Reality shows are entering the videogame world.
Bunim/Murray Prods., creator of “The Real World” and “The Challenge,” has announced plans to team with CBS Interactive division GameSpot to launch “The Controller,” an online show based on Electronic Arts’ upcoming action shooter vidgame “Battlefield 3.”
The show will air weekly on GameSpot.com starting Friday, pairing six professional gamers with six amateurs to compete for a $50,000 prize.
Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley will host the program, with Internet sensation Freddie Wong (aka FreddieW) making appearances. EA will produce the show in one of the publisher’s more unusual marketing efforts for “Battlefield 3,” which it considers crucial to the company’s holiday period.
Over the eight-week broadcast window, pro gamers will train nongamers (including “The Real World” cast members Ayiiia Elizarraras, Leroy Garrett and Chet Cannon) to compete in “Battlefield 3”-themed challenges. The pro gamers will also be required to compete in physical challenges.
“The Controller” is centered around one of the highest-profile games of the holiday season (“Battlefield 3” aims to knock Activision’s “Call of Duty” franchise off its industry leader perch) but isn’t the only videogame reality show in the works.
Spike TV and Sony are teaming to create a reality show centering on the upcoming game “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.” Dubbed “Uncharted 3: Race to the Ring,” the show is filming this month and will air before the end of the year on Spike. Details of the project are being kept under wraps, but in casting, producers looked for people who identified as “fans of adventure, videogame enthusiasts, puzzle solvers and risk takers.”
Sony has done reality TV centered around games before as well. “The Tester” is about to enter its third season on the PlayStation Network. The show pits gaming fans against each other in a series of sometimes humiliating events for a job as a game tester at Sony; 51 Minds, which helped create “The Surreal Life,” “Flavor of Love” and “Rock of Love,” co-developed that series with Sony.
The “Tester” prize is a questionable one. Game testers famously earn fairly low wages and must work brutally long hours. Such a job is, however, a foot in the door to the industry and is how many people have climbed the ladder to development.