"Computer gaming tournaments offer fame (sort of) and fortune (more than you think). There may be an elite ‘athlete’ in the cube next to you."
About 6 months ago I reached about rank 2,000 out of 100,000 in the Unreal Tournament Deathmatch quarterly rankings. That meant I could fly through a dozen newbies and butcher them, but anyone in the first 1,000 would always thrash me. Looking at top player stats, I know they would beat me with their hands tied in their back. I predict the best video game players will earn as much money as rock, movie and sports stars by the end of the naughties. UT already allows people to sit and watch so gaming is going to become a broadcast attraction everyone can try to be a part of.
Microsoft must have acquired NGStats (the ranking system used by UT and Quake 3) for a better reason than just adding it to The Zone. I think Xbox games will connect to it. Throw in big money prizes and people are sure to get hooked (think Survivor, but you can play it from your couch.) But you can buy a PS2 system if you want a good console thought of for the nineties (online being an afterthought, while Xbox developers, coming from the PC, will base their games on the network.) Well, I have to try and find some confort as I see my savings melt.
03/21/03 update: Michel Cassius on Xbox Live.