Cineplex launches national video game tournament to capitalize on eSports trend

TORONTO -- Cineplex has launched its first national video game tournament in hopes of capitalizing on the growing popularity of competitive gaming.

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The theatre chain's foray into gaming tournaments is aimed at a younger demographic being pulled away from movie theatres by mobile phones, YouTube and social media.

Competitive gaming, also known as eSports, has become a huge market overseas in places such as South Korea and Japan, where matches of popular games such as Starcraft can sell out stadiums.

SuperData Research has estimated that the worldwide eSports industry is worth around US$613 million.

Cineplex, which in September announced its purchase of eSports platform WorldGaming for US$10 million, is offering $50,000 in prizes in one-on-one matchups of "Call of Duty: Black Ops III."

The tournament will begin Saturday with qualifying rounds to be played online, followed by matches at 24 theatres next month and a final event on March 6.

Participants must be 18 years or older, and Cineplex is restricting spectators to those 17 and up.



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