eSports, or competitive gaming, is a booming industry that is becoming exponentially bigger each year. One example of this growth is The International 6, the Dota 2 World Championship, which has a prize pool of over $20 million! The Chinese team Wings took home $9.1 million for winning it all. Evolution Champion Series 2016, the biggest fighting game tournament of the year, had the finals to the popular game Street Fighter V aired live on ESPN 2. League of Legends sold out the Staples Center where the NBA teams the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers play in 2013. The next year, the tournament moved to a 45,000 seat stadium in South Korea.
Cloud 9 (C9), once a perennial powerhouse, had barely scrapped by at the end of the season to make it into the gauntlet to be the third and final team representing the North American region at Worlds. Down in their best of 3 match against Gravity, C9 were able to come back from a 2-0 match deficit to win and advance onto face Team Impulse, who C9 too would reverse sweep. They would later topple over the last opponent, Team Liquid, 3-1 and complete their Cinderella run to make it to League of Legends World Championships. While they didn’t end up world champions, their miraculous run is very reminiscent to that of one of my other favorite teams, the Green Bay Packers, who, after just barely squeezing into the playoffs in 2010, would go on to win Super Bowl XLV.
If you’re interested in learning more, the library has a great book titled Good Luck Have Fun: The Rise of eSports that gives a nice overview of the world of eSports and how it grew to be the juggernaut it is now. Some great documentaries on eSports that can viewed online include Free to Play: The Movie, which is about three players participating in the Dota 2 International Tournament, and the series The Smash Brothers, about the Super Smash Brothers Melee scene that continues to be prominent today even after the game has been out for over 15 years. Maybe all this eSports talk has you hyped to actually play the games, both Dota 2 and League of Legends are free to play on PC, or you can check out games like Street Fighter IV , Super Smash Bros. for WiiU, or Overwatch from the library.