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The Top Video Game Tournaments Worth Watching

The Top Video Game Tournaments Worth Watching

Zach Cabading
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Who needs football and baseball when you can watch video game tournaments all year long? In today’s world of high-stakes eSports, there are tons of exciting video game tournaments worth watching. Some of the best video game tournaments include:
  • Fortnite World Cup
  • League of Legends Worlds
  • FIFA eWorld Cup
But there are so many other ones that are exciting, and which you yourself could even participate in. Let’s take a look at some of the top video game tournaments in the world.

How do eSports tournaments work?

The most competitive and popular video game tournaments tend to be eSports tournaments. eSports refers to any video game competition that’s highly organized and competitive. Any kind of video game competition can be considered an eSport, and nearly any video game can be made competitive so long as there’s clearly defined rules on how to win.
eSports tournaments usually have the same 5 characteristics:
  • An administrator oversees the tournament
  • Games are played on fast and secure servers
  • There’s either brackets or standings that track progression through the tournament
  • There are very clear rules on how to win a match and advance to the next stage
  • There’s a predetermined prize pool
The top eSports tournaments feature the most advanced players, stringent entry rules, and the biggest prize pools. Most competitions require that you win preliminary rounds in order to gain a spot in the main tournament, but there are a few popular video game tournaments that are open to anyone who’s present at the venue.
Without further ado, let’s dig into the top video game tournaments in the world.

1. What’s the best battle royale tournament?

Fortnite World Cup

Battle royale games became hugely popular when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released, but it wasn’t long before Fortnite Battle Royale stole the spotlight with its cartoony style and creative use of fortification building during firefights. It’s not surprising that there’s a world-class Fortnite tournament that draws millions of players from around the world [1].

How is it organized?

Fortnite World Cup is administered by Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite. The competition has two separate fields: the Solos competition for single players and the Duos competition that features two-player teams. It’s great that the tournament caters to both playing styles.
There are also 2 alternative fields: Fortnite World Cup Creative and Fortnite World Cup Charity Pro-Am. World Cup Creative lets players compete in a variety of alternative game modes, while Charity Pro-Am features celebrity players competing for charity (the 2019 tournament featured RL Grime and Airwaks).

When and where

The 2019 tournament took place from July 26 to July 28 at the Fortnite Fan Festival in New York City. The final games were played in front of a cheering crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Prize at stake

Fortnite World Cup is one of the most lucrative video game tournaments. In 2019, the Solos winner won $3 million while the Duos winners split $3 million. Fortnite might just be the most fun way to become a millionaire.

How to compete

Anyone can play their way to the Fortnite World Cup by winning the preliminary rounds:
  • Arena Mode: Earn high rankings in Arena Mode
  • World Cup Online Open Tournaments: These open periodically throughout the year - be one of the top 3,000 players with the most points and you’ll be eligible for the Online Open Finals
  • Online Open Finals: Be a top finisher and you’ll earn a spot in the Fortnite World Cup

How to watch

Fortnite World Cup is streamed over Fortnite’s official Twitch account, but you can also attend the main event and watch it live.

2. What’s the best MOBA tournament?

League of Legends World Championship

The League of Legends World Championship (also known as League of Legends Worlds) is a championship tournament that pits the world’s best professional League of Legends teams against one another. While there are some great Dota 2 competitions, League of Legend Worlds is by far the most competitive and lucrative multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game tournament. The 2018 tournament was the most-watched eSports tournament in history, garnering over 200 million viewers online [2].

How is it organized?

Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, administers 5 different eSports leagues, each representing a different region of the world (the North American league is called the League of Legends Championship Series, or, LCS). The top teams from all 5 leagues earn spots in the World Championship tournament.

When and where

The 2019 tournament will take place from October to November. The Play-In Stage and Group Stage will be played in Berlin, while the Quarterfinals and Semifinals will be played in Madrid. The championship match will be played in Paris.

Prize at stake

With so many viewers tuning in year after year, it’s no surprise that there’s a massive prize pool for the winning team. The 2018 prize pool was $6.4 million.

How to compete

In order to compete in this Championship, you’ve got to be on one of the League of Legends pro teams in any of the 5 regions. That’s a tall ladder to climb, but it’s not impossible.
The best way to earn attention from these teams is to kick butt on League of Legends ranked play. Top-ranking players will inevitably get noticed by pro team scouts, and might get invited to try out or to play in an Academy/Challengers league for up-and-coming players.

How to watch

You can watch the tournament streamed live on the League of Legends website, or you can attend the finals in Paris and watch them live.

3. What’s the best first person shooter (FPS) tournament?

Overwatch World Cup

With strategic team-based gameplay, Overwatch seems like it was practically built for eSports tournaments. Indeed, the Overwatch World Cup is one of the most flashy video game tournaments in the world.
Overwatch World Cup is the true grand finale of Overwatch League, an eSports league that features 20 professional Overwatch teams. The league championship is called the Overwatch League Grand Finals, and it's an exciting tournament in its own right. But the Overwatch World Cup is even grander. Think about how FIFA works: each country has its own soccer league with competing teams, but then the World Cup pits national teams against each other. Overwatch World Cup works in the same way. Overwatch League players represent their home countries in a country vs. country competition [3].

How is it organized?

