CS players tend to see themselves as better than source players just because of the game they play.
The natural progression should have been CS to CS:CZ and eventually CS: Source, but it didn't happen. CS:CZ was immediately branded as bad the games saw lacklustre sales and growth, albeit fairly justified as the game was God awful. CS: Source had a short period of mass interest post release but after the WCG 2005 the majority of the competitive gaming scene moved back to CS. It would seem that without a compelling online presence the developers lacked motivation to improve the game, and for a while it has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Of course the prolonged disinterest and near unlimited supply of distaste for the game upon realise should've been more than enough to get the critical updates. Gamers seem to be of the opinion that they cannot change anything, that there is no point getting organised.
In a recent interview Gabe Newell stated that if he received 15,000 emails he would begin work on Counter-Strike 2, had he received 15,000 emails his seemingly insignificant throwaway comment could've become the prerequisite for an impressive statement from his user base. There was no organisation, no response. It has only been through the hard work and perseverance from people like Jedi, TUF and the zBlock team that we've had a user influenced change in the form of sv_pure, not to mention the zBlock plugin's own merits. The wasteland of CSPROMOD, which is yet to produce anything of worth doesn't even come into the picture at this point, especially since CS: Source has become more accepted.
The CGS need to take a more active role, and organise better communication with the established gaming community to ensure stability for the soon to be CGS stars.
Pre-CGS a team's best hope would be to join an established multi-gaming organisation, and work with them to secure a salary, the odd win at a CPL event providing a helping hand. Without any kind of official regulatory system any game can be picked up by any team and try to organise sponsors, this gives gamers a lot of freedom but it stretches resources. We generally see the same kind of companies sponsoring competitive gaming and they all have an annual budget dedicated to marketing their products through sponsored teams. A team sponsored in one game, is one less team sponsored in another. On one hand it means that there is a chance to turn professional at your favourite game, but with hundreds of new releases each year and the majority of competitive play taking place on a few choice games, not to mention the longevity that these games experience, it may be having an overall negative effect.
A collaborative effort with players and industry representatives, solidified by groups such as the G7 and IeSF could inform players of what games they should play if they're interested in mainstream competitive gaming. Other standards could be set, such as what versions of addons or plugins should be used to help ensure a more level playing field. Everything has been left up to the individual tournament directors, some embraced CS: Source, others are still to be swung. But top non-franchise teams are steering clear of the game, they want the best but investing thousands in a team to have them get drafted is simply bad business. The CGS need to take a more active role, and organise better communication with the established gaming community to ensure stability for the soon to be CGS stars. The community needs generalised guidance from a strong centralised group to know when the final transition to CS: Source should take place (among others). No group, however seemingly important has the finances or the will to organise such a venture.
It’s difficult for new tournaments to gain a foothold as the LAN calendar is getting busier and busier, even the PC Gamer Showdown had signup issues. The UK's headlining LAN organisation Multiplay has almost relied on the 128+ CS: Source teams that attend the events each and every time, but has always had a significantly low prize fund. It’s only been recently that its risen above £10,000. They have powerful community support and the finances to be as big as any of the old names, but they choose not to and use the flabby facade of a "community LAN" to cream off the profits without giving all that much back. If CS: Source is to be the unequivocal king of team games then we need the older tournaments, but if they're unwilling then the LANs that do support CS: Source have to match up in quality and prize money. For most of these events they're far too busy exploiting the community to worry about the progression of gaming as a sport. The CGS is unprecedented, the public have a love / hate relationship with it but because it’s so new, so different and so much bigger than anything before we won't see its real effect for years to come.
The video games industry depends on its innovativeness and adaptability. You buy a console, play the games, then buy the next console to play the newest games. It's a cycle that has been working since the 1970's. Online gaming is a relatively new practice, discounting PC gaming it has only been the current generation of consoles that has fully supported it. One of the problems with free online games like Counter-Strike is that once the market is saturated less and less people buy the game and it's expensive to keep paying developers. Most MMORPG's charge monthly to ensure games stay updated with new content and bug fixes, it's unlikely that the FPS community will accept pay-per-month terms as we've played for free for so long, and as the games are basically open source the modding community keeps us supplied with a wide range of new maps and mods. The next biggest step for gaming will be in-game advertising, Id Software are looking to take advantage of this lucrative new concept and are close to finishing their new web-browser based Quake Live funded solely by third party in-game advertising. VALVE have tried to implement this in their back catalogue but the attempt has been hardly subtle.
Gabe Newell set out to make the best game ever made, and in terms of PC FPS games he's done it, twice. Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and their relative engines have attracted millions of players and spawned countless mods and games. VALVe have won countless awards and taken gaming to strange new dimensions with the likes of Portal but when it comes to CS: Source VALVE's poor effort since release means that people have already lost faith in the company. VALVE has a responsibility as the owner of Counter-Strike to do well by its community; it's time to devote more attention to the series. Many times over VALVE has pandered to the larger casual gamer demographic, believing that games geared to their needs will have better sales, and because they are probably the Steam Forum's primary users. The competitive community gets overlooked, and its merits swept aside.
Professional gaming has been vital in the growth of video games, its pushing the hobby into a sport. Consumers today are beginning a trend where they won't buy a game unless it has a good online multiplayer, and games are being developed definitively for competitive gaming. The best players impress and inspire people to play, and the best teams get closely followed by fans on various news websites. The world over television shows covering tradition gaming news (previews, reviews and the suchlike) have begun to cover professional gaming and a few shows have been produced specifically for scene coverage. The complexity of the Source Engine means modders can only go so far, so any major changes are going to have to come straight from VALVe. Hardly game developers anymore they've switched tack, focusing on content delivery rather than games development.
They need to take a leaf out of Id Software's book and look into integrating subtle and non-intrusive advertising into its games. Adverts on the scoreboard, up on billboards at the tops of the maps, and on loading screens allows for interrupted play. Half the time people are watching other people play, and it provides a perfect time for VALVE to stuff some adverts down your throat. The generated income could then be used for the continued development of their games. VALVe needs to catch up to companies like Blizzard, to work with the competitive community to get the game to the standard it and its players deserve.
|Peter Giblin // pete-bear|
Posted 4 years ago: Sun, 12 Oct 2008 15:42:57 +0100
|North Am||May 24||China|
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