UK government backs Olympics for eSports

egamesThe UK government is getting into esports, backing a new tournament to run alongside the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Simply called the eGames, the competition bills itself as “the pinnacle of competitive gaming”, and will start with a two-day pop-up event in Rio itself this summer. Future eGames events will coincide with both Winter and Summer Olympics, with Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 already planned.

The competition will be overseen by the newly-established International eGames Committee, or IEGC, a non-profit “set up with the aim of positively shaping the future of competitive gaming”. This body will announce advisory boards for each partner country.

The membership of the UK’s own division is to be confirmed on 1 May, but will broadly consist of “a mixture of key esports, sports and media industry individuals and representation from UKIE and Pinewood.”

“The eGames promises to be an exciting venture that will give eSports competitors across the UK even more opportunities to showcase their talents on an international stage,” said Ed Vaizey, minister for culture. “I welcome the ambitions of the IEGC and their efforts to promote the UK as a leading nation in the eSports sector.”

Each country will have a national squad of gamers, who must be over 18 years old, who will play in both team and individual games. During non-Olympic years National Qualifiers will be held domestically to determine each countries participants. While the organisers specify teams to be “male and female”, it’s ambiguously worded as to whether they will be mixed-gender teams or if each country will field one male and one female team. Currently, there are only four nations set to compete – eTeam Britain, eTeam Canada, eTeam Brazil and eTeam USA – though other countries are welcome to join in.

The eGames will be held after each sporting Olympics finishes but take place in Olympic arenas, with teams competing for national pride and medals – the standard gold, silver, and bronze – but that’s it. In keeping with physical Olympians, who are awarded no prize money from the UK’s Olympic Committee for winning events at the quadrennial sporting events, players in the egames will also not earn anything for virtual victories.

“In line with other globally established sporting events, the eGames will be a medal only competition, with no prize money, but the opportunity to take home gold for your country,” the organisers say.

via Wiredphoto

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