The online casino industry is one of the biggest gaming industries in the world. Whether it’s live poker, table games or slots such as the popular Ariana slots, the online casino industry is continuously growing. As more people become aware of online tournaments, they can often find themselves absorbed in the highly competitive world of esports.
By 2018, there were 25.7 million esports viewers in the United States alone. It’s expected to grow to a staggering 46 million by 2023, which is 15.5% of internet users. What draws these big audiences to esports isn’t only the intense competition and skill — it’s the major tournaments and mind-blowing prize pools.
Last year’s Dota 2 International had a $34 million prize pool, beating 2018’s $30 million record. Over $15.6 million of that amount went to the winners, OG. This was made possible thanks to Dota 2 Battle Passes, meaning fans helped create such an epic prize pool. Valve set aside $1.6 million themselves.
Epic Games, on the other hand, contributed $100 million to the future of Fortnite’s esports scene. The inaugural Fortnite World Cup had a $30 million prize pool. The Solo Finals winner, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, won $3 million of that, making him a millionaire overnight. It was one of the largest wins for a single person in both esports and sports.
The growth of the esports industry’s tournament scene has been altered by recent world events. While organizations have adapted to online tournaments and scrimming, it’s still been a brand new challenge. The Overwatch League was set to have tournaments all over the globe. The Call of Duty League had just started, following the city-based OWL model.
Back in March, Activision hosted a string of their Call of Duty tournaments without fans in attendance but insisted this was a temporary move.
“Call of Duty League has seen first-hand the power of our live events in our inaugural season, and will return to city-based competition in front of live audiences as soon as it is safe and logistically possible,” they said via a Twitter statement.
Apex Legends, Farming Simulator, FIFA and many more were also forced to cancel some of their flagship events. Fortunately, 2020 has not been a complete washout, with esports fans still being treated to some memorable tournaments.
Back in April, the MLP Indonesia Season 5 Playoffs reached a memorable conclusion with RRQ beating EVO in the final match in dramatic fashion. After a lengthy battle, things finally came to an end when RRQ marksman Xin eliminated no less than four players from the opposition’s back-line, earning a maniac kill streak in the process. This fantastic play allowed RRQ to take the base and clinch the title, as well as the $63,000 cash prize.
Anyone who likes an underdog story is bound to have enjoyed Natus Vincere’s against all odds victory in the IEM Katowice. The Ukraine-based Counter-Strike team fell into the lower bracket of the playoff tree after a stuttering performance in the early rounds of the tournament. Not to be deterred, they rallied in the playoffs, eventually sweeping the much fancied G2 eSports in the final.
There’s also been a few emotional moments in this year’s esports calendar. Take the Arena of Valor Premier League for example. After Flash Wolves’ secured their maiden title, several of the team could not hold back the tears. The best of seven finals went down to the wire, with the $160,000 prize being secured in the final minutes.
Despite the setback, Valorant also pushed forward with their inaugural Ignition Series. This created a lot of buzz in the esports industry, with organizations signing Valorant teams and streamers dropping their previous titles to take on the new tactical shooter.
Esports continues to thrive and adapt. That’s what makes the tournaments exciting, even without the giant prize pools. Even without the cheering audience full of sign-wielding fans. Esports tournament organizers will find innovative ways to continue the esports action, no matter the circumstance, giving fans something to watch — and teams to root for — no matter the challenge.