Virgin’s Million Dollar Baby

As far as grand entrances go, pulling up to E3 in an armoured truck full of cash totalling a cool million dollars, Virgin Boss Sir Richard Branson has to be given major snaps.

The move was planned to coincide with the unveiling of Branson’s new online destination for competitive console gamers, named, you guessed it, Virgin Gaming.  The new online gaming platform at enables gamers from around the world, of all skill and experience levels, to meet up and play in head to head tournaments and matches for prizes and cash.

“Gamers want something new, something interactive and something fun. Virgin Gaming is just that – access to play the best games in super competitive tournaments with anyone in the world and win the biggest prizes and the most rewards,” said Sir Richard Branson.  “Giving away over $1 million in cash and prizes this year is proof. We’ve had great success with Virgin Games and Virgin Interactive Entertainment and recognized the enormous potential of an online community of 40 million daily users.  I welcome gamers from novice to expert to join the online Virgin Gaming community.”

Virgin Gaming is a convergence of gaming, social networking (what isn’t these days), and of course, competitive online gaming.  Teen tantrum filters on standby.  The site came about thanks to a partnership with which became something of a template, so we can expect similar from Virgin in the shape of decent matchmaking, skill ratings, and a robust reputation system to weed out the inevitable boatload of cheats, ‘busives, ‘ists and ‘phobics, and general bad sportsmen.

While wildly differing skill levels risk creating a potential gulf and, indeed, a source of frustration for those who aren’t ‘pro-level’, Virgin were quick to reaffirm that the portal will offer something for everyone:

“Gaming is very competitive by nature, and competition is always more exciting when there’s something on the line,”  said Virgin Gaming President, Billy Levy,  “there are plenty of tournament leagues out there for the pros, but we created Virgin Gaming as a platform for all gamers to have the experience of playing each other with more at stake than just pride.”

With over a million in cash and prize handouts, and a typically bombastic marketing ploy, Virgin have certainly hit the ground running with the online gaming flag…let’s just hope they can hold on it for a win.

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