Thursday April 11, 2013 :  VIRGIN GAMING IN X-BOX LIVE CASH TOURNAMENTS MOVE
 
Internet gambling operator powers Xbox Tournaments app
 
Virgin Gaming is playing in the majors with its latest initiative, a move into the console world through powering Microsoft's online gaming service with an XBox Tournaments app.
 
The app is now available on Microsoft's XBox Live service, reports the publication Venture Beat, and will enable players to win cash.
 
Billy Levy, president and co-founder of Virgin Gaming, told GamesBeat that Gold Members of Xbox Live will be able to join tournaments with prizes up to $100,000. Players can test their skills in their favourite Xbox 360 games and join the tournaments directly from the Xbox Live network.
 
“It’s a massive step forward for us,” Levy said. “The time for competitive play has arrived.”
 
Virgin Gaming's app includes infrastructure for web-based tournaments – the first time such competitive tournaments will be accessible via an app in the Xbox Live Marketplace. To take part, players register an account at Virgin Gaming and then download the app from the Xbox Live Marketplace to their consoles.
 
The tournament app has debuted in the U.S., Canada, and United Kingdom with launch titles that include EA Sport's Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13, NHL 13, and NBA2K13. More titles, territories, and features will be added in the coming months, Levy revealed.
 
Players can compete in three-round, free-entry tournaments for gamers at all skill levels, and can participate in free head-to-head challenges to hone their skills for upcoming cash play, where players will pay an entry fee. Players will be able to fund their accounts without going to a website.
 
Virgin Gaming itself is hosting a $100,000 tournament and leader board challenge from April 9 to May 6. Players who participate and win all three tournament rounds or climb the ranks of the leader board will win a portion of the cash-prize pool.
 
Virgin itself has built a large 2.5-million strong player base and sponsors that include NOS Energy Drink, Ford, Kia, and Dr Pepper in the five years it has been inexistence.
 
“We believe Xbox Tournaments will deliver a wide variety of competitive and casual tournament options that will add an exciting new dimension to game play,” said Matthew Bencke, general manager of Xbox Live, in a statement this week.
 
“From the beginning, we’ve wanted to create amazing and accessible gaming experiences for our members and Xbox Tournaments give our customers a new way to play.”
 
Levy told GamesBeat that his company had invested resources and effort in its turnkey solutions, and pointed out that skill-based games are legal in most US states, with a number now legalising online gambling at state levels.
 
Virgin has accumulated considerable tournament experience over the past five years, dishing out $32 million in cash prizes in tournaments. Cash games are popular, up 280 percent from last year, with deposits up 250 percent.
 
A recent tournament based on a popular game attracted 292,000 entrants in Virgin's first sally into the sector in partnership with Microsoft, Levy said.
 
Sponsors are sitting up and taking notice, he added, revealing that sponsorships are up over 900 percent.