Games are turning into serious sports and more and more gamers are becoming millionaires from it. Making a living playing video games has never been easier and the massive industry of eSports is just continuing to increase. With 2016 coming close to an end, we’re taking a deeper look at the 11 most popular eSport games and what the biggest eSport tournaments and prize pools have been this year.
Biggest eSport tournaments and prize pools 2016 part 1
Rank 11 & 10: $300,000.00
Starting from the bottom with a prize pool of $300,000.00, we interestingly enough find a shared last place between a veteran and a newcomer. One is a Belarusian made tank-shooter and the other one is Blizzard Entertainment’s latest first person shooter masterpiece. We are of course talking about World of Tanks and Overwatch!
The biggest World of Tanks tournament is called WGL (Wargaming league) and is the official competitive tournament for World of Tanks. As opposed to most eSport games where the prize pool has been increasing, the WGL finals have actually had the same prize pool for the past three years. Although on the bottom of our list, $300,000.00 isn’t all that bad, is it? When it comes to the competitive teams, Eastern European countries are completely dominating the tournaments and Russia is unquestionably the top one. One would think that this is because the game was first released in this region, but deep down inside we know that nothing can beat drinking vodka straight from the bottle and blowing things up!
Even though Overwatch is somewhat of the new kid on the block, this kid has made it clear that he isn’t messing around. Although I guess that’s what to expect when the almighty Blizzard is your daddy! Just four months after the release of the game, the biggest Overwatch tournament of the year, called Overwatch Open was hosted with a prize pool of $300,000.00.
Rank 9: $500,000.00
Ranking in on a modest 9th place is a game that’s been a huge worldwide success ever since its predecessor was first released by Blizzard in 1998 and that was particularly praised in South Korea. Care to guess which? Well, what if I told you that the game revolves around the three factions of the human Terran, the technologically advanced Protoss and the terrifying and ruthless alien species called Zerg? You got it, it’s Starcraft 2!
With $500,000.00 being up for grabs in the WCS 2016 (World Championship Series 2016), this made it the biggest Starcraft 2 tournament ever held. The prize money is double of what it’s been the past four championships! As Starcraft 2 have had its greatest success in South Korea, it might not come as a shock that South Korea also is the country dominating the competitive scene. What might however come as a surprise, is how awesome they actually are. Out of a total of $21,000,000,00 being awarded from tournaments since 2010, South Korean players have earned about 66% percent of this. To put this in perspective, Chinese players who are ranked number two on the list have earned about 3,5%.
Rank 8, 7 & 6: $1,000,000.00
On a shared rank of 8, 7 and 6 we find a card game based on the lore of Warcraft, a unique third person view MOBA, as well as another MOBA where the lord of terror, Diablo himself is one of the playable characters. Did you get all of the three right? It’s Hearthstone, Smite and, Heroes of the Storm!
The biggest Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone tournaments are both called the BlizzCon World Championships and are being held at BlizzCon each year, which is a video game convention held by Blizzard Entertainment. Yep, you heard me right! Blizzard has managed to squeeze in another two games in the top 11! In line with how eSport is growing, the prize money for the 2016 Heroes of the Storm tournament has doubled since last year’s BlizzCon, whereas the prize pool for Hearthstone has as much as quadrupled from $250,000.00 to a stunning $1,000,000.00.
Smite on the other hand is actually a game where the prize pool has been decreasing from last year, which is quite a unique phenomenon among the eSport games. The Smite World Championship, which is the biggest Smite tournament had a prize pool of $2,600,000.00 2015, compared to the $1,000,000.00 that were up for grabs this year. Might this be a sign of the competitive scene in Smite dying? Not at all! This was actually something team owners, players and the eSports community together agreed upon as it would allow more tournaments with a bit smaller prize pools being hosted, rather than one huge.
Rank 5: $1,400,000.00
Coming in on number 5 is a first person shooter franchise that has been released with many different names, but where the game itself has more or less stayed the same. If I say “1.6” this might ring a bell to some of you veteran players, while new ones to the game might not know the “source”. Well, I shall not continue holding you hostage to the information. Let me pull the knife out of your back and present Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) as the fifth place raking game.
CS:GO have had several tournaments held this year with a prize pool of $1,000,000.00, which is a huge increase seeing as the biggest tournament of 2015 only offered $250,000.00. The most money of 2016 has however been awarded in Season 1 of ELEAGUE where the total prize pool reached $1,400,000.00 and the winning team brought home $400,000.00. Although this is the biggest tournament prize pool, it is actually not the biggest team win of the year as the ESL One: Cologne (eSports league) and MLG: Columbus (Major League Gaming) tournaments both awarded the winning teams with $500,000.00.