So I got to thinking today, after seeing the “I the fuck care” Hellgate:London PR trainwreck article again, and seeing a bit on Kotaku about the mega LAN gaming culture in Scandinavia.
The problem is… how many people really are LAN gaming these days? I could count the people I know that have played regularly without needing to take my socks off.
On my many daily “I need to go for a walk and think a bit about life” episodes, I tried to deduce the viability of a LAN gaming location in the United States. However, with broadband and XBL, how many people are going to want to bother to go someplace downtown and play games when they can just stay at home? Even if you provided the PCs/Consoles and only charged for food/drinks, why would people show up?
Is LAN gaming in the US dead? Why is it so big in Sweden?
Same here. But I have to admit that even when I was living in Seattle, Xbox Live changed things. Suddenly it became easier not to carry my Xbox over to my friends, but stay home instead and just use voice chat. It wasn’t as good, but there was a huge convenience factor. And once we realized that was possible with Xbox Live, the same thing carried over to PC games. Suddenly we all bought headsets and started using Teamspeak, and instead of getting together under one roof, we started playing Diablo 2, Warlords Battlecry 3, C&C Generals, and eventually Supreme Commander online instead, even though we used to get PCs together in one place before that.
And then nearly everyone moved away from Seattle, but still kept gaming over Xbox Live and Teamspeak.
Must be a European thing. Germany’s biggest LAN-party just topped 2300 registrations (with PCs of course), taking place in the next few years.
While still living in Germany, I was co-organizing a LAN-party every two months, counting 5 to 10 friends. This went on since Doom 2 hit the shelves all those years ago, a game we extensively played. In LAN.
Another thing I noticed in the US is a trend of libraries to host gaming tournaments and LAN parties, which have moderate success. For instance a friend of mine that works in the Manchester, NH library system tells me that their gaming room is one of the most popular places for kids to go afterschool.
I’m wondering if it’s mainly adults that don’t LAN game because they are usually spread out due to jobs/family, and that LAN gaming might still be popular with kids who might not necessarily be able to game on XBL or the internet at home?
Yeah, but do you feel like you would still do it if there was an opportunity to do so in a public club/bar/diner setting? While paying a small fee instead of bringing your own hardware? With strangers, not necessarily people you know?
There have been three or four LAN gaming centers that have opened around here within the last, oh, four or five years or so, and none have survived. Algebars, Player 1 Gaming, whatever the places in Essex Junction and South Burlington were called – all dead, as far as I know.
The arcades are hanging on by a thread, and are confined mostly to movie theaters and bowling alleys. There are no dedicated video arcades left. However, I did see a delivery truck for one of the local coin-op amusement companies, out behind the mall the other day, so maybe something’s opening soon. One can hope.
My friends and I still do LANs once in a while…usually for special occassions (like Black Friday while the wives are out shopping). Its true that as we get older, we’ve had fewer and fewer LANs, but we always look forward to them. I liken them to when my parents would have Bridge night or Birthday Club…I see LANs as a reason to socialize AND be able to swear at your friends in good-natured fun.
The main complaint I usually have at our LANs is that the majority of people only want to play one game…usually Left 4 Dead 2 (previously, Left 4 Dead) whereas I would like some variety…Demigod, Borderlands, Halflife 2 Source, and even Warcraft 3.
As my friends gained more and more familial responsibility the LAN gaming gradually phased into online gaming.
The LAN is largely dead to us now for largely time constraint related reasons. I also suppose that improved voip tech has made the online experience more personal. When you’re all on a Ventrilo server bantering as you would be at a LAN in a fraction of the time and hassle, where’s the incentive to LAN? Really all that’s missing from the equation of the current online experience is the BBQ and manly back slaps. (occasionally derisive comments from significant others ALSO carry over Vent)
I still LAN play, probably at least every two weeks or so. It’s still alive and well, even when games kill it (MW2 I’m looking at you.) For those particular games we simply all connect out to the internet servers WHILE sitting on the same LAN. There’s something comforting about seeing the guy when you talk shit about him and how you just nailed him with your gun/army/roaming horde of demons. Then again the group that I sometimes get together with are all of the same generation and “group think” when it comes to some of the game styles and titles.
I have noticed one new style of play that, although it’s not LAN play by definition, could become one of it’s successors. That’s the “search for players around me” style of play brought on by the iPhone. Think of what a LAN fest would be like at college or in your apartment complex if you could just see your neighbors online and playing the same game. I think PC multiplayer gaming could really use a shake up in the direction it’s headed, and I think something like this, or something that gets people more involved in playing with people near them, might be a good thing. The problem is convincing developers who seem to be stuck in rose-colored goggle “console vision” to take a chance at trying something new.
There are about 4-5 of us that gather for a LAN about once a quarter, mostly as an excuse to meet up and generally do whatever appeals for a weekend rather than to specifically play games. The last one had JM and myself playing as many Space Hulk games as we could fit in between the Guitar Hero games and attempts to get a Windows L4D dedicated server running.
I really miss going to the 1000+ player LANs that are still being run by Multiplay in the UK, they were something special. Sadly it’s all Counter-Strike and Call of Duty now, which don’t appeal to me. That and a BYOC ticket costs £70+.
The last LAN party I went to was spent waiting for x number of people to finish a WoW raid, struggling to get the network back up after a fuse was blown, then arguing over what to play until we gave up and played CS. 2/3 of the people there just watched movies instead. Pretty much a waste of 6 hours.
We host a LAN party each semester at school, with probably ~60 people. Favorites are Supreme Commander, Counter-Strike, Age of Empires 2. I also went to quakecon this year, which is massive. But it was shitty and I don’t plan on going back.
After I graduate, I probably won’t go to many LANs. I’m much more likely to go to a fighting game tournament (which still benefit greatly from local play).
Sounds very familiar. Here in Louisville, LAN gaming was (is) very popular due to one particular quarterly event known as Lanwar and a yearly event known as the Million Man LAN. I stopped attending once sufficient enough broadband Internet was introduced because everyone sat around playing World of Warcraft instead of taking advantage of a 300+ PC room setup.