You are here: Rediff Home » India » Business » Special » Features
Search: The Web
  Discuss this Article   |      Email this Article   |      Print this Article

Virtual lines of control
Priyanka Joshi in New Delhi
 · My Portfolio  · Live market report  · MF Selector  · Broker tips
Get Business updates:What's this?
August 11, 2007

Welcome to India and Pakistan's latest war zone -- the web. Technically speaking, there is a certain amount of bloodshed and fierce battles involved, but the stark difference is that it's all in the cyber world and the participating teams play a healthy game session. Havok, the Pakistani gamers' team, will be sweating it out against their Indian counterparts on September 9.

The five-member Pakistani team will play Counter Strike against the Indian team that wins the WCG 2007 Counter Strike finals being held at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai. For the first time ever, the national Counter Strike champions of India and Pakistan will clash in an e-sports event organised by Indiagames.

While it is not hard to find young games freaks hunched over computer screens with their sweaty hands manipulating joysticks to strike as the action explodes in Half Life: Counter Strike 1.6, Warcraft III or Need for Speed, it is definitely a first for most Indian gamers to challenge their neighbours in the cyber world. For the uninitiated, these are a few popular gaming titles that will be played between the participants.

Started as a game tournament and cultural festival, the World Cyber Games has grown to include about two million gamers from over 70 countries. The idea of friendly gaming sessions between India and Pakistan stems from here.

Pakistan has been participating in the World Cyber Games since 2003. Having participated in over 50 Counter Strike tournaments arranged by Neomatrix Gaming Network in Lahore, the team is raring to take on WCG 2007. Ahmed Mamoor Amimi, the team's manager who is also the founder of Playdium.Net, an entertainment services company that is a strategic partner to WCG, is a proud man.

He quips, "I would like to see Pakistan and India compete on this e-sports arena and I am sure it will create more space for love and harmony between both countries. I would also like to invite the Indian team next year for our WCG 2008 National Final event in Pakistan."

Amimi's Havok team and the Indian Counter Strike team -- a game that is one of the most popular online tactical First Person Shooter games with over 2,00,000 players clocking over 6.17 billion minutes of playing time per month � have battled earlier. In Paris, Havok won the pool matches against India. The game was played in good spirits and harmony, adds Amimi.

Agrees Alok Kejriwal, founder of Games2Win, "Cyber games is a great way to connect with people of any age." He does make a point when he says that cyber games should expand to include the "non-serious" or "casual" gamers too. His qualm is that the WCG, despite its reputation among hard-core game fans, is still only known among a limited group of people.

"If we approach casual gamers, then we could end up connecting millions of gamers instead of just a mere hundred professional gamers." His website, Games2Win, is in the process of launching a gaming platform that would allow gamers from India and Pakistan to indulge in e-sports that would include "puzzles and even the tic-tac-toe varieties."

Vishal Gondal, CEO, Indiagames, is upbeat about the upcoming India-Pak e-matches. "We are very excited about covering this championship. These e-battles are incredibly competitive and we find that the combination of all of this great action will be a great way to grow gaming communities in both countries."

Gondal hopes that the e-games will become as popular as the Olympics, the football World Cup or the Formula One car race. Indiagames, the Indian franchise owner of the global WCG competition, will conduct the India national qualifiers for the WCG 2007 in seven cities starting 11, August. There is Rs 15 lakh in prize money to be won and nine India finalists will be flown on an all expense paid trip to Seattle to represent the country in the global finals.

Move over, cricket. Competitive video gaming or e-sports is poised to become the next spectator sport between India-Pakistan.

Powered by

More Specials
 Email this Article      Print this Article

© 2007 India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback