An incredibly exciting eSports year is slowly coming to an end. Countless events have been organised this year, and with them we've seen many highlights produced by the stars of the scene, as followed by millions of fans worldwide – be it online or on TV. Below is a brief overview of the most compelling moments of the biggest events of the year.
ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017
The first Major organised by ELEAGUE began in January of this year. The 16 best CS teams in the world battled in Swiss format for the Major title and a prize pool of one million dollars in Atlanta. The last Major was almost half a year prior, and the spectators were happy to see top-tier teams in action again. Surprisingly, despite a weak start to the tournament, Astralis finally prevailed in the finals against the Poles of Virtus Pro in an incredibly exciting final 2-1 over three maps.
Intel Extreme Masters Season XI World Championship
There was plenty on offer for the more than 170,000 visitors in the Spodek Arena in Katowice this year. The longest-running global Pro Gaming Tour celebrated its final zenith with a return to Katowice for the 2017 World Championship. In the course of the championships CS:GO, LoL, and the classic Starcraft II tournaments were contested. The highlight of the weekend was the CS:GO event, beloved by Polish fans. Unfortunately, local heroes Virtus:Pro had already dropped out during the tournament's group stage, but this did not dampen the mood. The strongly attended tournament was again won by Astralis in a very tight finale against FaZe.
ESL Pro League Season 5: Finals
Team North's CS:GO players dominated the EPL's online season and qualified for the final event, representing the team's biggest success since their organisational changes. North dominated their group and played through to the final without any major problems. The Frenchmen of G2 were waiting for North in the finale, having performed incredibly strongly throughout the tournament. On their journey to the final, G2 even kicked Brazilian favourites SK Gaming out of the tournament with a smooth 2:0 win. In the finale G2 went one better, backing North into a corner and winning the tournament with a 3-1 victory.
The International 7
The Dota2 eSports year ended in "The International" for the seventh time this summer. Seattle became the Dota2 player Mecca for two weeks. This year, the prize pool was again increased on last year's amount, thanks to a system similar to crowdfunding – creating an incredible prize pool of around 21 million euros. Team Liquid, who had already dominated the group stage, suffered a brief stalemate in the quarter-final winner's bracket on their way to the finale and their conclusive win over Chinese team Newbee. Following the setback, Team Liquid managed to put in an incredible run through the loser's bracket, defeating Newbee in the final with a stunning score of 3-0.
PUBG GAMESCOM INVITATIONAL 2017
Throughout the course of gamescom, which is the eSports highlight of the year for many gamers of all kinds, the first official eSports tournament of the record-breaking game Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) was held in cooperation with the ESL. 100 players – including from major eSports organisations such as TSM, Cloud9, and Luminosity Gaming – participated in the tournament and fought it out for a prize pool worth a grand total of 350,000 US dollars. Since the game was still in an early alpha version, all kinds of funny and unexpected events occurred. The next milestone for the game is next weekend's IEM Oakland.
2017 has been a record year for eSports. The amount of prize money on offer has yet again exceeded that of last year and the number of viewers continues to grow rapidly. eSports is no longer just a marginal phenomenon, but has found its much-deserved path to the mainstream. It will be interesting to see what 2018 will bring to eSports fans around the world.