The 2017 Esports Industry Awards showcase the best the industry has to offer

November 13 saw the 2017 NOW TV Esports Industry Awards take place, celebrating a great year in the esports world.

by Remy Cabache

(Photo Credit: artubr)

The 2017 NOW TV Esports Industry Awards powered up in central London on November 13 to celebrate the sports, its growth and the most influential people in its community. Hosted by Julia Hardy, Nicki Shields, OJ Borg, and Adam Savage, with a global social media reach of over 85 million, the event attracted teams such as OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid, SK Telecom 1, Team Envy, and Lunatic Hai as well as esports personalities such as Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere, Soren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg, and Guy “DrDisRespect” Beahm. 

Esports Personality of the Year in association with NOW TV: Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere

This was the top award if the night. In a field that included Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, Damon “Karma” Barlow, Ryan Hart, Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner, Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, it was Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere came out on top. 

Depoortere joined Megan “RheingoldRiver” Cutrofello as the only women to win awards on the night – and in the Awards’ two-year history. She started her career in esports as a player competing at Unreal Tournament ’99, and went on to win several tournaments as a member of the Belgian national team. Since then she has moved into being a presenter, hosting League of Legends EU LCS broadcasts since 2012 for Riot Games. 

Having been a huge part of the LoL scene since 2012, Depoortere has become a role model for many female esports fans. All of her accomplishments made her a very deserving recipient of this award. 

Esports Team of the Year: OpTic Gaming (Call of Duty)

Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez is the owner of OpTic Gaming

This was a very competitive award. Many teams were nominated who had great years, but none stood above OpTic Gaming and their success in Call of Duty.

The team, started in 2010, has slowly made its rise to the top of the Call of Duty world. The big push to reach this level came in 2015 when they solidified their roster of Damon “Karma” Barlow, Seth “Scump” Abner, Ian “Crimsix” Porter, and Matthew “FormaL” Piper. Having secured a team of great players, all of whom hold the best records in Call of Duty, the organisation had yet to add a World Championship Trophy. That changed this year, as the team won the CWL Championship hosted in Orlando, Florida this August. 

Coming from the losing bracket, OpTic had to win two best-of-five series against Team EnVyUs in the finals. They did just that, winning the first series 3-1 and the second 3-0. It was an amazing performance that would propel them on to this award. 

Esports Breakthrough Game of the Year: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PUBG took the gaming world by storm this year. First released in March 2017, the game took off immediately. SuperData Research estimated that the game’s April sales generated over $34 million, making it a top ten highest-grossing game that month, surpassing Overwatch and CS:GO. Within three months of its early release, it had reached four million units sold. For context, Minecraft took a full year to reach that mark. 

Not only did it sell in huge numbers at great speed – players loved it. In August 2017, the game’s concurrent player count on Steam pushed it passed Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V and even Dota2. The following month, just five months after its early release, it reached 1.3 million concurrent players, breaking Dota2’s record of 1.29 million. Just last month, it reached a staggering figure of 2 million concurrent players. Its groundbreaking success on PC has led to the announcement that the game will be released on Xbox One in December and on the PS4 sometime in the next year. 

The game has taken the world by storm and absolutely deserved this award. 

Esports Game of the Year in association with Twitch: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike: Global Offensive took home the Esports Game of the Year gong in association with Twitch. The ultra-tactical first-person shooter has well over 25 million sales on PC alone, and has been at the centre of the rise of esports over the past two years. 

Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation’s Counter Strike was initially launched in 2000, with CS:GO now five years old itself, but updated maps and gameplay as well as the drama of live competitions make the game a must-have for true gamers. This is the second year in a row that CS:GO has taken home the coveted Game of the Year award.

Esports Live Event of the Year in association with Thomas Lyte: League of Legends World Championship (RIOT)

Speaking of competition, the League of Legends World Championship claimed the Esports Live Event of the Year award. The event took place in China just two weeks ago, with South Korea’s Samsung Galaxy named World Champions. 

The top talent of the world’s biggest MOBA did battle in incredible arenas in Wuhan, Guangzhou and Shanghai, with the finals taking place in the iconic “Birds Nest” Beijing National Stadium. Riot Games’ League of Legends is another one of the genuine super-powers in the esports industry, making over $1.5 million a year.

UK Esports Player of the Year: Spencer “Gorilla” Ealing

With the event being held in London, the UK Esports Player of the Year was one of the most coveted prizes of the night. 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup champion Spencer “Gorilla” Ealing took the trophy, after becoming the first British man in 12 years to win the tournament, overcoming the German Kai “Deto” Wollin 7-3 in the final. 

The FIWC was held at the Central Hall in Westminster, London this year, where “Gorilla” scored 46 goals across three days. Seven million entrants were whittled down to just one winner, and the question is now whether the 20-year-old can defend his $200,000 crown next year.


Remy Cabache