Old money meets new media today, as Danish Counter-Strike crew North - owned by venerable football team FC Copenhagen, and equally respectable cinema group Nordisk Film - signed a partnership deal with SteelSeries, famous for their fancy mice, keyboards, and headphones.
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North have been making a good showing lately, coming in a quite respectable second place at the Dreamhack Master tourney in Malmö a couple months back, so it’s hardly surprising that they’ve attracted the attention of the hardware manufacturers. SteelSeries say this is a bilateral partnership, with North receiving financial support from the company in exchange for involvement in designing (or at least branding) of the next wave of SteelSeries gaming gear.
North are playing at Dreamhack in Montreal currently and are doing well. Once things wrap up there, it's off to ELEAGUE Premier in Atlanta, with fierce competition expected over a massive $1m prize purse. 16 teams enter, only one leaves, and with a cool half a million bucks. It might not be football levels of silly money, but that’s not a figure to be sniffed at - at least as far as esports go.
On a longer-term note, it’ll be interesting to see how much longer Counter-Strike can command massive prize pools, as the game has been in steady decline since January, losing approximately a quarter of its concurrent playerbase over the past nine months and a further slow decline seeming likely. Although still clocking in at over half a million players at daily peak, the game isn’t exactly at risk of fizzling out anytime soon.