Joining the Mile-High Gaming Club
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by Jason Lopez and John Furrier
SAN FRANCISCO/COPENHAGEN, March 22, 2006 (PodTech News) — They are battling it out over the Atlantic right now. Armed with WiFi and an in-flight Internet connection, 24 of Europe’s best video game players are competing in exhibition matches on a Scandinavian Airlines plane equipped with Boeing’s Connexion, an in-flight Internet data and entertainment service.
The players are on their way from Copenhagen to the TransAtlantic Showdown video gaming championships in New York. The European gamers come from all over the continent. “The Russian and the Polish players usually live in the same town, so they meet up in the LAN center or the LAN cafe,” noted one observer on the plane. “They’ll sit there for twelve hours and work on their tactics.” With prize money at competitions increasing, gaming is on its way to becoming a high level professional sport.
The TransAtlantic Showdown championships in New York pit video gamers in competition for more than $100,000 in cash and prizes in four online games: Counter-Strike 1.6, Quake 4 Team Deathmatch, Quake 4 Duel, and Warcraft III: Frozen Throne.
“We believe this is a first, having online video game champions playing live while a mile-high above the earth,” said David Friedman, vice president of marketing at Boeing. and Direct Sales. Connexion is partnering with SAS and Intel to give video gamers in-flight Internet access while they travel from Europe to New York.