GameCenter Live Makes Hockey a Truly Personal Experience
October 25, 2011 10 Comments
Sports are meant to be a special, shared experience between a community of like-minded (or sometimes opposing-minded) believers in a team, or just in a sport itself. Typically you watch the games with family members or friends, or you head to a bar. Or you’ll head to the stadium/arena itself to get yourself closer to the whole experience. Sports typically begs for viewing in groups, and some would argue it was meant to be that way.
So what happens if you invent a product that’s the complete opposite of that?
That’s what the NHL’s Game Center Live and GCL app seem to positing. They’re taking what is typically a communal experience and individualizing it. It’s hard to gather at a lap top to watch a game. the iPad app, which you have to use headphones to even listen to, almost demands individuals to be viewing by themselves. Myself, I’ve tried to include my family in GameCenter Live (largely because the cable company wouldn’t let us have it for free despite offering us terrible service, thanks Verizon) but we just can’t sustain viewing on a smaller screen as we can on the ol’ HD TV.
Is it ideal? Perhaps not in some situations. But for the hockey fanatics among us – and I assume if you’re reading this website, you are – Game Center Live, and especially the iPad and PlayStation 3 version – are perfect. Those of us who have to write about the game have one stop access to everything we need to know about it. From detailed stats and 3D shot charts that provide highlights, to both home and away feeds of each game (though the CBC feeds need to be a little more available, as they do in Center Ice) that are automatically in high, if not HD, close to it quality on the iPad screen. If you like hockey more than anyone else in your household does by a wide margin, then Game Center Live is probably for you, considering your family likely doesn’t want you hogging the TV with a Winnipeg-Carolina game on Center Ice while there’s something on.
There have been a few technically flaws. There have been a couple of nights when GCL is completely unavailable on the iPad for seemingly no apparent reason. The music played during commercial breaks is abhorrent, and you are unable to view much intermission programming, including CBC’s Coach’s Corner and The NHL On TSN panel. But these are largely minor complaints for a service that allows your spoiled writer to watch pretty much any non-nationally televised hockey game whenever and wherever I want, all while providing much of the news and stats that NHL.com provides.
Game Center Live is the perfect supplement to the diehard hockey fan. The one who thinks there’s not enough on NHL Network or VERSUS and just wants to watch that lone Sunday or Monday night game when there’s nothing else on. If you love hockey enough to visit Puck the Media on a daily basis, I can heartily endorse it for you. If you’re a more casual fan, having Center Ice on retainer might be more your speed. But for the fan who makes hockey personal already, Game Center Live simply ups the ante.