Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Competitive Gaming At X-Games

Major League Gaming and ESPN announced a partnership to bring in gaming into the X Games, starting with the inaugural X Games Austin in June. While we debate about whether or not video games belong in the X Games, a tournament that focuses on skateboarding, biking, and other events in X Mode (the X is for eXtreme, of course), my big concern is that the first game to be included is Call of Duty. They are bringing in the 8 top teams from around the world for a chance at a medal over a 3 day tournament.

In Call of Duty.

I remember writing an article once about how a number of professional gamers don't see Call of Duty as a competitive game, because it's become a commodity, with a new title releasing every year. Gamers don't have the time to truly study and master the game until another version is on sale, making the prior obsolete.

So why Call of Duty?

Well, I think this is the MLG's attempt to try and make gaming tournies more popular. Other then Madden, Call of Duty is an easily recognizable brand. People who do not game know what CoD is. It's a game for those who want to rough it up and push things to the max level, as well as the casual player.

Do I agree with the choice? Of course not. There are tons of games out there that would make for a more unique, and valid, competitive gaming experience. Smash Brothers, Starcraft, Street Fighter, and Counter Strike are the core games we should look to for tournament experiences. Even League of Legends has more stability in gaming tournaments, releasing updates and fixes to their current products versus abandoning it and creating LoL2, 3, and 4. Why these games? Because they embody the spirit of tournaments. They are games that require time, energy, and livelihood to focus and strengthen one's abilities in understanding that game. They are tests of skill. Call of Duty doesn't give that level of support to gamers. If something is wrong they may release a patch a few months later, but the game dies out within a year once the new model comes along. It's a game where skill isn't necessary to get from Point A to B because it's never developed for long-lasting use. It has a short shelf life. We don't see that with Smash Brothers or any of the Street Fighter games. SF has endured because it requires skill and stamina to be one of the best.

Those are the games that make up a tournament. So yes, the X-Games and MLG are pandering to the general public with their game selection. I just hope it doesn't start a bad trend.

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