Microsoft and other tech companies battle in StarCraft II league

Microsoft and Google are sometimes fierce competitors. Facebook and Twitter often fight to get more people to use their social networking services. But employees of these tech companies and others can perhaps take out some of their frustrations by participating in some organized online gaming matches. Earlier this month eight well known tech organizations formed teams to join the After Hours Gaming League.

Besides the previously mentioned companies, the gaming league also includes teams from Amazon, Yelp, Zynga and Dropbox. The teams use Blizzard's sci-fi RTS sequel StarCraft II as their tournament game of choice. The eight teams have competed each week since June 30 in online matches. The tournament will continue until the final playoffs which will be held on August 19 at the Facebook campus in Palo Alto, California. All of the previous matches were streamed online for the general public to watch and that will continue for the upcoming matches and the final playoffs. In addition to bragging rights, the winning team at the finals will be able to choose which charity will receive $5,000, donated by the tournament's video streaming company, Day[9]TV.

One of the reasons for launching the After Hours Gaming League is to help promote eSports in general in the US. While other countries, particularly in South Korea (where the StarCraft franchise is practically a national sport), are more accepting of eSports, it has yet to catch on in a big way in this country. According to one the league's main organizers, Sean Plott, “We believe the After Hours Gaming League, featuring top tech talent, will showcase some of the country’s best and brightest gamers, illustrate the potential of gaming, and ultimately build respect for eSports."

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