Virgin Gaming’s Wim Stocks has said sports video games have mass appeal as spectator eSports in a way shooters and strategy games don’t.
“The great thing about [an] event around a FIFA, NHL or NFL is that people who watch sports understand what’s happening in these video games,” Stocks told Forbes.
“They might not if they’re playing a game of Call of Duty or StarCraft II. Laymen are not going to understand nearly as well in that kind of a competition compared to a game that is sports related. It becomes a real natural for what is we’re doing here. It makes complete sense in a very organic way.”
Virigin Gaming has teamed up with EA Sports, Sony and GameSpot for two years running to host the EA Sports $1 Million Challenge, one of the largest prize pools in pro gaming. The amount of money on offer also helps brings eSports to mainstream attention.
“Certainly the epicness of the tournament, not only the online portion and the huge scale we brought with over 150,000 people playing online, but the million dollars is a huge prize and it gets people pretty excited, in and of itself,” Stocks said.
“It’s a great marketing tool. People see now that there’s a legitimate opportunity to make and potential to make some big money by virtually playing video games. The million dollar prize pool is one of the key marketing aspects of what we’re doing here at this event.”