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Blizzard chief suggests eSports reality show to get gaming on TV

In the Far East, competitive gaming is big business. In Korea, millions tune in to watch primetime broadcasts of professional gaming contests. Over in Europe and America, it's still seen as a nerdy niche. Can the situation be changed?

According to Blizzard's Chris Sigaty, the answer is yes, and as the design production chief on top eSports title StarCraft II, it's fair to say he knows what he's talking about.

"Ultimately what needs to happen from my perspective for eSports to take that next step or hit the tipping point is the realisation by advertisers that it does have the viability of other sports, that it's worth putting the same sorts of investments they do into other sports into this," Sigaty told Eurogamer.

"I feel we've been extremely close. It's done much better than I had hoped with StarCraft II but there's still an additional tip that can happen."

That extra push, he thinks, could come from reality television and by way of example he cites the 2005 show Ultimate Fighter, largely credited with pushing mixed martial arts tournaments like the UFC into the mainstream.

"Getting these fighters together in a house and watching them learning their martial arts and trials they have to go through to get to their fight, to make it to number one, that sort of programming," says Sigaty. "People would eat it up about a pro-gamer and StarCraft II or whatever. That I think ultimately would be where we would see the really significant tip."

What do you think? Will we ever see games taken as seriously as sports on TV? Maybe you should get some practice in on StarCraft II - out now for PC, with expansion pack Heart of the Swarm due in March - just in case.

Published: 30/01/2013

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