One Katowice, two Katowice, three Katowice, four. Five Katowice, six Katowice, seven Katowice - oh, hi gang. You’ve caught me working on my tribute to the apple of southern Poland’s eye, Katowice: former seat of power of the Silesian Piast dynasty, 16th most economically impressive city in the EU, and now host to Counter-Strike’s next major community-supported event.
Though the tournament is sponsored by Intel and Asus, it’s CS:GO players who’ve raised EMS One’s $250,000 prize pool.
CS:GO’s crowdfunding initiative began in August with the Arms Deal update, which infused the game with a purchase and trade infrastructure for weapon skins - and gave Global Offensive player numbers a poke skywards. A portion of Valve’s item sales revenue since has ended up in a tournament pot, and funded two of Counter-Strike’s largest cash prizes in the sport’s history - most notably the 2013 DreamHack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship, the final of which drew in 145,000 concurrent viewers. Lots.
EMS One Katowice will match the SteelSeries prize pool. It'll assemble 16 teams - including DreamHack Winter 2013’s eight quarter-finalists, plus eight more from ESL’s EMS One online qualifiers. They’ll compete from March 16 for a place in a streamed championship match on the Intel Extreme Masters Main Stage, for an in-house audience of thousands.
The last Intel Extreme Masters stop in Katowice proved one of the most successful eSports events in history - boasting 50,000 visitors and millions of viewers worldwide.
Taking a leaf or two from the Dota 2 team across the hall seems to have done wonders for CS:GO’s state of health. Have any of you lot donned the dressed-down uniform of the CT in recent months?