Video-Game Olympics To Be Introduced In Rio 2016

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A new eGames international gaming tournament will make its debut in Rio during this summer’s Olympic Games.

The event, launched as part of this week’s London Games Festival, offers medals and national pride rather than cash prizes for the winners.

The competition, backed by the UK government, will be run by the new International eGames Committee (IEGC).

Britain, Canada, Brazil and the USA are the only confirmed entrants so far with more expected to follow.

In Olympic years, both summer and winter, the eGames will take place in the host cities – with future tournaments planned for Pyeongchang in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020.

During other years, national qualifiers will be held domestically to produce teams for the next competition.

Competing countries will send mixed-sex squads of professional video gamers, aged over 18, to play in tournaments held in Olympic venues.

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”, according to the official eGames website.

Competitive gaming, known as eSports, is a big business and professional tournaments offer thousands of pounds in prize money.

Top players are thought to earn upwards of £1m a year.

There has been a mixed reaction to the news, with games journalist Pao Bago writing on Twitter: “When will new organisers learn that best teams respond to the best incentives?

“Last night’s eSports Olympics announcement was great and all but giving shiny medals and zero money is suspect.”

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.”

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