Video games are often a casual pastime best used to unwind after a day of work or school. But some Canadians are taking their skills on the competitive circuit, chasing tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.
This weekend, their skills are being taken to a wider audience — and bigger screen — than ever before in this country.
On Sunday afternoon, Cineplex and World Gaming are holding their first-ever Canadian championship finals at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. Top gamers from across the country will be flown in to compete in the popular first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for $50,000 in cash and prizes, including a crisp $20,000 for the champion.
It’s a bit of a thrill to see something that’s normally on your modest TV blown up on a giant movie screen and the event could attract a diverse audience, if the regional finals last month are any indication.
But there are still some challenges that could stop this kind of event from appealing to the full range of movie-goers.
Not your usual night at the movies – Call of Duty championships at Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre. Finals this Sunday. pic.twitter.com/JGrR5xQzE7
— Jonathan Ore (@Jon_Ore) March 1, 2016
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The titles on World Gaming’s website will be familiar to most North American players: Call of Duty, Madden NFL 16, NHL 16 and NBA 16cut across the meaty mainstream of video games.
They hope to attract people who already play the most popular games on consoles and might be willing to join a tournament (it’s free to enter) — or cough up the $9.50 ticket price to watch the elite players blow each other up live on the big screen from the comfort of their cinema seats.