Sunday, November 25, 2007

CPL T_T

Wow, not even sure if I should get involved in this. This article was posted at GotFrag.com (http://www.gotfrag.com/portal/story/40748/). GotFrag is owned by MLG. The article is bad-mouthing the CPL. MLG and the CPL are competitors. So the article starts out:

"Editors Note: The following is an editorial article. It is solely the opinion of the author and does not reflect the opinion of GotFrag or its parent company Major League Gaming."


For that reason, I am also going to say that my re-posting of this article is solely because I think that the opinon of the author is interesting and does represent the opinion of the OTHER pro gaming site that I support (http://www.GetGosu.com).

MY opinion on this article is that it is sad (for the CPL and pro gaming community) and disturbing (as far as business practices go).

How can you have sponsors, host a tournament with a guranteed prize ..... and then not actually have the money to pay out the prize? It sounds like pro-gaming teams that are owed money should sue the CPL and the sponsors that put on the tournament (really going after the sponsors since the sponsors have the money).


Okay, on to the article:



By: Marc Turner - Published November 24, 2007 at 3:27 PM EST - Writer Archive

In response to the rash of changes to the CPL Winter 2007 event, Marc "Singlecoil" Turner begs the question, can we trust this guy? in this "biting" satirical piece.


Editors Note: The following is an editorial article. It is solely the opinion of the author and does not reflect the opinion of GotFrag or its parent company Major League Gaming.-

“Step right up ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to Dr. Munoz’ Traveling Road Show and Emporium!"

The $475 registration fee for the $1,000,000 2007 CPL Winter Halo 3 tournament should have sent red flags up a few poles. This is the same organization that had canceled two events within a month, and sent emails begging for attendance to the Counter Strike tournaments at their winter event, with the threat of cancellation. Now there is no million dollar prize at all for Halo. What the hell is going on over at the CPL?-

“You don’t believe it works? Just look at the satisfied customers!”

The team representative body known as G7 announced that it will boycott the CPL 2007 winter event due to money owed its members by the CPL, and the lack of cooperation on the part of the CPL in resolving these monies owed. The G7 federation is made up of many of the top eSports multi-gaming organizations in the world including Complexity, fnatic, PGS, wNv and several more.Not only is money owed to players and teams from past events, the cancellation of recent events has cost players and management travel and accommodation monies that cannot be refunded, with no sign of assistance from the CPL. The G7 organization has cited that the CPL failed in their obligation to payout prize money and to assist players and teams in that process.

“Come on people, don't be shy! The fact is, many of you owe your lives to the great magical potions of Dr. Munoz.”

In response to the G7 announcement, the CPL was quite clear that it believes it is responsible for those team's existence as professionals, with little regard to that relationship working both ways.The CPL reply stated, “We are saddened that two teams that were made famous and somewhat financially independent by competitions and cash prizes at the CPL have engaged in this type of action...”

“Here fella, I will sell you this second bottle at a discount as long as you don't tell anyone the first bottle didn't work.”

In the CPL's response to the G7 announcement, the statement read, “The CPL also explained that threatening the league with a G7 boycott was improper and that our organization does not cooperate under threat.” The statement went on to read, “... and while the CPL respects his right to publicly post his views and to refuse to attend the Winter Event, management believes his action may have other motivating factors.” Furthermore, the statement had this to say, “...(CPL)will not agree to blindly hand out checks just because some organization threatens it with negative publicity.”

The fact that Munoz acknowledges the right to publicly speak out against the CPL, yet maintains a policy of no cooperation in the face of perceived ”threats”, strongly suggests a “no tell” policy on the part of the CPL. Personally attacking Sam Matthews by saying he has “other motivating factors”, without evidence, reeks of strong arm tactics.Jonas “bsl” Vikan, newly chosen manager of the Championship Gaming Series Berlin franchise, had this to say about the CPL's response, “That they(CPL) have the nerve to lash out against G7 is phenomenal considering their tainted history, their broken promises and general disdain (in practice) for a community they claimed to valiantly serve for the higher purpose of "for the good of the gamers.”

Vikan went on to say this about G7's decision to boycott, “The CPL has always maintained a piss-poor attitude towards paying teams their money. For those that actually get paid, it takes ~6-10 months and there are obviously always a lot of angry people that do not get it. It's fantastic that G7 chose to boycott their events as they have been a farce for years, unfortunately they were the only alternative to gamers for a long while...”

"...and another satisfied customer!"

