Pic: Dreamhack Open London, a major eSport venue (Credit: Dreamhack.com)
According to a recent article by the BBC, the audience for esports is set to reach 600 million by 2020 – and London is joining in, reports Liam Terry
With popular venues such as Excel London holding events such as the Pokemon Championships 2017 and the esports championship series (ECS) at Wembley Arena in 2018 – all kinds of conventions and tournaments are being hosted in London for a wide range of games such as Counter-Strike, Global Offensive, Overwatch and League of Legends, with teams being formed to represent London.
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) November 1, 2017
In a recent article on esports news uk, London Mayor Sadiq Kahn wished the team luck. He said: “London leads the world in creativity and cutting-edge technology, the city’s games and eSports industry plays a major part in that success – good luck to all those representing the capital on the London Spitfire team.”
Cloud9, the organisation behind the Spitfire team, asked for suggestions from the fans about the team name.
Spitfire, of course being an iconic name in British history – the WWII-era fighter plane, used extensively by the Royal Air Force was one of the most potent and deadly pieces of British engineering, so made for an excellent choice of team name (it is also a clever nod to an Overwatch character – Tracer – her backstory mentions she used to serve in the Royal Air Force).
Cloud9 has also confirmed to be planning to build a new eSports facility in London, mostly to house their Overwatch team, and will be acting as a starting point for when they eventually plan to branch out to more venues in the capitol. Cloud9 President, Dan Fiden said: “Cloud9 is generally thought of as North American, but part of that is because that’s where our League of Legends team has been. But in terms of viewership and reach, 30-35% of our fanbase is in Europe.”
More teams are forming teams for eSport than ever before, and one such boost in popularity is the National University eSports League, which keeps students up-to-date with the scene and provides valuable early experience to students interested in getting involved nationally, as they build skills and represent their university as a team to then compete in national tournaments and events.
There are already a number venues in London, including the Gfinity Esports arena in Fulham and ExCel Custom House in Silvertown are visited by a combined estimated 300,000 people for gaming events and tournaments.
The Meltdown bar, on Caledonian Road in north London, is one example that shows how London is pushing the eSports scene by allowing gamers from all backgrounds into a social environment, to be able to play, socialise and compete together in a public space.