eSports Tournaments

Global eSports Tournaments: The Most Popular eSports Tournaments In The World

eSports tournaments are seeing an increasing rise in popularity in player participation, quality of competition and also in spectator attendance. The sport is also seeing a steep hike in the prize money awarded year on year. The earlier tournaments held were mostly sponsored by gaming leagues and companies in which many games of different titles were first played in regional tournaments held throughout the year culminating in the finals, or the championships series.

However these days with the rise of popular games like Dota 2, we are seeing a trend where companies who develop these eSports games, regaining control and are taking on the responsibility of organizing game specific tournaments. In these tournaments as well, players first compete in regional’s and the winners from the regional’s compete in the finals. We are also seeing a shift towards crowdfunding, where money is collected from multiple sources to sponsor these eSports tournaments and fund the prize money. Some of the biggest and most eSports tournaments in the world are:

The International:

The International- Dota 2 ChampionshipsThis tournament is by far the biggest tournament in the world of eSports.

It started in 2011 when the beta testing version of the game Dota 2 was released.

The 2015 edition of this tournament saw a prize pool of more than $18 million mostly procured through crowdfunding.

The event was played in KeyArena Center in Seattle, Washington. The tournament begins with the qualifier phase in May every year followed by the main event in August.

Dota 2 Asia Championship:

Dota 2 Asia ChampionshipThe DAC is the second biggest eSports tournament in the world.

The event is held in China and the 2015 edition had total prize money of more than $3 million.

The tournament starts in January with the qualifiers and ends in early February when the main tournament or the finals is held.

It is estimated that around 1 million people simultaneously watched the 2015 edition of the tournament.

Frankfurt and Shanghai Major:

Frankfurt and Shanghai MajorThese are again Dota 2 specific tournaments.

The Frankfurt Major was played in 2015 with the total prize money pool estimated to be around $3 million. The tournament was held in Frankfurt, Germany and was organized by the Electronic Sports League. The opening qualifying rounds of the tournament was held in October while the main tournament was held in November.

The Shanghai Major tournament played in March 2016 has become one of the biggest Dota 2 tournaments with prize money being in the range of $3 million. The tournament was played in Shanghai, China in the Mercedes Benz Arena. A total of 16 teams participated in the tournament with 8 teams being given a direct invitation and the remaining 8 teams selected through qualifiers held all over the world.

Smite World Championships:

Smite World ChampionshipsSmite was released in March 2014.

Its world championship series took place in January 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia and the total prize money was more than $2 million.

The qualifying rounds for the tournament were held prior to the Jan 2015 and ran for a total of three months in Europe and North America.

Teams from North America, Europe, China, Brazil and Latin America participated in the World Championship.

Halo World Championships:

Halo World ChampionshipThe Halo World Championship Series was announced as the biggest Halo eSports competition with total prize money of more than $2.5 million.

The championship series would feature the game Halo 5: Guardians.

The tournament started with over 900 teams and 4000 registered users. The final round had 16 teams.

League of Legends World Championships:

League of Legends World ChampionshipsThis tournament is hosted by Riot Games and played at different locations every year. The 2014 and 2015 tournament editions had total prize money of more than $2 million.

The first tournament was held in Sweden in 2011 at Dreamhack, which is one of the world’s biggest digital festivals.

Since then it has been played at different locations all over the world.

The 16 teams that competed first played a round-robin schedule followed by an 8 team elimination bracket. It is estimated that a peak load of 14 million concurrent viewers watched the finals.

Call of Duty Championship:

Call of Duty ChampionshipThe first Call of Duty tournament was held in 2013 in Burbank, California.

The tournament had total prize money of around $1 million. The tournament used to be played in the spring but has now been shifted to the fall of each year.

The main tournament is preceded by regional tournaments all over the world, including tournaments being played in Asia-Pacific, Brazil, Europe and North America.

StarCraft II: World Championship Series:

StarCraft II: World Championship SeriesThis StarCraft II video game tournament is played throughout the year.

Players taking part in the tournament first seek to earn points in two leagues, which are the World Championship Series Korea and World Championship Series Circuit.

The top eight teams from the two leagues compete in the World Championship Series Global Playoffs.

The top 8 teams from the playoffs compete next in the Global Finals. The 2015 finals had prize money of $200,000.

Intel Extreme Masters:

intel extreme mastersThis tournament started in 2007 and was sponsored by Intel. The tournament features competition in games such as StarCraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Quake Live, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and League of Legends.

There are qualifying rounds played all over the world from the month of July which is followed by the World Championships played in March.

Major League Gaming:

Major League GamingThis professional eSports organization based in New York City is one of the largest leagues in America.

The league has been holding tournaments in the United States since 2004. There are multiple regional tournaments culminating with the National Championship.

The most recent National Championships were held in 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana in October.

The event featured games such as the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Smite, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Dota 2 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Evolution Championship Series:

Evolution Championship SeriesThis annual sports event is held in the Las Vegas valley and focuses exclusively on street fighting games.

This is one of the oldest eSports games having been founded in 1996.

In the 2016 edition, the tournament will feature a number of popular games such as Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

World Cyber Games:

World Cyber GamesThese eSports games are held in South Korea and are based on traditional sporting tournaments in which countries participate to win gold, silver and bronze medals, similar to the Olympics.

Like the Olympics, the tournament is replete with an opening ceremony also. Individual countries first hold regional tournaments followed by the finals from which players are selected who then represent their country in the tournament.

The most recent tournament was held in 2013 in China wherein 500 players participated from 40 countries.