PCR was at DreamHack London last weekend at the Copperbox Arena – here’s what you need to know about the eSports event from a trade persective.
While the day started off a little quiet, by the afternoon the 7,000-capacity venue was rocking, with the crowd really getting into the live PC gaming matches and cheering for their favourite teams.
Scan was the only PC etailer at the show, with a big stand in the centre of the expo floor. The company was selling PC gaming systems and accessories, showing off the likes of Razer mice and keyboards, as well as its own 3XS machines.
The etailer was also running CSGO (Counter-Strike Global Offensive) tournaments on its stand for customers, and a spokesperson told PCR that the firm was "testing the waters" at the event.
Intel also had a big presence at DreamHack London. The chip manufacturer is well-known for its support of the growing eSports scene – and reflected that on its stand.
Visitors could take part in workshops with Intel and Tom Logan from OC3D.Net, learning about overclocking, maintenance, how to install SSDs and build a PC.
There was also an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset on Intel’s stand, where visitors could experience space game Elite Dangerous, as well as a top-of-the-range Vesaro simulation rig letting gamers play Codemasters’ latest F1 racing game, running on Intel’s latest i7 Extreme Edition CPU.
Interestingly, Intel had a ‘Play the Pros’ area where visitors could challenge all-female eSports teams Team Property and LGB to a game of Counter-Strike (PCR was not brave enough to dare, but we did interview Team Property about working in the male-dominated eSports arena).
Anna Cheng, Intel’s UK tech and enterprise PR manager, told PCR: “eSports has always been a valuable industry to Intel that we’ve tried to nurture and grow.
"For the UK in particular, I’ve been personally trying to push eSports growth. And I think we’re starting to see a lot more of that, particularly with the names and brands that are getting into that space locally here. A lot of new companies have cropped up. It’s a big step for us in the UK."
HyperX also had a substantial stand at the show, with one of the eSports teams that HyperX sponsors – SK Gaming – also playing on the main stage.
The company had a variety of products on show, as well as competitions, allowing attendees to win HyperX gaming chairs and more. HyperX also handed over a cheque to winners of the CSGO tournament, with PC monitor brand Eizo, which had its displays on the stage for participants to use.
Visitors could take part in CSGO, League of Legends and Mortal Kombat matches at HyperX’s stand.
Jim Knee, UK business development manager at HyperX’s parent company Kingston Technology, told PCR: "eSports is behind in the UK at the moment. This will really help stamp the gaming scene on the map in the UK.
"It’s like a car show here, it’s 18+ people, so there aren’t any kids – you’re getting a quality crowd of enthusiasts interested in the actual PC hardware. That’s why we’re a headline sponsor – we’re putting a lot into this."
Elsewhere at DreamHack London, Monster was giving away energy drinks, SteelSeries was showing off its PC accessory products and Twitch had an area for players and professionals.
While the venue could only house 7,000 people, matches were streamed on Twitch online, with thousands more viewers tuning in to watch the action live.
The passion of the crowd was clear, too. We saw several people running around clutching mouse mats to get signed (yes, eSports pros signing their autographs on mouse mats is now an actual thing), as well as several animated attendees cheering for their favourite teams and others wearing all kinds of crazy headpieces and T-shirts. There was also a cosplay section at the show, allowing fans to dress up as their favourite game characters.
DreamHack was of course just one of many consumer gaming events that have happened over the past few months, including Insomnia Multiplay and Legends of Gaming, with EGX taking place this weekend and MCM on the horizon next month too.