In South Korea, top pro-gamers are gods. Their tournaments are televised, the winners are garlanded with fame and money.
In the UK, top "pro-"gamers are geeks, who frag the competition in pizza-packed LAN parties. No TV cameras, rarely much in the way of the cash. And fame restricted strictly to the immediate peer group.
But for how much longer? Intel UK is muscling into the UK gamers' scene, historically dominated on the hardware front by AMD, the gamer's choice. First up, the chip giant is sponsoring a games clan, called the 4Kings. Secondly, it has launched the Intel Masters, "a prestigious invitation-only event for the UK’s best gaming talent".
The gig takes place at the Science Museum in London on Saturday 21 December, and the winners are in for a nice Christmas treat - there's a prize pot of £25,000 at stake, a record for a UK gaming event, Intel says.
Twenty-four clans have been invited, and to ensure an even playing field, all will play on 3.06GHz P4 QTech rigs, supplied by UK PC builder Quantum Microponents (sic). And the games? Counter Strike, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Warcraft 3.
So why the Science Museum? Aha, Intel is scoring a double hitter, as it is sponsoring the Digitopolis computing exhibition at the museum, which runs concurrently. Also, the Science Museum has a huge IMAX screen which will display the competition to up to 400 spectators at a time, over six one-hour sessions. Admission is free, but on a first come-first served basis. More details here. ®