Esports Pop-Up Tournament Will Debut Alongside the Rio Summer Olympics


The gaming world is making another run at launching a full-scale tournament that is the equivalent of the Olympic Games. The attempt is backed by the UK government, which is supporting a pop-up tourney to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The competition is called the eGames and it intends to be “the pinnacle of competitive gaming.”

This is no easy task. Prior attempts at creating an Olympics for esports have been mixed. Samsung’s World Cyber Games proved to be successful, partly because it chipped in to offer prize money. Although the competition is not just about the money, gamers have reasons to be motivated by more than just national pride. Esports are big business and the players the eGames wants to attract have many options to play tournaments that offer significant prize money.

The esport tournament will start with a two-day pop-up event in Rio this summer. The event then hopes to scale to a larger competition. Future eGames events will coincide with both Winter and Summer Olympics, with the event being held every two years. The eGames is already organizing for Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020.

Taking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as its model, the competition has established a governing body, the International eGames Committee, or IEGC. This is a non-profit “set up with the aim of positively shaping the future of competitive gaming.” The IEGC will create advisory boards for each country that intends to field its own national teams.

In the UK, the membership of the board will be announced on May 1. you can expect it to consist of a broad mixture of top esports players, including media, developer and other industry individuals.

“The eGames promises to be an exciting venture that will give eSports competitors across the UK even more opportunities to showcase their talents on an international stage,” said Ed Vaizey, minister for culture. “I welcome the ambitions of the IEGC and their efforts to promote the UK as a leading nation in the eSports sector.”

Every country will field a national team of gamers. To qualify, the gamers must each be over 18 years old and available to play in both individual and team games. Similar to its sporting counterparts, the countries will hold National Qualifiers in non-Olympic years, which will determine which gamers make their respective national teams.

The IEGC refers specifically to both male and female participants, but they do not clarify if the teams will be mixed gender, competing with each other, or whether they will field both male and female teams.

As of now, there are only four nations who will compete – eTeam Britain, eTeam Canada, eTeam Brazil and eTeam USA – though other countries are welcome to join in and many are expected to participate.

The eGames organizers want to hold their events right after each sporting Olympics finishes. They intend to take place in Olympic arenas and intend to give out gold, silver and bronze, but so far, no prize money. This model is the same as the sporting Olympics, which does not pay athletes. The catch, however, is that national olympic committees pay their athletes for winning and making the team. So far, players in the eGames are not expected to be paid by their national teams for participating and winning.

The lack of prize money may be a hurdle at attracting top players. Other questions are still yet to be answered. Since video games are trademarked and copyrighted by private companies, there may be some legal hurdles about staging specific game. If interest is strong enough, video game developers may embrace the eGames.

As for which video games will be played, no details have been announced. We will update our readers when the first slate of games for the Rio pop-up event are revealed.


  1. this won’t ever take off. dumb.

  2. I think it’s cool. There are plenty of people who love competitive gaming.

  3. Well i can’t see this being huge unless there’s prize money. But it would be neat to see countries competing.

  4. PscyOps22

    I think this article hits the nail on the head – without prize money top people won’t compete and with only 4 countries and no ability for people to watch it… Seems far fetched.

  5. Personally I’d rather gamers not get involved in nationalism. That’s not what gaming is all about. I also don’t see us aligning with physical sports. We can be legit without trying to ape what they are up to at regular Olympics

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