International Game Technology Sues Bally Technologies For Infringement Of At Least Nine Patents

(RTTNews) - Monday afternoon, International Game Technology (IGT charts news PowerRating), a Reno, Nevada-based producer of computerized gaming machines, said it has filed a patent infringement law suit against Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI charts news PowerRating) and its affiliates, Bally Gaming International, Inc. and Bally Gaming, Inc.
In its law suit, the company alleged that the "Bally Power Bonusing" technology, a suite of products recently installed at casinos on the East Coast and in Nevada, infringes at least nine US patents held by International Gaming Technology or IGT. The company noted that the infringement was carried out with full knowledge of the patents and IGT's rights, and that it would seek through the law suit, a preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, a court declaration of infringement, and monetary damages.
The company further revealed that Bally is the object of two other lawsuits, in which IGT has sued the company for infringing six patents related to the bonus wheel gaming machines, and also for infringing patents related to optical systems for monitoring game tables.
In September 2004, Bally was found guilty on charges of infringing patents related to IGT's Triple Play Poker gaming machines, and was ordered to pay damages totaling $7.36 million, in addition to interest and costs.
IGT is currently trading at $37.88, down $0.05 or 0.13%, on a volume of 0.86 million shares.
Copyright(c) 2006 RealTimeTraders.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Video Games Live announces 'Gen Con' and 'Fan Con' concerts in Indianapolis and Toronto

Video Games Live today announced it has partnered with two of the biggest gaming conventions - Gen Con and Fan Expo - to present upcoming VGL shows in Indianapolis and Toronto.
Gen Con presents Video Games Live with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
August 11, 2006Indianapolis, IN, Hilbert Circle Theatre8pm Tickets on sale May 22nd
August 12, 2006Indianapolis, IN, Hilbert Circle Theatre8pm Tickets on sale May 22nd
"Gen Con is the mecca of hobby gaming enthusiasts," said the organisers. "These games range from card games, to board games, role-playing games, live action role-playing games, miniatures, computer games and more. Last year, more than 26,000 unique attendees experienced Gen Con Indy." The concert will be performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, one of America’s leading orchestras and performed at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. The historic theater also featured leading entertainers of their eras, including Tommy Dorsey, Spike Jones, Frank Sinatra, Rudy Vallee, Glenn Miller, and Dizzy Gillespie among others. "Performing Video Games Live with such a distinguished orchestra, venue and convention only further legitimizes what Video Games Live means to the world of music," said VGL organisers. "We are continuing to spread the word city by city that video game music and video games are here to stay and can be appreciated by all."
Fan Expo presents Video Games Live at Massey Hall in Toronto
September 1st, 2006Toronto, Canada, Massey Hall8pm Tickets on sale tba. ”Video Games Live was the very first video game concert to perform in Canada last year (Vancouver),” says the VGL announcement. “In keeping with our tradition we are pleased to announce and present the very first video game concert in Toronto. On Friday, September 1, 2006, Video Games Live will be performing at the famous and historical Massey Hall in Toronto. Declared a "heritage" building during the 1970s, Massey Hall remains a vital part of Toronto's cultural and entertainment scene.
Fan Expo contains 5 events in one: Comic Books, Sci-Fi, Anime, Gaming & Horror. Fan Expo (formerly known as The Canadian National Comic Book Expo) has evolved into a spectacular multimedia event. In 2005 over 36,000 fans attended making it the third largest event of it's kind in North America. This year’s Fan Expo 2006 will take place from Sept. 1 - 3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For more information visit www.videogameslive.com.


