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The Electronic Sports World Cup is an international professional gaming championship. Every year winners of national qualifier event around the world earn the right to represent their country in the ESWC Finals. The event has won a lot of praise for its organisation and ability to put on a good show for spectators.
The ESWC was originally created by a French company called Ligarena who previously hosted smaller LAN events in France under the name of LAN Arena. In 2003, Ligarena decided to do something on a larger scale and the ESWC was born. In 2005, Ligarena became Games-Services. In 2009, ESWC is bought by another French company called Games-Solution who became the owner of the brand. In 2012, Oxent, an agency specialised in electronic sports, have acquired the ESWC.
The first Electronic Sports World Cup event was held in 2003 with a total of 358 participants from 37 countries and a prize purse of €150.000. To participate in the tournament competitors must place in their country's national qualifier. By 2006 the event had grown to 547 qualified participants from 53 countries and a prize purse of $400,000. The event also featured the first competition with a game specifically made for it: TrackMania Nations.
The 2003 ESWC saw around 150,000 players narrowed down to just 358 players from 37 different countries who would attend the finals at the Futuroscope near Poitiers in France. The total prize fund for the event was €156,000.
The 2008 Electronic Sports World Cup took place in San Jose, California, USA, from August 25 to August 27 during the bigger NVISION 08 event, moving the tournament away from France for the first time. The disciplines announced were Counter-Strike (open and female), Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Trackmania Nations Forever, Defense of the Ancients and Quake 3. Pro Evolution Soccer was not included because the global Konami authority hasn't given its support to the competition. The prize purse was around 200,000 USD.
Paris wasn't abandoned for the ESWC. In place of the ESWC, there was the Masters of Paris, during the Mondial du Gaming from July 4 to July 6 and took place at the Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy. The same disciplines took place during this Masters offered additional qualificative slots for ESWC Grand Final in San Jose. All winners won a slot to participate in the ESWC Grand Final and hotel accommodation for San Jose, free of charge.
Masters of Athens have been announced as well from October 17 to October 18 during the Athens Digital Week. Disciplines featured will be Quake III and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, the tournament will have a $30.000 prize purse and the champions will qualify for ESWC 2009.
The event marked the transitional replacement and additions of several cornerstone tournament titles. This included the replacement of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne with StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, as well as the replacement of Defense of the Ancients with Dota 2. Additionally, this marked the first and only year in which Counter-Strike: Source was present, as well as the last year that Counter-Strike 1.6, which was the main attraction of the tournament for many years and the last remaining game that was featured in the inaugural ESWC event, would be in the line-up.