If you’re reading this article then Congratulations, you made it into another year of happy gaming and Esports watching! 2016 might not be the best year we’ve had (not at all!) but it presented us with many turning points in digital entertainment business, with some of the biggest news for Esports as a result. Sit tight and prepare as we take you in a quick journey over the top ten moments of 2016.
The world championship for fighting games came back this year in its biggest iteration yet, and despite everyone anticipating the likes of Tekken and Street Fighter it was Super Smash that got us the most hyped with two veteran players Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma and Adam “Armada” Lindgren battling it off to the finals.
Hungrybox came from the loser bracket to claim the number one spot, needing to win two sets in the row which made the long ten matches at the finals something really never seen before in the game’s competitive scene.
Overwatch itself is a great Esports moment that came out this year, but that’s another talk. For now, we’re here to talk about how brilliant Team LW’s Lee “NoName” Won Jae was using a character no one would think of on the pro scene to win a match with just seconds left. Bastion win proves that every Overwatch character can be of a use when handled right, and despite LW not winning the OGN APEX Overwatch tournament we still enjoyed these moments from their players.
For the first time yet in the prestegious Street Fighter tournament we got not only one, but two finalists from the United States in this event that was forever dominated by Asians. Western fans watched eagerly as both Ricki Ortiz and Du “NuckleDu” Dang were bound to bring the cup over to the USA in 2016, and it was indeed Du as the champion of CC2016.
Wings Gaming proved to be the best team of 2016 on the Dota 2 scene with win at The International 6. One of the reasons why was skills like these done by its players. Zhang “Faith_Bian” impressed us as one of the best solo players with his rampage over MVP Phoneix players as Faceless Void. Watch Below:
Have you heard the name “s1mple”? Chances are you did, as he’s currently one of the hottest CS: GO players out there and 2016 was definetly a special year for him. It’s all summed up in this particular moment at ESL One Cologne when he managed to pull a once in a lifetime clutch against Fnatic’s Edman and Krimz doing an AWP mid air shot followed by a quick no-scope winning the round. Watch for yourself:
Moving on to the big news of the year we’ve had the biggest Esports prize pool of all time in Dota 2, offering the winning teams over $20 million dollars which Wings Gaming players won the most of. This prize pool put Esports in direct comparasion with many other real sports signifying the importance of this growing business.
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok isn’t called the master of LoL for no reason, as he proved once more that he keeps improving breaking records in 2016 with 209 eliminations with SK Telecom at this year’s Worlds championship, which he won for the third year.
Whether you liked it or not, Blizzard’s Overwatch brought a breath of fresh air to the multiplayer genre as well as being a major force in the competitive scene since the first day it launched, with tournaments ranging from $10,000 to $300,000 in prize and over 20 million players worldwide. This success pushed many Esports agencies to invest in rosters to compete in the game which now looks to have a solid Esports future.
In a nice twist of events we saw many clubs and teams from around the world adopting Esports as the future of digital activities. Many major sports organizations like FC Schalke and Manchester United to Philadelphia 76ers signed with pro players in order to become pioneers in a unified sports future.
When Turner televesion group first announced an Esports tournament to be shown on local TBS televeision by the name of ELEAGUE expectations were kinda low for this thing. Who would leave everything else on display to watch video games? Well, over a million viewer apparently. The success of ELEAGUE was compared to NBA in the same period leading to a conclusion that Esports are here to stay and the regular viewer is ready to consume more of this exciting future sport. ELEAGUE currently has CS: GO and Overwatch which are both simple to watch and enjoy, so it’ll be interesting to see the take on something like LoL and Dota 2 and how it would be simplified to the mainstream audience.
With that our list here concludes for 2016. We will be eagerly waiting for what 2017 has to bring as Esports grow stronger than ever.
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