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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?


 Written by David Taylor  on December 21, 2007

Special: Congratulations to all the players.

From December 6-14 the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) World Finals were broadcast live from Sony Studios in Los Angeles. The event was the culmination of the months long first season of the gaming series ? an effort to turn gaming into a professional sport ? that began last April. The teams of ten from all sides of the globe competed against one another in four games: Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360), Counter-Strike: Source (PC), Project Gotham Racing 3 (Xbox 360), and FIFA 07 (PC).

On December 6, each team began its effort to eliminate the competition and proceed to the final on December 14th. A prize of $500,000 awaited the victorious team. The tournament format was the same as the North American finals from a few months earlier. Each match was divided into five rounds, with the final score from each round added together to determine the overall team score. This means that even if a team did poorly in its Dead or Alive 4 matches, it could feasibly dominate the competition in Counter-Strike and win. Of the ten players per team, five made up the Counter-Strike squad, two for DOA 4, two for PGR3 and one for FIFA 07.

Only four teams remained by the time the semi-finals rolled around on December 13th. These teams were the Berlin Allianz, the Birmingham Salvo, the Chicago Chimera and the Carolina Core. The match between the Core and the Allianz was fierce. It was neck and neck for most of the match, with a last minute victory in Project Gotham Racing 3 handing the victory to the Core, 22-21. The results between the Salvo and the Chimera were a little more dramatic. By the end of the night the Chimera held a strong lead over the Salvo with 25-17. As a result the Chimera and Core were poised for the final bout on December 14.

The ?Itagaki Challenge? (named after Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki) took place in between the two semi-final matches. This was a classic 1 on 1 bout between Dead or Alive 4 players Ryan ?OffBeat Ninja? Ward of the Carolina Core and Vanessa Arteaga of the San Francisco Optx. Both were heralded as the top Dead or Alive 4 players in their respective genders. The prize for this match, which was publicized as ?The Battle of the Sexes,? was a trip to Japan and a personalized katana. Ward used his staple character choice, Ein, while Vanessa fought with Hitomi. Each round was nail-bitingly close, but ultimately Ryan Ward triumphed 5-2 and won the trip to the Far East.

The final on December 14th was a rematch of the Region 1 North American finals held months before between the Core and the Chimera. At that time the Chimera reigned victorious. The Core clearly hoped to get their revenge, but after a defeat in the first Dead or Alive match, it was all down hill from there. Unlike the North American Final, this match was more one-sided. By the end of the night the Chimera had scored almost twice as many points with 27-15. The Chimera won both the $500,000 prize and the Dew Trophy (named after league sponsor Mountain Dew).

As with the North American tournament, the stage was divided up into sections ? one for the four Xbox's (for DOA4 and PGR3) and the other consisting of a line of PCs for Counter-Strike. Fan filled bleachers bordered each side of the stage... National pride was certainly on display, as Berlin's fans would hold up the German flag at the appropriate points. Additionally some fans of Ryan Ward, a resident of Canada, held the northern nation's maple leaf clad flag high in celebration of the player.

Large monitors displayed the matches as they unfolded. These also displayed interviews with each of the players and the team managers. These videos reflected a reality/sports hybrid format, somewhere in between the Real World and a WWE match. However, the real heart of the tournament was on display after the cameras stopped rolling. Just like any other athlete these players clearly put their hearts and souls into the competition. On several occasions teammates could be seen consoling one another on a loss. Clearly a strong team bond had developed over the course of the season.

Plans are already underway for a second season. According to CGS Commissioner Andy Reif, the finals were broadcast to more than 350 million viewers worldwide, so there is definitely an audience. Reif stated in a recent interview that the league is analyzing potential games for competition in 2008. What does this mean? Team Fortress 2? Halo 3? Virtual Fighter 5? Burnout Paradise? The League will probably want to get the most popular titles out there, so any of these and more could be possible selections.

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