With the 2006 World Cup qualify matches already under way, soccer fans are counting down the days until the competition kicks off in Germany. Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on that expectation for its own tournament--a virtual World Cup on Xbox Live.
To help promote its months-old deal with EA Sports, Microsoft will begin holding an online championship of FIFA Soccer 2005 players. When the game goes on sale in October, players will be able to register for the tournament via Xbox Live from their homes. Microsoft is also a major sponsor of the actual 2006 World Cup.
Though details on the qualification were not available, Microsoft did outline the contest's structure: Winners will advance to eight regional finals on six continents (sorry, Antarctica). The North American final will be staged in New York City, with the championship game to take place during the real FIFA's annual World Player of the Year gala in Zurich, Switzerland.