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The Death of a LAN Party: Community Party to Corporate Plunder

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July 12, 2006 1:14:59 PM

What has happened to the traditional LAN Party? These days, it seems like parties have morphed from community gatherings with friendly competitions corporate controlled mega-events that seem more focused on marketing and consumerism than gaming. Darren Polkowski explores the crisis of the dying LAN Party.
July 12, 2006 1:40:38 PM

Totally agree, as $ rolls in things change. I am a co-founder of a Montana Group that hosts on average 75 gamers ~4 times a year and that is a great size. It is a University Organization that has much in the way of community support. (many see it as an alternative to getting in "real" trouble) For us, there was never a charge for entrance, as gamers having fun was always the focus. I would think that once you need those larger venues (like the article pointed out) for more ppl you have to bring in more $... and that means entrance fees and bigger sponsors... and you also have to answer to whoever gave up those frogskins instead of just "letting it happen".

I guess that is just the nature of things... but the small ones will never die. Gamers are a die-hard lot. We do whatever, wherever it takes to get our game on.
July 12, 2006 2:36:13 PM

People had to see this on the horizon; anytime anything becomes popular there will be someone to make money off of it. Heck I don’t know about in Europe but in America even if something isn’t popular some marketing team will sucker all the dumb Americans (trust me there are a lot) into thinking its cool and they just have to have it.

As far as a lan party I love them nothing better than getting so mad, on the verge of going postal, after a random nade kills you 1 frag away from winning the final game. Then before you respawn the game is over and now you’re tied for second with 5 other people. that’s when every profane word known to man in 10 different languages flies, repeated a couple times, bringing into question the heterosexuality of the guy that won, and many death threats later the inevitable, "So, same time next weekend guys?"
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July 12, 2006 2:38:35 PM

lol...

...and here I thought I was the only one...
July 12, 2006 3:00:05 PM

Yeah I got my friends really mad at me playing some halo 2, I was used to ut2k4 fast twitch aiming then picked up the xbox cranked up the sensitivity all the way and it still felt slowwww. so pull out a sniper and just start hip shooting people in the head, followed by the Samuel L Jackson, Pulp Fiction quote "and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee" I always use the gamer tag JESUS so it made it all the better.
July 12, 2006 5:20:16 PM

Nice article. I've been attending Asylumlan in Evansville, In for about 3 years now, and am glad to say the is no evidence of it becoming a corporate event anytime soon. I've also been to LanWar in Louisville, Ky and must say I much prefer the smaller Asylumlan.
July 12, 2006 11:37:57 PM

Just goes to show money ruins everything...

Now about tom's hardware...
July 13, 2006 2:18:57 AM

I was at the WSVG in Dallas last week, and the two previous CPL summer events, plus two Quakcon day trips over the years. I agree with the article and am glad to see someone speaking up. The vendors themselves are making it less fun for the gamers when they do show up. Quakecon is probably the better of the large events for a little fun. CPL and WSVG cost lots to get in and you don't even get a thank you t-shirt :) 

The "big prize" at the summer WSVG was a Dell 30" WS, the guy who won it came in off the street after hearing about the event on the news. He said he was not a gamer, and he walked in for free late Sunday. This event had an $80 registration fee. The kids are screaming along with the Creative guys and they hand out a mouse to a grandma who has no idea what is going on :|

I guess if you're playing for money these large events may be worth it to you, but as a casual lanparty you will get raped with resort hotel fees, entry fees, no 24/7 fun, etc.
July 13, 2006 4:55:05 AM

I have been a regular to the Asylum Lan events for the past few years now and they are still as great as ever! the AL staff does a wonderfull job with the lan! I have been to a Lanwar event and it was pretty good for a large lan. I also went to the WSVG in louisville and i was not happy at all with it. it had the potential to be a great lan but the constant bombardment of advertisement over the intercom and otherwise was just awfull. the boyc was more like playing online than any lan ive ever been to.

I will say the exception to this had to be the blizzard crew they did a great job with what little they had to work with. I give major props to those 2 guys they were very down to earth and there to talk to the gamers not to sell products like everyone else.

I would like to just say this in closing the wsvg event could have been great if some time was spent with the byoc (aka not treating the "non-pro" gamers like livestock).
July 13, 2006 8:03:53 AM

That's true, sadly. Granted it a place were computer enthusiasts and alikes gather in volume and manufacturers know it well and taking advantage of it to advertise their products. Nonetheless it's a LAN party even if it not in true form for the porpuse of just having fun fragging and getting bragging rights. I never really go to huge LAN party and conventions to play but to just see the events and walk around and have fun. For a real LAN gaming I go to small private LAN parties most of the time with buddies. But I must say LAN parties are getting bigger and more better every year.
July 13, 2006 10:13:45 AM

Bigger the lan gets the worse it becomes.

