Video games have always been about competition. It started with two-player competitions on Nintendo, then it grew to 16-players on the original Xbox, and with the advent of massively multiplayer games, the player count has grown into the millions.
Up until now, gaming has been done for mere bragging rights, but Virgin Gaming, operating out of Toronto, hopes to change that. By striking promotional deals with Microsoft and Sony for their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles respectively, Virgin hopes to monetize online video game play by allowing players to put down money on their battles over Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
Formerly WorldGaming, Virgin Gaming is a social networking website that offers free and pay accounts to find gamers of comparable skill for games. Players can join tournaments for free, with jackpots from $500 to $5,000 dollars (Virgin says they will be paying out $1 million total in tournaments like these over the next 12 months) or they can place individual bets with opponents — Virgin takes a cut of the winner’s earnings.
Currently, the selection of games is a little narrow; the line-up of EA Sports titles is there, as is the Halo series, Mod Nation Racers and Splinter Cell. It’s too bad they don’t offer games from Xbox Live arcade, which would really add another level to it — imagine throwing down five bucks on a game of Risk on Friday night!
For more information, check out their website here.