Intel is partnering with the International Olympic Committee for the first Intel World Open esports tournament. The competition will take place ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and will feature a live audience from Tokyo.
The Intel World Open will feature Psyonix and Epic Games’ Rocket League and Capcom’s Street Fighter V. The event will take place from July 22 to 24 2020, right before the 2020 Summer Olympics begin on July 24.
The tournament will be held in partnership with the games’ developers. Each tournament is set to have $250,000 in prize money for a grand total of $500,000. The events will instantly become two of the top-five prize pools in both games’ histories.
Since the Open will be held in Tokyo, the inclusion of one of Japan’s most hallowed gaming traditions in Street Fighter will likely strike a chord with the audience. While more popular esports exist, the choices made here are to appeal to an audience unfamiliar with professional gaming.
“These two titles are something that the average consumer or audience member can look at and get what’s going on, and that’s unfortunately not always the case in esports,” Intel’s director of business development for games and esports Mark Subotnick told The Esports Observer.
Twelve countries will be pre-selected to form national teams and the national qualifiers will start in March 2020. Four players will be selected, but there won’t be a limit on participants. If you aren’t a part of the pre-selected countries, regional qualifiers will be held to select eight more teams. A total of 20 teams will proceed to the semifinals in Katowice where only seven teams will join the Japanese national team awaiting in Tokyo.
This represents Intel’s second esports partnership with the IOC. The Intel Extreme Masters Season XII stopped over in Pyeongchang, South Korea less than one week before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Fully backed by the IOC, the event was organized by ESL and only featured Starcraft 2. Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn made history at the event, becoming the first woman to win a premier Starcraft 2 championship.
While Pyeongchang was only streamed to viewers, the Tokyo Open will have a live audience. ESL will once again handle the production of the Intel World Open.
While supported by the IOC, the competition isn’t an official Olympic event. That honor will belong to the officially-sanctioned 2019 Southeast Asian Games, where five different games across three platforms will be contested as medal events along with other sporting disciplines.