Esports are taking off as a major medium of entertainment. For those that enjoy esports, it all comes down to the major tournaments that are held worldwide. For pro video gamers, these annual tournaments are their proving grounds.
The best players around the world spend their entire year training in the lead up to these popular tournaments and compete in hopes of winning prizes, sponsorships, and getting their name out as a major player. Here are some of the biggest and most prestigious gaming tournaments around.
The International (DOTA 2)
The International is Dota 2’s major annual tournament that brings the best players out from major PC gaming countries like China, Russia, and the USA. Pro gamers know that Dota 2 is constantly breaking records for the biggest prizes in esports history and every year brings a more enticing prize pool. The 2019 International took place in Shanghai with 18 pro teams and had a massive pool of over $30 million to be awarded to the best players of the game.
Evo Las Vegas (Tekken, Street Fighter, Super Smash Brothers and others)
The Evolution Championship Series, known as Evo, is considered to be the biggest video game tournament in the world. While that is quite the feat in its own right, what’s even more impressive is that the tournament focuses solely on fighting games as opposed to catering to a wide variety of genres like other mega tournaments. Evo has been going strong for 20 years and the 2019 Evo brought over 9000 participants.
While each fighting game may have its own champions tournament, Evo is often a bigger event than these individual tournaments. People from all over the world travel to Las Vegas to compete in Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Dragon Ball FighterZ and other popular titles. The success of Evo has even led to smaller gatherings like Evo Japan.
Fortnite World Cup
In 2017, the game Fortnite launched and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Since then, it has continuously reinvented itself with more content and some surprisingly effective marketing stunts like a live in-game concert with rapper Travis Scott. As the youngest tournament series on this list, the Fortnite World Cup has made headlines in its own right for its extravagant prize pools and entertaining live streams. Utilizing an online open qualifier format, over 40 million people from 200 countries competed and were eliminated down to a pool of just 200 that competed in person in New York City. The winner of the solo pool, “Bugha” took home an impressive $3 million for his efforts. The success of the Fortnite tournament shows that the world of esports is booming. As the scene continues to grow year after year, we can expect more games becoming popular just on the strength of their multiplayer capabilities alone.
Intel Extreme Masters (CS:GO, Starcraft II, Quake Live and others)
The Intel Extreme Masters or IEM is a major esports tournament backed by the Intel computer company that has been running strong since 2007. As a global event that is open to competitors from all over the world, the IEM has been held in major cities such as Los Angeles, Dubai, Chengdu and Hanover. While many gaming tournaments focus on the latest installment in favorite franchises, the IEM is centered around legacy esports titles like the Counter Strike series and Starcraft II, with a few newer titles like Hearthstone and League of Legends.
Pokemon World Championship
The Pokemon World Championship is the major tournament series for the Pokemon franchise. After more than 20 years, the Pokemon franchise is going stronger than ever with many new mainline game releases, as well as the trading card game and the cultural phenomenon of the Pokemon GO mobile game. All of this comes together every year at the Pokemon World Championship, an invite only event.
To be a competitor at this event, you have to win several qualifying rounds that are held around the world. The final qualifying rounds may have up to 1000 competitors, but only several hundred from all of the major qualifiers will be invited to the Pokemon World Championships.
Even still, it is one of the most watched esports events every year. The 2014 tournament was the first time it was live streamed on the Twitch platform, and it reportedly reached a viewership of over 800,000. Pokemon may be looked at as a more juvenile game series in the esports world, but this tournament shows that the franchise is still big business.
Following the successful launch of SiGMA Europe (Malta) and SiGMA Asia (Manila), we’re now launching the inaugural SiGMA AMERICAS, covering all three major timezones. The inaugural edition is set for September 22-24, 2020 with a virtual summit focusing on two themes: SiGMA AMERICAS for the Gaming industry and AIBC AMERICAS for the Emerging Tech industry. We wanted to provide fresh content, to help you navigate through these turbulent times. If you’re exploring Americas as a new frontier or wondering which tech solutions to embrace, we've got you covered: tune in on September 22-24, 2020.