Speaking with Team x3o Owner Nick Fitz, he had no problem stating that the x3o organization is still owed $1250 from CPL Winter 2006. Fitz stated, “ I tried to e-mail the CPL and just didn't get a response back whatsoever.” He went on to say, “I don't have a personal direct contact with cpl staff there, so there wasn't anyone I could call directly.”

How has this affected x3o attending this winter's event? “We were planning on still attending the event, for the general exposure CPL is supposed to bring; but now with no CGS teams and no g7 teams - I don't see how they are going to be able to get even 32 teams. I would see some where between 16-24 CSS teams; which would make it not worth our attendance”, says Fitz.

- “Whoa! You bought a bottle of Dr. Munoz' special herbal remedy from another emporium? Well that's not our responsibility now is it? ”

The CPL G7 response stated “...a small list of teams claiming they had not received prizes, mostly from licensees of the CPL holding their own cash tournaments with their own sponsors. The CPL explained that while it is not responsible for prizes promised by third-parties, it has repeatedly attempted to contact these third-parties on behalf of the gamers”.

This is the classic switcheroo. You sanction a product, you put your name on it, you make someone else do all the dirty work and when it all falls apart, you take the money, blame the ones that did the work and they blame you, sending the customer in endless circles for a refund.

“ I personally guarantee each and every bottle of Dr. Munoz' remedies. Refunds have been mailed.”

With monies being owed and little help from the CPL as far back as 2003, the CPL has assured the community there is no need to worry by adding this “note” to the G7 response, “Players that attended the CPL Summer Championships (Dallas) have no need to fear the negative statement published by Mr. Matthews, and should know that the final round of checks were mailed this week as stated by the CPL Commissioner two days ago.”

A real guarantee may have been that the CPL put prize money in an account to hold and be distributed to winners by a specified date. Instead the CPL continues business as usual, downplaying the problem and blaming others. “As a matter of record it is important to also state that the CPL does operate under strict deadline policies which are disclosed in the Terms and Conditions Agreement... less than 2% of our winners in ten years have failed to comply with the deadlines and did not receive their prizes.”

“...due to production overruns, unfortunately, we have had to cut back on bottle size BUT rest assured this is a concentrated potion and will provide all the benefits of a full dose.”

The CPL has now stated that the prize money for the HALO 3 tournament for winter 2007 has been reduced to $100,000. The latest CPL press release unceremoniously states the following, placing blame on X Factor and “competition”;
“The X Factor Tournament, notified yesterday all registrants of some changes to the format of the Halo 3 Competition, citing a number of issues they have experienced during the planning of their event.” - CPL

“We now understand why some organizations have recently retired as event organizers. The competition is a lot more underhanded than we anticipated, but we will not simply go away. We want to hold the largest competitions in the industry and continue to expand our relationship with the gaming community at large.” - Chris Comer (VP of Operations X Factor Tournament)How many more times will it change before the event? Will there even be an event? Which press release do you believe? How can anyone trust the CPL, at this point, and go out on a financial limb for travel to an event that; may or may not happen, may or may not have a specified prize pool, that may or may not have the tournament game you registered for and in the end you may or may not get paid your prize money?

Is this not all starting to sound like a snake oil sales salesman? Almost like a slick bully stealing a kid's lunch money. Or at the least, a flip-flop candidate from hell. It is true Angel Munoz and the CPL helped birth eSports, but one can only ride that horse so long. How many times will the CPL's word to the community be broken? How many more times will people be lied to or promised the world before they say enough? But, who knows what might happen, because the CPL and Angel have a way of rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Don't forget Severity is coming in December and CPL Summer 2008 is an announced $100,000 for CS 1.6.

“Ok, thats it for me folks, I think I see the sheriff...err...sponsor coming.”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Living in Hong Kong and in a "Steam" hell

Come on Valve, get your acts together in the vast Asian market:


Original article can be found at: http://tokyoahead.com/main/article.php/ecommercehell


Sunday, November 11 2007 @ 03:28 PM Contributed by: Oliver Views: 71

If you live outside Europe, the Americas and Japan, you are E-commercially non-existent to many international corporations. The market seems too small for many companies. Nintendo for example is smart enough to region-code their Wii console, but if you want to have one in Hong Kong, you need to buy grey imports from the USA, with the wrong voltage and without the localized content that citizens of other countries get. But surely you can buy the products and use them. If you want to buy games over Valve's Steam platform it gets a "bit" more difficult. They published famous and great games such as Counter Strike, Half-life and Portal over this online-platform. But they do not seem to like you - and your money neither for that matter.

