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Gimmick or Genius?

A new gaming site lets gamers place wagers on their games, but is this enough to keep the website afloat?

In the gaming world, the only thing better than beating the game is beating others in said game. The feeling of omnipotent pwnage received from being the last man or woman standing after a frantic deathmatch keeps many players online looking for bigger and better competition. Most gamers simply play for bragging rights but Bringit.com wants players to put their money where their controllers are – literally.

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Currently in beta, gaming site Bringit.com is an online community that allows gamers the world over to go head to head in the pursuit of cold, hard cash. Gamers with a Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or Xbox 360 can play one-on-one, multiplayer or tournament matches. The site currently supports a handful of games including Call of Duty 4, Gears of War 2, FIFA Soccer 08, Madden 08, Guitar Hero World Tour, and NBA 2K9. Players brave enough to take the plunge deposit their money into a secure Bringit account via PayPal, credit card, or money order. During the game, all wagers are held in escrow until the winner is confirmed, after which the money is transferred into his or her account. The minimum bet is $5 the maximum is $500.

Bringit manages to stay out of the choppy waters encountered by Bodog.net and other online gambling sites because video games are classified as games of skill. However there are nine states where this doesn’t fly and residents cannot participate. The site generates profits by charging a 10% service fee on every wager as well as a $4 withdrawal fee when players retrieve their winnings.

While Bringit looks like it can be a successful venture, many questions remain unanswered. Hardcore gamers looking for a way to really test their skills would gravitate towards this, but can the same be said for more mainstream gamers? Is the added thrill of putting money on the line enough to sustain a viable community in light of the current economic downturn and competition with established and wildly popular gaming communities like Xbox Live? Microsoft’s online community boasts over 10 million users spurred on solely from the thrill of competition. Is the idea of having a World of Poker-esque community for gaming interesting and innovative enough to survive or will this site go the way of Sony Dreamcast – to that big landfill in the sky?

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