Virgin Gaming and Microsoft said they will go live with the Xbox Live Tournaments service later this year, an initiative that makes it possible for Xbox Live Gold subscribers to participate in tournaments directly from their consoles.

The partners said there will be a wide variety of games from leading publishers, available for paid-entry and free-to-play tournaments as well as head-to-head matches.

The Xbox Live Tournaments service, powered by Virgin Gaming, includes the capabilitlies to browse, enter, play in and track skill-based events, challenges and tournaments.

Billy Levy, president and co-founder of Virgin Gaming, said integration with consoles was always part of his company’s plan. “This is truly game changing,” he said.

Virgin Gaming hosts online competitive gaming, with real cash prizes in many that are open only to players who are at least 18 years old. (Residents of 15 U.S. states are legally prohibited from participating in the cash games.)

“Our goal is to deliver a play experience that makes tournaments fun and accessible, in a way that resonates with both the core and casual Xbox gamer, and we’ve found a partner that shares that same vision,” said Microsoft’s Alex Garden, general manager, Xbox Live. “By teaming up with Virgin we are able to match their expertise in operating a tournament service with our large and highly engaged community on Xbox Live.”

Related links:

Virgin Gaming – official site

Virgin Gaming – press release