With social distancing in place and sporting events being cancelled for the foreseeable future, the gaming industry has stepped up to the plate – delivering numerous virtual sports offerings to keep fans ticking over. With F1 stars making the most of the technology available to them, and the NBA Player’s Tournament up and running, it’s now time for the snooker community to come together with the world’s first Virtual World Snooker Championship. And it’ll be Snooker 19 that plays host to it all.
In a world first, we will soon see a World Snooker champion crowned, and all thanks to Snooker 19, the official videogame of the sport. Created by Ripstone Games and run in collaboration with Lab42 and the WST – the official snooker governing body – the Virtual World Snooker Championship will bring together some of the world’s best players in a 1-shot tournament that will crown the champ.
With the Betfred World Snooker Championship postponed due to COVID-19, players at home are missing out on the sport’s biggest event of the year, and so it is here where the Virtual Betfred World Snooker Championship steps in. The virtual tournament will run on the original tournament dates and will feature the 16 best pro snooker players in the world – all represented by some of the top players from the Snooker 19 community.
The Virtual Betfred World Championship will see competitors battling for the title between April 18th and May 4th at the simulated Crucible Theatre, after which the winner of the event will be invited to the Crucible during the real-world tournament to be presented with the Virtual Betfred World Championship trophy. As you can imagine, this is a once in a lifetime experience to be crowned snooker champion in the world-famous arena, followed by the chance to watch a series of live matches first hand. But further to that, the prize package also includes a cue signed by the world’s top snooker players.
All matches will be broadcast on WST’s YouTube and Facebook channels, with the tournament participants seeded according to the current world rankings. The draw will play out 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 full schedule, along with the line-up of Snooker 19 players who will represent each of the top stars will be announced shortly.
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.”
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.”
This virtual championship certainly looks set to provide cue fans an opportunity in the midst of the cancellation of the real-world event. Snooker 19 Is the most realistic simulation of snooker ever seen, with an in-depth single-player Career Mode, an ton of local and online multiplayer modes and no less than 128 of the world’s best players to choose from.
If you’re even the slightest bit interested in snooker, the Snooker 19 Virtual Betfred World Snooker Championship should be something to take in. And if you haven’t yet picked up Snooker 19, get over to the Xbox Store and grab a download. You’ll also find the game available on PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.