There’s a new up-and-coming sports league soon to be making it’s mark on the world. It’s not the XFL, but it’s video game equivalent. This is single handedly one of the most poorly executed ideas in the history of the industry.
In it’s simplest form, the “Global Gaming League” is a great idea. Gamers of all ages (well, those over 13 at least) compete in online games for prizes ranging from cash to brand new PC’s. This brings us to the first major issue with this “league.” Their website contains numerous references to “fame and fortune” and sponsors. Not only is the entire idea of becoming famous by playing Unreal Tournament a ludicrous assumption, but just imagine Nike deciding to sponsor someone and paying them to wear a pair of shoes. Then again, maybe they’ll make an entire line of gaming accessories and competitors will be right up there with Allen Iverson on the next Super Bowl spot…..or not.
Their dedication to their athletes (as they call them, more on that later) really goes far too. You not only have to supply your own copy of the game, but servers as well. Does the NBA require players to purchase basketballs and jersey’s on their own? Now, I’m well aware this is an open upstart league and just about anyone may join, but not even the top players receive benefits. How can you not provide servers to monitor in-game action?
This leaves the entire league wide open to rampant cheating. If you feel that you have been cheated upon, you can submit proof within 48 hours of the incident. Yeah, it will be really easy to prove that invincibility code was in effect. Anyone who’s been online will tell you cheating is a problem becoming more rampant so I’m not sure what makes these guys think they can defeat it with an honor system. Screenshots or shots taken with a camera are recommended for record keeping which means that this league doesn’t even have a pictorial record of their games. Can you imagine the watching Monday Night Football without reference footage of games long past?
More issues involve game selection. As for right now, this entire league is for PC gamers only, easily the most expensive way to game right now. Unless I win one of those Alienware’s their planning on giving away, I’m out. The majority of the games are first-person shooter or team based games. Sports games are slowly being leaked, but no information on them was available. It would be great to see some classic games added to the roster. True skill comes from taking on thousands of aliens in Space Invaders, not just knowing the maps in Quake.
The most abominable thing this league is doing is calling it’s participants “athletes.” Look, if sitting in my basement playing a game of Halo is athletic, I wouldn’t weigh 230 pounds. Yeah, I’m sure lugging a PC around isn’t easy, but it’s sure as hell not athletic competition. Pro wrestlers have fought for years to gain the status of athlete (and ask anyone who’s ever done it..it’s NOT easy) and now a kid who sits in a chair flicking a mouse button is considered an athlete? Something is seriously wrong with this world.
In all honesty, there are SOME things these guys have gotten right. The initial idea was in the right place and having the younger gamers have their parents sign a waiver stating they’ll let them play ESRB “M” rated games is a nice touch. Yeah, it’s probably there simply to protect them from any responsibility, but you have to give them credit for doing something to make parents take responsibility.
These guys have their heart in the right place, but their execution is seriously lacking. NBC has decided to carry these guys briefly during the Gravity Games in small segments, but this is probably as far as they’ll ever get. I really hope no one signs on to participate and actually expect to become some huge superstar. Their dreams would be shattered pretty quickly. Unless they get some more money involved, there’s no chance for this to succeed and it all starts with dedicated servers. Once this happens (if it ever does of course) I’ll take another look. Until then, good luck.
Originally posted on Breaking Windows.