As many as 2 million people around the globe will be glued to their laptops, tablets and desktop computers this weekend as they watch intense gaming competition unfold in the 2015 Electronic Sports World Cup.
The world cup, which is being held in Montreal, has become the largest international competition for video games. The event draws participants and viewers from more than 100 countries, according to event organizers.
FOR THE RECORD
July 13, 1 p.m.: A previous version of this story said that the ESWC became part of Paris Games Week at Porte de Versailles in 2010. That change came about in 2011.
The event hosts 16 teams from 10 countries who will battle one another in the video game "Counter-Strike: Global Operations."
The Montreal arena where the event is being is sold out. Tickets ranged in price from $70 for general admission to $140 for a three-day VIP pass.
The ESWC will award a total of $70,000 in prize money to the "Counter-Srike: GO" world champions. The winning team will be awarded $30,000. The competition has given out more than $2 million to cyber-athletes in the past 12 years.
Most keep up with the action by live streaming the competition for free on Twitch. The online video streaming platform receives a significant amount of traffic from major eSports events, so much so that the website ranks fourth in U.S. peak Internet traffic.
Yes, that's right -- a website dedicated to watching, not playing, video games has more peak Internet traffic than Facebook, Amazon and Pandora.
Organizers expect as many as 2 million people will tune in online for this weekend's matches.
In 2003, the ESWC made its first appearance at Futuroscope in Poitiers, France. It then moved to Paris and was held at various locations such as the Carrousel du Louvre in 2005, the Bercy Arena in 2006 and Disneyland Paris in 2010.
The ESWC became part of the Paris Games Week at Porte de Versailles in 2011. This year, the championship will once again entertain spectators at the Paris Games Week. However, two of the video games in the ESWC will take place individually on different weekends.
The first game, "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare," was played in May at the Zenith-Paris. After two days of intense finger exercises, OpTic Gaming (USA) was announced as the ESWC 2015 COD champion.
The next game, "Counter-Strike: GO," takes place this weekend in Montreal. The rest of the rest of the games in the 2015 championship will be played at the Paris Games Week in November.