Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) founder Angel Munoz has discussed in an interview with Forbes the impact that his events had in eSports and his plans for the future.
Back in 1997, Munoz officially launched the CPL, which was a pioneer in terms of competitive video game tournaments, and for more than a decade, it held 60 events all over the globe and handed out more than USD$3,000.000.00 in cash prizes.
Almost six years have passed since the last CPL event, but players and fans alike still hold the memory of those tournaments dear as they staged some of the most nail-bitting matches and intense rivalries ever.
In 2010, both the CPL and the Cyberathlete Amateur League (CAL) were sold to WoLong Ventures, an investment and management company based in Singapore, but that was not the end of the video game road for Munoz, who recently launched Mass Luminosity, a social media community aimed at "creating powerful experiences for gamers and technology enthusiasts worldwide."
In this interview, Munoz talks about his new project, but also the creation of the CPL and the role that live streaming had in his events, among other subjects.
Can you talk about the early days of eSports and how you saw the Cyberathlete Professional League(CPL) grow over time?
Branding and advertising have always been tricky proposals in the gaming industry, as hardcore gamers normally reject both. The original idea was to brand large technology companies in a gaming environment that would be exciting for both the gamers and our corporate partners. It occurred to us that a videogame competition presented as a professional sport could be the right combination for both branding and advertising. So with that in mind we launched the CPL in the summer of 1997. The exponential growth of the league was completely unprecedented; we went from a small localized event to a worldwide recognized league in a matter of four years. Our events would attract thousands of gamers, we had official qualifiers in countries across five continents and by 2005 we were offering $1 million in cash prizes.
What impact do you think having live streaming back then would have had on the CPL?
Live play-by-play commentary was part of our events as early as 1999, and later we added in-game broadcasting (or streaming) using Half-Life TV, more commonly known as HLTV, which was officially launched by Valve in summer of 2001. According to some public sources, the current HLTV world record stands at 40,000 simultaneous spectators for the CPL finals in 2004. Additionally, back then we used Internet Relay Chat (IRC) as a data feed during our live tournaments, and would have about 100,000 people on our channels. These, of course, were in addition to the thousands of spectators attending our events. At its peak, the CPL hosted the most watched and most exciting gaming tournaments in the world.
To read the complete interview with Munoz, head over to Forbes' website.