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“Games of The Future” Shatters Myth of Global Boycott of Russia

Despite heavy sanctions, Russia’s new hybrid games competition is attracting athletes and audiences worldwide.

Arnaud Develay
21st Century Wire

The Games of The Future international competition in Kazan, Russia, which wraps up on March 3, has demonstrated that Russia’s isolation imposed by the collective West only exists in the speeches of European politicians and statements produced by the Ukrainian authorities.

What is happening there proves this clearly: participants hailing from no less than 107 countries have made their way in Kazan to take part in an innovative new global endeavor.

Skeptics had expected athletes from Russia and China to figure prominently, and everybody assumed that representatives of the BRICS and CIS countries would compose the bulk of the attendance. However, athletes from Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and the USA, all arrived to take part in the tournament.

The opening ceremony was personally presided over by Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with several European and Asian heads of state.

In total, over 2,000 people making up over 270 teams have registered to take part in the Games of The Future.

Putting this into perspective, modern Russia has managed to surpass the success achieved by the USSR at the Goodwill Games in 1986, when participants from 79 countries arrived to compete in Moscow. Back then, the political situation was similar to the one prevailing today as western countries had closed ranks to boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, before the former USSR retaliated in refusing to participate in the next Olympics held in Los Angeles in 1984.

One of the key ingredient to the incredible success of this year’s game in Kazan  is that they are extremely attractive to the Internet audience watching the live stream comprising of young people all around the world. The Russians skillfully adopted the format known as phygital sports, which has formed the basis of the Games of the Future, an international multi-sport tournament.

The “phygital” concept, which combines digital interactivity with the physical world, is gaining popularity by combining traditional sports with high-performance processor-powered computer games. The competition’s program includes 21 innovative disciplines, all sharing a combination of real world physical activity, modern technologies – all taking place within a virtual digital environment.

The competition’s format consists of a two-stage event with teams first competing in a real sport before moving on to the cyber version of that sport. For example, phygital soccer is mini soccer and EA Sports FC 24 soccer simulator. Similarly, phygital basketball is real basketball combined with the popular NBA 2K game.

Phygital hockey, racing, martial arts, skateboarding and cycling also feature among the various disciplines. The winner is determined by total points in two arenas – real and virtual. In order to succeed in phygital sports, players must excel in both formats.

One of the most popular competitions to emerge from this format is Laser Tag, which has become a physical alternative to the popular shooters games such as Counter-Strike 2, Warface and Standoff, which are also listed on the Games program. Participants of Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and World of Tanks competitions can choose a suitable activity in one of the phygital sport formats: soccer, basketball or laser tag.

Successful athletes also stand to reap big prizes, with the event’s fund for the Games totaling some 10 million USD, a substantial sum which places it on the same level as the world’s leading international cyber sports tournaments.

Thanks to online livestream broadcasting, Russia’s Games of the Future will be seen by millions of viewers around the world.

This only future demonstrates that sweeping claims that Russia is totally isolated internationally are simply not true, owing to the enthusiasm the innovative new phygital format which has propelled the Games forward amongst both professional traditional and cyber sportsmen.

Official website of Games of the Future: www.gofuture.games




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