Gaming is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the UK. Competitive gaming has taken off and now encompasses all spectrums of society and interest. There is nothing like the thrill and competition associated with competitive gaming. Many top level gamers spend hours in a highly controlled environment, often referred to as a “gaming cafe” or “e-sports cafe”. Such dedicated environments allow players to interact in a friendly and sociable environment. It provides a safe and friendly environment for those new to gaming, to learn from others and participate in friendly competitions where they can improve their skills and compete against other like minded individuals.
Canada is home to a great selection of professional and amateur gamers. The most high profile sport in Canada is ESL. The ESL is responsible for hosting hundreds of ESL tournaments which are an extremely popular way of learning and improving. The gaming stadium, a unique first of it’s kind, is situated in Richmond, British Columbia where thousands of hardcore gamers gather every weekend to compete in thrilling and competitive matches.
In recent years there has been a trend for organizers to award substantial cash prizes to their top competitors. This has lead to the creation of what is known as a “prize pool” or “tournament purse”. These tournaments usually offer a large cash prize money. The ESL and other organizers have adapted this system by creating additional smaller invoices that provide smaller amounts of prize money but ensure that the top performing teams can cover the costs of running the venue. For example, instead of awarding players with cash prizes for winning their respective matches, the ESL will organize a “qualifier tournament” whereby the top four teams with the most accumulated prize money will compete in a single tournament. Only the team with the most prize money at the end wins.
Other organizations are now starting to adopt this method of encouraging participants to enter their gaming arenas. As it is relatively easy to raise the amount of prize money that you would need to fund a major event such as the” ESO League” or similar high profile league like the” WCG” event, many sponsors are now becoming involved in supporting the game. Sponsorships allow them to claim a percentage of the total prize money. Most sponsorships also come attached with travel expenses to participate in the tournaments. There are currently many prominent companies who are now becoming involved with supporting gaming via sponsorship.
One of the newest trends in the field of esport is the establishment of venues which are owned by players themselves. These venues are often built in house or rented out to accommodate large crowds for large events. The UK Columines esport venue which was built by our very own superstar player, CS: GO player, Michael “prodigy” Cark’s, is a perfect example of this concept. The venue was built in house and has a very impressive infrastructure completed with a fully functional lobby, multiple lounge areas, and multiple dining options.
With the growth of the video game industry it is no surprise that organizations within the community have taken notice of the growing need for a larger stage where they could show the world what they are capable of. Recently the owners of the London Columines Esport arena announced that they will be adding an additional stage to the venue when the season finishes. The venue will be utilized for both the regular season games as well as the final ESL European Season which are due to start later this year. In addition to the announcements by the ownership group, the team behind ESL has made the decision to expand their support to include four additional European cities.
It is important to recognize the growth of video games as a multi-billion dollar industry. This industry provides countless hours of entertainment and relaxation for millions of people all around the world. The future for sport in the UK is very bright and promises to bring even more attention and interest to the growing scene. The establishment of professional esport stadiums such as the London Arena and HyperX will provide clear opportunities for the up-and-coming British gamers to show the world what they are made of. These ambitious organizations are setting the standard for the success of European gamers who wish to join the ESL.
In the past it was difficult for gamers in the UK to gain a large following due to the lack of organization and poor support from game developers. With the London Olympics and other major tournaments drawing large crowds of gamers internationally, the time is now ripe for organizations to realize their potential as the next major global gaming stadium. By implementing a number of innovative strategies and partnering with successful online tournament organizers, big UK based organizations such as valve bw and Epsilon outsource the burdens of running a gaming stadium to experienced gaming venues in Europe.