PGR3

Last weekend was a great weekend in high definition sports viewing, right?  There was the Big XII Championship game, the Pac-10 Championship game, and a prime time Monday Night Football matchup of the defending conference champion Eagles and the up and coming Seattle Seahawks.

Unfortunately it wasn't. In those three games, all of which I tried to watch, the winning teams were up by a combined 98-9 at halftime so I was looking for something else to view pretty quickly. College basketball in December bores me, there was no hockey, NASCAR is done which left me with?

My Xbox 360 and Project Gotham Racing 3. By far the best combo for high definition sports no matter the day, no matter the time. In this version of Bizarre's racer, they unveiled a new feature called "Gotham TV" which automatically selects and broadcasts the highest ranked players racing live online. Ask yourself, if someone walked up to you right now and told you the best street racer in the world was racing his Ferarri F50 through NYC streets and taking on all comers, would you watch? Read on my friend.

Quite simply, ESPN isn't doing much. They've got two high definition channels and STILL don't have anything on for much of the day. Even when they show a game in HD, when it replays later it's in SD. Sure I could just play the game myself, but I was eating dinner and my PGR3 skills don't mesh well w/ alfredo (Come challenge me if you want to see).

Shinjuku Night via Xboxyde

I tuned into the Gotham TV channel and instantly was directed to a head to head match between two top drivers on a street course in New York. Even more than when you're playing, watching a race gives a great opportunityt o appreciate how well the city has been modeled; Las Vegas in the daytime or Tokyo at night is my favorite. On the downside, while having only three cities plus the Nürburgring isn't a problem in play because of the varied tracks, it can get repetitive when watching races over the same bridge over and over. Here's a few things they could do to really put this over the top to attract fans of watching other people play.

  • A live feed on Xbox.com. Many people who would be interested may never see it, because they don't own the game, remove that hurdle.
  • Include the ability to share your saved replays with others. I'd love to show you the clip of me launching a TVR clear over a Mustang off of a jump during a race, landing the jump and taking the lead, but I can't.
  • Save replays from Gotham TV, have fans vote on the best and show them on TV once a week. It's not like they don't already buy the ad time and G4, nobody is watching Fastlane.
  • Include the ability to talk to other people watching the race/see how many people are watching. This would really help build up the sense of community among people watching.
Overall however the experience is great, I can pick my own soundtrack from my Windows XP machine and at any hour of the day I have 3-8 races to choose from that I can watch live or tape-delayed from the beginning. I can follow any car and use any camera angle including the amazingly realistic in-car view. Almost forgot to mention, for car chase fans, they hijacked the camera angle used most notably in my favorite movie and one of the best car chase movies ever, "Ronin", for the replay angles, so you can watch a driver from a floating camera several feet ahead and above the car pointed back towards it.

I can get all the excitement of your average F1 race any time I want, and better yet, challenge the winner afterwards. Overall, a much more compelling experience thanother sporting event broadcast in high definition, even if it is just a game. Maybe someday virtual sporting events will even be on a par with the real thing. I'll see you on Xbox Live, or maybe you'll see me first on Gotham TV.