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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Gamers lament top tournament loss
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

Screenshot from Quake IV, Activision
The World Tour 2006 was going to use Quake IV
UK pro-gamers are mourning the loss of the most lucrative tournament in computer gaming.

In 2005 the World Tour organised by the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) gave away $1m in prizes to pro-gamers at 10 events held around the globe.

But the tour has been cancelled for 2006, leaving many pro-gamers wondering how to make their lifestyle pay.

One manager of a UK team said the collapse of the World Tour was a "step backwards" for pro-gaming.

Game over

The CPL World Tour was organised around one game, Painkiller, and gave away $50,000 in prizes at each tour stop. At the grand final in New York, televised on MTV, gamers got the chance to win a $150,000 top prize.

The overall winner of the Grand Final was Jonathan Wendel, aka Fatal1ty, who amassed cash prizes of $231,000 during the year long event.

Pro-gaming has taken a step backwards, for this year at least
Philip Wride, Four-Kings Intel
Many expected the World Tour 2006 to be more successful as it picked Quake IV as its central game.

Although there has been no official announcement from the CPL that the World Tour has been cancelled, the organisation's founder, Angel Munoz, has said in interviews that it will not now take place.

"It is a shame that the CPL World Tour was cancelled. I thought it was a good thing for e-sports," said Michael O'Dell, manager of the UK's Team Dignitas.

"Pro-gaming has taken a step backwards, for this year at least," said Philip Wride, one of the managers of the Four-Kings Intel clan.

Personal blow

Mr Wride said one of those most disappointed by the disappearance of the tour was David Kinnaird, aka Deus, who quit life as a tennis pro to try a year as a pro-gamer.

Jonathan Wendel aka Fatal1ty, AP
Top players like Jonathan Wendel did well from the World Tour
Mr Kinnaird was hoping to guarantee a decent income if he could finish among the top players at CPL World Tour events, said Mr Wride.

New tournaments, such as the World Series of Video Games and the Kode 5 events have sprung up, that are trying to reach a wider audience, he added.

Though this does mean that the amount of prizes on offer to winners of individual events will not be as high as for those that triumphed in the CPL World Tour stops, this may not dent the pull of the events.

"Offering a large prize fund of $1m is still likely to get gamers behind the WSVG," Mr Wride told the BBC News website.

One CPL event is being staged by the organisation behind the World Series of Video Games. Licences to run CPL events have also been bought by pro-gaming tournament organisers in China, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Korea, Norway and Italy. Gamers speculate that this could mean that the World Tour returns in 2007.

Most recently chip maker AMD was signed up as a title sponsor for the CPL.

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