Get Really Good At Halo Reach – Make Six Figures – Who Knew?

Well, actually I did know because two of the Complementary Spouse’s nephews play Halo Reach professionally for teams in Major League Gaming (MLG Pro).

Today’s New York Daily News featured a story on a Halo Reach “boot camp” held in New York City and sponsored by Red Bull. The boot camp was for 12 players from 3 of the top MLG Pro teams. As to the money, Mike Chaves aka Flamesword had this to say:

“People make money from this, like six figures,” says Mike Chaves, better known in the gaming community as Flamesword, his gamer tag.

The e-athlete grew up playing video games in Bergen County, N.J. Once he realized there was serious coin in going pro, however, he upped the ante, practicing every day after school and traveling to tournaments on his own dime.

Today, the 21-year-old IT student is a professional gamer sponsored by Red Bull in the Major League Gaming circuit. His team, Status Quo, split $20,000 after taking first place in a Dallas championship in April. (Chaves wisely tucked most of his share into his savings account.)

You don’t get this good without a lot of practice. Aaron Elam, who also plays on Status Quo, had this to say about his schedule.

“I just graduated from high school, and it was really tough. Professional gaming is a full-time job,” says Elam, who enters the University of Kentucky next year. “A lot of gamers sign on late at night, so that’s when you have to play. Your sleep gets sacrificed a lot. You come home from school, work out, do your homework, play video games from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., and then go to bed.”

You probably are wondering how a kid who games so much late at night even graduated from high school  much less got into college. Actually, from what I’ve seen, the top gamers are really bright and are not slackers. I think they are able to assess the situation quicker and thus outplay their opponents. Aaron, who is the Complementary Spouse’s nephew, is not only going to UK but is going on a scholarship and will be majoring in chemical engineering.

Halo 3 and MLGPro

There will be light blogging this weekend as the Complementary Spouse and I will be traveling to Raleigh to see her nephews play in the MLGPro event.

They play Halo 3 in 4-man team competition. And they are pretty good. Kyle (ElamiteWarrior) is captain of Instinct, the number one ranked team, which is going for a three-peat as they have won the previous two events this year. Aaron (lx Ace xl) is on Status Quo which is seeded fifth. The winning team will split $20,000 in prize money.

Main Stage
Ace of Status Quo
ElamiteWarrior of Instinct at autograph session
Non-main stage competition at MLG Pro Raleigh

MLG Pro provides live streaming video of the top games along with commentary. You can find it here.

MLG Pro seems to have adopted the NASCAR model of promoting their sponsors. You will see signs and ads everywhere for Dr. Pepper, Doritos, Old Spice, Bic, and Hot Pockets sandwiches. Gamers t-shirts are emblazoned with the logos of the sponsors. In the past sponsors have included Microsoft, the US Army, and Boost Mobile.

UPDATE: Sadly, Instinct finished in second place and did not get their three-peat. However, Aaron’s team, Status Quo, came in fourth which was higher than their seed. Had a great time catching up with family!

Guns in Video Games

The Firearm Blog has a guest post by Pascal Eggert on designing guns for video games.

Since the Complementary Spouse’s nephews play Halo 3 professionally on Teams Instinct and Status Quo, I found this quite interesting. Having watched their tournaments both in person and on-line, I always thought the guns were almost right. However, for a gunny, almost right just grates.

Pascal addresses that here:

I think about stuff like this a lot and have come to the conclusion that the one thing that is even worse than wrong visual representations of real guns in games are horribly designed fictional guns. In this area a lack of understanding of firearms gets easily multiplied and if you thought an AK47 is a magic device in the first place your sci-fi AK7000 will be a magic device so random it will not convince even the stupidest player. Yes, in the realm of fantasy you can invent whatever you want and find an explanation for any technical problem, but there are still the laws of physics that should be considered. Unfortunately most sci-fi guns are so bad that people just stopped caring about them with no questions asked

The New Economy

Parents may want to rethink telling their kids to turn off the video game and start studying if they have hopes of getting a job and making money.

Major League Gaming or MLG Pro has been sponsoring video game tournaments for the last few years. These tournaments are held around the country and attract thousands of spectators and participants. This past weekend they held a tournament in Columbus, Ohio which was expected to have about 12,000 spectators.

As the Columbus Dispatch notes:

Founded in 2002, Major League Gaming has 64 active pros, three or four of whom will make $100,000 in a year, Jantzen said. More will make between $50,000 and $80,000 a year and the rest, between $20,000 and $30,000.

Corporate America has woken up to the profit potential of all these kids playing video games. Major sponsors of both teams and the MLG tournaments include Doritos, Dr. Pepper, Old Spice deodorant, Hot Pockets sandwiches, Bic shavers, and more. In past years, major sponsors have included Microsoft and Boost Mobile cell service. Dr. Pepper is even sponsoring a $10,000 college scholarship for the best college player over the summer.

Oh, and by the way, the brothers Kyle and Aaron Elam, who are featured in the pictures from the Columbus Dispatch, are the Complementary Spouse’s nephews. Their teams came in first and fourth respectively for the tournament.