Cecropia(TM), Creators of the World's First Filmgame, Attracts Highly Acclaimed Leaders to Advisory Board

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 2, 2006--Cecropia, innovators of the world's first filmgame, today announced that Kenneth J. Fedesna and Andrew Miller have joined the Cecropia Advisory Board. With over 30 years of executive leadership in the coin-op, gaming, communications, marketing and public relations industries, Ken and Andy will help guide Cecropia's launch of it's first filmgame, The Act(TM).
Kenneth Fedesna, the Co-founder and President of White Rabbit Game Studio, L.L.C., is a 30 year veteran of the gaming and coin-op industries. He previously served as the Executive VP of Product Development for Midway Games, Inc. a video game publisher, and as the Executive VP/ General Manager of Midway's coin-op division which designed and manufactured coin-operated games under the Williams, Bally, Midway, and Atari brand names. In addition, Ken co-founded and is President of Cashbox Games, Inc., a design and manufacturer of redemption and merchandising equipment for the coin-operated marketplace.
Andy Miller, founder and CEO of Miller Consulting, has more than 25 years as an information technology opinion leader, beginning with the founding of Miller Communications in 1977, one of the first firms to specialize in public relations for the IT industry. Prior to founding Miller Communications, Andy served in various editorial capacities at Little, Brown & Co. and the Associated Press, and as Associate editor of The Harvard Business Review. He also serves on the Advisory Boards of a number of emerging business and consumer technology companies.
The Act is a social interactive game that will appeal to a broader demographic than the typical videogame with it's unique story, high quality animation, addictive game play, and simplicity of play. The main characters of this romantic comedy, The Act(TM), are Edgar(TM) and Sylvia(TM). Edgar is a shy window-washer, who has always been unlucky in love. Players have to control the visual personality cues in the animated characters in order to move to the next level of the game. Cecropia's animators, all of whom are alumni of Disney Feature Film Animation Studios, animated this innovative personality-centric game. The launch plans for The Act will be announced shortly.
About Cecropia
Cecropia is based in Lexington, Mass. with studios in Orlando, Florida. Cecropia was established in 2001 by gaming entrepreneur Omar Khudari, co-founder of the game developer Papyrus Design Group. Cecropia's approach to interactive entertainment combines internally developed intellectual properties, traditional hand-drawn animation techniques, and unique game design and easy-to-use controls. The Cecropia team is comprised of creative and operations visionaries from Walt Disney Feature Film Animation, Pixar, DreamWorks and Blue Sky as well as video gaming industry veterans from Papyrus Design Group, Sierra On-line, Hasbro Interactive and Atari. Additional information about Cecropia can be found at www.cecropia.com.


Retro-gamers tap their inner pinball wizards

By Elinor Mills Staff Writer, CNET News.com -->
BERKELEY, Calif.--The single, purple neon bulb and the wooden unicorn cut-out propped against the garage are the only clues that distinguish this home from all the others in this middle-class neighborhood.
Once inside, however, you find a low-ceilinged labyrinth where every nook and cranny is filled with colorful lights, whimsical tchotchkes, posters, toys and the unmistakable sounds of rubber flippers and bells emanating from dozens of vintage pinball machines.
Welcome to a shrine to Americana, or, as one visitor calls it, "Secret Pinball."
Forget digital. This place is like an orgy--from before the solid-state era--of mechanical flippers, electromechanical bumpers, and old-fashioned lights and sounds. And all the machines, fit snugly side-by-side, are to be played for free.
Today's enthusiasts aren't necessarily luddites, but they are traditionalists, rejecting the high-tech gimmicks of video games and newer pinball tables in favor of the low-tech, handcrafted nature of decades-old machines.
"(Pinball machines) are mass produced now--cheap," complained Hal Erickson, a regular at the secret pinball "arcade." According to Erickson, today's pinball makers "buy licenses and time releases to the crest of a fad, like 'Pirates of the Caribbean' or 'Nascar.' They've gotten slicker, but the designs are not as creative and individual."
There's a huge difference in the way the game is played, too. "It's really grueling, higher speed and intense movement...You can burn yourself out on new games," said Erickson, who said he was ranked among the top pinball players in the world in the early 1990s. "Older games are more sane."
Emulating flippers and silver balls
There's nothing like the real thing, but there is computer pinball emulation software. Here is a sampling for people who can't get to the real arcade:
Beyond the eye-hand coordination challenge, the appeal of pinball for many players is one of aesthetics. Erickson describes the game as "an industrial pop-culture art form."
Vintage machines are a reminder of a more innocent time, said Pinball Mac, who owns the machines. "Pinball mixes in translucent art and American icons--babes in bathing suits and all the other classic '50s and '60s images," he said. "This is blue-collar art work.
Mac, who asked that his name and address remain confidential, has created a noncommercial arcade that houses about 50 working machines. He also has created what feels like an extension to his living room, providing comfy chairs, a stereo (playing a '60s rock compilation when I last visited), nachos and beer. Visitors show up nearly every Friday night, as much for the company as the games.
Near the entrance inside of Secret Pinball is a basketball game where you can use an old-fashioned joystick to maneuver wooden "player" figures in semicircles to gather balls in their hands. You can turn and flip the balls into a basket while evading the opposing "player," which mechanically moves back and forth trying to block the shot. The sound of metal ringing through hollow wood accompanies the shots.
There is also "Sky Raider," which, with scantily clad female "astronauts" in bubble helmets, offers astral target practice. My personal favorite is "Road Racer," a deconstruction of the addictive race car games of my youth. On this one, a drum with a painted-on roadway rotates slowly. Turning a steering wheel left and right moves a small toy car back and forth as the road winds and the drum turns. So simple, but surprisingly, not easy.
The majority of the games are traditional pinball machines with bright lights, metallic "pings," etched glass and painted backdrops. Themes range from "The Queen of Diamonds" with tiara-sporting women and men smoking cigars to "El Dorado," with gun-toting men on horseback amid desert cacti.


