SPOnG met up with the British team behind Tournament.com earlier today, an impressive new service that will offer players the opportunity to convert their online gaming skills into cash prizes.
Tournament.com has to date announced an exclusive agreement with game publisher Valve, and is currently in discussions with “every other major publisher of online games” to set up other, similar exclusive deals, according to the company’s Managing Director, Marcus Pearcey (pictured, right).
Pearcey’s aim is to open up what they imagine and hope to be a huge, currently untapped market of gamers willing to pay a nominal amount of money to be in with a chance of winning big cash prizes.
The Valve exclusive means that once the service launches later next month you can sign up to play Counter-Strike
“Valve couldn’t offer this service themselves because it’s not their core business and we have a team of thirty full-time development and customer services staff to make sure we provide a seamless service,” Pearcey told SPOnG.
Tournament.com is currently in the last stages of an intensive beta trial with an impressive 10,000 testers ensuring the service is cheat-free and works as smoothly as possible.
Pearcey is adamant that Tournament.com is going to offer serious, skilled gamers the opportunity to make a living from their passion.
“We think that there should be an opportunity for the best gamers, should they wish, to even make a living out of playing professionally, with sponsorship deals and so on – just like, for example, professional snooker players do. Why is there a difference? In this way we hope to change the way gaming is perceived.”
So how does it work? To get involved players will have to download and launch the Tournament.com client (see pictures below), via which players can choose which type of game and match they want to play – maybe a ten-minute blast on Counter-Strike
with the option of pocketing a few quid or perhaps a blast in a perpetual, ongoing game of Half Life 2
where, if you get killed, you lose a dollar (currently worth around 50 pence) and if you kill another player, you gain a dollar. Simple, yet genius.
At this point, SPOnG remembered, we also had this idea over a pub table around five years ago, as we are sure many of you also have. The difference being, however, that the guys behind Tournament.com have gone out and raised the capital, developed the technology and set up a company to actually make it happen.
Obviously, players are going to have to be older than 18-years of age and will have to submit funds to their virtual wallet in the game via a credit card or PayPal account.
Unlike in Europe, online gambling is illegal in all fifty US states, but
(and this is where Tournament.com has seen the massive opportunity here) 36 of them make exceptions for skill-based gaming.
We’ll bring you the full Tournament.com interview and more news on which other titles and publishers will be getting involved in this intriguing and innovative ‘cash prize incentive’ service as and when we get it.
to have a look for yourself.