The fifth Electronic Sports World Cup (Mondial du Gaming in French; anglicanisms fail) is being held this weekend in Paris, France, at the fabled Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles. In keeping with the theme of "exposition", the ESWC is indeed an expo: attendees have the ability to test drive Forza 2, and, for the first time in Europe, Crysis will be present with a playable demo.
However, it is also an expo for the European gaming industry at large, a way to present itself to le grand publique:
We think this year it will be going mainstream. There are TV channels in the US and Korea showing live video game matches, a new channel in the UK and growing interest all the time.
So said David Heuze, communications manager for ESWC, in a recent BBC article. The ESWC hopes that bringing thousands of professional gamers, journalists, and industry executives from over 50 countries will be just the thing to throw gaming into the limelight.
And there's certainly a market for it: Some of the biggest names in technology, game development, and animation reside in Paris, the French government offers tax breaks to interprising devlopers, and France's GameOne channel is comparable (for better or for worse) to our very own G4. In France, there are more cell phones that television sets. A few days ago, in the metro, I saw the following graffiti: "PSP>DS". Europe is embracing technology and are beginning to take gaming very seriously.
But enough waxing poetic! This is a championship, right? So there's bound to be some headshots and violence and other manly things! Hit the jump to find out how the best gamers in the world will be killing each other this weekend.
Counter-Strike and Quake IV make up the FPS portion of the competition, with Pro Evo 6 and Trackmania Nations rounding out the sporting section. There's also Asphalt 3 for the racing buffs. Notice that there is a special women's only Counter-Strike competition. Did I mention that champions will be making some serious bank? About $200,000 worth.
There were also some conferences and round-table discussions about various issues in the gaming industry, all of which I missed because of work. Maybe when we've got a corporate sponsor, I won't have to worry about eating. Nevertheless, take a look at what I foolishly missed out on:
Video game addiction: fiction or reality?
Secrets of pro gaming
virtual becomes real
ORANGE/Gameloft Conference : Small is Beautiful
All of which were attended by professional gamers, journalists, analysts, lawyers, reserachers, industry executives, and politicians. I hereby apologize for not being able to bring you guys what was undoubtedly interesting discussion on the state of the video games industry.
No use crying over spilt milk, I'm going to make the best of the rest of the weekend: Has Crysis made any progress since CES? Who's going to take home 200 grand? Do French people smell bad? What do you guys want to see?