On 19th September we went to DreamHack for its debut in London at the Copper Box Arena (the same venue used for the 2012 Summer Olympics). DreamHack is a digital festival that began in Sweden back in 1994 and has now expanded across Europe. These digital festivals feature a variety of events, from live concerts to e-sports tournaments. The e-sports tournaments were the primary focus in DreamHack London, with the prize money for the games ranging from $5,000 to $40,000. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was the headlining game, showcasing eight of the best teams in Europe. There were also tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Melee, Ultra Street Fighter IV and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where anyone could enter to compete.
The venue was spacious and impressive. Upon arrival we encountered an auditorium set up with a large stage for the e-sport tournaments (one side for CS:GO, and the other for CoD:AW). It was clear that CS:GO was the focus of the event. The commentators for all live streamed tournaments were energetic and did an excellent job at explaining little things in the game, without bombarding spectators with terminology that they didn’t understand. However, fans of other games were not discouraged or disappointed. There was a large area set aside for Super Smash Bros. Melee, set up with GameCube consoles and CRT televisions and also a small area for Ultra Street Fighter IV players. There was always something to watch and unlike other gaming events that we have attended, there were plenty of chairs and enough space to move around comfortably.
If spectators decided to take a break from watching any of the tournaments on offer, they were also given the opportunity to walk around the expo area where companies such as SteelSeries, Scan Computers and Intel were showing off the latest hardware and gaming gear. Intel ran hourly workshops to help gamers with things such as overclocking and setting up their PC for gaming. Capcom expanded the expo area by bringing along the latest build of Street Fighter V which included Rashid, R. Mika and Karin.
In conclusion, the event was very enjoyable and well worth the £10 entry fee. DreamHack London provided spectators with a lot of choice and even people with a passing interest in competitive gaming were able to appreciate the high level of play. Spectators appeared to be happy and keen to socialise, making the overall atmosphere feel very positive and comfortable.