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eSports is coming to Melbourne in a big way this September

Melbourne is looking to become Australia’s home for eSports, if the Victorian State Government’s latest deal is anything to go by. It’s just been announced that the city will host the ‘biggest eSports event in the country’ in the first weekend of September, September 1st to 2nd, with the Melbourne eSports Open, or MEO fo short.

eSports has slowly but surely been picking up steam in Australia, with Sydney holding their first big event last year with IEM Sydney and Melbourne recently opening up the first eSports bar in Australia. The latest announcement of the MEO is a huge and encouraging step to take eSports even more into the mainstream.

The Victorian Government definitely seem to be taking it seriously too, teaming up with TEG Live and eSports organiser ESL in a 5-year deal and holding the event at Melbourne & Olympic Park, including Rod Laver Arena, the same space used for the Australian Open. John Eren, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, said that Melbourne Park will be turned “into every gamer’s dream – giant screens, the best talent and latest technology.” Just shut up and take my money already.

No specifics have been given yet on MEO: we don’t know what games will be part of the event, which teams will be competing or what the prize pool will be. That being said, we can make a few educated guesses. First off, it seems  like quite a safe bet that we’ll see  at least one of the juggernauts that is Fortnite, Overwatch, and a MOBA, my money is on League of Legends over Dota 2, in the mix. The Victorian Government also promises that the event will ‘attract the world’s best gamers’, and given that it’s being touted as the biggest eSports event in the country, we can assume that the prize pool will be larger than the $310,000 for this year’s IEM Sydney.

So what do we know so far? Apart from the date and the location, not much. We do know that the Victorian Government is expecting a crowd of at least 10,000 people to attend on each of the event days. We’re also being told that there will be ‘interactive gamer experiences’ and ‘a showcase of the latest esports technology’ on display throughout the weekend. And to be honest, that’s enough to make me pretty damn psyched for this event. The very fact that Melbourne is hosting a big eSports event at all is enough to make me psyched for this event – here’s hoping they pull it off.