Step 1: Try to buy - successful start, failure at last.So if you are trying to buy something with them over credit card or paypal, they give you success messages at the beginning, let you enter all your data and click "Purchase" with the verified data. Same for Paypal, you log in, process the payment and then paypal sends you back to the Steam-screen where you confirm the final buy. But then, Steam cancels the whole thing with a message that the process was canceled by paypal because of an authorization failure!

Step 2: Try again and again, and get the boot.But after trying several credit cards and paypal, you are certain that the problem is with Steam, not your credit cards. However, they try to send you back to the credit company to fix a problem they caused. And to make it even more obscure, the Steam client bans you from payment for 24 hrs if you try for more than 3 times with a credit card with a message that the server is down and you should try later...

Step 3: Ask for help, and don't get any.So you write a support case on the Steam support website and ask what is going on. Then, you get a reply asking to send your credit card info again, this time via email or the support page, and the first time a clear message that you got blocked by Steam - not by Paypal.

Step 4: Tell them that you want to spend money, not take it.So of course sending all the info again is not the most direct thing to do since you tried it all already several times, and what should you send with paypal info anyhow? Your account password? So what do you do? You write back that this is ridiculous and that you feel lied at by Steam because of the various misleading error messages..

Step 5: Get a permission to spend money - once only please!So they write you back that they unblock your account. Now why did they need your credit card information again at first but not after you complain about it? Still your account is unblocked.

Step 6: Repeat. Beware. In case you want to buy another game with Steam, the whole procedure starts from scratch. So you might better warn them beforehand if you want to buy a game, so they can unblock your account in time. And that is what they recommend, too. They might tell you that they unlock your account when you ask for the first time, but they do not tell you until you explicitly ask for it that they unlock it each time for only one transaction, but never clear your account form beeing a criminal suspect despite repeated purchases:But wait... isn't that the same as going downtown and buying the game in a box? Aren't you using the online purchasing to be able to get the game anytime, any day, from your home? Well not if you are living in Hong Kong, you are quicker going downtown, even if the traffic & pollution is hell... its not as hot a hell as with Steam.Luckily, other companies such as Electronic Arts are not as unwilling to earn money. They have an extra page for Hong Kong, a large showroom in the city and allow you to order online - without giving you the impression

Friday, November 16, 2007

Misinformed "Columnist" on the Loose

I read a story by a "guest columnist" at a website that I won't mention as I don't want to
embarrass them for having such poor writers.

The "columnist" made absolutely no sense whatsover. They were complaining that games like Quake and CounterStrike get used in pro-gaming, but games like Battlefield do not:


"Why didn't we ever see a pro gaming league for any Battlefield game? Why hasn't a great series like Unreal Tournament become a mainstream pro game? It is because the games that are getting chosen are the games that have the biggest companies behind them."

Hello?

"the games that are getting chosen are the games that have the biggest companies behind them" ???

hello?

EA makes Battlefield......EA is THE BIGGEST COMPANY.

The "columnist's" argument makes absolutely no sense.

The reason that games like CounterStrike and Starcraft (the two biggest games for pro gamers) get used is because:

1. They are the best games, they have the best game play. End of story.

2. Progressive (not big) companies like Blizzard and Valve (these are the "small" companies compared to EA and Activision) have embraced pro gaming because they are the artists / dreamers / creators of this business and are willing to do something new and imaginative.

3. Companies like EA will get into pro gaming in about five years when they see that pro-gaming is a good idea. EA does not have the vision to do something on their own.The rather wait in the back and let other people do the dirty work for them....then when pro-gaming is either proven or disproven as a good idea, EA will make their move. This is why EA is such a huge company, because they are smart business people, they let other people blaze the "trail of creativity" for them...
If they see that pro-gaming is not a good idea then they won't get into pro-gaming. If they see that it is a good idea, then the will make Battlefield the biggest pro-gaming title of all time.
Remember, EA is a company that didn't make games for Nintendo for about 5 years, because they didn't think that the NES was a good idea. EA is also a company that has no creative IP...they make the same game again and again (Tiger, Madden, etc)...there is no creativity here, it is the same game over and over again.

4. If this "columnist" really wants EA to make Battlefield a pro-game then I suggest that he writes a company like http://www.getgosu.com/ which I know is progressive pro-gaming company. Write Gosu and write EA and try to get them to do something together. However, I doubt anything will hasppen based on my explanation in section 3. I would love to see Battlefield and Unreal available at http://www.getgosu.com/ ....

5. Maybe this "columnist" has now learned something about business and or the real world.