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Web2Zone weeds out the pretenders.

Sparked into life by Samsung America in 2001, the Web2Zone threw open its doors to gamers and cyber citizens a year later, with a 10,000-square-foot flagship center in New York City’s East Village. And what a scene behind those doors–just one step inside is enough to make even a casual gamer swoon. The center boasts more than 100 Alienware Area-51 PCs, flat-panel monitors, fiber-optic broadband connections, and ergonomic computer chairs. You’ve got to love a place that uses T-1s as a back-up system.

If the thought of stopping by for an hour or two (OK, seven or eight) seems seductive, imagine how sweet it would be to play a tournament inside such a cyber haven. Web2Zone is eager to turn such imaginings into reality. It hosted the 2002 World Cyber Games U.S. Finals, and sent the winners on to the tournament’s finals in Korea. Those who weren’t playing “Quake 3,” “Counter-Strike,” or “Starcraft” could watch the games on an outdoor JumboTron or check out a cybercast done by Team Sports Network. As well as getting Team USA into shape, the center has also sponsored teams for CyberAthlete Professional League championships and tournaments.

Gamers keen to get in on some tournament action via Web2Zone don’t have to wait for such high-end events, however. After all, doesn’t the world run on Internet time? The center hosts competitions often, usually several times a month. Although mainly “Counter-Strike” is on the tourney schedule, gamers who aren’t competing can choose from a host of in-house games like “Age of Empires,” “Aliens vs. Predator 2,” “Battlefield 1942,” and so very many others.

Think you might be good enough at “Counter-Strike” to score some sponsorship? Then the center lets you enter your clan in their open and invite tournaments to score points. At the end of the league season, the team with the most points, not surprisingly, becomes a Web2Zone-backed players club. After all, wouldn’t you rather be inside, trying to make Team USA, than outside, staring longingly at that JumboTron?

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