Interview with Angel Munoz by EGM magazine (Brazil Edition)
1. How did the idea of creating the CPL come up?
It was a combination of different things that sparked the idea of professional gaming in my mind, but the primary one was the realization that gamers were a growing demographic with no real media representation and that game competitions, under the proper structure, could be considered a passive pro-sport like darts, bass fishing, motorsports and curling. Soon after I launched the CPL, that was June of 1997
2. What are the main new attractions of the CPL tournaments in 2005?
There are several, the primary being the World Tour. The CPL World Tour, sponsored by Intel and also sponsored by NVIDIA, represents the largest, first-ever, year-long competitive tour spotlighting the growing new sport of video game competitions. It boasts the largest competitive purse, a million-dollar pool, for a single computer game.
Additionally, the five-day CPL Extreme Summer Championships, that will take place this summer at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas will be the largest event we have ever put together in eight years. It will host a large exhibition area, spectator area, $200,000 in cash tournaments, a number of entertainment events and a 1,500-person open LAN area for people to bring their own computers.
3. You are held by many people as the "father" of the professional gaming. In your opinion what has changed on the e-sport scenario since 1997, when you started the CPL?
I appreciate the recognition although it is infinitely more important to me that I'm still as excited about pro-gaming as I was the day I started CPL. Actually, I think I'm more excited these days and the reason is tied to the increasing growth that professional gaming has experienced. For example, our first event in 1997 had a total of 300 participants, but our summer 2005 event already has 4,000 people registered from 45 countries. And the event is still four months away!
4. How do you see the Brazilian players evolution?
Brazilians have been fans of the CPL and of pro-gaming for a long time. The growth of the sport in Brazil has accelerated dramatically in the past three years. I'm sure one of the reasons is the rise to worldwide prominence of Brazilian teams like MIBR.
5. In your opinion, what should be done to attract more interest from the mainstream/casual audience to professional gaming competitions?
This is a new sport for an entirely new demographic. In the USA alone the younger generation born between 1982 and 1995 make up nearly one-third of the U.S. population, and already spend $170 billion a year of their own and their parents' money. They are the first to grow up with computers at home, cellphones, music downloads, and instant messaging. They are totally wired and CPL is betting that Internet streaming coverage of our events to the entire world (instead of segmented markets) will be what will drive this sport to rival any other traditional sport. This is not to say that we are not interested in television coverage and in fact we have several partners on that front, but television is dinosaur technology compared to wireless streaming, for example.
6. In your opinion, how long it will take to players to be seen as true athletes?
Athletes? - Probably never. Sportsmen? - It will take years. When the children who were born during the time pro-gaming became a reality get older and become the generation in power, the entire world will change its perception about top gamers. These children will be able to truly appreciate the skills and talents that are required to rise in the pro-gaming circuit.
7. Until when do you think Counter Strike will continue being the main category when it comes to e-sports?
Well, Counter-Strike is definitely a game with a huge world following but we're starting to see the first signs of possible erosion because that particular gaming community is now divided over two different versions of the game (i.e. version 1.6 and Source). A lot of time and energy is being wasted on arguments about which version is better.
8. Do you play? What?
Of course I play. I have the ultimate job. I run this very successful global enterprise and when I'm playing games I can say I'm doing research. :) I prefer first person action games. As far as recently released games I really enjoyed Half-Life 2, Riddick and to a lesser degree Doom 3.
9. Games are modeling the new generation. What's your opinion on the "pop" aspect of gaming?
I disagree with that statement. Gaming is not modeling culture but is instead a reflection of our culture. Gaming works because of our familiarity with it's cultural iconic representations and the fact that we can do things in a game we would not chose to do in reality. To me it's a very empowering experience. The "pop" in gaming is that it's finally cool to be a gamer, and the geeky stereotype is finally fading away.
10. What does the future holds for e-sports?
Larger tournaments, multi-cultural events and soon an invasion of large lifestyle corporations that will realize that gaming, along with music and technology, is at the center of this new iPod generation.
11. Why have you chosen Brazil as one of the countries for the CPL World Tour?
a. Because Brazil is by far the largest economy in South America, ranking roughly 10th among the world's economies.
b. Because Brazil has one of the fastest growing gaming communities in the world.
c. Because I've wanted an excuse to travel to Brazil for the past 5 years. :)
Copyright 2005 EGM Brazil