eSports are gaining traction in the world of sports and gaming; nothing exemplifies this than the fact that in 2018, global eSports market size stood at $906 million while in 2020, it’s expected to reach a gargantuan $1.6 billion.
Well, it’s difficult to pinpoint just one reason behind the success of eSports but what we can do is to highlight a combination of factors which all helped to propel eSports to the top echelons of success that it now enjoys. Among the plethora of factors helping eSports to succeed, there is the tournament factor.
eSports in general are games played in a tournament format. What this essentially means is that eSports teams will compete against each other for the right to be crowned gaming champions. In these tournaments, on stake will of course are bragging rights and the money factor that is, the tournament prize pool.
In as much as the gamers themselves stand to win big when they partake in eSports tournaments, people at home can also participate in these tournaments via eSports betting or may just watch the tournaments for entertainment purposes. Regardless of whether one wants to participate via eSports betting or just want to have some fun watching gamers compete against each other, here are the biggest eSports tournaments in the world.
- Fortnite World Cup
Ever since it came onto the gaming scene, the Fortnite World Cup has won many hearts. The tournament is organized by the game’s developer that is, Epic Games and it pits different teams going head to head against each other for the right to claim bragging rights as well as walk away with substantial prize money. In 2019, the Fortnite World Cup prize pool was a massive $100 million.
The Fortnite World Cup starts with the qualifiers which generally take place starting in the fall of the previous year. This is to mean that the qualifiers of the Fortnite World Cup for 2020 started in the fall of 2019. The qualifiers are both for solo players as well as duos. Players from different regions start by competing with players from other regions. Depending on points earned, the top three thousand players/teams from each region are chosen. On a selected day, the three thousand players/teams from each region compete for the chance to be selected to participate at the Fortnite World Cup.
During the World Cup, players/teams play a total of 6 matches with the highest winners earning points. For reaching the finals, solo players in 2019 pocketed $50 000 while duos scooped $100 000. The eventual Fortnite World Cup champion team walked away with a cool $3 million.
The existence of the qualifiers means that participation at the World Cup is based on merit only.
- League of Legends World Championship
League of Legends is one of the most popular eSports games in the world and arguably the biggest on the Twitch platform. The much anticipated tournament by all League of Legends players is the League of Legends World Championship. Riot Games is the organizer of the Championship.
The League of Legends World Championship starts early in the year as players partake in the qualifying rounds. The League of Legends World Championship is composed of three stages. The first stage is the Play-in stage. During this stage, 12 teams are drawn into four groups of three. The teams in each group engage in a double round robin tournament with the two highest ranked teams from each group proceeding to the Play-in knockouts. Here, the first placed teams from one group are paired with the second best from another group to determine to remaining four teams to advance to the next phase that is, the Group Stage.
The Group Stage consists of 16 teams of which 4 of these come via the Play-in stage. The other 12 qualify directly owing to past performances. The 16 are divided into four groups of four with each group playing a double round robin, bets of 1 series. The top two teams from each group proceed to the third phase that is, the Knockout Stage.
The Knockout Stage consists of 8 teams. These teams start playing in the quarterfinals in a single elimination bracket. Quarterfinal winners proceed to the semifinals and the semifinal winners will proceed to the finals.
- The International
The International is the tournament that all DOTA 2 players look forward to each year. It’s not difficult to see why The International is one of the biggest eSports tournaments in the world considering that DOTA 2 commands a huge following. The International is organized by the game’s developer, Valve Corporation.
The tournament often takes place in August. In 2018, the tournament prize pool was a cool $25 million. 18 teams participate in The International. 12 teams receive direct invitations owing to impressive past performances while 6 have to come through a tournament qualifying series known as the DOTA Pro Circuit; each region that is, North America, South America, southeast Asia, China, Europe, and CIS regions will provide one team each.
At The International, the 18 teams will be separated into two groups and nine and the teams in each group will compete in a best of two round robin series with the lowest ranked team from both groups being eliminated at the end. Afterwards, the remaining 16 teams move to the double elimination stage with the top four teams from each group moving to the Upper Bracket and the bottom four moving to the Lower Bracket. In the Lower Bracket, two matches are played amongst the four teams with the losers immediately eliminated. The Upper Bracket matches are played in a Best of 3 Series bar the Grand Finals which pit the winners of the Lower Bracket and the Upper Bracket in a best-of-five series.
- Call of Duty World League
The tournament that Call of Duty players look forward to is the Call of Duty World League organized by Activision Publishing. Activision Publishing is the developer of Call of Duty games. The Call of Duty World League is a tournament conducted to decide the world champions for the game.
Each year starting in January, players compete in the qualifiers for an opportunity to participate in the Call of Duty season. A total of 16 teams will be selected to compete with each other for an opportunity to win substantial prize money in the Call of Duty World League. For 2018 and 2019, the prize for the winner was $6 million.
