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Rio set to host esports event during Olympics

A new esports international gaming event backed by the UK government will make its debut in Rio during the Brazilian city’s summer 2016 Olympic Games.

The eGames, launched as part of this week’s London Games Festival, will offer the chance to win medals, but will not offer prize money. Britain, Canada, Brazil and the US have confirmed their participation so far, with more expected to follow.

The event will be operated by the new International eGames Committee (IEGC), with future editions already lined up for the winter and summer Olympic host cities of PyeongChang in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020, respectively.

In non-Olympic years, national qualifiers will take place to establish the members of the teams. Male and female participants will be over the age of 18, and the tournaments will be held in Olympic venues.

The International Olympic Committee, which has strict rules on other sporting events taking place in Olympic host cities during the Games, has not yet commented on the plans.

The inaugural event this summer will be a two-day tournament “to showcase the eGames to the world of competitive gaming and attract further partners”, the eGames’ official website said.

Chester King, chief marketing officer for the IEGC, said: “In line with other globally established sporting events, the eGames will be a medal only competition, with no prize money, but the opportunity to take home gold for your country.

“There will be a mix of PC and console games, maybe mobile. Currently most competitions are single games like Call Of Duty or Fifa so we will try to emulate the magic of an Olympics by having legends/champions from various esports all in the same location.”

The UK’s Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, said: “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.”