Event Coverage
ESL One Genting tournament kicks off, powered by Microsoft and partners
By John Law - 6 Jan 2017,10:45pm

ESL One Genting tournament kicks off, powered by Microsoft and partners

An overview of the ESL One Genting proving grounds.

Being in a stadium amidst the throng of fans that ushered in 2017 as they rooted for their favorite Dota 2 team can be a pretty overwhelming experience, most especially when you’re right in the thick of it.

Watching a Dota 2 game on a big projector screen while being surrounded by zealous fans was truly an experience like no other.

The rows at the back of the VIP seats were packed in mere minutes during the preliminaries.

We are of course talking about the ESL One Genting tournament that kicked today at the Arena of Stars, here at Genting Highlands. The event was sponsored by Microsoft along with long line of other partners that includes Lenovo, MSI, NVIDIA, and even Plantronics, and every piece of gear that we saw in the arena, both on the stage and at the shoutcasters’ desk, featured products that belonged to one brand or another (the shoutcasters’ desk sported Lenovo notebooks).

Microsoft is a major sponsor to the ESL One tournaments worldwide. After all, their Windows 10 OS effectively runs on all the devices that were present in that arena.

Even the desktop systems that were used for the tournament were all installed with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.

Team Fnatic was one of the first teams that kicked off the event.

The ESL championship cup: This is what the winning team will get. That, and the US$250,000 prize money.

The ESL One Genting is the first Dota 2 tournament of 2017, with its prize pool sitting at US$250,000 (approx. RM1,118,125) for the winning team at the end of this grueling three-day tournament. The participating teams including Fnatic (flanked by our local eSports favorites Mushi and Ohaiyo), Wings Gaming, Digital Chaos, Virtus.pro, and WarriorsGamingUnity, an all-Malaysian based eSports team.

But of course, Microsoft’s presence in eSports arena is obviously due to all the systems running one of the most competitively played games in the world via their Windows 10 OS. The company has slowly been shifting their marketing strategy for Windows 10 towards the direction of gaming. To that end, that’s also one of the reasons that Microsoft is one of the major sponsors for ESL, the organization that handles these tournaments worldwide.

Both Lenovo and MSI were sponsors to ESL One Genting, and they had their own respective booths at the event as well.

Besides Microsoft, both MSI and Lenovo had a presence outside the event as well. Both of them had booths just outside the stadium, and both companies were simply promoting their products.

Lenovo had the newly announced Legion Y520 on display, along with their bulky ideapad Y910 as well (pictured below).

But of the two, Lenovo was the one that surprised us with a brief and prompt presentation of their new Legion Y520 notebook (technically, the model we saw was an engineering sample), and their more powerful ideapad Y910 gaming notebook. Specs-wise, the Y910 comes fitted with the latest Intel Kaby Lake CPU, and a more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU inside.

Surprisingly, Lenovo also had a VR workstation area set up at the event. This was the first time that we had seen a VR-based system on display by the company.

 Lenovo also showcased their first ever VR workstation system. Running on an Intel Xeon CPU and dual NVIDIA Quadro M6000 workstation graphics cards, this was the first time that we had seen the company enter the VR market.

It was during this time that we also found out through a source close to Microsoft the company would be officially be bringing the Xbox One controller into the Malaysian market. Details about the initiative were still being finalized, but if the source was to be believed, then we could see the controller retailing at all of Microsoft's official partners (Lenovo being one of them) sometime during March 2017.

Ohaiyo from Team Fnatic speaks to us during an interview about his team's performance today.

ESL One Genting is set to go on for another two more days, with the deciding match to take place this Sunday (January 8, 2017). We were present for the first match, and at the time, team Fnatic had lost the ‘Best of one’ segment. We had asked who they felt about it, and team member Ohaiyo simply said that they were looking to at least put up a better challenge during the ‘Best of three’ matches.

You can visit the official ESL One site for more information.

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