EA Sports and Virgin Gaming team up to bring exclusive PS3 tournaments to gamers everywhere. Up to $1 million in cash and prizes will be available for contestants. Contests begin January 23.

From the press release:

    Pro athletes will not be the only ones cashing in on their highlight reel moves in 2012, as Electronic Arts Inc. today announced the EA SPORTS™ Challenge Series, a sports video game tournament series that will determine the most skilled Madden NFL 12, NHL ® 12 and FIFA 12 gamers. Powered by Virgin Gaming and exclusive to the PlayStation®3 (PS3TM) computer entertainment system, participants will compete for over $1-million in cash and prizes – the largest prize money of any console-based sports gaming tournament ever. Available online at www.virgingaming.com, new technology allows gamers to participate in the tournament online at their leisure by pairing up gamers playing on the site at the same time.

    “Virgin Gaming is earning a reputation for hosting the biggest gaming tournaments, but our members have been asking for even larger prize pools. That’s what drove the creation of the EA SPORTS Challenge Series; the idea came from them,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “This is also the perfect opportunity to bring our unique tournament format to the masses, giving gamers the freedom to compete whenever they want, instead of according to a set schedule. Those who make it through the online qualifier phase will then earn a seat to play in the live finals for huge cash prizes and true e-sport star status.”

    Players that want to compete in the EA SPORTS Challenge Series can register and participate immediately. The three tournaments will begin with online qualifiers through Virgin Gaming for Madden NFL 12, NHL® 12 and FIFA 12. Players will need to outscore the competition by winning through the online qualifiers in order to secure a seat at the final event to be hosted in New York, April 2012.To learn more about EA SPORTS Challenge Series, the individual tournaments and official rules, please visit www.easports.com/challengeseries.

    GameStop®, the official retail partner of the EA SPORTS Challenge Series, will also be awarding 12 seats to play in the live finals via a special tournament open only to GameStop® PowerUp Rewards™ Pro members. This exclusive tournament runs from January 23 through March 23, 2012 and puts players on the fast track to the live finals event.

    Madden NFL 12 continues the rich tradition of the storied franchise by bringing fans closer to the NFL than ever before. Madden NFL 12 transforms on-field action and core gameplay modes, driving innovation in six key areas: Playbooks and Gameplay; Presentation; Franchise and Superstar modes; Dynamic Player Performance; Madden Ultimate Team; and Online Communities. Whether battling your rivals on the couch or online, leading your favorite team to the Super Bowl in Franchise mode, or building the ultimate dream team in Madden Ultimate Team, Madden NFL 12 is True to the NFL, True to the Franchise, True to the Game.

    Chosen “Best Console Game” at Gamescom and winner of the prestigious E3 Game Critics award for “Best Sports Game” at E3 2011, FIFA 12 is the most successful launch in the history of EA SPORTS and the industry’s biggest ever launch of a sports videogame. FIFA 12 brings to the pitch the game-changing new Player Impact Engine, and revolutionary gameplay innovations inspired by the real-world game, including all-new Precision Dribbling, Tactical Defending, and Pro Player Intelligence. Plus, new live services and breakthrough social experiences like EA SPORTS Football Club and FIFA Ultimate Team deepen fans’ connection to the real-world game, their favorite club, and their friends, rivals and millions of other players around the world in the massive FIFA online community.

    EA SPORTS NHL 12 authentically captures hockey as it is played on the ice with more than 300 gameplay refinements highlighted by three key innovations: Anticipation AI, Dynamic Goalies and the Full Contact Physics Engine. Anticipation AI takes NHL 12 to the next level as players will now intuitively determine their next move by reading and anticipating the play. With the Full Contact Physics Engine, size and strength matter. NHL12 continues to innovate by giving you true to life collisions and control over the battles around the crease. With Dynamic Goalies, goalies are live for the first time ever. Players can make contact with goalies as they crash the crease and goalies will battle through traffic in front of the net as they fight through screens to make awe-inspiring saves.

    EA SPORTS is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions, and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers personal access to the emotion of sports through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® Hockey, NBA JAM, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf , and EA SPORTS Active.