DreamHack: world's biggest LAN party and computer festival comes to the UK

With a $40,000 prize pool and new games on show, the Swedish digital festival is growing and going international

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The Independent Tech

One of the world's biggest gaming and computer festivals is on its way to the UK, with brand new games and huge payouts offered.

DreamHack is a "digital festival" which was first held in Sweden in 1994 with just 40 attendees. Recognised today as the largest Local Area Network (LAN) party and computer festival in the world, it plays host to videogame competitions, live concerts and an expo for developers to show off new games and technology. Recent DreamHack events have experienced more than 25,000 visitors with close to twenty million streaming views online.

Headlining the event this year is CS:GO, a competitive shooter played on PC in which five Counter-Terrorists must stop five Terrorists from detonating a bomb across a variety of maps. Relying on extremely fast reactions, expert teamwork and precise mouse movements, the Valve produced game has over eight million unique players, with an average of half a million playing concurrently.

Top professional players have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, outside of sponsorships and salaries. With prize pools ever increasing, and major events offering $250,000 in prize money, the competition is extremely fierce. The Dreamhack Open tour provides more events around Europe where there is the potential for smaller and unknown teams to qualify.

Seven of the eight slots at London have been awarded to recognised international teams, with the last slot going to UK qualifier ‘EZskins’. The Grand Final will likely be between French superstars ‘EnVyUs’ and Danish favourites ‘Team SoloMid,’ but all the teams will be looking to create an upset at an event where several of the biggest names are missing.

Commentating the CS:GO event will be the ever popular duo Anders ‘Anders’ Blume and Auguste ‘Semmler’ Massonnat as well as British caster Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer.

Console games will also make an appearance and host their own tournaments. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the only other shooter at the event with a 32 team open tournament offering $20,000 in prize money.

Supported by Major League Gaming, the event is aiming to have the highest production values to date. “We’re looking to elevate the production value that we introduced when we hosted the DreamHack Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Swedish and Nordic Championship earlier this year. Now in a sports arena we have the perfect setup for a competitive Call of Duty” said Christian Lord, Head of eSports at DreamHack.

For fighting fans there are two games being featured. London will be the first DreamHack event to feature Nintendo favourite Super Smash Bros. Melee after it being heavily requested in previous years. ‘Armada’ - champion of the biggest fighting game tournament of the year ‘Evolution 2015’ - will be making an appearance at the event, fighting for part of the $20,000 prize pool.

Ultra Street Fighter IV will also be making an appearance at DreamHack London with a $5,000 prize pool. The upcoming title Street Fighter V will also be playable on the showroom floor.

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