"Creative America" Includes Video Games

The Library of Congress is considering preserving digital content from a number of industries as part of new initiative
Last month our nation's Library of Congress held a strategy meeting with leading producers of commercial content in digital formats such as television, radio, music, film, photography, pictorial art, and yes, video games. The Library and the respective content producers "are keenly interested in the preservation of their digital materials for archival and other purposes."

Although most politicians in Washington would loathe to admit it, video games are becoming a part of America's cultural heritage. Even the most controversial games such as those in the Grand Theft Auto franchise could potentially be preserved and archived at the Library of Congress."We are faced with the potential disappearance of our cultural heritage if we don't act soon and act together to preserve digital materials," said Laura E. Campbell, the Library's chief information officer and associate librarian for Strategic Initiatives. "We have learned from our experience that long-term preservation of digital content is dependent on influencing decisions of content providers from the moment of creation."Campbell also noted that it will be important to decide exactly how to preserve digital content because "digital materials are inherently 'fragile,' due to their ease of alteration or susceptibility to loss once they are produced."This "Preserving Creative America" initiative was spearheaded by the Library's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). NDIIPP will reach out to other organizations, institutions, libraries and archives (in both the public and private sectors) in a collaborative effort to "collect and preserve the historic and cultural heritage of America, much of which is now being created only in digital form with no analog (physical) equivalent." The goal is to eventually form a "nationwide 'digital preservation network' of partners dedicated to preserving digital content and sharing their expertise with other electronic content providers and archives."In order to spark preservation work in the private sector as well, later this year the Library will issue a request for expressions of interest from private industry for cooperative projects. "The ultimate goal is that the cooperative projects the Library pursues with private industry will inform the greater population of commercial content owners and cultural heritage institutions in the establishment of such parameters as content formats, metadata standards, system architecture and other technical elements," said the Library.


