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Published on April 29th, 2010 | by Will


Fiver says Chin-Li beats Ryu in the third round

To be honest, I find this slightly worrying. The console game (Xbox 360 and PS3) Super Street Fighter IV is released on Friday. Its a big deal with a free new character only tournament in Dublin in the Extreme Gaming Centre, 30/31 Lower Liffey Street on Saturday May 1. I’m all in favour of that event. The worrying thing is the contest tonight.

Ryu from Super Street Fighter IV

Paddy Power, the retail and online bookmaker, have opened a book on the outcome of a videogame competition! Punters will be able to bet on the outcome of individual videogames, kicking off with a special Super Street Fighter IV UK heavyweight championship between Ryan Hart and Femi Adeboye, two of the UK’s most respected Street Fighter IV players. I didn’t know that gamers got any respect. Clearly I’m doing something wrong. In fact the interest has been so strong, Paddy Power is accepting in-running betting.  In-running betting is usually reserved for high-profile sporting events such as football and boxing, and they are taking it on the live streaming of the game at 7:00pm on today (Thursday 29th April 2010). Technically its a novelty bet, and brick-and-mortar shops are supposed to be accepting bets. I am actually tempted to walk in to one of them just to see the teller’s face.  The fight will be hosted at publisher Capcom’s European HQ, and streamed live to the Paddy Power Website.

Something that’s probably of interest to the Irish Street Fighter community is that the Paddy Power communications director said “If it proves popular, we’ll open further books on other videogame competitions.” Apart from the fact that something like Split Second looks visually brilliant, does this mean a true blurring of gaming possibly taking over parts of mainstream television? That sports commentators will need to learn about the latest games, or that technology commentators will be on sports programmes trying to explain to Eamon Dumphy how games work (actually I do want to see that). That Dara O’Briain or Vic Barry will be the number one games-sports commentator?

Leo Tan of  Capcom points out that “Recognising the game as a legitimate spectator event, as fiercely contested as any sanctioned boxing match, is a huge step for videogames as a whole. Hopefully this is the start of a new avenue for bookmakers, a new way for games players to enjoy their games and, potentially, a new way for the elite players to get the recognition they deserve.”

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About the Author

Will likes to dance around the interfaces of technology, people and culture. Unfortunately that dance floor is freshly waxed. He usually remembers to write (and photograph) at WillKnott.ie

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