Hundreds of thousands of fans watched the event over the weekend

Why esports tournaments like Intel Extreme Masters are a big deal for PC gaming brands

Hundreds of thousands of viewers watched the Intel Extreme Masters PC gaming esports tournament online over the weekend.

The event – which took place in San Jose’s SAP Center from December 6th to 7th organised by ESL – brought pro gamers and esports teams together to take part in League of Legends and StarCraft II tournaments.

Events like this are becoming a much bigger deal for PC vendors and gaming brands. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was spotted at the show, marking its importance for Intel, as well as PC gaming sponsors BenQ, Gigabyte, HyperX and Roccat. 

The tournament was watched by more than 200,000 people online via game streaming website Twitch at several times over the weekend.

Each company ran video ads at regular intervals, including a bizarre first-person ad from Intel which put the viewer in the eyes of a pro esports gamer, as they went on dates with glamorous women and picked up briefcases full of cash. 

While there were some cynical comments made from viewers during the ads, there can be no mistaking the value of events like these when targeting the PC gaming consumer base, especially when you consider all the sponsor logos plastered over the players’ shirts and on their websites too. 

In terms of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament itself, Cloud9 lifted the League of Legends trophy and picked up $25,000 after beating newcomers Unicorns of Love in the final, after Unicorns knocked out Team Solo Mid in a shock semi-final victory.

CJ Entus her0 won the StarCraft II tournament to become the first three-time Intel Extreme Masters winner.

There was also a one-off League of Legends ARAM game between esports veterans, which was won by a team led by Saint Vicious of Curse Gaming.

Esports has been increasing in prominence over the past few years, and it looks like the only way is up for these kind of events (and the brand opportunities they offer to PC vendors – though we’re surprised that big PC retailers haven’t sponsored many in the past). 

Expect esports and PC gaming to get even bigger in the UK and Europe, and more brands to get on board as they recognise the value of these tournaments.

Gaming is all about having fun, but when it comes to esports it’s more than that. It’s about teamwork, being better, faster and more powerful than your opponents – and winning. Themes that are shared by many PC gaming products on the market today.

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