Islam militants using video games in youth appeal

ReutersWashington, May 5, 2006

The makers of combat video games have unwittingly become part of a global propaganda campaign by Islamic militants to exhort Muslim youths to take up arms against the United States, officials said on Thursday.
Tech-savvy militants from al Qaeda and other groups have modified video war games so that US troops play the role of bad guys in running gunfights against heavily armed Islamic radical heroes, Defense Department official and contractors told Congress.
The games appear on militant Web sites, where youths as young as 7 can play at being troop-killing urban guerrillas after registering with the site's sponsors.
"What we have seen is that any video game that comes out ... they'll modify it and change the game for their needs," said Dan Devlin, a Defense Department public diplomacy specialist.
Devlin spoke before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, at which contractors from San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp, or SAIC, gave lawmakers a presentation that focused on Iraq as an engine for Islamic militant propaganda from Indonesia to Turkey and Chechnya.
SAIC has a $7 million Defense Department contract to monitor 1,500 militant Web sites that provide al Qaeda and other militant organizations with a main venue for communications, fund-raising, recruitment and training.
The sites use a variety of emotionally charged content, from images of real US soldiers being hit by snipers in Iraq to video-recordings of American televangelists including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell making disparaging remarks about Islam.
'Infidels came to my village'
The underlying propaganda message, officials say, is that the United States is waging a crusade against Islam in order to control Middle Eastern oil, and that Muslims should fight to protect Islam from humiliation.
One of the latest video games modified by militants is the popular "Battlefield 2" from leading video game publisher, Electronic Arts Inc of Redwood City, California.
Jeff Brown, a spokesman for Electronic Arts, said enthusiasts often write software modifications, known as "mods," to video games.
"Millions of people create mods on games around the world," he said. "We have absolutely no control over them. It's like drawing a mustache on a picture."
"Battlefield 2" ordinarily shows US troops engaging forces from China or a united Middle East coalition. But in a modified video trailer posted on Islamic Web sites and shown to lawmakers, the game depicts a man in Arab headdress carrying an automatic weapon into combat with U.S. invaders.
"I was just a boy when the infidels came to my village in Blackhawk helicopters," a narrator's voice said as the screen flashed between images of street-level gunfights, explosions and helicopter assaults.
Then came a recording of President George W Bush's Sept 16, 2001, statement: "This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while." It was edited to repeat the word "crusade," which Muslims often define as an attack on Islam by Christianity.
Two militant videos were also pointed out to lawmakers including one called "Lion of Falluja," the city in Iraqi's violent Anbar province that has long been seen as a symbol of militant resistance.
Critics of the US video game industry have long blamed the products for violence among American teenagers in civilian society, including high-profile shootings at public schools.
SAIC executive Eric Michael said researchers suspect Islamic militants are using video games to train recruits and condition youth to attack US-led coalition forces in Iraq.


THQ Brings The Sopranos To Video Games

THQ has announced a new deal with HBO to develop video games based on the station's original television series The Sopranos. Currently under development, the game is backed by key members of the show's cast who will lend their voices and likenesses, including James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. The game is scheduled to be released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 this holiday season."We're excited to work with HBO on creating a game that captures the spirit of the groundbreaking series -- a modern classic that redefines the life of crime genre," said Kelly Flock, executive vice president, Worldwide Publishing, THQ. "The Sopranos has become television legacy for this generation and now fans and gamers can become part of the story and see if they have the muscle and wit to become 'made.'" The game centers on a mob war brewing between Philadelphia's and New Jersey's most powerful families. As the illegitimate son of "Big Pussy," and a soldier in the mob, players are given the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Tony Soprano by earning money on collections, protecting turf through intimidation, and gaining admiration of their family in order to move up in the ranks of the organization.
POSTED: 8.11am PST, 05/04/06 - Jason Dobson -



ULTRAPIN Digital Pinball Machine -

UltraCade is now working on building the new UltraPin Digital Pinball Game, viewed and played at the recent March 2006 ASI Show in Chicago. Ultracade promises that the tables will look and play like a traditional pinball table, not an arcade machine, and from our short test on the prototype machine, which included several classic Williams and Bally pins, we think they may have a real winner here!They have licensed the Visual Pinball (VP) engine as a basis for the product, and UltraCade has stated it has obtained the rights to many "classic" pinball tables - UltraPin will include 12 classic pinball tables from both Williams and Bally Pinball, which are authentic in every detail... Popular titles should include Medieval Madness, Black Knight 2000, Pin-Bot, Eight Ball Champ, Attack From Mars, Firepower, F-14 Tomcat, Xenon, Strikes and Spares, Fathom, Funhouse and Sorcerer. The machine will feature a 32" 16:9 Plasma Monitor for table display, and the traditional Dot Matrix Display is replaced with a sharp-looking color LCD panel. Force feedback and digital sound reproduction for amazing realism. The machine is all digital so there are no moving parts to break or wear out - Buy Yours at The Game Gallery www.HomeGameRoom.com or call 1-800-966-9873



New Digital Pinball Game

Posted by: James McGovern

The ever-vigilant Pinball News has spotted a new digital pinball game hitting the market as an offering by the Hungarian company A8 Audio known for its digital jukeboxes. This new digital pinball platform features head-to-head gameplay on a plasma screen.

