The World Cyber Games 2008
kicks off with the Samsung Euro Championship
at CeBIT in Hanover, bringing together 250 gamers from 30 countries to compete for US$100,000 in prize money.
During the first two days of the show the gaming machines will be open to all to try out and to get a feel for the tournament.
But from 4pm on 6 March they will become the exclusive domain of tournament participants, with the competition proper kicking off on Friday.
Competitions will feature games from a wide variety of genres. Car racing gamers will compete in Need for Speed: Pro Street
and Project Gotham Racing 4
Others will beat each other up in Dead or Alive 4
and football fans will test their resolve in Fifa 08
First person shooters will pit their skills against one another in Counterstrike 1.6
, while strategy specialists will go head-to-head in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
and Command and Conquer 3
All gamers will play on standard PC setups to help maintain a level playing field. They will not be allowed to use their own PCs or peripherals, but will be given time before matches to configure their PC to their specific preferences.
Results will be decided over a number of double knock-out rounds, and the new European champions will be crowned at the closing ceremony on 9 March.
One of the organisers said that this sort of high profile event highlights how video games are "no longer just for kids", and that professional gamers are beginning to flourish.