While athletes from world over have been fighting out for medals at the Olympics in Rio, an Olympics of e-sports is being planned to be achieved by a gaming company that showcased a gaming tournament to that effect at the Rio Games.
Unlike other e-game tournaments, the participants would be awarded medals instead of any form of prize money.
Competitive gaming where teams or individual gamers play each other while other people watch in stadiums or online is known as e-sports of e-game tournaments in the internet based gaming world.
The so called e-Olympics games will debut in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018, where the Winter Olympics takes place by the International eGames Group, a company backed by the U.K. government which is hosting the games.
Players taking part in these e-games would have the chance to take home gold for their country as it will be a medals-only competition. A national squad playing in teams or as individuals for different games would represent their countries. The finalists who would participate in South Korea for the inaugural eGames tournament would have to go through a set of national level qualifiers in their own countries which would start in 2017.
The International eGames Group organized a two-day competition as a showcase for the games in Rio where the Olympics are being held. Twitch, a company Amazon bought in 2014 for nearly $1 billion, would stream the games throughout the globe.
According to SuperData Research, with the market set to be worth around $1.23 billion by 2019, e-sports is a big business. Big prize money is offered in many e-tournaments that are held around the world. For example, a prize pool of $20 million was at stake in a tournament called Dota 2 International this weekend.
Since e-sports was becoming too focused on money, the company wanted to start their own Olympics-style tournament, said Chester King, the chief executive of the International eGames Group.
“The reason why we have established what we are doing on the eGames is the fact that we were concerned that e-sports was going too much down the poker route, it was all about money rather than national pride,” King told the media in an interview on Monday.
The International eGames Committee (IEGC) is organizing the tournament in South Korea and the International eGames Group was set up to manage the commercial and sponsorship rights on behalf IEGC.
With a a potentially lucrative audience for advertisers, e-sports has been able to draw a millennial audience. E-sports could attract big names and King said he is looking for sponsors for the South Korea tournament.
“The growth is amazing at the moment and what’s interesting is there are a lot of brands getting into e-sports particularly because it’s the hard to reach demographic of children or people aged between 12 to 24 that aren’t actually watching TV anymore,” King said.
But since e-sports is a huge area of growth, big businesses are betting on it. While companies such as Intel are sponsors of major global e-sports tournaments, Microsoft bought a video game streaming service called Beam last week.
(Adapted from CNBC)