The unit will ship with five different games ranging from classic pinball simulations, to soccer, ice hockey, and billiards. A snapshot of the ice hockey game is included below and you can see additional images at PinballNews.com.More pictures at the manufacturer's site: http://www.digitalpinballmachines.com/


This event has plenty to Amuse

ARCADE operators from across the UK will descend on Blackpool for a national exhibition next week.
Products ranging from the latest hi-tech games to futuristic gadgets will be on show at the event taking place at Amuse UK at the Pleasure Beach and the Big Blue Hotel.And after a good start to the summer season, organisers are confident Blackpool's many amusement arcades will be ringing happy tunes in 2006.The latest generation of arcade games which push the boundaries of realism still further forward will be unveiled at the Blackpool exhibition.Better special effects are required to tempt punters away from their home PC in order to sample the attractions of an amusement arcade.Millions of pounds has been invested into the gaming industry and it is hoped many of the new machines will be used as Blackpool continues its dream to become the next gambling mecca.The exhibition and the numerous events due to take place over May 10 and 11 will also give visitors and exhibitors the chance to meet up and discover new ideas, strengthen and develop relationships and share visions for the future.Industry giant, the British Amusements Caterers Trading Association (Bacta), will be among those taking part in the exhibition, as well as lobbying members to start up new campaigns to get more people into the industry.Karen Cooke, head of Exhibitions at Clarion ATE, who are one of the exhibitors, said: "We are determined to help push things forward this year."ATE has continued to be a phenomenal success and we're treating Amuse with the same respect. "It may be a smaller show but it's also a lot easier to do deals and talk at length with clients and colleagues. On top of that we'll also be enjoying Blackpool at its best with the extensive events schedule based around the Pleasure Beach and the Big Blue Hotel. I can't wait to get up there."More than 50 exhibitors will be at the UK's most convenient show. It's also free to enter. More information is available at www.ATEOnline.co.uk/amuse.



Fun and games are his therapy

Widower gives the toys plucked with arcade crane to children who don't have much

MCALLEN - Jim Bloodworth's wife had been seriously ill for about two years, suffering from epileptic seizures, Alzheimer's disease and macular degeneration.
Always the loving and devoted husband, he cared for her in their home as best he could, but with his own mental and physical condition gradually worsening, he was forced to place her in a Mission nursing home in early February.

