This weekend saw London taken over by gamers as the world’s largest gaming party came to Great Britain for the first time. The DreamHack gaming festival in London featured thousands of eager video games players watching and taking part in a huge range of games that were held in the vast Copper Box Arena.
DreamHack originated in Sweden in the early 1990s and provided a platform for gamers to enjoy playing games over a local-area-network in a way that facilitated the development of video games as a spectator sport.
The rise of competitive gaming has been felt the world over with many nations such as South Korea providing huge festivals for fans to enjoy watching world-class players engaged in the latest video game technology. The popularity of so-called e-gaming has led to major sponsorship deals for some star players, and even sports betting sites such as Betway have been covering these events to cater for the growing global audience.
As the sport’s profile has risen, so has the competitive edge within the gaming activity. This has been mirrored by the steady rise of prize winnings for players now reaching a staggering $40,000. The festival has also provided the perfect opportunity for games developers to showcase their latest products, and London delivered a headline gaming slot for Counter Strike: Global Offensive that allowed gamers to play as a team stopping a crack team of terrorists. The Valve-produced game has already gained a huge global audience through its slick gameplay demanding precise team-work and evermore inventive counter-terrorist activity.
Other top attractions at the festival included a Call of Duty: Open Warfare tournament that saw 32 teams from across the globe competing for $20,000 in prize money. But there were also some more cuddly gaming options available too, with the familiar sights of Super Smash Bros. Melee games, as well as the more idiosyncratic delights of Cosplay competitions.
DreamHack was also notable for showcasing some of the most famous competitive video game players to the UK audience. Homegrown talent such as Alan Brice and Oliver Whitfield provided more than adequate entertainment for Call of Duty fans, whereas the teams of EnVyUs from France and Team SoloMid from Denmark delivered a masterclass in gaming expertise.
And with record numbers of viewers watching the action via popular gaming television site Twitch.tv, it signified yet another ground-breaking event for the competitive gaming world.