As Esports continues to grow and gain popularity, the UK has taken their first major step forward for the DOTA 2 scene by hosting its first major tournament this weekend.
The event, held in Birmingham, was something that event coordinator James Dean hoped would offer “inspiration to the UK community”. Dean hopes that a gathering of this many top-level players will help UK-based fans to reach for the stars and attempt to compete at the highest level. He also hopes that this event will help bring more diverse competition into the DOTA 2 scene: “…there are very few PC teams in e-sport that are British, but that is slowly changing. We’re finding that UK-based players are getting there, but not a full British team yet.”
This tournament also has deeper meanings for the root of DOTA 2’s competitive scene: A massive top-tier tournament known as The International. According to Dean, this event will also serve as a qualifier for The International, which brings more attention to what he believes will be a major step forward for British Esports.
The event was very successful and received a good bit of publicity, with BBC Three broadcasting live, televised matches to users everywhere. The televised coverage included radio commentary from a BBC radio announcer, as well as several exclusive interviews with top players and coaches. The stream from BBC Three will focus on players with limited knowledge or experience of the game, and will be set up to ensure that even viewers who have never played the game can still watch and get invested in what’s happening on screen. BBC host Julia Hardy has expressed her excitement about the event, and her excitement to be part of the Esports scene; a scene that “brings joy to millions all over the world”.
While the PC Esports team is still developing in the UK, console-based Esports games like Call of Duty, Halo and FIFA have much more British representation. For example, British teams have made it to the final showdowns in 2016’s Call of Duty World League.
Dean says he is working hard to grow and mature the scene for both console and PC gamers.
The event, which was full of close calls and nail-biting matches, eventually concluded with Virtus.pro winning 3:0 over OpTic Gaming, taking home a sizable $1,000,000 prize pool and a heap of DOTA 2 Pro Points. Be sure to check out the ESL Gaming Twitter page for some highlights, or watch any of these three highlight videos to get started.