Undoubtedly the biggest news of the week for UK eSports was the announcement that DreamHack, the LAN gathering and eSports tournament known for its events in Sweden, will host its first UK event in London this September.
It will take place at London’s Copper Box Arena on the weekend of September 19th and 20th, with day tickets priced at £10 each or £18 for a two-day pass.
The show will comprise of an expo, eSports tournaments and DreamStore, a live shop where you can test out and buy various products.
The UK is the seventh country the festival is expanding into, after attracting over 104,000 visitors and more than 15 million unique viewers via live stream to its events in 2014.
London will be the first British stop of DreamHack Open, an eSports tour featuring seven live LAN stops across Europe, open to amateur and professional players. Launched in 2012, DreamHack Open has featured StarCraft II since 2012 and will additionally feature Counter Strike: Global Offensive as the second official title in 2015. For the first London event, gamers are competing for a prize pool of $40,000.
But while DreamHack alone is excellent news for the UK, it’s just the latest of several big announcements that are really putting Britain on the eSports map in 2015.
Some of the biggest games developers, other eSports event companies and technology firms have really thrown their hats into the UK eSports ring so far this year.
Gfinity opened the first UK eSports arena earlier this year when it converted the Vue cinema in Fulham Broadway into a 600-capacity eSports centre, and it has plans to open more.
League of Legends developer Riot Games confirmed that the 2015 LoL World Championship quarter finals will take place at the SSE Arena in Wembley from October 15th to 18th, and ESL has hosted several popular tournaments throughout the year so far – with the ESL Premiership pulling in a record 807,720 unique viewers in total.
MCM Expo expanded its eSports area, and retailer GAME has recognised the huge popularity of eSports too, by spending £20 million to acquire LAN and eSports event organiser Multiplay.
The BBC even had a big special look into the growing eSports sector at the start of this year, with a big live radio and TV report giving competitive gaming some great national coverage.
All of this makes it an incredibly exciting time for UK eSports. 2015 is set to be the true breakthrough year for competitive gaming on these shores.
Sponsorship deals and player wages are only getting bigger, and even more talent is emerging from the UK, as Team Dignitas boss ODEE told me in an interview all about the growing UK eSports scene earlier this year.
If UKIE and other games trade organisations can get together and create a truly independent eSports governing body, we’ll be laughing. Make it happen, guys.
Tickets for DreamHack London are available on Eventbrite at http://dreamhacklondon.eventbrite.co.uk
Image credit: Rikard Söderberg
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League player and WoW RPer, he has written for a range of publications including Games TM, Nintendo Official Magazine, games industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games. He currently works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association.