In recent times, the Call of Duty World League is played in a five-versus-five format. Group winners proceed to the quarterfinal stage with the winners proceeding to the semifinals and the semifinal winners ending up in the finals. In the past, participants in the Call of Duty World League were determined by the region they hail from but this has since been scrapped and players from all corners of the world can participate.
- IEM Katowice
Players of Counter Strike: Global Offensive have an opportunity to partake in the IEM Katowice tournament. The tournament is held early in the year normally in February to March meaning players can win themselves something and prepare themselves financially for the rest of the year.
To stand a chance of participating at IEM Katowice, teams compete in regional qualifiers namely the Americas, Asia, CIS, and Europe. The qualifying rounds consist of eight teams with the top two qualifying directly to the IEM Katowice tournament. Third based teams will play against each other until two of the best remain; these will too qualify for the IEM Katowice tournament. A total of 24 teams participate at IEM Katowice with top eight teams from the FACEIT Major being automatic entrants. These eight are known as Legends. 10 teams come from the qualifiers and play-offs while the remaining 6 are the teams that finished ninth to fourteenth in the past FACEIT Major. Combined, these are known as the Challengers.
At IEM Katowice, the first phase is the Challengers that will see the 16 Challengers competing against each other with the winner from each match proceeding to the next stage that is, the New Legends Stage. The eight New Legends will face up against the eight Legends with the winners from each match proceeding to the last phase that is, the New Champions Stage. The final stage is a best of three single elimination brackets where teams play until a winner emerges.
The IEM Katowice is organized by Valve Corporation and ESL.
- The Overwatch League
The Overwatch League is the most prestigious tournament that Overwatch players aim to partake in. running each year, the Overwatch League is organized by the Blizzard Entertainment group which is the developer of Overwatch game.
At the start of the tournament, the tournament organizer maps different regions and cities. Overwatch players in these cities will compete for a chance to represent the city in the Overwatch League. The 20 teams are divided into two conferences with two divisions in each conference. Each team will play a total of 28 matches, one match against all out-conference teams and two matches against all in-conference teams. At the end of the league, the top two teams from each conference qualify automatically for the Grand Finals as top seeds. The next four teams from the two conferences will also qualify as three to six seeds. The 7th to 12th seeded teams in each conference will play a play-in tournament to determine the two teams that will advance to the grand Finals as the seven and eight seeds. At the Grand Finals, teams engage in single elimination matches till a winner emerges.
In 2019, the winners of the Overwatch League took home $5 million.
- HALO World Championship
HALO 5: Guardians has slowly been gaining traction in the world of eSports and with the introduction of the HALO World Championship, the game is certainly going to attract more players. The HALO World Championship is organized by Microsoft and 383 Industries.
Early in the year, players who are looking to participate at the HALO World Championship are invited to compete against other players in the qualifier rounds. From the qualifiers, a total of 16 teams will be chosen to participate at the HALO World Championship. The 16 teams are divided into four groups of four and they will eliminate each other round robin style until a winner emerges. The winner of the HALO World Championship scoops a massive $1 million.
- PUBG Global Championship
The much waited tournament by all PUBG players is the PUBG Global Championship. This tournament is organized by the PUBG Corp, the developer of the PUBG game.
At the beginning, PUBG maps the world into 9 different regions. The players with aspirations of representing their region at the PUBG Global Championship will participate in the regional qualifiers. Winners of the regional qualifiers will proceed to the PUBG Global Championship.
Matches amongst the 9 regional contestants will take place throughout the year with the final being held in November. The winner of the PUBG Global Championship will take home no more than $2 million.
- Fortnite Secret Skirmish
Fortnite players are truly based in that not only will they look forward to the Fortnite World Cup but they also have an opportunity to participate in the Fortnite Secret Skirmish tournament. The tournament is organized by Epic Games. This tournament is a relatively new addition and at its inception, Epic Games said the intention behind the move was to afford players an opportunity to finesse their gaming skills in between larger tournaments such as Fortnite World Cup.
Participants at the Fortnite Secret Skirmish are only those leading the leader board from each open Fortnite tournament of the season. The winner of this two-day event walks away with $500 000. The tournament is held in February.
- DOTA 2 Asia Championships
DOTA 2 Asia Championships is a regional tournament but nonetheless finds itself on our list owing to its massive prize pool which in 2018 was a whopping $1 million. The Championships run from March to April each year.
Mapping is the first phase of the Championships as the Asian continent is spilt into different regions. Players from these regions will challenge each other for the right to represent their regions. Eventual winners will proceed to the group stage where via a round robin style of play, some teams will be eliminated and others progress to the next round. This next round works on a best-of-three format with double eliminations until the overall winner pops up.
The above are some of the numerous eSports gaming tournaments that take place in the world all year round. For those who would like to experience how it feels to be part of the eSports gaming family, nothings cuts it than settling for any one of these tournaments.