Prepare your banners—an Olympics for eSports is coming soon.
The UK government announced this week that it is backing an initiative that could pave the way for the creation of an Olympic-like event for competitive video gaming.
Dubbed the eGames, this initiative will see players from around the world competing at various challenges. And just like the real Olympic Games, the winning “eAthletes” will not get any prize money, according to an Engadget report.
“This is not for profit initiative, [and] has been set up with the aim of positively shaping the future of competitive gaming. In line with other globally established sporting events, the eGames will be a medal only competition, with the opportunity to take home the gold,” a description of the event stated.
So far, already a handful of countries have already signed up for the Olympics of eSports, including Britain, Canada, Brazil and the United States. These countries are reportedly already forming their elite teams that will compete in the international tournaments set up by the International eGames Committee (IEGC).
The first event is slated to take place in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Games.
Competitive video gaming has already come a long way from back in the day, when the earliest arcade games inspired some fierce competition among friends. Now, eSports players can get university scholarships or even apply for pro visas in the United States and in Japan.
Several weeks ago, Japanese authorities awarded entertainment visas to two professional League of Legends players from South Korea—Ki Hon Han and Sang Ho Yun—who were drafted into an eSports team in Japan’s Chiba prefecture, Quartz reported.
ESL chairman Jens Hilgers recently told CalvinAyre.com that the competitive video gaming sector is already at a “critical mass,” complete with infrastructure that enable multiplayer network computer games to be played globally.
“eSports, based on all these different factors that come together to a critical point, is probably right now at a point where it’s really, I don’t want to say exploding, but it’s a critical mass in audience, and that opens bright opportunities,” Hilgers said.
Even brands have started noticing the “bright opportunities” of eSports. According to a Newzoo market report, companies like EIZO, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo re expected to spend a total of $325 million in sponsorships and advertising this year. The number represents an increase of 49 percent compared to last year’s figures, and Newzoo believes “growth is set to continue as more brands make their moves into the space.”