Esports winners at 2019 Game Awards include Bugha and G2 Esports
The Game Awards have come to a close and the winners in the esports categories have been revealed.
Last year, the popular show became one of Twitch's biggest live stream events with over 1.13 million concurrent viewers watching the program on the platform at its peak. This was double the views The Game Awards had received in 2017.
Let's take a look at how this year's esports categories differed from last year's results.
Best Esports Game
This year, Best Esports Game went to League of Legends, beating out Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Fortnite, and Overwatch. League of Legends had a big night, also teasing two new games: CONV/RGENCE and Ruined King.
Last year, The Game Awards had the same exact titles competing for the crown, but Overwatch was the one to reign supreme. That was most likely due to the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The city-based league was something completely different for the esports industry, and it's only becoming more global in 2020. The popularity of the league seemed to wane in 2019 however, setting the stage for League of Legends to take the crown here.
Best Esports Player
Golden State Warrior's Stephen Curry took to the Game Awards stage to present the trophy for "Best Esports Player of the Year." The basketball star noted that the award wasn't just for someone who performed well, but who also had integrity. This year, Fortnite superstar Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorft beat Lee "Faker" Sang-heyeok, Luka "Perkz" Perkovic, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, and Jay "Sinatraa" Won.
"I'm so proud to be a part of this community and can't wait to see what the future holds," Bugha said to the live crowd.
Bugha won $3 million by placing first at the Fortnite World Cup Solo Finals in July. This was Epic Games' first official forray into competitive esports with Fortnite, with over $30 million on the line for competitors. The victory over his 99 opponents immediately shot Bugha into the spotlight, even gaining him notoriety in mainstream media.
Last year's winner was fighting game legend Dominique "SonicFox" McLean, who played for the now dissolved Echo Fox. The self-proclaimed "black gay furry" beat Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao of Royal Never Give Up and Natus Vincere's s1mple, who has now been nominated two years running without a win.
Best Esports Team
The Game Awards pitted Astralis and Team Liquid's CSGO team against G2 Esports' League of Legends squad, OG, and San Francisco Shock. G2 came out on top, most likely due to their second-place finish at Worlds. The organization as a whole has been having a big year as well, recently announcing a new base in New York City thanks to investor Joe Tsai.
Best Esports Coach
The award for Best Esports Coach of the Year went to Astralis' Danny "Zonic" Sorensen. Astralis are currently the number one CSGO team in the world, having won the StarLadder Berlin Major and IEM Katowice this year. Team Liquid's CSGO coach was also a nominee, as was the organization's League of Legends coach. SK Telecom T1's Kim "kkoma" Jeong-gyun was also up for the award, despite the team not performing as expected at Worlds earlier this year.
Best Esports Event
It came as no surprise when the League of Legends World Championship won Best Esports Event of the Year. The Worlds finals broke Twitch's viewing record for all-time peak concurrent viewers, a record that was previously held by the Fortnite World Cup. The International 2019 would have been another deserving winner, boasting the highest prize pool of any esports event in history.
Last year's category was almost identical, with the League of Legends World Championship beating out The International 2018, EVO 2018, the Overwatch League Grand Finals, and ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018.
Best Multiplayer Game
Apex Legends was up for four different categories, but only took home one: Best Multiplayer Game of the Year. Respawn's battle royale defeated Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, The Division 2, and crowd favorite Tetris 99, which recieved roaring applause.
Fortnite streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, who won Best Content Creator of the Year in 2018, presented the Best Multiplayer Game category this year.
"My life has been defined by playing online multiplayer games," he said, struggling to open the envelope.
Fortnite took the trophy for the same category last year. The ever-popular battle royale beat Monster Hunter: World, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Destiny 2: Forsaken, and Sea of Thieves.
Best Ongoing Game
Fortnite won Best Ongoing Game last night, stealing the award from Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and Rainbow Six Siege. Worldwide creative director at Epic Games, Donald Mustard, accepted the trophy.
"This is amazing," Mustard told the crowd. "Thank you. A thousand people work to make Fortnite something that's incredible every single day. I'm so humbled to have the opportunity to make something like Fortnite. We want to lean into what a consistent virtual place would be. Our goal is to try and create a place where all IP can live together, a totally new emergent type of media."
Fortnite won this category last year as well, beating Destiny 2, No Man's Sky, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six Siege. Their continued recognition in the gaming industry proves Fortnite's staying power, despite professional players' complaints about the game's constant updates and inconsistent rulings on cheating.
The Game Awards continuously grow and change to keep up with the expanding esports industry. More categories are dedicated to not only video games that are visually appealing and have deep storylines, but also games that are simply fun to play with others online. The awards also celebrate the organizations, teams, players, and coaches that bring that gameplay to the next level, showcasing skill and teamwork that goes above and beyond the norm.
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