It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that eSports are just a minor, niche attraction. You can’t walk in to a bar, strike up a conversation at random, and hope for a good chance of having a knowledgeable conversation with a stranger about eSports like you would a traditional sport. But if the numbers coming out of Twitch from over the weekend are an indication, give it time.
This weekend was packed with eSports competitions. The Pokemon World Championship was held, along with the European Gaming League’s 10th event, focusing on Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Halo 4, and FIFA. The biggest draws, however, were the StarCraft II World Championship Series Season 2 Regional Finals, and especially The International DotA 2 Championships.
Together the various events contributed to a record-breaking day for Twitch, the online streaming platform that plays host to most eSports competition. On Sunday alone, the site registered 4.5 million unique viewers, for a total of more than 550 million minutes watched, and an average of over two hours per viewer.
Of the various competitions, the DotA 2 Championship was the biggest pull. With a $1.4 million championship purse and over $2.8 million in total prizes on the line, the stakes for the DotA 2 competitors were insane. In the end, the winners were the five man Swedish group, Alliance, who managed an impressive come from behind victory over team Natus Vincere, aka Na’Vi.
Next up will be the various competitions coming out of Gamescom August 21-25, including the StarCraft II finals and more.