When his wife, Maxine, died nearly two months later, on March 28, the 78-year-old Bloodworth relied on the same coping mechanism that had helped him through her long illness: He sought out "crane game" machines and dedicated himself to winning the plush toys his wife collected.
"Back before she got ill, we used to go to Furr's cafeteria before it burned down," Bloodworth recalled. "She'd see a toy in (the crane game) there that she'd like, and that was a challenge to me to get it for her."
He remembers spending about $70 on two separate occasions trying to win a large gorilla toy that Maxine had her eye on. The restaurant burned down before he had a chance to go back and try a third time, but the manager recalled his tenacity and salvaged the toy for Maxine.
Tradition of helpingA fixture in front of the crane games, Bloodworth often attracts crowds of children and adults who look on as he grasps the joystick in his hand, maneuvers the claw into position and grabs toy after toy with it, filling up the shopping carts he parks beside the glass enclosure.
Often times, he gives the toys away to younger onlookers whom he senses are from poor families — kids whose daily experience may not be much different from his own Great Depression childhood.
The vast majority of the toys that he doesn't give away on the spot he drops off at the Salvation Army.
It's an organization, he explained, that has been near and dear to his heart for many decades.
"My childhood was in the height of the Depression," he said, recalling times when, as young as 5 years old, he roamed the streets begging and stealing to get food.
"My life as a child was rough, and the only pleasure we got at a holiday — whether it was Easter or Christmas — was getting used clothing from the Salvation Army."
His fondness for the organization grew during his years in the Navy, when the Salvation Army was always ready with a meal for the hungry and a drink for the thirsty. One time, the organization even gave him money when he needed to go home on emergency leave and couldn't afford it.
"When we came into port in Pearl Harbor or San Francisco or San Diego or wherever it was, the Salvation Army was always there and they didn't charge. Everything they did was free," Bloodworth said.
Over the past two years, he estimates, he has given more than 300 toys won from crane games to the local Salvation Army, which gives them away to kids throughout the year.
Recently, it gave away about 175 mostly bunnies, ducks and chicks to children for the Easter holiday.
An inspiration"We gave them out after we had our sunrise service out in our parking lot," said Teresa Alvarado, the organization's Christian education director. Some of the kids were from the shelter, some were regulars at the center and others just came off the street, prompted by their curiosity.
"I'd say that there were about 50 children," Alvarado said.
"Everyone walked away with a stuffed animal.
"It saved us money from having to go out and buy the kids something for Easter, and at the same time the kids enjoyed it and they were able to take something home on that day."
Alvarado said the value of the toys comes as much from the spirit in which Bloodworth won them as from the spirit in which he gave them away.
"They came from a man that really did care about children even though he was hurting himself," she said.
Mourning the loss of his wife of 37 years, Bloodworth continues to take trips to area stores for sessions of crane-game therapy and devotes most of his thoughts to his own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"The greatest pleasure I have now is trying to inspire, if I can, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to succeed," he said.
The message he tries to get across to them is that the key to success is finding something you like to do and then working your tail off at it.
He stresses the importance of fluency in Spanish and getting the college education he never had.
"If you wake up in the morning and you hate to go to work, and you don't like your job, I say quit it and get the hell away from it," he said.
"Find something that you really like and enjoy, and then work hard and you'll succeed."


Rapper Ludacris likes combo of video games, music

LOS ANGELES: Chris "Ludacris" Bridges says video games are ideal for connecting aspiring musicians with their core fan base – and he should know – six years ago he was the first rapper to have his music featured on a game soundtrack.
"It's just a great way to market music," Ludacris said in an interview with Reuters in Los Angeles.
"People are very surprised how old the (video game) demographic is because you have grown-ups who love video games as much as children," he said.
By showing up in games, "artists are trying to be where their audience is," Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman said.
Video game soundtracks are now a launching pad for new music and a revenue stream for record labels, which prefer to sign acts with a proven fan following, he said. Game publishers also benefit when celebrity tie-ins boost sales.
"They all need each other," Goodman said.
For his latest act, Ludacris appears in voice and likeness in Midway Games's NBA Ballers: Phenom," which mashes up the sports and lifestyle genres, something he said may attract more women to the game.
The title allows players to choose paths that will either shape them into a basketball star with help from Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups or build them into an entertainment mogul a la Ludacris.
Like its predecessor NBA Ballers, the new title features a soundtrack of original music specifically created for the game and from a healthy mix of underground and established artists, said Midway senior designer John Vignocchi, who assembled both soundtracks.
Since debuting the song Get Off Me, in Electronic Arts's popular football game Madden NFL 2000, Ludacris has also appeared in other video games, including EA's 2003 title, Def Jam Vendetta, which was promoted as "hip-hop" meets Fight Club and starred other top rap acts from Def Jam Records.
Meanwhile, the rapper, whose film credits include roles in Crash and Hustle & Flow, dismissed speculation that he has his own game in the works.
But even if it's true, it's not uncharted territory: Rapper 50 Cent recently teamed up with Vivendi Universal Games and Genuine Games on a game titled 50 Cent: Bulletproof.


