E-Sports hits Montreal

The Just for Laughs affiliated Mondial des jeux festival features the first-ever North American qualifying event for the France-based Electronic Sports World Cup

Mondial des Jeux (640x427)

Montreal’s new gaming festival, Mondial des jeux, kicks off today.

Affiliated with Just for Laughs – in the same hands-off way as Zoofest, says executive producer Arman Afkhami – Mondial des jeux will be offering free outdoor board and video gaming along de Maisonneuve in the Quartier des Spectacles (where the swings are), as well as a gaming lounge in Complexe Desjardins. Both run until July 26.

Where Mondial des jeux hopes to separate itself from the gaming festivals that have come and gone in this city is with its e-sports show, the first-ever North American qualifying event for the France-based Electronic Sports World Cup.

“We’ve invited the biggest teams in North America to compete in front of a live audience,” says Afkhami.

The two-day tournament will be held at Telus Theatre on July 18-19. Pro teams will be competing in Call of Duty: Ghosts and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, while the public can qualify for the Just Dance tournament by posting a high school at the gaming lounge as of today.

Even amongst video game aficionados, there’s considerable curiosity and confusion regarding the rapidly expanding business of competitive e-sports. While Montreal has its own, more localized event, LAN ETS, organizers are hoping this ESWC qualifier will help make Montreal a world class e-sports hub in the same way the city is synonymous with game development.

“It’s a stepping stone for us,” says Afkhami. “We want to make our mark in the e-sports world, so we can offer Montreal more of these events as they get bigger around the world.”

For fans who buy a ticket, they’ll be able to watch these gamers compete in the flesh, and there will be live commentary as well. (“It will be like watching a show,” says Afkhami).

While the CoD and CS tournaments will be restricted to invited professionals, there will be Ultra Street Fighter IV and Super Mario Bros Melee battles open to the public.

“Our targets are 200,000 people on the gaming boulevard (on de Maisonneuve) and 50,000 for the gaming lounge,” he says. “But I think we can smash those numbers.” ■


For more information about the festival events and to buy tickets for the ESWC North American qualifying event, look here.