The Championship Gaming Series (CGS) debuted on DirecTV last week as the first-ever live broadcast of a professional video game tournament. The new video game league aims to turn gaming into a full-fledged sport, as compelling to watch as the National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball.
Video game contestants play a variety of game genres including fighting, racing, soccer and shooter titles, engaging in 2-hour matches in front of a studio audience and broadcasted through multiple "in game" cameras that follow the action.
The challenge for the league is making the on-screen action compelling enough to persuade those gamers to stop playing and start watching. "Are those guys willing to put down their controllers and pick up their remote control to watch their television?" asked Steve Lipscomb, founder and CEO of World Poker Tour Enterprises.
Steve Lipscomb, the guy who helped turn poker into a TV hit by placing cameras under tables to give viewers a look at the cards held by each player, is leery that the endeavor will succeed. He said he turned down an opportunity to develop a video game league because he didn't think it would attract an audience.
DirecTV, which owns the league with partners British Sky Broadcasting PLC and Asian satellite broadcaster Star, is looking to cash in on the growing video games industry, and hopes to attract both the hardcore gamer and also the mainstream audience.