Massively Multiplayer Online Soccer: The Ultimate User Generated Content?


The one game I really want to play on the XBox 360 (with the Ning guys, of course) is Project Gotham Racing 3. I just read another review of it and it sounds incredible. Actually, the word they used was insane, "I’m talking slit your throat and put your head in the fridge insane." LOL. Awesome!

But the part of the review that really caught my eye was this bit about the ability of XBox Live members to watch other races:

It may sound silly to think that a stranger would want to watch you play a video game, but after hopping onto Gotham TV through the game I was a believer. You can switch between any of the cars racing and a multitude of camera angles. The game supports up to 30,000 spectators per a race, so you can bet Microsoft is a believer too.

Holy. Crap. 30,000 spectators to a virtual race?!?! That's awesome!

I've actually thought or read about this sort of thing before (I'm sure we all have), but it's so cool that it's finally here! What I can't figure out is why despite the massive popularity of soccer around the world, we haven't seen online multiplayer soccer take off. Someone has already created a mod of the Half-Life engine that does this called International Online Soccer, but until I started writing this post, I had never heard of it. Think about the possibilities for this sort of game! You sign up online, try out for a team, and start playing other teams from around the world. The cool thing about Soccer as opposed to other sports like American Football, is that every member of the team will play a significant role. I guess this would work well for Basketball as well... is there online team basketball tournaments yet?

Probably what's missing is what XBox Live has added above: The addition of virtual spectators. I think that could *really* change everything, no? "Broadcast" on your TV set, just like you normally watch soccer. Just the idea that these games can be seen by an outside viewer is incredible. Who knows if the matches will be that compelling at first, but I can imagine they'd get good pretty fast - especially with the graphics power of the next gen consoles. Then they'd be content their own right - the *ultimate* in User Generated Content. Think about it! Imagine recording the matches and providing them as downloads as video podcasts? I've already seen sites that have videos of World of Warcraft vids... Virtual soccer matches would be just as compelling. Maybe more so.

This has to be coming.... I can't imagine EA or Konami or one of the big video game soccer franchises out there isn't going to make this happen soon. Wow, just think of the possiblities for their marketing as well - paying out a bunch of money for two real rival soccer teams to play against each other virtually, and inviting people to sign up online to watch. Imagine Real Madrid vs. Barça playing online? The entire nation of Spain would sign up online over night.

Very cool stuff. It's like we're entering a whole new era of the Internet, no? More people, more power, more possibilities.


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