Whatever happened to pro-gaming?

The World Cyber Games tournament in Seoul gets off to a start...

Source - XSReality

The first World Cyber Games tournament is taking place in Seoul, Korea at the moment, with about 400 players in attendance. A couple of minutes browsing through the various holiday snaps at XSReality reveals plenty about the Korean capital, but next to nothing about the attendees. Given the falling numbers of participants and the apparent lack of spectators, it's perhaps surprising that the World Cyber Games organisation is going to so much expense. There were more players at the i8 LAN Party a couple of months ago at Newbury Racecourse, and the WCG is billed as the gaming Olympics… Official brackets, demos and results are available on the tournament status page, and the numbers speak for themselves. Counter-Strike is the most popular game, with 27 competing countries (each represented by a team of five), with Quake III Arena the most popular tournament for individuals with 60 players. StarCraft and Age of Empires II fall into step shortly behind with about 50 each. Further down is Unreal Tournament with 34 players, followed by a few others and at the bottom of the barrel; Adam Soft's unheard-of Crazy Soccer, with two players and a prize purse of some $10,000. Yes, you did read that right. The really striking thing about the WCG is the spoils. $40,000 for the winning Counter-Strike team, $40,000 for the winning Quake III duellist, and figures as high as $20,000 for runners-up and other tournament winners. The World Cyber Games tournament is receiving press attention from the likes of the BBC, but with attendance figures and prize money apparently heading towards opposite ends of the scale, you have to wonder how much longer professional gaming tournaments will be viable, if they ever were in the first place. At the moment, most of the press attention is either completely ignorant, or akin to rubbernecking at a car crash.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

Contributor  |  tombramwell

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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