A new eGames tournament, held in similar fashion to the Olympics, will make its debut this summer alongside the Summer Olympics in Rio.
The competition, run by the new International eGames Committee (IEGC) was launched as part of this week’s London Games Festival. Already among the countries confirmed to enter the tournament are Britain, Canada, Brazil and USA.
But in a twist from the traditional eSport reward system, winners will be awarded with medals and adding a feather to their national pride hats rather than cash prizes for the winners.
In the future, the eGames will take place in every Olympic year, both summer and winter. Future tournaments has already been planned – Pyeongchang in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020.
National qualifiers for the event will also be held domestically every other year to form the teams for every upcoming eGames event. Competing countries will send mixed-sex squads of professional video gamers, aged over 18, to play in tournaments held in Olympic venues.
According to the official eGames website, this summer’s inaugural event will be a two-day pop-up tournament in Brazil “to showcase the eGames to the world of competitive gaming and attract further partners”.
eSports has been a huge business in recent years, with revenues stemming from broadcasting coverage and subscription fees boasting figures that reach up to billions of dollars. Top teams are thought to win upwards of a million dollars per year.
Nevertheless, the announcement of eGames had been met with much mixed reactions. Pao Bago, an eSport journalist had the following to say on twitter:
Chester King, chief marketing officer for non-profit organisation the IEGC, said: “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.”