WSJ has an article covering Barcraft, or bars that have a special Starcraft viewing night every so often. The trend has caught on at bars across the US partly for the novelty I’m sure, but partly because it’s just more fun watching these tourneys with friends. The Street Fighter community has regularly held “Bar Fights” around California since SF4 came out where they actually gather to compete over beers, but I don’t know of gatherings just to watch streamed events.
I’m not surprised this happened, but I am a little surprised that it took SC2 before it took off. Why not a shooter like Q3, Halo, or CoD? Q3 might be slightly too fast paced for the non-initiated to enjoy viewing, but Halo and CoD certainly move at a viewable pace. Why not a fighting game like SF4? Even if you don’t understand the mechanics, high level matches are compelling. For the life of me, I don’t understand why professional gaming organizations don’t include SF4 as a pro-gaming staple. Its fans are so thirsty for action they have to organize and broadcast all the events themselves, and there are weekly tournaments going on everywhere around the country. Surely some of the pro-circuit gaming organizations could inject some bling and polish to the shoestring budget operations that have operated up til now.
Regardless of the reasons, it’s nice that SC2 pros are getting recognition in mainstream areas. If I had a choice of sports programs to watch at a bar, there’s no question SC2 would rank above baseball, hockey, golf, NASCAR and soccer. Sometimes it would rank above pro football, basketball and tennis. It would not rank above college football however… there must be limits after all. The average age of gamers is in the 30s and they have money to spend. Bar owners ignore this at their own peril.