In 2000, the World Cyber Games was founded. It aimed to be the Olympics of video gaming and esports. It had it’s first showing in 2000 with the WCG Challenge in Yongin, South Korea from Oct. 7-15, with 174 players from 17 different countries competing in Age Of Empires II, FIFA 2000, Quake III Arena, StarCraft: Brood War, and Unreal Tournament.
In 2001, they had the WCG 2001 Games, WCG’s first main event, featuring 430 participants from 37 countries and adding Half-Life era Counter-Strike and FIFA 2001 to replace FIFA 2000. The Canadian national team won the Counter-Strike division.
They continued playing Half-Life era pre 1.6 Counter-Strike until 2004, when they played Condition Zero, which Team 3D won, then in 2005 playing Source, with Team 3D winning again. In 2006, they replaced Counter-Strike with (Counter-Strike) 1.6. Based in Monza, Italy, the games had 700 participants from 70 countries. The Polish Golden Five (Taz, Neo, Kuben, Luq, Loord) under the org Pentagram won the tournament over Ninjas in Pyjamas (RobbaN, SpawN, ins, zet, and walle). It was an intense best-of-three starting on Nuke, with NiP winning 16-11 by five rounds. Pentagram went on to win 16-12 on Inferno then 16-4 on Train.
The Golden Five included Taz and Neo, who are now playing CS:GO for Virtus.pro. Kuben, another Golden Five member who came out of retirement, is the coach for Virtus.pro, another member is now the coach of Team Kinguin, and the last player is now retired.
WCG 2007, based in Seattle, Washington, took place on Oct. 3-7, and was won by the French team eMulate, with the Danish team NoA taking second place. A noteworthy player on NoA is zonic, the current coach of Astralis. In 2008, the events were a lot bigger; based in Cologne, Germany and taking place from Nov. 5-8, it was similar to our contemporary ESL One Cologne, which have taken place since 2014. Astralis coach zonic was on the winning team mTw, while SK-Gaming (allen, Tentpole, zet, RobbaN, and walle) came in second place. Third place was a South Korean team, to much surprise.
WCG 2009 in Chengdu, China was much more similar in terms of having more modern day players; we had the likes of Taz, Neo, GeT_RiGhT, zonic, and f0rest playing there. The event took place from Nov. 11-15, with the Golden Five winning once again, while Fnatic was the runner up with zonic and Mortal Teamwork took home the bronze. The final went in favor of AGAiN, which consisted of the organization-less Golden Five. They won Nuke 28-26 in triple overtime and then 16-12 on Train against Fnatic, which consisted of three of the five former SK-Gaming lineup that got second place the previous year.
WCG 2010 in Los Angeles, California ran from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, and was won by Natus Vincere (markeloff, starix, Edward, zeus, and ceh9). Na'Vi beat mTw 2-1, starting on Inferno winning 16-8, losing Tuscan 16-14, and then winning the final map Train 22-18 in double overtime. The Golden FIve under the organization Frag eXecutors lost to Na’Vi in the semifinals and beat FireGamers on Dust2 16-5, lost 16-13 on Nuke, and then won the last map Train 16-4 to take third place.
In Busan, South Korea, the last WCG games with Counter-Strike 1.6 would occur in 2011. The Golden Five, under the organization ESC Gaming, won against SK-Gaming, which was hosting the former Fnatic lineup. The scorelines were a win for ESC 16-12 on Dust2, a loss 16-5 on Train, then they had a slapback win on Tuscan 16-14.
In 2012, the World Cyber Games dropped Counter-Strike 1.6, replacing it with the shunned Counter-Strike: Online for one year until they folded. It is likely that they would have adopted CS:GO during the 2012 games or at least recognized it as a WCG esport.
In 2013, the current CEO became “impossible to work with,” according to Silviu Stroie, the CEO of ComputerGames.ro and no longer had any support. The games folded. Since then, we have had no events with such massive scale drawing international competition. We have had esports develop greatly with games like StarCraft, DOTA, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and countless others, but none have come together under one event ever since.
The WCG, in other sectors, was successful. It wasn't best suited for Counter-Strike, as there were no national teams and it was really a fancy name for a tournament. For other games like StarCraft and WarCraft, it was able to be about national pride and medals. Multiplayer sports don't always shape up like you think they would be.
Currently in esports, there is a lack of massive events, especially one’s that cross multiple esports. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; DOTA has their International, CS:GO has their majors numerous times a year, League of Legends has the LCS. There is certainly a lot of competition, but that divides up everyone into groups and we never see exciting matchups like we’ve dreamed about.
I am hoping we will see a big event like this emerge with the idea of creating the Olympics for esports. The reason why I doubt the actual Olympics will work is due to the results that we get with the WCS tournaments and how everything is mixed and not one set team.
How do you think this event molded the last 15 years of esports and what do you think an event like this will change and mold the next 15 years of esports? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
If anyone has any criticism or requests/ideas, you can find me on Reddit under /u/stitchtv, under Twitter @stitchCSGO, or email me at [email protected].