The Video Game Channel We Deserve

I will miss G4, but I hold on hope - hope that it something will rise from their ashes stronger and brighter. G4 evolved from TechTV because of a changing culture. TechTV was ahead of its time, but G4 missed a prime opportunity to make an impact on gaming and technology culture - similar to what ESPN did for sports.

The biggest movers and shakers at the box office revolve around caped crusaders. Comics are no longer a box in your closet, it is the sold out movie at the theater near you. This success has bled into the small screen and video games are taking notice. Mass Effect and Dragon Age both have companion animated films, Halo has Forward unto Dawn, and game universes are expanding beyond the disk in your console. Not only are we getting more game supplements but also we are watching people play the games. Some of the most popular channels on Twitch.TV are streams of games, and the yearly fighting game tournament Evo generates millions of views. Gamers have wanted more, and we are getting more - but the outlet remains limited to our consoles and our favorite sites.

Now the inevitable has begun. Gaming reality shows have began to pop up, and regardless of your opinion (my opinion is high) of King of the Nerds on TBS - these shows are coming. They will be coming, and they will be sporadic. A channel that has a strong grasp on the community will take that knowledge and create successful programming. A channel with a blend of original programing, and high quality eSports will thrive in the environment we made for ourselves throughout the various hodgepodge streams on the internet.

The recent NY Times article brought the quote "realistically, guys who are into gaming are not necessarily watching television" from Bonnie Hammer chairman of NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. I totally beg to differ. Attack of the Show had one of the most dedicated communities and great second screen experience with their use of the Twitter wall. If I am watching TV, I have my iPad and my phone within an arms reach at all times. If I am playing games I am streaming some video on one of those said devices. We watch shows - we watch what we like - we won't watch another episode of Cops. We just don't watch crap. A fresh channel can utilize multiscreen experience and generate an amazing user experience.

Let me go through a dream lineup on my realistic tech channel:

  • 5-6PM: Some sort of news show - with high quality journalistic features seen on our regular tech sites. (Sportscenter)
  • 6-7PM: Spliced podcasts from various outlets from sites like Polygon, IGN, Gametrailers, The Verge, etc (NFL Tonight)
  • 8-10PM: Original programing like a "King of the Nerds", scripted TV, eSports run downs, compliments to games like Halo Forward unto Dawn etc
  • 10-11PM: Talk show or late night show.

(All subject to change due to live game events and the rest of the hours would be filled with Skyrim stories)

ESPN shows live sports nearly every night - why couldn't this channel do that?

ESPN runs Sportscenter all hours of the day peppered with more focused versions of Sportscenter like NFL Tonight. Then during prime time they show at least one live sporting event. After that the Sportscenter cycle begins again. The video game channel would have a Sportscenter which would be our news - and then an hour show of Fighting Game Community tonight (example). Then a LoL match between two teams vying for a top seed in the upcoming tournament. I would get to see live gaming in high quality, learn something new, and it would be live. Not an edited tape delay piece at the end of a show.

I want to watch eSports on TV but I want to watch a professional stream. I know we won't see college basketball type coverage of a game - but we can get close. This channel will help that. Demand high quality coverage, then the community for the game will grow, then even more ratings come in. It will be a circle.

We can talk about cord cutting all we want, and the most likely cord cutters are the tech savy who play video games and know all about tech. But I haven't cut a cord yet, and I won't anytime soon because of channels like ESPN.

They thought that ESPN would not succeed and that the Sportcenter idea would get stale quick. That quickly escalated multiple channels and they have been broadcasting world wide for decades. But more importantly it changed the way we see sports. No longer was a basketball game limited to the night before or the sports page the next day. It began the marketing revolution. We began to know the players, the owners, the teams, and the coaches. A video game channel can easily do this. This channel could become the catalyst for the eSports and the scene they crave.

G4 going away can be a good thing, because when one thing dies another comes along and takes its place, evolving into what its predecessor could not. Will we see this channel? Would we watch this channel? Is this dream lineup already dated and not feasible? I want to see it attempted. I want this channel to exist.

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