Sci-Fi teams up with Ang Lee's Hulk to find top UK gamer

LONDON - The Sci-Fi Channel UK has launched a nationwide gaming competition to find the UK's 'Ultimate Gamer', to coincide with the launch of Ang Lee's 'Hulk', which is due for release in July.

The Sci-Fi Channel, which is owned by Vivendi Universal, is teaming up with Vivendi Universal Games, Virgin Megastores, UCI Cinemas, UIP, and Future Publishing’s Official PlayStation2 Magazine to launch what it is calling the biggest mainstream gaming championship staged to date in the UK.

The competition, which kicks off on April 21, offers contestants the chance to battle it out in Virgin Megastores and UCI Cinemas nationwide for a share of a prize fund in excess of £50,000. The outright winner of the Grand Finale on July 5 will collect a cash prize of £15,000.

Entrants in the competition will have the first opportunity to play 'Hulk' on the PlayStation2, published by Vivendi Universal Games and scheduled for release in the UK on June 13.

The grand finale of the Sci-Fi Channel, part of Vivendi Universal subsidiary Universal Studio Networks, 'Ultimate Gamer' at UCI Empire Leicester Square on July 5 has been timed to tie in with the UK cinema release of 'Hulk' on July 18. Directed by Ang Lee and produced by Universal Pictures, 'Hulk' looks set to follow in 'Spider-Man''s footsteps to become one of 2003's top grossing blockbusters.

The deal was put together by Sci-Fi Channel's sponsorship director Marian Peppers. In addition to a heavyweight promotional campaign on air, Sci-Fi Channel's dedicated gaming magazine show, 'Ultimate Gamer', will become the home of the competition, with all elements being covered in detail in the weekly 30-minute show. The show's presenter, gaming aficionado Emily Newton-Dunn, will also be the face and host of the competition.

Janet Goldsmith, managing director of Universal Studio Networks, said: "Gaming and science fiction are synonymous, so we're really excited about launching Sci-Fi Channel's 'Ultimate Gamer'.

"Not only will this be Britain's biggest gaming competition, but it will be a first in every sense of the word -- from the open-to-all entry mechanic and prize fund in excess of £50,000, to regional heats being played on massive cinema screens. With so many major sponsors on board, it's going to be a hulk of a gaming competition."

To enter the competition, players call a competition phoneline -- 09069 122 644 -- from Monday April 21. All callers will be automatically entered into a prize draw for an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the world film premiere of 'Hulk' in LA.

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