Remember, folks, you heard it here first.
Virgin Gaming came out of stealth mode last night in an understated LA E3 press conference that detailed Richard Branson's plan to carve a new space in the games industry.
And as we exclusively revealed last month the Virgin Gaming brand will head up a service for competitive gaming that rewards players of multiplayer games with cash prizes.
Working with 360 and PS3, the service - which launches today - monitors play of head-to-head games in tournaments and leages and rewards the winners.
Virgin is working with multiplayer games firm WorldGaming to build the new service - it says Virgin Gaming is a complement to existing online serivces and games. Access to the service will be free to gamers, but of course they will need to log-on and play to be paid. WorldGaming founders Billy Levy and Zach Zeldin are on board as part of the project and said in time more community features will be added.
Branson said $1m worth of prize money is up for grabs in the first year - and joked that he might give away space flights or a submarine ride as money-can't-buy-style prizes.
He also ruled out a return to game publishing for Virgin, saying the focus was strictly on online services.
Virgin Gaming will aim to cater for gamers around the world, but the primary focus will be on the US, Canada and UK, and payments will be made in dollars.
Branson said at the event: Gamers want something new, something interactive and something fun. Virgin Gaming is just that — access to the best games in super competitive tournaments with anyone in the world and win the biggest prizes. Giving away $1 million in prizes this year is proof.”
Image Credit: Gamespot