The maybe most interesting question first: There have been several discussions about the CPL World Tour 2006 but actually the year is more than half over and only the first stop in Singapore has been announced so far to be held in September. Therefor a lot of people ask themselves if we can expect a lot of CPL events at the end of the year or if the World Tour will expand to 2007. Is it already about time to speak about your plans?
We are not having another World Tour. We have replaced that concept with the CPL World Season, composed of weekly qualifiers that take place simultaneously across the globe, culminating in national finals. The winners of the national finals will then participate in the Winter Final Championships, which will take place Wednesday, December 13, to Sunday, December 17, 2006 at the landmark Hyatt Regency in Downtown, Dallas, Texas.
After the partnership of CPL and Intel disbanded, several national CPL Headquarters got announced outside of America. Can we expect the World Season to host events for each one that got announced?
Actually, there's no relationship between Intel's departure as a sponsor and the formation of our global alliance of partners. For this year we have events confirmed in Singapore, Chile, Korea, China, Brazil, Italy, and Sweden. I think it's important to clarify that AMD, the CPL's lead title sponsor, and ATI our other lead sponsor, are big supporters of our World Season format, and they agree with us that it should offer the sport more consistency and visibility on a number of different levels.
Only a few days ago, you announced that Quake 3 will be the 1on1 Shooter for the CPL World Tour 2006 after several weeks of discussions and even a vote to embrace the opinion of the community. Are you finally happy about this decision and the feedback you got on it?
This year the CPL established new channels of communication between the community and the league, by creating tournament committees, establishing private forums for important discussions and giving a cross section of our community not only voice but also vote in our decisions.
The discussions on using Quake 3 for the World Season commenced via these newly established channels of communication. But, instead of making an arbitrary decision we first discussed it internally and launched the Q4 vs Q3 poll. Then our Commissioner, Chris Moncivalles, discussed it with id Software and I discussed it with our lead sponsors AMD and ATI. The internal consensus was that the CPL should be about *the competition* and that other agendas and activities should always be secondary to the execution of our tournaments.
Interestingly, when we launched the online poll we were projecting that about 300 gamers would participate, but instead we had over 900 gamers cast votes. That coupled with the support of our sponsors, world partners and tournament committees, made the final decision very easy for us. We are happy that the entire community (sponsors, partners, and gamers) were able to help us with this decision, and were are pleased that it has been received with such unprecedented enthusiasm.
When CPL made the step from CS:S back to CS 1.6 it got interpreted by a lot of people as a clear sign and in the end a lot of other tournaments - even WCG - followed your decision, do you expect this to happen again with Quake 3?
Not really. id Software and Raven are hard at work to correct the issues that are unpleasant to the top competitors. They seem committed to establish Quake 4 as the next evolutionary step of Quake 3. I think given some time they will get the formula right.
The issue we had was timing. We are launching a USA qualifier next month and have worldwide events until the Winter Finals. We simply did not have the luxury of time to wait for the Quake 4 improvements, so we made what seemed to be the best decision under the circmstances.
Don't you think it will hurt the gaming community to get split up by some tournaments playing Quake 3 while others stick to Quake 4 then?
The community of gamers has spoken loudly about what game they rather play, so I would say that the community was split from the start. The CPL is simply offering options for gamers to play the game that they enjoy most and that they believe has the strongest platform for serious competition. I'm sure there will be fans and participants for both the Quake 4 and the Quake 3 competitions this year.
'This decision should not be regarded as critical towards id Software or Raven, but should be considered a compliment of how well Quake 3 has withstood the test of time.' - that's what we can read in the official announcement of the CPL. Do you think id Software and Raven are happy about the CPL's decision and how will your cooperation be like in future?
Happy is a very fluid concept. :) id Software told our commissioner, Chris Moncivalles, that they understood the basis of our decision. On our end we remain committed to assist id Software in the development of their Quake 4 tournament platform. There's no animosity at all between us.
Was the vote and the final decision about which game will be played the reason for the delay of signups for CPL Singapore?
Absolutely. Karen Yeo, the main organizer for CPL Singapore, thought it would be better to finalize the vote before launching the registration. As a nice apology for the delay, they launched a giveaway of Ten (10) Razer Copperhead Chaos Green Gaming Mice at the CPL Singapore website: cplsingapore.com
We're looking back on a thrilling first half year for the CPL. First the loss of its major sponsors and an undetermined future and later a comeback with new sponsors and a big World Tour 2006 makes some people talk about 'the fall and resurrection of the CPL'. How would you describe the last months from your point of view?
I can understand how people may view it that way, but the first half of this year has been one of the most rewarding periods for us since we launched the CPL nine years ago. The opportunity to rethink our entire business model, to commence new relationships with companies like AMD, ATI, Pizza Hut, Verizon & DirecTV, and to establish a strong global network of partners has been truly exhilarating for us.
The CPL was never dead. We were quietly germinating new ideas to help us evolve our concepts and better achieve our goals.
Next to the fundamental question 'Quake 4 or Quake 3' can we await more votes about things like mod the community would prefer for Quake 3?
We will have an announcement on mods very soon. The ground swell that created this game change for CPL, has also offered some unique opportunities to work a lot closer with modders, map creators and others in the community that want to contribute to the successful adaptation of Quake 3 for the CPL tournaments.
For the first World Season only Quake 3 and Counter-Strike have been announced as the official CPL games and the scene wonders if you will focus on shooters only in future. What's your opinion about RTS and the - especially in Europe - more and more popular Sports- and Racing simulations and what role will they play in CPL?
Some of our national finals this year will include other genres. For the foreseeable future CPL's focus will remain on the FPS category, but we are open to exploring new opportunities for the league.
Not long ago, the heads of WSVG were talking about the good relationship between CPL and WSVG in an interview. However, they let the question if future CPL events might be used as WSVG stops unanswered. How is the relationship from your point of view and could you imagine any future cooperation?
WSVG is a partner licensee of the CPL and we have a reasonably good relationship with them. In fact, their CEO and I speak on the phone quite often. WSVG currently holds the option to manage next year's CPL Summer Event, and based on their good experience this year they might decide to exercise that option. If they decide not to, there are others interested in managing that event or we may use it as the launching platform for the CPL's 2007 AMD World Season.
During the last month the scene also was impressed by big Chinese events such as WEG or StarsWar which attracted a huge amount of Asian fans. Is CPL in general interested to expand in the Asian market or are there even already precise plans?
Of course! We already have CPL China, CPL Singapore and CPL Korea. We have been receiving requests from other Asian countries, but at this time we want to dedicate our resources to our existing partners instead of risking the integrity of our brands and the quality of our tournaments.
Last but not least let's go a bit more into the future: eSport in 2016, what's your vision?
One world league composed of different organizations.
Weekly tournaments and superstar status for the top gamers.
Online cheating eliminated.
Complete sensorial immersion for remote viewers of live matches.
Performance-enhancing drug testing of competitors.
Sounds interesting. Thank you very much for the interview and good luck for the upcoming events!
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