In 2014, eSports and competitive video games were everywhere. Some games and their finals invaded regular sports channels on TV, filled huge stadiums, and the streams pulled hundreds of thousands of viewers. At this point, it doesn't look like the eSports craze will end anytime soon.
From January to December, here are the best eSports-related stories from 2014 in no particular order:
We've seen a lot of drama:
"...here's a fun fact: Did you know the real world is broadcasting in 3-D? All the time? I know, amazing!"
DreamHack had some serious shake-ups.
It's a competition.
The previously International e-Sports Federation 'male only' competitions can now be entered by men or women.
DreamHack Champagne beats DreamHack champion.
Pro StarCraft II player Koh "GuMiho" Byung Jae was playing in Korea the other day when he suffered a pretty drastic technical mishap: the booth he was sitting behind collapsed, hitting him in the head and sending his monitor flying into his face. He kept his cool though and won the restarted match.
We've also seen huge amounts of money flying around with gigantic stadiums getting filled with spectators, all proving that eSports are growing with an incredible speed:
LoL superstar Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is worth a lot of money.
Some eSports competitors find that life gets easier once they hang up their mouse and keyboard.
They don't have the word "porn" on their shirts but the logo says it all.
Watching the prize pool for Valve's big Dota 2 tournament growing into the biggest prize pools of eSport history was really incredible.
That's one way to promote an eSports team.
But most importantly, we've seen incredible plays, whether it was Smash Bros., League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2 or StarCraft II:
A seminal moment in the history of competitive gaming is the Evo 2004 match between Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong. In 2014, the two celebrated the fight in the best way possible: Facing off in Street Fighter.
Silence, mad skills and a mask.
DreamHack 2014 pro finals produced one of the best matches Global Offensive has seen. It nearly didn't happen, however, thanks to cheating.
Here are the matches of the junior, senior and master finals of 2014 Pokémon Championships.
You can't talk about competitive StarCraft: Brood War without two names coming up: Jaedong the Tyrant and Flash, aka The God of StarCraft.
With a $US35,000 on the line — the largest pot of EVO 2014 — Keiji "Garireo" Okamoto and Ryo "Dogura" Nozaki put up the fight of their lives in the BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma grand finals.
Veteran StarCraft pro Greg "IdrA" Fields switched from zerg units to other Blizzard heroes.
Korean StarCraft pro Losira unleashes his power.
Finally, here's the memorable match between Samsung Galaxy White and Star Horn Royal Club.