IEM Gyeonggi’s Overwatch Tournament will Only Feature Teams from Europe and Korea

The upcoming Intel Extreme Masters event in Gyeonggi, South Korea, will only showcase teams from Europe and Korea, ESL revealed Tuesday.

In their announcement of the six invited teams, Afreeca Freecs Blue, Lunatic.Hai, Kongdoo Panthera, LuxuryWatch Red, Misfits, and Rogue, there was something that stood out strong enough to catch everyone’s attention: There was absolutely no mention of any North American teams competing in the event.

While, at a glance, this may come off as a shock to Overwatch fans, especially when you take into account that the North American Overwatch scene has proven itself to be a pwoerhouse, with teams such as Team EnVyUs obliterating Afreeca Freecs Blue in Overwatch APEX Season 1, it’s worth noting that there has been growing unrest in non-NA scenes due to the $100,000 Overwatch Winter Premiere being only open to teams based in North America. Many pros complained that it was unfair for North American teams to receive favor, as several of the game’s events are hosted in the States and feature significantly larger prize pools than events held in other regions.

It’s possible that ESL’s way of making it up to regions that may feel underrepresented is to provide a stadium event that is catered to only EU and Korea. Or, perhaps, it’s possible that North America’s elite teams would be unable to compete at both MLG Las Vegas and IEM Gyeonggi, as they take place on the same weekend, so ESL simply wrote off the region. Without a proper explanation from the tournament organizers, however, everything is merely speculation.

IEM Gyeonggi will be played at the Goyang Sports Complex December 16th-18th, making it the first Overwatch tournament to be held in a stadium. The inclusion of the game stands testament to how impactful the Overwatch‘s competitive scene has become in less than a year after the game’s official launch, something that Intel’s esports marketing manager George Woo was sure to make a note of in the announcement of the addition.

“Overwatch is a fantastic source of esports competition and its popularity is exploding, which is why we’re thrilled to add the title to Intel Extreme Masters Gyeonggi,” said Woo, “We look forward to showcasing Intel’s technology and innovative gaming products at the event as we continue to push the boundaries of interactive entertainment for our fans.”

IEM Gyeonggi will also be the first official event of the new WCS season, with the 2016 Championship concluding at BlizzCon in November. Tickets are currently on sale for 20,000 and 30,000 KRW for fans that are at least fourteen years of age. As always, those who cannot attend the event will be able to watch each featured tournament via the official livestream.

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A certified weeb that passionately live-Tweets his reactions from esports events, Sian is one of those people that hasn’t seen the sun in weeks. You can find him on Twitter @FriendlySenpai