Since the year 2000, eSports has been an area of PC gaming which shows consistent, significant growth. A major part of this growth can be credited to organized teams, brands and celebrities whose fans can relate to and help drive the market forward. Now eSports is at a stage where teams and players are able to earn between 4 to 7 figure sums of money through prizes and sponsorships. Large events are attended by thousands with many more watching online and some events are even starting to be covered on traditional TV channels.
As eSports pushes the limits of what is achievable in technologies such as the CPU and GPU, AMD components must give players the clean and stable performance they need during those important tournament matches. The influence of new advances in technology helps shape both the competitive environment and the consumer audience who look to follow in the footsteps of their favorite teams.
So who are some of these gamers that go out globally and play at these events? We would like to start with introducing several of the most relevant e-sports team right now.
Squads for current games: League of Legends™, Dota® 2, Counter-Strike™: Global Offensive, Heroes of the Storm™.
Fnatic is one of the biggest brands in the world of eSports. They were founded in the UK in 2004 by Sam and Anne Mathews. Their League of Legends team holds the record for the most EU League Championship Series titles, having won five of the last six series. Their Counter-Strike team has been active since Fnatic’s inception and has been one of the top teams in the world since the switch to Counter-Strike™: Global Offensive, winning several major tournaments in 2015.
Fnatic also hosts an academy where aspiring gamers can follow their dreams of becoming professional players. They were awarded Team of the Year in both 2006 and 2009.
Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)
Squads for current games: League of Legends™, Halo 5™, Counter-Strike™: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros™.
CLG was formed in North America in 2010 by two people, George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis and Alexander "Vodoo" Beutel to compete in League of Legends (LoL) tournaments. It is one of the oldest League of Legends teams, playing since the game was released by Riot Games back in 2009/2010. CLG has competed in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) since 2013 and were able to win the 2015 Summer Split of the Season. Winning the 2015 Summer Split earned them the chance to compete in the 2015 LoL World Championships where they unfortunately were knocked out during the group stages.
They have also become a multi-gaming team in recent years, picking up squads in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Halo and Super Smash Brothers. All are looking strong going into 2016 and this is one team to keep your eyes on.
Squads for current games: League of Legends™, Counter-Strike™: Global Offensive, QuakeLive™, Hearthstone™, FIFA™, World of Warcraft™, Rocket League™.
Schroet Kommando (SK) is one of the longest running eSports teams, formed in Germany in 1997 as a Quake clan. A few years down the line in 2001, not only did they have a great Quake team but they merged a Counter-Strike squad and a news syndicate into the organization to create the successful SK Insider project. The SK Insider was paid premium service for the team where fans could download replays of games, configurations to play like their favorite players and talk to the SK Gaming players exclusively. In 2003, they signed a Swedish Counter-Strike team which had notable players such as Heaton, f0rest, and SpawN, and became one of the first teams to contract gamers professionally. SK was truly way ahead of everyone during that period.
Roll on a few years and SK has had success in Quake 4, FIFA, StarCraft 2, Warcraft 3. They are still going strong and currently have a competitive League of Legends team which recently was knocked out of the LCS. As the Spring season already has the teams set, SK Gaming will have to try to qualify again for the Summer Season. Their World of Warcraft squad recently won Blizzard’s own Blizzcon World Championships.
What is next for these teams?
With 2016 around the corner, Fnatic, SK Gaming and Counter Logic Gaming will look to build on 2015’s performance. Both SK Gaming and Counter Logic Gaming will be competing heavily with other well-known teams in eSports and aiming to become number 1 in the respected games they play.
AMD is a proud sponsor of the 2016 Fnatic League of Legends team. They are looking to repeat their success in the European LCS, despite welcoming several new players to the team. Fnatic’s 2016 Counter-Strike team is currently ranked #4 in the world by Gosugamers. You can follow Fnatic at - http://fnatic.com
For SK specifically, they want to get back into the main LoL league, the European LCS, a place they recently lost in a relegation battle. Also be sure to check out how their WoW champions perform during 2016 and to see if they can retain their title. You can catch all what they are all doing on their team page - http://www.sk-gaming.com/.
CLG looked strong during 2015 in the North American LCS, becoming number 1. Will they be able to hold onto it during the 2016 season? Elsewhere it could be a massive year for their Halo team as they try to qualify for the World Championships which already has a prize pool of $1.5 million dollars. That will likely rise thanks to crowdfunding. Keep up with what they are doing on their team page - http://www.clgaming.net/.
For eSports related marketing toolkits for our channel partners and other sales resources, visit the AMD Partner Hub at partner.amd.com.
Gerald Youngblood is the Director of Worldwide Channel Marketing & Communications for AMD and can be found tweeting at @GCYoungblood. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.