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Intel to bring eSports to PyeongChang ahead of Olympic Winter Games
From:Xinhua  |  2017-11-04 01:49

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NEW YORK, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Intel announced Friday a plan to hold a eSports tournament at PyeongChang, South Korea, ahead of the Olympic Winter Games, bringing gaming experiences to Olympicians and fans.

Two games, StarCraft II and Steep Road to the Olympics, will highlight the Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang eSports tournament in February, 2018, which will be open to any player at any level via global online qualifiers in November.

16 players from 16 regions of the world will compete for 150,000 U.S. dollar award set for the StarCraft II in PyeongChang, and game kiosks featuring the Steep Road to the Olympics will deliver interactive gaming experiences throughout the Olympic Village for attendees and athletes.

Gregory Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation said: "Intel has been pushing the boundaries of eSports for well over a decade and our goal is to bring eSports to every global sporting stage. From the qualifying events to the groundbreaking Intel Extreme Masters tournament in PyeongChang, we see this as another important step in giving more people around the world a chance to experience the thrill of eSports."

Timo Lumme, managing director, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Television and Marketing Services, said: "We are proud to have our Worldwide TOP Partner Intel bring this competition to PyeongChang in the lead up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Following on from the Olympic Summit last week, the IOC will now explore eSport's relationship with the Olympic Movement further. This is the start of an exciting future and we're interested to see how this experience will play out."

The IOC have discussed the rapid development of "eSports" in a Summit on Oct. 28, and agreed "eSports are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement", according to a release of IOC.

ESports could be added to the Olympic program as an official medal sport in 2024 as the Paris bid committee had confirmed to talk with IOC and eSports representatives about the inclusion of competitive video gaming in France.

"This is an important first step," said John Bonini, Vice President and General Manager of ESports & Gaming of Intel. "This is a testing ground. We want to see how the fans react and we will take one step at a time."

"ESports is not like soccer or cricket, which have billions of fans, but it still has hundreds of millions of people. I think Olympics has noticed that growth, and connected it with the way of life found in the joy of effort," he added.