According to Florida Atlantic University graduates Billy Levy and Zach Zeldin, the founders of WorldGaming.com, they were sitting around playing Madden, betting cash, and were just a little bit hung over when the idea struck them.
“We stayed out late with some out-of-town friends the night before and were a little hung over,” said Levy. “Zack and I were playing Madden and we had this big pile of money on the floor. Our friends, who weren’t gamers, were playing online poker and betting, too. We realized there was something going on.”
That was 2006. As the new consoles Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii hit retailers in the successive winter holidays of 2005 and 2006, console gaming had grown to an unprecedented penetration level, and gamers were far from playing alone. Social gaming had come a long way from PC LAN parties and Halo house parties. Gamers wanted to play in good communities and, every so often, for money.
Unlike the Major League Gaming–designed specifically for ambitious professional level gamers–WorldGaming.com offers a safe place and a growing community for gamers to play online and bet without the hassle of Xbox Live’s random members screaming at their moms for milk. More importantly, gamers who weren’t playing at the professional level but wanted to play and bet, could do so with players of the same skill level.
After its fall 2008 kick-off date and a successful beta campaign which saw more than 9,000 people register (and win more than $78,000 in prize money), WorldGaming.com has held several big tournaments and holds nightly tourneys, too. One of the biggest to date culminated in the recent 32-player Halo online tournament held last weekend. The tournament cost $5 to enter, but WorldGaming guaranteed that if you were able to win one game, you’d win at least $16.25 back. There was a total of $500 in cash prizes offered.
WorldGaming’s Website offers players the chance to play both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games. The site’s most popular games–Halo 3, Madden Football 09, and FIFA 09–are joined by Fight Night Round 3, Resistance Fall of Man, MotorStorm 2, NHL 09, and NCAA Football 09. Look for the additions of these games to be added to the list: GTA IV, Call of Duty, NBA 2k9, LA Midnight Club, NBA LIVE 09, Warhawk, and Lost Planet.
How does it work? Gamers sign up (it takes less than five minutes) using a credit card or Paypal to begin, and then choose a game. Bets can be placed as low as $2 or can go upwards to $200; it all depends on you and the person you challenge. An easy interface enables players to chat, pick teams, and then pick a time to play. Players then set up their game on either Xbox 360 or PS3, seek out the name of the selected player, and engage. Since the site tracks public data from each of the game’s servers, WorldGaming’s smart software can process the information on the site directly after a game. Presently, the site only permits one-on-one challenges; however, Levy says that team play functionality will be added.
Initially available only for players in North America, WorldGaming now supports players from the UK and Australia. Levy explained that soon players from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, also will be able to play.
Upcoming features for the site the ability to block players (who don’t have a good rep or who bailed on a game), and concede a game, and now gamers can play MLB 09: The Show. More updates can be found at the What’s New section of the site.
Follow WorldGaming’s regularly updated blog to get a feel for the site’s community and staff