Cyber Game Olympics Vie for Mainstream

'E-sport' competitors hope to break geeky stereotypes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2007 7:02 PM CDT
In this photo provided by World Cyber Games, from left, Brad Early, 16, and Andrew Bui, 16, both of Puyallup, Wash., play Halo 3 for Xbox 360 for the first time in the Microsoft competition lounge at...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The 700 gamers in Seattle this weekend aren’t lonely basement-dwellers, say World Cyber Games planners: They're gifted athletes competing in “e-sports.” Organizers hope that such sportsmen will claw into the mainstream and bypass other fringe athletes like poker players and competitive eaters. “The goal is to one day be recognized as on par with the Olympics or the World Cup,” says one.

Americans haven't embraced the televised games, but they play big in South Korea, where contest winners can walk off with $100 thousand prizes, Reuters reports. Koreans are among the favored this weekend, as 74 countries vie for medals and amaze with their hand-eye speed: One 22-year-old US pro can clock 500 actions per minute while strategizing over the popular "StarCraft: Brood War."