Games get shake-up

MAY 02, 2006
A SILICON Valley start-up hopes to introduce a lot of bounce, rattle and roll into video games with a microchip that makes virtual worlds behave as realistically as they look.Video games have been getting prettier for years, thanks to increasingly capable graphics processors.
However, crates that don't budge, planks that don't splinter and windows that don't break are a constant complaint of gamers who crave more than just skin-deep realism.
Ageia Technologies wants to change that with its PhysX processor, which simulates the physical properties of everything from smoke to rocks.
"We are offering the games industry the ability to make physics and interactivity reach the same level of importance that graphics have," Ageia chief executive Manju Hegde said.

The Australian


Player finds way to turn video games into payday

One line game boy head goes here
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Anyone who claims video games are a waste of time has never talked to Justin Summy.
Video games have allowed Summy, 21, of Grantville, to travel to France, Spain and China.
Fans send mouse pads and other items in the mail for him to autograph.

He's part of an online team, CompLexity Clan, which has its own manager, a staff and a sponsor that provides a monthly salary.
Summy, you see, is a cyberathlete, one of hundreds of young adults who have turned an electronic hobby into a viable sports career, touring the globe, competing in professional tournaments and garnering tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.
One recent tournament, for example, netted CompLexity $40,000 in prize money, with Summy taking home $8,000.
The idea of playing video games competitively for a living -- much less watching such a contest -- might seem laughable, but it's a movement that has grown consider^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ably over the past decade. Such tournaments already draw a huge following in such countries as South Korea and China, where tournaments are regularly broadcast on TV.
Now e-sports are set to become the next big thing in North America.
"It's an incredible new trend that's just starting to show rays of light," said Angel Munoz, the founder and president of the Cyberathlete Professional League, the NBA of the e-sports world. "It's the next phenomenon in sports."
To underscore his point, Munoz said when he launched the CPL in June 1997, only 300 people attended the first tournament.
Now, an average of 5,000 folks attend tournaments from around the United States and the globe. More than 1.1 million people watched last year's World Tour Grand Finals on MTV while the sport has garnered notice from media outlets such as "60 Minutes" and Time magazine.
"Everybody has woken up to the reality that this is a huge new trend," Munoz said. "It's on a collision course with mass media."
In many ways, Summy is riding high on the wave, as CompLexity Clan is one of the top-ranked teams in North America. The group has won such notable competitions as the Global Gaming League Transatlantic Tournament in New York and the Electronic Sports World Cup Championship in Paris.

Summy had been active in soccer and baseball in school when he discovered the computer game "Counter-Strike." He quickly took to the competitive aspect of the game.
"The only difference [between "Counter-Strike" and other sports] is it's not as much physical activity. It's more like playing a game of chess, more of a mental sport. You're outthinking your opponent," he said.
"Counter-Strike" is a tactical, team-based, first-person shooter that pits a group of five "terrorists" against a group of five "counter-terrorists." The game is won when one side is eliminated or a particular objective has been met, such as rescuing hostages or defusing a bomb.
One of the most widely played games online, "Counter-Strike" has become the game that most professional and amateur leagues use in tournaments.
Once Summy took a shine to the game, he started playing on low-level teams with friends. Slowly, he began to be recognized as a better player and was able to join higher-ranked teams and start competing on the tournament level. He estimates he has been playing professionally for about four years.
Most video game tournaments are three-day events, with one to two matches each day. Matches are split into two halves, with about 15 rounds in each half. Each round runs a little under two minutes, with matches lasting anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
To stay on the top of his game, Summy practices with the rest of the Clan from 6-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. They practice in the evening because the other members of the team are scattered around the country (one lives in North Dakota, another in Miami) and it's easier to find other people to play against at that time.
Steve Summy, Justin's father, marvels at his son's success in a career that might seem a bit odd to outsiders.
"Watching him online is amazing," he said. "It's like watching the Super Bowl. ... This could blossom into a big-time money job."
Yet Summy's professional gaming days might be over soon. In fall, he plans to set aside "Counter Strike" for a while and attend Harrisburg Area Community College.
He's not sure what he'll major in yet, but says it will definitely be "something with computers."

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