Lionsgate and OddLot Entertainment are sponsoring an upcoming Starcraft II tournament to plug the Blu-Ray and DVD release of sci-fi romp Ender's Game. It's a first, a movie studio sponsoring an e-sports event, and it's a little bit peculiar.
The tournament, awkwardly titled "The Ender's Game on Blu-Ray Tournament", will be broadcast on Twitch and MLG.TV between February 5th and 22nd with 32 participants and $20,000 in prize money up for grabs. You can vote for the final 4 of 16 competing in the MLG leg of the tournament between February 3rd and 5th.
It's a first. It's unprecedented. And maybe it's past the point where this could be considered a big deal instead of a strange partnership. Whenever this collision of the mainstream and video games or e-sports happens it's meant to be a sign that mainstream acceptance is being given. But with the games industry out-performing Hollywood and e-sports tournaments filling up venues like the Staples Center, it's clear that it's already been taken, or was never required in the first place.
I'd suggest e-sports competitors being considered athletes might say more about the relevance of the pursuit that Lionsgate's marketing division taking notice. Still, Ender's Game is at least tangentially linked to Starcraft II being a sci-fi flick with plenty of action.
"The skills used to develop battle leaders in Ender’s Game are drawn from real world gaming, especially the types of skills used by premier tournament level players," said said Anne Parducci, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Lionsgate. If only e-sports would have been around in the '80s, a WarGames tie-in would have been perfect. I don't think it would work for every film, though. "12 Years a Slave in Cinemas Tournament" would probably not be appropriate.