Regional qualifying events for the World Cyber Games are now under way in preparation for the national finals, to be held at Sydney’s Luna Park in September.
Contestants will lock horns on computer games including Unreal Tournament, FIFA Soccer 2004 and Counter Strike: Condition Zero on PC, and Halo and Project Gotham Racing 2 on Xbox.
Top players from each country final will go to the five-day Grand Final in San Francisco from October 6-10. The players that win each national heat will be flown to the US and put up in the players’ village — a Marriott Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
Created in 2000, the World Cyber Games attract sponsorship from companies including Shuttle, Samsung and Western Digital.
In 2003, 600,000 players from 55 countries competed for $US2 million of combined prize money and 562 made it to Seoul for the grand final.
“The message we want to reach the Australian public is that WCG is the Olympics for gamers,” WCG event director for Australia, Russell Hanna, said.
Additional rules have been added to the WCG rulebook for the Australian heats. Due to the Unreal Tournament 2004 rating of MA17+ in the US, players must prove they will be 17 or over on October 6.
Teams playing Counter Strike will be allowed one non-citizen as long as they can provide evidence that the player has been part of the team for some time, and has competed in the team before.
Although the grand final will be using the ‘teen version’ of Counter Strike with reduced blood and gore, entrants must still be over 15 to comply with US law.