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NZ's top video gamers named best in Asia

NZ's top video gamers named best in Asia

AUCKLAND 11 August 2008 - New Zealand's computer gaming team the 'eblacks' has been named the best in Asia.

The eblacks took out a gold and silver medal at the World Cyber Games Asian Championship in Singapore - which earned them the grand prize, the Asian Championship Trophy for the Overall Winner.

Mason "massi4h" Maddox won gold competing on the Xbox 360 game, Guitar Hero III, beating competitors from countries such as Korea and Japan and winning US$1000 in prize money.

Lorance "Escobar" Taylor, Jeremy "jerm_nz" Macdonald, Slava "slavOuchka" Sheynin, Nick "Veteran-in-Love" Catley, David "Wytaliba" Ashwell won silver in the Defence of the Ancients - All Stars tournament, winning US$2000 in prize money.

"To be named the best team in the tournament is fantastic - especially as we were competing in Asia where professional gaming leagues have operated for years. The team has done New Zealand proud. This is New Zealand's first gold medal for video gaming, and bodes well for 2009," says World Cyber Games New Zealand Strategic Partner, xLAN's Susan Baikie.

The top 140 gamers from 14 countries in Asia Pacific competed at the World Cyber Games (WCG) Asian Championship on video game titles such as Guitar Hero III (Xbox 360) and FIFA 2008 (PC).

The eblacks will go on to compete at the World Cyber Games Grand Final in Cologne, Germany this November for a chance to win NZ$3.5m in prize money.

Susan Baikie says the popularity of gaming increases every year. More than NZ$51.5bn was spent on video games worldwide last year. In New Zealand last year more than NZ$100m was spent, up 20 per cent over the past five years.

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About The World Cyber Games

The World Cyber Games ( < >) is the premier blue chip global video game tournament and culture festival. First founded in 2000 to promote global harmony through e-sports, the WCG has grown steadily ever since. Behind the slogan "Beyond the Game" and with contestants from more than 70 countries expected to participate in this year's event, the World Cyber Games has developed into a true global phenomenon with arguably the largest prize amount at stake. The World Cyber Games prides itself on leading the "Digital Entertainment Culture."

Attendee demographics:

41% 16-24 years, single male, predominantly students.

36% 25-34 years old professionals with a high interest in IT.

23% 20-29 year old singles.

The WCG hosts invitational matches for star players on three continents - Europe, Asia and America, called World Cyber Games Pan Regional Championships. To encourage gamers to participate in marquee events throughout the year, the WCG Pan Regional Championships were launched to enhance WCG brand awareness among IT industry watchers and local Partners in each region.

After a very successful WCG 2005 Grand Final and the first WCG Asian Championship in 2006, Singapore hosted the 2007 WCG Asian Championships from August 2nd - 5th in Suntec City, Singapore. 120 players from 12 countries participated in 5 official titles. Each country held qualifing rounds for the WCG Asian Championships, with the best gamers getting tickets to Singapore where they competed for the title of Asian Champions. Over 45 thousands spectators visited WCG2007 Asian Championship.

About the 2008 eblacks team

The eblacks competed in a mix of console and PC games at the 2008 World Cyber Games Asian Championship in Singapore: Virtua Fighter 5 (Xbox 360), Guitar Hero III (Xbox 360), DOTA All-Stars (PC), Need for Speed: ProStreet (PC) and FIFA 2008 (PC). The team comprises nine members:

* Lorance "Escobar" Taylor DOTA - All Stars (PC)

* Jeremy "jerm_nz" Macdonald DOTA - All Stars (PC)

* Slava "slavOuchka" Sheynin DOTA - All Stars (PC)

* Nick "Veteran-in-Love" Catley DOTA - All Stars (PC)

* David "Wytaliba" Ashwell DOTA - All Stars (PC)

* Mason "massi4h" Maddox Guitar Hero III (Xbox 360)

* Austin "wugga" Sedgwick Virtua Fighter 5 (Xbox 360)

* Pejman "Pablo" Barzandeh FIFA 2008 (PC)

* Patrick "ssj2vegrick" Cullinan Need for Speed Pro-Street (PC)


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