Overwatch League and Overwatch World Cup are administered by Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of Overwatch. You have to be an Overwatch League player in order to compete on an Overwatch World Cup team. There are more than a dozen countries represented in the preliminary rounds, but only 8 teams play in the final rounds.

When and where

Overwatch World Cup takes place every year at Blizzard Entertainment’s fan fest, BlizzCon. The 2019 BlizzCon will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in California from November 1 to November 2.

Prize at stake

The 2019 prize pool is yet to be announced, but the 2018 team prize was $488,000.

How to compete

To compete in the Overwatch World Cup, you’ve first got to earn a roster spot on an Overwatch League team. That’s a tough task to take on, but if you’re a talented Overwatch player then you should definitely try for it - Overwatch League players earn a starting salary of $50,000. Read our editorial on how to join Overwatch League.

How to watch

You can watch the Overwatch World Cup in-game when you download the Overwatch World Cup Viewer, or you can watch it on Blizzard’s Battle.net app. There’s more streaming information to be announced.

4. What’s the best real-time strategy (RTS) tournament?

StarCraft II World Championship Series

There’s no real-time strategy game that’s reached the competitive heights of StarCraft II. Unsurprisingly, the StarCraft II World Championship Series is the most competitive RTS tournament in the world [4].

How is it organized?

The StarCraft II World Championship Series is administered by Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of StarCraft II. What’s fantastic about this tournament is that it’s not affiliated with any professional eSports league - you don’t need to be on an active roster to earn a spot in the competition. In just about a year, you could potentially go from “newcomer” to “world champion.”

When and where

The StarCraft II World Championship Series is played annually at BlizzCon. The 2019 BlizzCon will take place from November 1st and 2nd at Anaheim Convention Center in California.

Prize at stake

There was a $500,000 prize pool in 2018.

How to compete

You’ll need to rack up wins all year long to qualify for the tournament. There are two tournament groups: WCS Korea (for South Korean players) and WCS Circuit (for all other players), and the WCS standings will rank players in both groups.
By the end of the season, the top 8 players from each group will be able to compete at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon and compete for the prize in front of a live audience.

How to watch

You can watch the tournament from the StarCraft II official Twitch account.

5. What’s the best sports simulation tournament?

There are 2 great tournaments for sports games, FIFA eWorld Cup and Madden Championship Series. Both are fun and competitive tournaments, but FIFA eWorld Cup has a much larger prize pool.

FIFA eWorld Cup

This is another fantastic tournament because you don’t have to join a professional eSports league to play. All you’ve got to do is prove that you’re one of the best FIFA players in the world, and you’re in. Anybody can do it [5].

How is it organized?

FIFA eWorld Cup is administered by EA Sports, the developer of the FIFA video games. Every tournament is played on the most newly released game (the 2019 tournament was played on FIFA 19).

When and where

The 2019 tournament was played on August 4 in London.

Prize at stake

The 2019 winner took home $500,000.

How to compete

Play FIFA 19 religiously and rack up as many Global Series Points as you can. The top 60 players with the most points will qualify for the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series Playoffs. The 2 winners of each bracket will advance to the FIFA eWorld Cup.

How to watch

The tournament is streamed on FIFA.com, the EA Sports Channels on social media, and on the official EA Sports FIFA Twitch account.

6. Best open gaming tournaments

Sometimes you just want to show up and compete. You don’t want to go through qualifying rounds and you don’t want to join any professional eSports team. Can’t you just show up with your gaming rig and compete against anyone who’s daring enough to challenge you?
Thankfully, there are plenty of great open tournaments across the United States. Most of the time you’ll find them at video game or fan conventions, and they’re only open for attendees of the event. You can even win cash prizes at these tournaments!

DreamHack

DreamHack has become one of the most popular venues for open video game tournaments. DreamHack is a “digital festival” that celebrates anything and everything that’s computer-related, including eSports. Each event is a showcase for the latest computer hardware, gaming gear, and video games. Video game tournaments are an incredibly popular part of every DreamHack event [6].

How is it organized?

DreamHack holds conventions at various cities all across the globe. There are different gaming tournaments scheduled for each convention, some of which are invite-only tournaments for pro gamers. But most tournaments are open for nearly all DreamHack attendees.

When and where

Check the DreamHack website for all scheduled events and cities. The next DreamHack event in the United States will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from November 15 to November 17.

Prize at stake

Prize pools usually range in the tens of thousands of dollars.

How to compete

Show up to a DreamHack event, and don’t forget to bring your gaming rig! If you don’t want to haul a desktop computer to the event; bring an HP OMEN gaming laptop instead.

How to watch

You’ll have to attend the DreamHack event in person to watch the tournaments.

Best gaming rigs for tournaments

Whether you’re gaming for fun, or if you’re trying to squash the competition and battle your way into one of these professional gaming tournaments, you need an HP OMEN gaming desktop. HP OMEN gaming computers are built with only the most powerful processors and advanced cooling systems so you’ll have the best possible performance while you’re gaming. Most of our HP OMEN gaming computers are customizable so you’re able to choose your favorite hardware.
About the Author: Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.
[1] EpicGames.com; Fortnite World Cup
[2] Nexus.LeagueofLegends.com; eSports
[3] WorldCup.PlayOverwatch.com; Overwatch World Cup
[4] WCS.StarCraft2.com; Homepage
[5] FIFA.com; FIFA eWorld Cup
[6] Dreamhack.com; Homepage

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