The Betfred World Championship may have been postponed, but fans can still enjoy an online version of the sport’s biggest tournament on the original dates thanks to WST’s official video game Snooker 19.
The Virtual World Snooker Championship will see 16 of Snooker 19’s top players battling for the title between April 18 and May 4 at the simulated Crucible Theatre.
Each gamer will represent one of the real-world top 16, players who are currently unable to compete on the Main Tour as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
WST, Ripstone, and Lab42 have teamed up to run the tournament, selecting 16 players who will compete on PlayStation 4 consoles.
While many sports have been affected by the coronavirus, e-sports hasn’t necessarily been one of them.
Snooker hasn’t yet delved into the ever-expanding e-sports industry, but this could be just the beginning of another avenue the game could take in the future.
Only last week on April Fool’s Day, there was a humorous article written by Monique Limbos that spoofed how the real World Championship would be contended in such fashion by the likes of the top players themselves.
Among those duped was top pro Alfie Burden, although it looks like Monique wasn’t too far off the mark after all.
Am I really reading this correctly, you’re are saying the qualifiers could be played via a computer game ? https://t.co/HG0yq1znHC
— Alfie Burden (@ABOFLONDON) April 1, 2020
The winner of the Virtual World Snooker Championship will be invited to the Crucible during the rescheduled real-world tournament – hoped to take place this summer.
The prize package also includes a cue signed by the world’s top players and a copy of the Snooker 19 Gold Edition on PlayStation 4.
All matches will be broadcast on WST’s YouTube and Facebook channels, and tournament participants will be seeded according to the current world rankings, with the draw as follows:
Judd Trump (1) v Yan Bingtao (16)
Kyren Wilson (8) v Shaun Murphy (9)
Mark Allen (5) v Jack Lisowski (12)
John Higgins (4) v Stuart Bingham (13)
Mark Williams (3) v Stephen Maguire (14)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) v David Gilbert (11)
Mark Selby (7) v Ding Junhui (10)
Neil Robertson (2) v Barry Hawkins (15)
The line-up of Snooker 19 players to represent each of the top stars will be announced shortly, along with the schedule of matches.
A spokesman for WST said: “Snooker fans around the world will be missing our sport’s biggest tournament later this month, but this could be the next best thing, especially for anyone who loves video games.
“It’s a chance to get behind your favourite player, follow the action every day and marvel at the skills of the best exponents of Snooker 19.”
Snooker19, developed by Lab42, was released last year as the first official WST video game in a generation and received somewhat favourable reviews.
Hollie Pattison from Ripstone, the publisher of Snooker 19 added: “We are really looking forward to hosting the Virtual Betfred World Championship in Snooker 19 and we hope to bring some joy to everybody watching from home at this difficult time.”
“This is a world first and we expect the standard of play from the 16 participants to be incredibly impressive, so we should have some great matches to look forward to.”