eSports have come a long way from the days of hooking up a LAN in your best friend's basement. With the success of always online games like League of Legends and Hearthstone, it's now easier than ever to connect and compete with gamers from all around the world. Tournaments for professional gamers and casuals alike are regularly held across the MOBA, RTS, FPS, card and fighting game communities. Many of these matches are streamed live on Twitch, and some are even played in stadiums filled with thousands of spectators.
But even with the increased profile competitive gaming has obtained over the past couple of years, it's still not easy to keep track of all of the latest events and the hottest players, especially for gamers who like more than one game. This isn't like the NFL, where there's a set schedule every year and a relatively stable roster of players that fans can bank on. The concept of eSports is still young, which means new tournaments are being announced all the time, and new players are frequently stepping out onto the scene. Most gamers are aware of the big events like the Hearthstone World Championship or the League of Legends Championship Series, but the truth is that there are plenty of eSports events being held all around the world every single week.
And that's where Game Rant's eSports Report comes in. Every Monday, this space will give readers the 411 on everything that went down across all of biggest games during the past week. Let's get started.
CS:GO Match Tops 1 Million Concurrent Viewers; Fnatic Takes ESL One Title
When it comes to popular eSports titles, League of Legends and DotA 2 have long dominated the viewership numbers on Twitch and other livestreams. But as the concept of eSports has gained popularity, other titles have started to see their numbers increase.
In 2014, a total of 250,000 concurrent viewers tuned in to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals at the ESL One Tournament on Twitch. That number was seen as a milestone at the time.
Fast forward to this year, and it's easy to see just how much the popularity of CS: GO has grown. The Daily Dot reported that over 1 million concurrent viewers tuned in to watch Fnatic win this year's ESL One Title over Ninjas in Pyjamas.
More than 700,000 tuned in on Twitch, and the rest watched through the CS:GO in-game client. The viewership numbers were aided by the fact that the finals were a close match up between two rival Swedish teams.
After trading maps and rounds, Fnatic ultimately took the best out of 3 with a 16-13 win.
Fantasy eSports Site Guarantees $4 Million in Prizes This Year, Adds DotA 2
It's no secret that the fantasy sports business is worth a lot of money. Every year, countless NFL, MLB and NBA fans set their fantasy rosters and hope that this is the year they take home the title and the prize money that comes with it. Now, some websites are beginning to get serious about fantasy eSports.
Vulcun.com first made headlines when it offered $1 million in prizes for players who built a winning fantasy roster for the League of Legends LCS. Now, the site is increasing that number to $4 million for 2015, thanks to a great response from League players. The site will also begin offering play in DotA 2 as well.
The business model is similar to traditional fantasy sports sites. In daily fantasy eSports, team owners pay an entry fee and pick a team of players that fit under a salary cap. How much each player counts against the cap is determined according to past performances and other factors. Vulcun puts 80 percent of the entry fees back into the prize pool, so the more players that sign up, the more money there will be to win.
The only other major site that offers fantasy eSports is Alphadraft, which still only covers League of Legends. But the fact that Vulcun is now expanding into DotA 2 shows that fantasy eSports is growing. It might sound crazy now, but it's certainly possible that one day these sites could be paying out as much money as some of the more popular fantasy football or baseball sites.
Orange Takes ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series at IEM
Jon Westberg, better known as "Orange" within the Hearthstone community, took home the ESL Legendary Series title at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in Katowice, Poland this past weekend, capping a 12-week run.
Orange has been one of the hottest players in Hearthstone over the last several months, and he was able to show his recent success was no fluke by taking out some of the top players in the world during the tournament. He received $13,000 for his efforts, as well as qualification points for the Hearthstone World Championship.
Orange took out Jason "Amaz" Chan 3 to 0 in the final. Amaz is one of the most popular Hearthstone streamers on Twitch, and had a large fan base cheering for him over the Internet during the match, but it was to no avail as Orange swept through.
Orange also bested another popular Twitch personality, Aleksandr "Kolento" Malsh in the round of 16.