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  • Sunday, September, 2021| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:45:55
  • Intel is the Official Esports Event Partner of the Olympic Games

    Published on July 14, 2021

    The world’s largest semiconductor chip brand, Intel, recently became an event partner with the International Olympic Committee and will be hosting one of the biggest virtual tournaments as a run-up to the Games. The esports event was originally scheduled to be held in Katowice, a city of roughly 300,000 people located in Poland, a month before the Olympic Games. However, the global pandemic struck which incapacitated the entire world and caused an immediate postponement of Intel’s virtual esports tournament as well as the Olympic Games itself.

    But things are back on track and so too is Tokyo 2020, even though it will be held in 2021, as well as Intel’s mega-tournament which will feature Street Fighter V: Champion Edition and Rocket League, two of the most popular esports titles, with a prize pool of $250,000. Online qualifiers begin on June 1st and registration is open to anyone of any level.

    Marcus Kennedy, General Manager of Intel’s Gaming and Esports Division stated, “We are supremely excited to bring back the Intel World Open as a virtual tournament. We wish to continue raising the stakes for esports. This Intel World Open exemplifies Intel’s global leadership in PC Gaming and Esports while also delivering some of the best tournaments on the world’s biggest sports stage.”

    Pandemic Boosts Esports

    Although the world is slowly awakening after nearly 15 months in hibernation, esports is one industry that benefited from the shutdown. The biggest boost occurred early in the pandemic when professional sports were temporarily put on ice and people began seeking a recreational alternative until their teams returned to action.

    That was a void esports filled seamlessly and it wasn’t just the popularity of playing the games but a brisk betting market developed as well. Betting odds on the best sportsbooks began cropping up, giving birth to a previously unexplored market and cultivating a brand-new audience that would never have existed.

    And in a startling bit of hypocrisy, the World Health Organization, a group that had previously coined the term “gaming disorder” to emphasize the dangers of excessive gaming, announced a new campaign during the pandemic called #PlayApartTogether. Apparently, the deleterious mental health effects of gaming were suddenly negligible enough to coordinate a global initiative around the very activity that they had previously denounced. Things that make you go…hmmm.

    But video game publishers have seen sales soar. Consider the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands, as a glowing example. This expansion pack broke the record for most sales in a single day, selling 3.7 million copies on the day of its launch.

    During the pandemic, Blizzard Entertainment announced their franchise game, World of Warcraft, had recorded and maintained its highest volume of players on subscription programs ahead, and after, any World of Warcraft expansion pack over the last 10 years. Total gaming hours almost doubled during the pandemic versus the same time the previous year.

    “It’s been a huge thrill to enter this whole new dimension of the Warcraft universe together with millions of players around the world,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “It’s been equally rewarding to see players enjoying all of the new features and content in Shadowlands—whether they’re exploring new aspects of their characters with the Covenants or setting foot in WoW for the first time with the new-player experience in Exile’s Reach—and there’s much more to come.”

    Gaming has become a social activity with a much wider audience due to the COVID-19 shutdown. More people are becoming accustomed to attending parties remotely and that is a byproduct of the pandemic that is likely to remain long after our mask-wearing days are over. They will, eventually, be over, right?

    “People are at home, they have nothing to do, they are not commuting,” says Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, explaining the explosive growth of the gaming industry. “You have more time and you’re bored.”

    Streaming services like Twitch and gaming platforms like Steam have all seen a monumental surge during the pandemic. And although those lofty numbers will decline as the world opens up, the world of gaming has come front and center for the whole world to see. At least that is one silver lining from an otherwise dreary point in our civilization’s history.