Amazon Puts Up Six Figures for Prizes in the Appstore eSports Tournament

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Steve Anderson
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Amazon Puts Up Six Figures for Prizes in the Appstore eSports Tournament

For anyone who's ever wondered why eSports these days seems limited to the first-person shooter or the arena battler, there's an event coming up specifically for you. Amazon has set up a $100,000 prize pool for its first-ever Appstore eSports tournament in a bid to find out who's the best around in casual gaming.

Dubbed the Champions of Fire Invitational, the game will feature 16 streamers--including Renee "lolRenaynay" Reynosa, Albert "Boxbox" Sun Zheng, and Brian Kibler, as they duel to the high scores in Las Vegas on December 2. Five titles form the basis of the tournament, as Fruit Ninja Tournament, Pac-Man 256, Bloons TD Battles, 8 Ball Pool, and Disney Crossy Road all factor in. The best across all five games takes home the top prize of $30,000, while lesser prizes are likewise on hand. Those interested in catching the big show can do so via a large portion of Amazon's ecosystem.

By way of explanation, Aaron Rubenson, director of Amazon's Appstore, commented "Competitive video gaming has seen huge growth, and we see tremendous customer value in expanding the tournament experience to include the casual mobile games played by millions of people today. The Champions of Fire Invitational will see some of the top gaming pros square off in the same fun games our customers can download and enjoy today from the Amazon Appstore.”

While it may seem a bridge too far to turn casual gaming into tournament-grade eSports fodder, it's really not so outlandish. Is watching two teams attempt to kill each other in Counter-Strike really so far different from watching two people go for first to 10,000 or whatever in Fruit Ninja? The basic principles stand, even if the presentation varies a bit. Plus, let's face it; casual gaming has a significant audience to it, and that's prime ground for a forward-thinker like Amazon to work. That's good news for the gaming market in general.

We might well see more of this kind of eSports operation to come; if Apple and Google aren't already working on something similar, I'd be shocked. I don't know how long it will take to come around, but we'll likely see more casual gaming tourneys step in as gamers expand their horizons and the market follows along.

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