The guys who founded "World Gaming," a website that lets gamers win money while sitting on their couch, thought it was a great idea.
But they weren't the only ones who thought so.
Woodrow Levin also had a similar idea. Levin is the founder and CEO of BringIt, another new website dedicated to helping gamers set up matches in order to win (or lose) money on a variety of games and tournaments.
So what's the main difference between BringIt and World Gaming? You'll be able to wager on games played on the Wii right from the get-go. But how? Levin told me it was simple...
Since there's no automated reporting system for the Wii like those used for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network games, players will have to self-report the outcomes of their games. So if you win or lose a bout of "Mario Kart" against an opponent (who you must've shared a Friend Code with already), it's up to the you to report it. Players can also communicate using the site's messaging and chat system.
"It's a relatively easy and simple process to self report," Levin said. "We use the eBay-like player feedback system to weed out bad apples and have transparency on the site. If there's a dispute, we have a proprietary dispute resolution system which is directly connected to our trained, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week customer service center. Based on the dispute and proof provided by the players, we're able to quickly and fairly resolve the issues."
I can see throngs of "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" players ready to lay their money down, but I wasn't so sure about the core Wii user -- namely, casual gamers. In our meeting last month, Levin told me that he thought the Wii would be great for BringIt because of the installed user base. "There's so much opportunity [with the Wii] because everyone is playing," he said. "And it's easy to use; there's not such a steep learning curve."
"I think we can be an asset to the Wii community, and a tool which fellow 'Mario Kart' and 'Rock Band' players will welcome."
While there are indeed many people playing the Wii, I asked Levin if they'd be interested in betting money with a website like BringIt. "Absolutely, I think that the Wii is an awesome console, but they made it a bit difficult to connect with other people who want to play online," he said. "I think we can be an asset to the Wii community, and a tool which fellow 'Mario Kart' and 'Rock Band' players will welcome. Whether you're hardcore or more casual, there is a shared trait of wanting to interact and compete against your friends or other players -- throw in the mix the opportunity to play for real cash and it gets really fun."
And although the U.S. economy is now officially in a recession, Levin wasn't worried about his start-up thriving. "I think the economy is tough for everyone right now, so it's probably not the perfect environment for anyone to launch any business," Levin admitted. "I'm not an economist so I can't say whether it will hurt us or not. But video games are a really fun form of entertainment for a low cost. People already bought the consoles and the games... so hopefully we can provide a service that people are going to enjoy and use a lot."
"I'm not concerned with what the competition is doing because I know that we're going to be the best product out there..."
As for the competition, I asked what really makes his site different than World Gaming. He wasn't too worried about them either. "I'm not concerned with what the competition is doing because I know that we're going to be the best product out there and people will migrate to what the best product is," he said matter-of-factly. "Additionally I think this is a huge market. We would be naive to think that there won't be other companies out there, but we'll just continue to deliver more and more for the gamers."
BringIt is currently in open beta in 41 states and supports various titles on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii. Those who are 18 and over can use the site with major credit cards and PayPal, and wagers can range from $1 to $100,000 with a 10 percent service fee.
Do you see yourself using a service like this to place your bets?