Intel announces IEM PyeongChang ahead of the Olympic Winter Games

Intel has announced that it will bring the Intel Extreme Masters to Korea ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang 2018. 

The release states that the launch of IEM PyeongChang will be an extension of Intel’s Worldwide TOP partnership and will be supported by the International Olympic Committee. The two experiences that were aforementioned are Ubisoft’s action-sports title “Steep: Road to the Olympics”, the official licensed game of the Olympic Winter Games and then Starcraft II

The IEM Masters to take place in Korea will be open to any player, at any level, via online qualifiers which will take place during November. There shall also be a live qualifier event in Beijing in December, between the top two qualifiers from China, with the winner moving on to compete in PyeongChang. 

Interestingly, Intel will also deliver “interactive gaming experiences” to the attendees and athletes, with game kiosks featuring “Steep: Road to the Olympics” throughout the Olympic Village and visitor areas. 

Gregory Bryant, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation said: “Intel has been pushing the boundaries of esports for well over a decade and our goal is to bring esports to every global sporting stage. From the qualifying events to the groundbreaking Intel Extreme Masters tournament in PyeongChang, we see this as another important step in giving more people around the world a chance to experience the thrill of esports.”

Ralf Reichert, CEO of ESL, said: “As one of the fastest-growing segments of media and entertainment, we are honored to help further the esports industry by helping to facilitate the Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang tournament. Esports already reaches a global fan base so this event in PyeongChang naturally aligns with this audience.”

Timo Lumme, Managing Director, IOC Television and Marketing Services, said: “We are proud to have our Worldwide TOP Partner Intel bring this competition to PyeongChang in the lead up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Following on from the Olympic Summit last week, the IOC will now explore esport’s relationship with the Olympic Movement further. This is the start of an exciting future and we’re interested to see how this experience will play out.”

This is undoubtedly positive news for those who advocating esports in the Olympics. There clearly seems to be a divide between those who vehemently support it, and those who aren’t overly bothered. The stance of the IOC seems to chop and change every other day, with “violent games” such as Counter-Strike out of the reckoning and thus very few esports allowed in. Additionally, with KeSPA being expelled from the Olympic Committee additional doubt was cast. Alas, the move to have Starcraft as an IEM just before the Winter Games is positive news. 

Esports Insider says: Starcraft II and the Winter Olympics. Who would have thought it? An interesting mix, but if there’s a place to host a Starcraft tournament – it’s South Korea. Hopefully there’ll be an impressive crowd and it’ll open a lot of eyes around the world.