Tournament.com, a new service that will offer cash prizes for online competition, has signed an exclusive agreement with Valve that will allow the company to run Counter-Strike and Half-Life 2 tournaments when the service launches.
The service, which went into final beta on May 2, will allow gamers to compete for cash in one of two ways: an standard entry-fee format, in which players pay to play in a time-limited series of matches, after which the prize money goes to the winner, or a perpetual game, in which players earn $1 for every kill they make and lose $1 for every death they suffer.
Match length, rules and prizes are determined solely by Tournament.com; players cannot set up their own matches on the service. Counter-Strike game types include classic Counter-Strike, Team Deathmatch, Eliminator and, most recently announced, the GunGame mod; currently, Half-Life 2 will run deathmatches only.
The company claims it has worked out a solution to the dicey legal issues involved with online gaming for cash. Online gambling is illegal in all U.S. states, but 36 of them do allow entry fees and cash awards for skill-based gaming. Tournament.com will verify a player's location, and his legality, through credit card details.