By Matthew Wade
Far from being a typical Dubai-centric technology read, Windows Middle East’s team is concerned with giving users around the region exactly what they want. And in the case of PC gamers, that’s the chance to compete for thousands of US dollars in cash prizes and Gulf-wide fragging kudos. So we give you, WGC 2…
|~||~||~|Last year our first ever PC gaming contest - the Windows Gaming Championship (WGC) - saw hordes of avid gamers flock to the UAE's Mall of the Emirates to fight it out playing Warcraft 3 and Quake 4. (Read our full report here.)
This event received some great feedback, even from the most hardcore, hardest-to-please of button bashers, so this praise, combined with the fact that so many entrants signed up, proved to us that the PC gaming community here truly exists for one and, secondly and crucially, is more than willing to get involved in serious organised events.
That might have led some mags to simply keep doing what they'd done and roll out a Dubai gaming event each summer. But we try to be more regionally-focused than that , which is for the best as after last year's event (and, in particular, after its write-up the next month in Windows magazine), many readers urged us to widen the scope of WGC.
As the biggest IT market in the region, we weren’t surprised to receive so many communications from readers in Saudi Arabia, but from Kuwait too we were sent numerous e-mails requesting, or rather demanding, that WGC headed there next.
So we listened, and this May and June we’re growing the LG Electronics supported Windows Gaming Championship, meaning WGC 2 is not merely a single-country event but a Gulf-wide test of team strategy and individual sporting excellence.
As for what you’ll be playing this time around, as ever the choice of what games to focus on was, well, a political nightmare; it’s one of those decisions that everyone and their friend has an opinion about and, more importantly, the games you choose really do determine how the event is seen by gamers and, equally, how many newbie players and general PC users it attracts.
Here then is how we made our choice:
Firstly, the results of our WGC poll on itp.net last summer suggested that one first-person shooter and a simulation title of some kind would be the best possible combination of two gaming titles. This was the result we ourselves had favoured from the off – as this approach gives both hardcore gamers and sometime players a reason each to attend - so we were happy to start from there.
We also reckoned that offering team-based and individual events was a good plan. The benefit of this is that existing teams of first-person-shooters, more often than not the most hardcore of PC gamers, get the chance to test their mettle against the region’s best, but at the same time a single player sim event means gamers who aren’t in such a team or, like so many gamers we know in Saudi and Kuwait, prefer running their opponents ragged on the football field to fragging their way around maps, are also supplied with the action they’d like.
With these guidelines in mind, the games largely chose themselves. Counterstrike is still the FPS team title of choice, with Counterstrike Source the very latest incarnation of this much-loved snipe-fest.
Interestingly, we’re giving the teams a bit of flexibility this time around too, by allowing them to decide between themselves which maps they’ll play on. (They can choose between de_dust2, de_inferno, de_CPL_mill and de_nuke.) If two teams can’t agree on the terrain, our WGC2 team will pick the map for them. Seems fair I think.
Over on the simulation side, we considered both football and driving titles. Football wise, back in our January 2007 issue we tested Pro Evo 6 and Fifa 2007 head-to-head. The result? If you’re serious about the beautiful game, you should be serious about Pro Evo. We also considered the latest Need for Speed title (Need for Speed: Carbon), but frustratingly this requires an internet connection, which some of the public venues we’re visiting this summer might struggle to provide (or which could potentially slow the fun down). The choice then, and one that we believe will go down oh so well across the Gulf, Konami’s Pro Evo 6.
If I’ve done my job here, then I’ve managed to peak your interest enough to enter WGC2. Which is nice, because registration for each country is now open. All you need do is head across to www.itp.net/wgc and click the How to Enter button. If you have any questions at all about this process or the event in general, just let me know on email@example.com. Now quit reading and get practicing!