ESports, in the past decade or so, have become quite the global phenomenon. With talk of eSports becoming an Olympic sport as soon as 2024, and competitions pulling together prize pools of as much as $20million (We have Dota 2 – The international to thank for that!) it’s impossible to ignore just how big eSports have become. For anyone that’s been living under a rock for the past, well, 45 years, you might be asking yourself “What are eSports?” Well, ‘eSports’ is the name given to any competition on electronic systems – usually video games. The biggest eSport’s competitions, however, tend to take the form of huge, awe-worthy multiplayer video game competitions, usually between the most professional in each game. Strategy, fighting, first-person shooters and multiplayer online battle arena are some of the most commonly seen genres in tournaments, of which there are thousands from small to huge.
The question is, however, what are the biggest eSports events in the world? What tournaments do players really aspire to compete in? What seat do they have to sit in to really think ‘I’ve made it’? We’ve decided to take a look.
Dota 2 the International
The International (TI) is quite possibly the biggest event of the year when it comes to eSports, though it competes most closely with the Intel Extreme Masters which you can read more about below. The Dota 2 TI is an annual tournament organised by the game’s creator Valve that first took place in Cologne in Germany at Gamescom 2011. Since its creation, The International has rocketed up in the eSports ranks, with the tournament moving to the Benaroya in Seattle, and later the much larger KeyArena in the same city. In 2014, upon its movement to the KeyArena, The International even broke records by having one of the largest prize pools in all of eSports history at $10.9million which has only grown with every year. The International 2017 has a prize pool of a whopping $24,687,916 and, with a history of some of the best eSports comebacks the industry has ever seen, it’s no wonder that it only grows in popularity every year.
In short, this tournament is everything a Dota 2 fan could hope for, whether playing or watching. Fans can watch via live stream, in person at the tournament, watch in-game, at pubstomps through Barcraft United, or even on DVR Replays if you happened to miss the action while it was happening. There’s even a newcomer stream for those new to Dota; this special broadcast is enhanced with overlays giving contextual information to help people understand the huge world of Dota without missing any of the action of the tournament!
League of Legends Worlds
The Dota 2 vs League of Legends argument is one that has been ongoing since the day both games were on the market. With Dota players confessing that League of Legends is better, and League of Legend’s players delving into the world of Dota, there is one thing that we can know for sure – Both games have dedicated fans and amazing eSports tournaments. The League of Legends Worlds is a 24-team championship with teams from, believe it or not, all over the world. Teams come from Brazil, China, Europe, Japan, Korea, North America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and more so there really is a diverse range of players you can watch or aspire to join.
The LoL Worlds 2017 has a prize pool of $2,130,000 – not as much as Dota, but still quite the significant amount! Fans of this multiplayer game can watch the tournament action on a range of different streams depending on where they live, including Twitch, YouTube, Panda and Garena.
Intel Extreme Masters
The Intel Extreme Masters are a set of international eSports tournaments, held in locations all over the world. The events are sanctioned by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and include events for games such as StarCraft II, Counter-Strike, Global Offensive, Quake Live, League of Legends and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
In 2016-17, Intel Extreme Masters was in its 11th season, with events in Shanghai, Oakland, Gyeonggi, Katowice and Sydney. For the past 10 years since its creation, these tournaments have been consistently breaking records and improving upon their previous seasons in the way of viewership and attendance, and it’s not difficult to see why. With such a range of games included in these tournaments taking place all over the world, Intel Extreme Masters is possibly one of the most accessible series in eSports today!
Call of Duty World League
Okay, so this one is more of a growing event than the biggest, but the potential is breathtaking. For all intents and purposes, the Call of Duty World League is still its infancy. Only beginning in January of 2016, this tournament is played on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for PlayStation 4, and at the moment acts as a qualifier for the Call of Duty championships. VIP tickets are snapped up faster than you can blink, and general admission not long after that, but this is no surprise. With the popularity of the game growing with each year, and nail-biting three-hour bouts between finalists in its short history, the upcoming competition is set to be the biggest yet.
Prizes for players are already between $4,000 and $80,000 for 8th-1st place, and the winner can also expect a 25,000 Pro Points hand out – quite the prize for avid players! In short, while this tournament is still just a baby in the eyes of eSports tournaments, it’s already on a path to rapidly growing. Fans can watch the event on their Live Event Viewer on their PS4s, and Twitch once again comes to the rescue in giving fans a live stream, so it’s already well on its way to competing with some of the bigger, more established tournaments!