Nothing brings gamers together like a bit of competition. Whether its World of Warcraft or the latest release of Mario Kart, these games engender amazing amounts of community and togetherness. The esports craze has inspired some of the most heated competitions the world has ever seen, and it's only getting bigger.
Gamers who play Dota, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and many others have entered the high stakes world of competitive gaming, where tournaments take up entire arenas, official leagues are filled with franchise affiliations, and the prize money has entered into the six figures.
While there's a lot of money going into esports, it's still hard to say how profitable the whole endeavor is at the moment. The one thing to be sure, though, is that the audience is there. Companies like Twitch, YouTube, and ESPN shell out millions of dollars just to win the rights to air these events.
If you want to get involved in the tournament scene, the following list will help you get started. It runs down the biggest events around the globe and what competitors do to gain the right to play there. Some are open to everyone, while others are at the finish line of brackets and leagues that run for months beforehand.
Whatever the setup, going to one of these tournaments can be a life-changing experience. If you want to compete yourself, it's an awesome way to test your skills against the best in the world. And if you just like to watch, there are plenty of hype moments there, too. Here's our rundown of the must-attend video game tournaments in the world.
Call of Duty Championship
The Call of Duty World League and Call of Duty Pro League both bring together professional players to compete and climb the international ladder. Only the most elite players reach the Call of Duty Championship, which has been the game's highest level since 2013.
Each competition is held on the most recent version of the game. The 2018 Championship, won by the Evil Geniuses, was played on Call of Duty: WWII, while the 2019 competition will be played on Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
This year's competition will also concentrate on amateur play, allowing fans to compete in order to qualify for prize pools at the CWL Open Bracket and CWL Finals. This will also give players a chance to to compete in the Call of Duty Championship. (Photo by Joao Ferreira/ESPAT Media/Getty Images)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships
Beginning as a simple mod of Half-Life in 1999, the Counter-Strike series was acquired by Valve in 2012, and it has since grown into one of the most competitive esports games in the world.
It is so popular that the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships is among the most venerated competitive gaming tournaments. Known colloquially as simply the Majors, this tournament takes place twice a year and has prize money reaching $1 million. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
eSports World Convention
One of the longest-running events in esports history, the ESWC first debuted in 2003 as an outgrowth of smaller LAN parties and events in Paris. The event started out primarily focusing on first-person shooters and expanded over the years to cover a wide range of genres.
In recent years, ESWC has split into multiple annual events centered around Call of Duty, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Paris Games Week. It also partners with other organizations to sponsor tournaments for PUBG, Hearthstone, Fortnite, and many other competitive games. (Photo by Michel Stoupak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Evolution Championship Series
Fighting games have long been one of the most tight-knit communities in digital entertainment, and dozens if not hundreds of regional events happen all over the world. But they all lead up to EVO, held every summer in Las Vegas.
The first official EVO happened in 2002, but it dates back to a much smaller competition in Japan. Since then, it has grown into a three-day event that features a growing list of games. The 2019 event will feature Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 11, and many other favorites.
The unique thing about this tournament is that it is open to professional and amateur players, and the community is very welcoming. If you feel like trying your hand, this may be the best chance to make a name for yourself. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
FIFA eWorld Cup
Since 2004, gamers have gathered for the FIFA eWorld Cup to determine the top (virtual) footballer in the world. Forget broadcasts on YouTube and Twitch, this tournament is so big that it is actually broadcast on television in many countries around the world.
The good news for fans out there is that anyone is eligible for the tournament. All you have to do is compete online and qualify as one of the top players. Sounds simple enough, but are you up for the challenge? (Photo by Ben Hoskins - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Fortnite World Cup
Epic Games' Fortnite exploded onto the gaming scene in 2017, and this year it joins the world of esports. This summer, Fortnite World Cup will bring the best players from around the world to New York City to compete for the title of champion.
