bodyguard – Online Gaming is Changing the Entertainment Industry as We Know it

December was a landmark in video gaming’s conquest of American culture, with Major League Gaming signing $1.75 million in exclusive contracts with the top 7 pro gamers on 18 December. MLG currently airs a weekly TV program on USA Network, and the revenue power of online gaming is beginning to flex its muscles.

3 days later (21 December), Johnny Damon, star center fielder of the NY Yankees, announced his alliance with the Global Gaming League, to form the Professional Ballplayers Gaming League. The PBGL will enable Joe Videogamer to play with and against some of his favorite pro baseball players in the league’s chosen field of online combat, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Xbox Live.

Then there’s the steady convergence of Hollywood and video gaming toward a common destination. Japanese game publisher Capcom has already enjoyed a satisfying relationship with Tinsel Town when it licensed its Resident Evil property to Impact Pictures and Sony Pictures for three separate productions (a third is currently in the works). Now they are stepping into a partnership with Hyde Park Entertainment to produce a Street Fighter movie.

Online gaming is proving itself to be quite capable of standing alone, however. As of June of last year, Microsoft divulged that more than 500 million full games of Halo had been played on Xbox Live. We are not saying 500 million players, but half a billion full matches, that may have as many as 16 players at one time. This would appear to be more of a trend, than a passing fad.

We do not claim to be the sharpest pencil in the box, but even we can see the possibilities. How long will it be, before other sports organizations see the potential in following Johnny Damon’s lead? What if game developers started creating games specifically for this type of application? EA Sports, are you listening? Imagine the enthusiasm of football fans if they could play Madden 2007 with and against their favorite football stars online, during the off-season? Off-season would no longer be a killswitch for the leagues. Public relations and interest could continue year around. What about pro wrestling? Hockey? What would a NASCAR fan do to race against his favorite driver online? The possibilities are endless.

Video gaming, and in particular, online gaming, is going to change the Entertainment Industry as we know it.


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