At LAN parties
, this was always a given - the top players
were watched by all during one-on-one matches, even in skirmishes
many chose the hero's cameraviews as their prime entertainment. Scenes of players gibbed
in midair and others dodging rockets in hallways in order to bludgeon
the offender at point blank were relished and awed by all (and still are.) Scripts and videos of national championships
(with $30,000 in prize money) are openly available and in high demand, thousands of players
train for these tournaments. So why not broadcast them on television?
The main problem we face is defeating the 'watching other people play videogames' stereotype. Sure, it might offer more action than and as much skill as Golf or Pro-league Pool but a relatively low number of people are familiar with the intricacies of the game. If this number is equal or greater than those who watch Pro-league Pool or Golf, televising of tournaments ought to be a possibility. A distinct advantage it would offer is the rapid familiarization and respectability by the non-gaming public through its simple premise - kill everything else/the other team/capture the flag. The key to a popular 'geek show,' it seems, is to relate it to something everyone can understand. Battlebots and Junkyard Wars are realizations of the science fiction prediction of robots kicking general ass and causing mayhem. This causes general curiosity, people check out the shows and from the premise of watching these robots annihilate each other the spectators might even get interested in building their own.
The selling aspect of Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament broadcasts would be the fast-paced action and lack of a 'real' plot (tune in anytime, check the stats and follow the action or just watch the highlights at the end). Through heavy advertisement and fast-paced previews it ought to be possible to create a sizeable audience. The potential for this should only grow as graphics become more and more realistic and our arena-type games grow to become a modern, digitized blood and adrenaline-filled circus to entertain the attention-span starved masses.