Esports organization Cyberathlete Professional League is working with Sweden's DreamHack digital festival for a massive LAN-based gaming tournament this weekend, but it's next year's Shanghai World Expo 2010 that could play a larger role in bringing esports' profile up a notch.
Beginning in spring next year, the CPL and DreamHack will be hosting a large-scale gaming tournament and program in the Expo's Swedish pavilion. The gaming events will take place throughout the course of the expo, which runs from May 1 to October 31, 2010, culminating in championships at the Ice Hotel in Sweden for winter DreamHack.
CPL CEO Scott Valencia calls DreamHack a "digital Woodstock [that] represents modern digital youth culture." By aligning itself with the Shanghai World Expo, DreamHack and the CPL put esports among the Expo's 70 million expected visitors.
"Digital-sports and gaming has started, in a very profound way, to change the views of governments and society in general," Valencia said. "This project has the official governmental support of Sweden and China. We are already in talks with other goverments and associations around the world. This project has taken us to all corners of the globe and it's growing on a daily basis."
Among the games present at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 competition is the "official international title" Heroes of Newerth, a DotA-inspired game developed by S2 Games. "Culture games" chosen to be part of the event include China's Three Kingdoms Online from 7F Game and Croatia's to-be-announced Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter from Croteam, produced in part by Devolver Digital. Other culture games representing their respective regions will be added, Valencia said.
Expo tournament participants will be competing for the new Digital Youth Award. The award will be founded by governments and communications companies including 3K Entertainment Pte Ltd (Singapore), DreamHack (Sweden), The CPL Digital Entertainment, Inc. (Singapore), High and Mighty (USA), OCT Group (China), Eastern Digital Culture (China), and International Digital Media (Singapore).
The concept of the award was just introduced on October 5 this year. "The organization represents one of the first public-private partnerships aiming at encouraging youth cultural exchange through digital media and interactive education, entertainment & competition activities," Valencia said. "The essence of the Digital Youth Award program promotes the values of creativity, culture, friendship, education, and unity."