yes! Pick me!”

Every gamer dreams of being sponsored by Trademark Gamers or Fighter’s Fury to play in championships held all around the world.

Probably the most notable North American player, Tom “Tsquared” Taylor, was given a three-year $250,000 contract to play “Halo.”

He makes around another $150,000 per year in prize money and endorsements. He was featured on 175 million Dr. Pepper bottles from 2008-2009. It’s called eSports for a reason.

The best thing you can take from this column as we approach the end of the semester is not to stress out.

If you fail your finals, you can always become a gaming celebrity superstar.


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