Anyone can enter the tournament, and players are eligible for $1 million weekly tournaments. The best players will move on to additional challenges before making it to the World Cup Finals and a $30 million prize pool.
Sweden's Dreamhack is such a big event that its founders have been recognized by the town of Jonkoping for their contributions to the local economy. Twice a year, the Elmia Exhibition Centre is taken over for 72 hours by gamers who compete in a vast variety of games.
In addition to MOBAs and fighting games, Dreamhack is one of the most prestigious events in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community, the Dreamhack Open. Dreamhack Summer 2019 will also host the Fighting Game Championships, Dreamhack Mobile Series, and Pokemon Regional Championships. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Intel Extreme Masters
Sanctioned by the Electronic Sports League, the Intel Extreme Masters is a series of international tournaments held around the world. It all leads up to the World Championships, where the best of the best face each other to determine the ultimate champions of their respective games.
As of 2019, there have been 14 IEM seasons with representation from such popular games as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, StarCraft II, and Fortnite. (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)
Multiplayer online battle arenas, or MOBAs, have been one of the biggest genre success stories of recent years, and two names sit at the top of the heap: League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients, or Dota. The latter is the focus of one of the most exciting yearly events in e-sports,The International
. With over $10 million in prizes, the International brings 16 high-end teams from all over the globe to Seattle to show their skills. (Photo: JUSTIN SAGLIO/AFP/Getty Images
League Of Legends World Championships
Many of the tournaments on this list are open to pretty much everybody. You pay your registration fee, and you're in the bracket. For the teams competing in theLeague of Legends World Championships
every year, things are a little different. They first have to make their way through regional competitions to even get an invitation, and once they're in, it's high-level play for $1 million and the 70-pound Summoner's Cup trophy.
Overwatch League Grand Finals
The professional Overwatch League, overseen by Blizzard Entertainment, is modeled after traditional sports leagues; 20 teams from three continents compete for a spot in the Grand Finals and an All-Star Game.
Each team in backed by an esports group; the inaugural season had a prize pool of $3.5 million, and the two-day Grand Finals had an audience over 22,000 spectators. The event was broadcast on Twitch, ESPN, and Disney XD, with a reported 10.8 million viewers. (Photo by Hannah Smith/ESPAT Media/Getty Images)
Pokemon World Championships
Nintendo was late to the competitive gaming world, but one franchise that has kept up with the changing landscape is Pokemon. Play! Pokemon tournaments start at the local level and end with the invite-only Pokemon World Championships for the best of the best.
Players compete against their peers in the trading card game and video game series for scholarships and other prizes. If you're looking to compete, check the Championship Series event calendar and show your stuff on the local level before moving up in the ranks. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
StarCraft II World Championship Series
Blizzard's StarCraft series is one of the most beloved video games of all-time, so it makes sense it would also become one of the most widely played esports around. After the release of StarCraft II, the game was turned into a series of competitive tournaments called the StarCraft II World Championship Series.
This competition takes players around the world, but only the best reach the finals, which are held annually at BlizzCon in Anaheim, California. This makes the event both a showcase for the best players and a chance for fans to get their hands dirty in casual Blizzard game competitions.
This is the must-attend event for any competitive gamer, as well as diehard fans of Blizzard games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm. Thankfully, AI players aren't allowed...yet. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
World Cyber Games
The World Cyber Games are back! After several years of inactivity, the Esports Olympics will once again host competitions to determine the best players in the world. Four regional finals will take place before narrowing the field in time for the Grand Finals in Xi'an, China.
In previous years, gamers have competed against one another in Street Fighter, FIFA, WarCraft, Tekken, League of Legends, and more. The 2019 WCG will host competitions for Dota 2, Honor of Kings, Clash Royale, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Hearthstone, and CrossFire.What's New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.","created_at":null,"updated_at":null})" x-show="showEmailSignUp()" class="rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 font-brand mt-8 container-xs">Get Our Best Stories!
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