Gaming for a Living
Pay to play at Tournament.com and turn your frags into funds.
By Tom Chick
You ready to put your money where your mouse is? UK-based Tournament.com plans to launch a service this month that will let gamers pony up an entrance fee, play a first person shooter match, and then divide the money among the winners. After the house gets its cut, of course.
At launch, you'll only be able to play Counter-Strike and Half-Life 2 deathmatches. Tournament.com founder Marcus Pearcey wouldn't comment about any publishers who might have declined to participate, much less any upcoming deals. "We look forward to signing new companies in the very new future," he said, stressing that this isn't gambling and therefore shouldn't be objectionable to any of the larger publishers. "Gambling rewards a player based purely on luck, while Tournament.com is a service that rewards players based on their skill. They're two very different models."
Nevertheless, 14 states in the US ban this sort of gaming for money, so people from those states won't be able to participate. Also, Tournament.com requires players to fax or email proof-of-age ID, which will then be verified to ensure that no one under 18 participates. Otherwise, it's easy to sign up and use your credit card or PayPal to set up an account. You install a fairly simple and sleek 10MB front end, and from there, you'll be able to jump into games with variable entry fees. With enough skill, you can take your place among top winners with names like Ars- and l33tboy.
A ranking system is supposed to match you against players of a similar skill level. An anti-cheating system will presumably keep things honest. But it's a bit disconcerting to log on and see the home page proclaiming the number of cheaters banned as if it were an accomplishment (currently at 338). "We're confident that [our anti-cheating software] is some of the best out there and we use a combination of different anti-cheating software developed by third parties in conjunction with our internally developed Tournament Anti-Cheat, also known as TAC," said Pearcey. "To supplement our security, we also have admins who continuously monitor in-game play, making sure that everyone is playing fair."
Based on the beta of the program, the entrance fees range from free-to-play (i.e. practice games with no rewards) to $10. "There's no real concrete amount that's consistent across all of the tournaments. Winnings are also dictated by a number of factors, including whether or not the tournament has a set reward amount or instead rewards based on the number of players participating." It's worth noting that in beta testing, many players complained about being unable to accumulate winnings in excess of $25, which was the requirement to withdraw money during the beta. So even if you've got seriously 733t gaming skillz, don't quit your day job just yet.
Pearcey is aware that other companies have tried this model and failed. But he remains optimistic. "Other services, in our opinion, failed to consider the big picture about a service such as this. While it's mainly about winning money and playing well, it's also about fostering an environment that's open to all players, regardless of whether they've been playing games for 20 years or just two days. Gaming is still about having fun and Tournament.com is completely dedicated to that idea."
source: Yahoo Games
Gaming for a Living
Posted by Paul at 7:00 AM