What Intel's Bringing to its Fierce $500,000 Gaming Competition

November 17, 2017

The longest-running global pro-gaming circuit in the world makes its way back to California this weekend, where gamers will be going head to head for the $500,000 prize. As the eSports industry picks up, Intel is looking to be a major player. John Bonini, vice president of VR, gaming & e-Sports at Intel joined us to preview the big event.

Intel Extreme Masters returns to Oakland for 2 days of eSports action. It will feature two days of "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" and "PlayersUnknown's Battlegrounds". The first VR eSports circuit created by Intel, Oculus, and ESL will make its IEM debut.

Bonini also hits on the emergence of collegiate eSports, which is creating scholarship opportunities for star gamers. There is so much growth in eSports, it's easy to see colleges creating their own tournaments and leagues.

However, he says it not the same system as leagues like the NBA. Bonini points out that many of the best players are 16 or 17 years old and sometimes skip college in order to go straight to the pros.


MALE_1: Realit- Reality Challenger League going on for a while with Oculus. You get to play these great games. It's- it's a new viewing experience for the audience, and then they can take it home and try it themselves. That's what I've been doing in my own home. Uh, but it just really brings a new immersive experience to the world of eSports, and we think that could evolve for many years from now.

MALE_2: And so how are you working with some of the companies, some tech companies like Oculus, I guess, you know, even further to bring the VR Challenger to life, uh, in that league, VR Challenger League?

FEMALE_1: And is it as, I mean, is it as popular? Because we know that, obviously, eSports has been sort of PC-based for a very long time, so, is this a big shift for the gaming industry to now have to start adopting the VR devices for game play, and how does that change the competition?

MALE_1: Well, we're also working with HTC Vive, that's- it's another popular platform for the PCs. Uh, we're looking to make that platform wireless, uh, early next year, for example, and just keep improving the performance of it. Um, I think what you're going to see over time, just like an eSports, were 12 years ago, you know, eSports was started with Intel, and. And frankly, video gaming and competitive gaming was going on well before that. So, I think VR will take a little while. It will take some experimentation. We'll work with the industry leaders, like the ones we've mentioned, and our partners, ADSL, to keep evolving it and- and bring those new games and experiences and ways we can't even predict today.

MALE_2: And so, in- in all of this, I mean. [MUSIC].