Gaming is without a doubt one of the most exciting areas in computing. What once was a niche form of entertainment has expanded way beyond gameplay to include everything from competition to comradery to so much more. It’s also given rise to esports, a cultural phenomenon expected to reach about 500 million fans worldwide by 2020. 500 million. In fact, worldwide esports viewership already surpasses that of traditional sports leagues such as the NHL, MLB and NBA.
Intel has been at the forefront of this evolution for years. Not only have we worked to bring immersive gaming experiences to life through our technology, we’ve helped bring esports to the world through Intel® Extreme Masters and our longtime partnership with ESL*.
Today, I’m proud to announce that we are deepening that partnership in a landmark deal that means Intel technology will now power all of ESL’s amateur and pro esports, plus its studio and broadcasting operations. All tournament PCs will now feature the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processors and all of ESL’s production hardware will be based on a combination of Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon® processors.
ESL broadcasters work around the clock during competitions, creating thousands of pieces of content, with millions of frames per second rendered in real time. Working together, we want to ensure that fans get the most immersive experience possible and more importantly, that they never miss a single moment. With 46 million online viewers, this year’s Intel Extreme Masters finals was already the most watched esports tournament in ESL history. Imagine what we will be able to do now.
To celebrate this partnership and deliver on our mutual promise to advance the worldwide growth and development of esports, we’re also announcing with ESL the launch of the Intel® Grand Slam. The Intel Grand Slam comes with a bonus $1 million prize, awarded to the first team that wins four “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” competitions hosted by ESL and DreamHack in a 12-month period. This is in addition to the rest of their winnings.
Of course, as the popularity of esports continues to rise, the experience should too. Gamers and fans want more immersive experiences. This is why we are working to bring more VR to esports in every possible way. Not only do we want to put fans inside the action with a truly immersive VR spectator experience, we’re also working with partners to make VR esports a reality. A big part of this is creating game titles that are worthy of the pros and fans, and growing the VR esports player base to create the pros of the future.
To that end, we are partnering with Ready At Dawn Studios to release “Echo Arena” as a free download for three months for all Oculus Rift owners starting on July 20. “Echo Arena” is the competitive multiplayer mode for Ready At Dawn’s new title “Lone Echo,” and it is an amazing way to experience the power of Intel technology in a breathtaking virtual arena.
These extreme new experiences require extreme performance – and that means we also need to keep innovating at a product level. You heard me talk about this recently at Computex when I introduced our new Intel Core X-series processor family, our most scalable, accessible and powerful high-end desktop platform ever.1 The X-series family offers a huge range of options and price points for everyone. It also includes the entirely new Intel® Core™ i9 processor, representing the highest performance for advanced gaming, VR and more. At the top of the lineup? Our new Intel® Core™ i9 Extreme Edition processor, the first consumer desktop CPU with 18 cores and 36 threads.
Today, I am pleased to announce that customers will be able to place their orders for the first Intel Core X-series processors (4-10 core SKUs) beginning on June 19, and they will start shipping the following week. For those who want to try out the other processors in the family, they will also be available soon. The 12-core Intel Core i9-7920X X-series processor will start shipping in August and the rest, including the Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor, will begin shipping in October.
With our new deal with ESL, the dawning of VR esports and our new Intel Core X-series processors, we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible. What’s next? The possibilities are endless. But one thing is certain: We know it’s going to be epic.
Gregory Bryant is senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation.
1Based on SPECint_rate_base2006 n-copy using Intel® Core™ i9-7900X vs Intel® Core™ i7-6950X.
Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.com/benchmarks.