eSports are a thing, and today is their Super Bowl. For those not in the know, eSports (electronic sports) is the term used to describe the competitive scene of video and PC games. You may joke when I say competitive. Or sports. Or scene. However, the world of competitive gaming has grown to the point where sponsored teams are fighting it out for millions of dollars each year. Mill. Eee. Uns. It’s just like the NFL really, but the murders and violence are all digital.
For the past couple weeks, teams of 5 from across the globe have been playing the PC game DOTA 2 in the 5th annual International tournament, put on by the game’s creator Valve (the guys that made Counter-Strike, heard of that?). Total prize pool? $18 million, the biggest prize pool ever for eSports. 18 fucking million dollars to be divided up between the top 16 teams, with the Grand Finals winner taking home $6.6 million.
Today are those Grand Finals: a best of 5 series to determine the ultimate champion in frantically clicking a mouse and mashing on a keyboard. The event is going on in a sold out Key Arena in Seattle, with 17,000+ fans in attendance and literally millions watching streams via the web.
DOTA 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, with two teams of 5 heroes drafted from a larger pool, each with unique skills and strategies, struggling to destroy the opposing team’s base. I could go on explaining, but I don’t want to write 10,000 words, especially with the Finals starting soon.
It’s going to be CDEC Gaming of China vs. Evil Geniuses of the good old USA (USA! USA!). Match 1 begins at around 2:30 PM PST.
You can watch the stream of the Grand Finals here. (Select the Twitch option in the lower left if you don’t have a Steam account). The announcers can go bonkers at times, even if you don’t understand what they’re talking about. There is a stream option for beginners that attempts to explain the basics of the what the fuck is going on as a neon colored goat-man throwing out magic spells chases down a frost dragon, as a mustached guy riding a gyrocopter calls down some missiles. It’s fun.