The Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) is an international professional gaming championship. Every year, winners of national qualifier events around the world earn the right to represent their country in the ESWC Finals. The event has been praised for its organisation and ability to put on a good show for spectators.
The ESWC was originally created by a French company, Ligarena, that had previously hosted smaller Local Area Network (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 was bought by another French company, Games-Solution, which became the owner of the brand. In 2012, Oxent, an agency specialising in electronic sports, acquired the ESWC.
The first Electronic Sports World Cup 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 had to place in their country's national qualifier. By 2006, the event had grown to 547 qualified participants from 53 countries and had a prize purse of $400,000 US. 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 attended the finals at the Futuroscope near Poitiers in France. The total prize fund for the event was €156,000.
Leaving France for the first time, 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. 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 had not given its support to the competition. The prize purse was approximately $200,000 US.
In place of the ESWC, the "Masters of Paris" was held from July 4 to July 6, during the "Mondial du Gaming", taking place at the Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy. The same disciplines took place during this Masters and offered additional qualifying slots for ESWC Grand Final in San Jose. All winners won a slot to participate in the ESWC Grand Final, and hotel accommodation in San Jose, free of charge.
"Masters of Athens" was held from October 17 to October 18, 2008, during the Athens Digital Week. Disciplines featured were Quake III and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The tournament had a $30.000 prize purse, and the champion qualified for ESWC 2009.
This 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 event marked the first and only year in which Counter-Strike: Source was present. It was also the last year that would include Counter-Strike 1.6, which was the main attraction of the tournament for many years, and the last remaining game that had been featured in the inaugural ESWC event.
Official disciplines : Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on PC (5v5), ShootMania Storm on PC (3v3), Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on Xbox 360 (4v4), Dota 2 on PC (5v5), FIFA 14 on Xbox 360 (1v1), Trackmania Stadium on PC (1v4)