There will be an esports tournament in Tokyo leading up to the 2020 Olympics.
Tech giant Intel has announced that it will be hosting competitions, one for Street Fighter V and another for Rocket League. Both will have a $250,000 prize pools.
In the spirit of the Olympics, 12 nations will be represented in the events. The tournament’s open qualifiers will kick off early next year, followed by national qualifiers in March 2020. This will determine the best four players from each country. They will then come together to form a team for the next stage of the competition.
A live qualifier event will take place in Poland in June and will feature 20 teams. The group stage will determine which teams will represent the Americas, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region. The final seven teams will then move on to the finals.
Starting June 22, the Intel World Open will have the seven teams competing in Japan for the title and the cash prizes.
While Intel has a big presence at the 2020 Olympics, including a possible drone light show, esports have yet to be fully integrated into the Olympics themselves. For now, the nearby tournament may be the closest esports get to being in the highly traditional sporting event.
The International Olympic Committee may have co-sponsored the Intel World Open, but they have noted that many popular competitive games are “not compatible with the Olympic values.” They committee has even stated that esports becoming an Olympic medal event in the future is “premature.”
Even though the IOC is cautious about allowing competitive gaming into the Olympics, they’re no stranger to supporting esports as its own entity. The committee co-sponsored the Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang StarCraft 2 tournament that took place before the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The Intel World Open seems to be a continuation of this tradition.
IOC’s sports director Kit McConnell told The Hollywood Reporter that they were “excited” to bring the Intel World Open to Japan as a lead up to the Olympic Games.
“As we explore the engagement between esports and the Olympic Movement, we are looking forward to learning from this event and continuing to engage with the passionate esports community from around the world,” McConnell said.