Last weekend Sydney witnessed the biggest eSports event in Australian history. The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Sydney Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament featured four of the world’s best Counter-Strike teams, $200,000 in prize money and seven thousand Sydneysiders in an explosive weekend of video games, high-tech gaming gear and nerding out.
For the uninitiated, Counter-Strike is a multiplayer first-person shooter game where two teams (Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists) of five go head-to-head attempting to either commit a terrorist act or prevent one, respectively. The game has been around since 1999 and has evolved over the years into the fast-paced, competitive game we see today. With over a hundred large tournaments annually, Counter-Strike boasts millions of unique players every month, hundreds of thousands of players at any given time and millions of dollars in prize money each year.
Fans of the game flocked to Qudos Bank Arena to catch a glimpse of their favourite teams battling it out on the main stage for the title of IEM Sydney champion. Decked out in team jerseys, sporting sweat bands and flat caps, supporters demonstrated both the popularity and passion of the eSports industry in Australia.
Accompanying the main events were a flurry of community matches, game demonstrations and exhibitors showing off their latest gaming-related tech. Some of the appearances included; Lenovo, PC Case Gear, Mwave, HP and Acer (announcing their 21 X laptop).
IEM Sydney 2017 was a massive hit and caught the attention of eSports fans world-wide via streaming websites for what was a fantastic weekend flaunting the raw emotion and zest of Australian gamers.