Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that 96 percent of all Danish boys play video games at least twice a week. And now Rasmussen can count himself as a gamer, too.
The Prime Minister visisted Denmark-based Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Astralis' headquarters and played some games with them. This was part of the Ministry of Culture's continued efforts to support the esports industry and break stereotypes about what it means to be a gamer in Denmark.
This includes sharing what pro players actually do for people in the country who may not be aware of what it means to play games professionally.
"They are in the cellars and the rooms behind closed doors and parents are thinking, ‘What are they actually doing?’ [Parents] can look at Astralis and see that gaming is about meeting people in real life. It’s about good sleeping habits [and] nutrition. It’s about physical activity," Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen called Astralis "role models" and believes continued efforts with the pro team will change the opinions of some of his colleagues who still feel that gaming is not a sport.
According to Astralis' Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, the Prime Minister didn't just play CS:GO. He also spent a couple of hours chatting with the team and listening to what the pro players had to say about the esports industry.
Astralis is currently one of the top teams to beat in Counter-Strike. This year they've placed first at two big events, including the Katowice major. They've already earned $675,000 this year and are likely to earn even more as the year continues.
Last year, Astralis received the coveted Intel Grand Slam championship title, which is awarded to the first team that wins four ESL or DreamHack Masters events within one calendar year. That earned them a cool $1 million.
But Rasmussen said that Astralis' mission is about more than just winning. They share the Prime Minister's views on making an impact in the esports industry.
"We’ve been through so much over the past two [to] three years that nothing really comes as a surprise anymore, but if we can contribute to making a difference for the gamers and esports in general, we love to be a part of it,” gla1ve said.
This wasn't Rasmussen's first time showing support for CS:GO. The Danish Prime Minister kicked off the Blast Pro Series tournament in Copenhagen in November of last year. He had been passionate about the industry before the Ministry of Culture stepped in, which has only helped to further his efforts.
The Danish government will be creating an esports panel in the near future. This will ensure the integrity of esports, fighting against cheating and other illegal activity.
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