S'pore: MS launches US$50,000 game tourney

Age of Empires II gamers in Singapore will have a chance to walk away with US$50,000 from Microsoft in October 2001.

SINGAPORE--Age of Empires II gamers in Singapore will have a chance to walk away with US$50,000 from Microsoft in October 2001.

To do so, they'll have to win the local competition to be held here next month and prevail as the world champion at the inaugural Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament, which will kick off in Redmond, US in three months.

Age of Empires II is described as a real-time strategy game that spans a thousand years, from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages. To win, players must leverage off the economic and combat features of their civilization (of which there are 13 to choose from) to defeat their opponents.

The local champion will receive US$3,000 and be flown to Redmond to compete with other country champions. Besides a free return ticket to the world championship, the competitor will be provided with three nights of accommodation and US$300 meal allowance.

In Asia, the national competition will take place in Australia, Taiwan, and South Korea between August and September this year, Microsoft Singapore product manager for Home & Retail Group Alex Chua said. He could not provide an exhaustive list of countries participating in the game.

"This is the biggest ever prize money Microsoft has given away for a gaming competition," said Chua. "The Conquerors International Tournament will be a really big event and we expect quite a number competitors in each country."

According to him, there are approximately 40,000 AoE II gamers in Singapore. (He derived that number from the number of game units sold by Microsoft multiplied by the country's "piracy factor".)

Chua declined to provide further details, but noted that the local competition is open to all citizens and permanent residents of Singapore aged 18 years and older.

Full details are expected to be announced by the middle of next month.

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