Indicating the phenomenal growth of watching competitive gamers play through e-sports, a match broadcast live on ESPN to 20m viewers netted the winners US$10m in prizes.
Known simply as The International 2014, the event showcased teams from around the world playing each other in the game Dota 2, which has established itself as one of the most played games in the competitive scene along with League of Legends, Starcraft and Warcraft.
With a prize of US$10m provided by game developers and gaming platform company Valve, this year’s winners can also lay claim to the fact this makes it the largest single prize in e-sports history, far surpassing the previous record last year which totalled just over US$2.8m.
While e-sports has quickly become one of the most watched sporting events across the internet in recent years, the news this tournament had been picked up by established sports channel ESPN is a significant step to ‘legitimising’ gaming as a sport in its own right.
The final rounds of the event had also been picked up by the European media network MTG Europe and China’s own state channel CCTV.
China is continuing its back-tracking of suspicion of video games after it believed they were affecting the minds of the country’s youth and yet its own team Newbee won The International 2014.
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