IEM Sydney 2023 is a massive party for esports

IEM Sydney 2023 is a massive party for esports
  • PublishedDecember 16, 2023

There’s a wild party going on in Sydney at the moment — right underneath the noses of many oblivious Boomers.

There’s a big party going on in Sydney — complete with shoeys and plenty of testosterone.

But not many Boomers know about it.

Australia is playing host to Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023 at the Harbour City’s ICC. It’s the first time the newly-released Counter-Strike 2 has been played at a LAN event.

Counter-Strike 2 is the latest iteration of the first-person shooter game that pits terrorists against counter-terrorists.

It was first developed as a mod of Half-Life in 1999 and quickly became one of the world’s most popular esports.

This year is the first time Sydney has hosted an IEM event since 2019.

The packed stadium at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023. Picture: Supplied

The packed stadium at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023. Picture: Supplied

I ducked down for a visit during the quarterfinals on Friday evening and watched US team Complexity take down Russian team BetBoom in just two maps.

It was my first time to an esports tournament and atmosphere was electric.

There was a unique energy. At just 4.30pm people were already necking shoeys to loud cheers.

Footage, being streamed to a huge audience on sites like Twitch, beamed out showing high-spirited blokes lifting up their shirts and shouting encouragement to their favourite players.

There was even a beach ball doing the rounds in the crowd.

It was really fun.

The crowd cheers as someone downs a shoey. Picture: Supplied

The crowd cheers as someone downs a shoey. Picture: Supplied

The crowd was mostly male and mostly young.

And it’s likely that Boomers have no idea a huge global event is taking place right under their noses.

Gaming has been considered a niche industry for years, but it’s actually massive.

The global gaming market’s revenue is expected to hit $844 billion by 2027, and it is already bigger than Hollywood and the music industry.

A bloke in the audience called “Mac” who was hamming it up for the crowd. Picture: Supplied

A bloke in the audience called “Mac” who was hamming it up for the crowd. Picture: Supplied

Mac showing off his guns at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023. Picture: Supplied

Mac showing off his guns at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023. Picture: Supplied

Aussies will be cheering for G2 Esports rifler Justin “jks” Savage. Picture: Supplied

Aussies will be cheering for G2 Esports rifler Justin “jks” Savage. Picture: Supplied

There’s a huge appetite for esports in Australia and IEM is completely sold out.

However, it’s been a challenge for the teams of professional gamers at IEM this year, due to the change from CS:GO to CS2.

It’s a big change of meta: different weapons like shotguns are getting a run in the rotation, and there have been large changes to the way grenades work.

The eyes of most locals will be on the team G2 Esports, which has already qualified for the semi-final on Saturday.

That’s because one of their star players is Justin “jks” Savage, a 27-year-old hailing from Melbourne.

Aussies will be hoping his team can make it through to the final on Sunday.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM.AU

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