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Gaming tournaments began soon after the introduction of video games. Atari hosted the first event in 1980, which was known as the Space Invaders Tournament. In the next decade, Blockbuster and Nintendo began sponsoring competitions worldwide. Although the tournaments and prize money grew, eSports competitive gaming did not realize an abundance of popularity until the year 2000. Today, there are massive tournaments in the United Statesthat offer prize money in the six-figure range.


1) The International

Multiplayer online battle arenas, also known as MOBAs, have grown in popularity in the last decade. Each August, 16 teams specializing in the genre meet in Seattle to demonstrate their skills in hopes of winning some of the more than $10 million in prize money. The massive event takes place at the KeyArena and attracts gamers and spectators alike.


2) Evo

Combat or fighting games are popular with friends and competitors who enjoy the thrill of battling opponents on various home gaming systems. The popularity of the genre influenced the flourish of tournaments taking place around the world. Evo is one of the biggest and takes place each July in Las Vegas. The three-day event unfolds at the Las Vegas Convention Center and enables competitors to face off in nine different games that include Blazblue, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.


3) BlizzCon

The game of StarCraft quickly became one of the most popular competitive games on the planet after being introduced. As such, the Blizzard Company began hosting tournaments. In the United States, the action takes place during the first week each November at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. However, you need not be an experienced gamer to join the fun. Blizzard provides the chance for all to play a variety of their games and participate in casual competitions.


4) Apex

The event takes place each June in Somerset, New Jersey. The tournament began in 2009 with little more than 200 competitors. However, over the years, participation has grown exponentially. Nintendo sponsors the event, which entails competing in Super Smash Bros. Melee.


5) Capcom Cup

The annual Capcom Cup tournament takes place each year in at various California cities. The competition revolves around the Street Fighter series of games. Thirty-two qualifying players from around the world compete each December for the top four spots and the chance to win a piece of the $250,000 pot.


Hal Abramson is a festival promoter based in Los Angeles who has a love of gaming and technology. Be sure to check out his other gaming blogs or follow his travels on Twitter!