Simply because once the place gets so big that you don't know the person who shot you, you can't see the person who shot you and you can't yell abuse at him/her you may as well be sitting at home playing on broadband.

Simple as.
July 13, 2006 1:13:49 PM

Funny, works internet filter blocks that link as it's classified as a message board and yet websense still allows me to use this place....... I'll check it when I get home.

Also what I really meant to say in my last post was not ME getting shot but shooting other people :) 
July 13, 2006 7:08:45 PM

I am happy to see some of the LANs are alive and kicking. AL has been close to the heart as there are a lot of great people there and Rick and crew do a great job of making 200 people seem like your best friends. There is always something to do and when you don't someone announces a game being hosted and then expect people to get their butts in there... even if they are new to the game. I can't help but remember getting beat by Kid in Armagetron.

Guys like Matt and PDXLAN are still growing and not catering to the stress of sponsorship.

For the Big boys in North America it has to be Quakecon. It is a LAN with a whole bunch of stuff going on.

For the tiny ones it is my local event called WNYGamers. 20-30 people in Bob's basement is fun. The larger ones are just as much fun and 50-100 people can still feel the same.

I miss the assortment of events that existed. I really would hate to see something so fun become extinct. There is a need to socialize outside the realm of Vent, TS, and IM... and I don't mean inside of WoW.


So where you guys LAN game?
July 16, 2006 9:51:26 AM

WOW to see somebody from tomshardware talk about corporate blunders taking over good community based nething is a joke, take a look around this webpage is COVERD in advertisements from everywhere... google ads all over, links to advertisements in reviews, banners in the middle of articles i dont think tomshardware is anybody to talk about how the corporate world is taking over when they give into corporations to generate ad revenues. lol like comcast telling is "are there really people who obsess about how to make the internet better" lawl bu** fu***** sh** so whil ethe author may be legitimate as i think he is, post it somewhere where i can read the article without having to look away from all the bullsh** that he was coming down on so hard...

wow
July 17, 2006 2:32:31 AM

wow man, chill a bit. Every site out there needs to make $ somehow. From firingsquad to [H], they all have adds to generate revenue. Generally the "better" the site (read: tougher/reliable testers) the more they need money to support that. You cannot possibly expect it all to come for free do you? Money makes it possible, just a fact of life.

Get over it.
July 17, 2006 2:46:27 AM

thats[/b] bullshit, google is making more money then ibm now and doesnt have a single ad on google.com except occasionaly for the google bar. But thats one of the reasons they areee larger then ibm... because of their clean webpage Also sites like resellerratings.com and pricegrabber have strict no ad policies the SAME thing that tomshardware CANdo.... but they dont cuz now that they have put ads up they rely on them. So if it is just the way things are and i need to get over it then tell the same thing to the author of this article cuz i see no difference between what hes talking about and what is displayed on this very page...
July 17, 2006 1:46:59 PM

he is talking about the removal of the fun and "feel" of the smaller lan's when corporate interests become the focus. In the case of computer hardware review sites, I still get the same feel and (even better) reviews (it seems anyway) and I pretty much ignore adds. They permeate the 'net, and are how most of the $ is made. If no $ is to be made, the sites dry up.

Adds are simply the way of most internet sites. I have just come to expect it, and ignore it just the same. That may mean I am de-sensitized to it, but I just think that whining about something that is not gonna change does not help.

Google is an exception of course, but they have an entire code base dedicated to adds and getting them hooked to searches. It is just much more subtle. Perhaps it is better when sites are obvious about their intent w/ the adds instead of the slight of hand google is doing? (subjective I know..) But I digress.
July 17, 2006 3:40:35 PM

Quote:
WOW to see somebody from tomshardware talk about corporate blunders taking over good community based nething is a joke, take a look around this webpage is COVERD in advertisements from everywhere... google ads all over, links to advertisements in reviews, banners in the middle of articles i dont think tomshardware is anybody to talk about how the corporate world is taking over when they give into corporations to generate ad revenues. lol like comcast telling is "are there really people who obsess about how to make the internet better" lawl bu** fu***** sh** so whil ethe author may be legitimate as i think he is, post it somewhere where i can read the article without having to look away from all the bullsh** that he was coming down on so hard...

wow


Amazing the rubbish some people will spout. The ads on THG don't impact the quality of the site and given the money they generate it could be inferred that they improve the site.

On the otherhand the more money a lan generates the bigger it tends to get leading to general anonymity and it's not as fun. Things like wandering into a lan and having the organisers and regulars know you is something that can't be beaten by being a nameless face in a sea of gamers.
July 17, 2006 4:15:53 PM

I have only ever been to one LAN party in my life, a small one in Scotland called ‘Playtime LAN’. Must have had about 25 - 30 people there and by the end of it I must say I really enjoyed it. It had competitions in everything from Battlefield 2 to Counter Strike, with prizes such as GFX cards & bulletproof vests (Can see why you need one in Glasgow :lol: ). This thing was completely funded by the people that ran it as well, not even sponsored.

I don’t know what it is like at the big events but at the start you got the usual not very social types being fairly nasty but as the night carried on everyone in the room was more or less becoming friends and having a laugh (beer helped). So I believe you can have a good time at LANs you just need to choose them well. I my self would never go to the big ones because. And it has been said, it would just feel to industrial to an extent where it would be fairly boring (practically like gaming on the internet).

Oh and a note on adverts, the adverts this website use are amongst the most annoying on the face of the Internet… I mean who wants a window popping up every time you scroll your mouse cursor over a green word blocking what you are reading… Not me, that’s for sure. Oh and Google does have adds… lots of adds… Its called ‘Google Add Words’ and they are at the right hand side of the page every time you do a search.
July 18, 2006 9:25:35 PM

I think this article was dead on. Organizations like the WSVG seem to be going around "buying out" LANs like the CPL and LANWar without anyone really saying anything. The other problem is that this takes important funding away from smaller LAN groups and leave everyone with fewer options.

As a LAN Party Administrator myself, it's obvious that things could go really wrong if this continues. Sponsors want to connect with gamers, so you really can't blame them. We can't blame LAN Admins for wanting to turn a profit either ... it takes hundreds to thousands of hours to pull off an event sometimes, and doing something because you love it doesn't pay the bills or buy new equipment.

I believe that the problem is that a few people are abusing the system. It will sort itself out -- just give it some time. Sponsors aren't stupid, and neither are gamers.
August 4, 2006 7:12:32 PM

I have gone to fragapalooza now for 2 years (my only mass lan party more then 12) which i admit is not a long time but wow over a year did the event sure change. Last year there was nno news crews and such this year intel decided to release their new duo 2 core thing there and and news crews crawling around the whole weekend because of it. So I made my case glow (not for the news crews was done before i even atteneded frags for the first time) to show it off i don't mind having a few pictures taken but when camera crews are pestering me or my girlfriend because she is female, and the news crews are pestering gamers it upsets me. Frags does need the attention but i'm not sure if that was the right kind of attention. Other things of course were great but i really don't want news crews crwling around.
August 22, 2006 2:54:17 AM

I had a lan party at my house about a week ago and we had a blast. I love lan parties!!
August 30, 2006 1:44:20 PM

I attended my first MML/WSVG in Louisville this year after joining a gaming clan and hearing about all the fun that our group has had over the last three years at this event. Upon arriving and setting up, it was a constant "Welcome to the World Series of Video Games sponsored by Intel" over the speakers for three days. I had my headset turned all the way up and it still couldn't drown out the announcements. There was even a live band scheduled to play right behind where our group was sitting and the sound check was even louder. We left to avoid the mind numbing noise and sat in a hotel room watching HBO for a few hours.

This was a bit of a disappointment to me. I don't want corporate mumbo jumbo forced down my throat and overcoming the footsteps of an upcoming frag. Will I go again if our clan decides that this is the LAN that everyone is behind so that I can see them all again? Probably so, but nonetheless I will bitch.
August 30, 2006 2:15:59 PM

live band is cool man.

noise is the way of life at a LAN.

if you don't like noise and announcements then maybe a LAN is not your deal?

wasn't meant as an argument or a slam, just observation. ;) 
August 30, 2006 2:22:59 PM

i love bands as much as the next person, but couldn't the band have been outside or somewhere else instead of right behind us?

i would have liked ot have been to the first MML to see it for what it was as comparison to what it has become. don't get me wrong, i had a great time visiting all of the guys from our clan and had a blast during our frag fests. there was just some room for improvement that's all. nothing is perfect.
August 30, 2006 2:27:03 PM

fair enough.
August 30, 2006 8:01:29 PM

I will agree about LANs being noisy in general but they definatly could have toned down the anoucnements and done something about that band. I was on the other side of the hall and it was louder than when i saw linkin park front row and thats through noise canceling headphones. 8O
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