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After the success of last year’s event, the Melbourne Esports Open returned to Melbourne Park for a second year. Record crowds descended on the sporting venue to watch their favorite esports and meet their heroes. Over 17,000 people took part in this festival of esports that is the biggest ever seen in Australia. That’s more than IEM Sydney, which attracted 7,500 individuals over the course of the weekend. MEO was held last weekend over two days. Activities spanned across the major sporting arenas including Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne Arena, and Grand Slam Oval. Whatever your esports, there was something for you at MEO — FortniteLeague of LegendsOverwatch, Rainbow Six, Super Smash Bros., and more. Giant inflatable obstacles courses kept everyone entertained, and the latest games were on show.

Pro competitions

We’ve already covered the pro competitions, but for a quick recap, MEO saw the Overwatch Contenders finals, the League of Legends OPL finals, and the Rainbow Six Siege Six Masters played. First up on Saturday, it was League of Legends. Mammoth upset the fan favorites, the Chiefs, to win in a clean sweep. Mammoth have been crowned OPL victors and will represent Oceania at Worlds later in the year. On Sunday it was Overwatch. ORDER took down Mindfreak G in another clean sweep.

Over the course of the two days, the Six Masters were being played out. Fnatic defeated OrgLess in an intense 2-1 victory to be crowned Six Masters. Fnatic took home the lion’s share of the $50,000 AUD prize pool.

With all the pro players in town, both nationally and internationally, many fans met their heroes. There were plenty of signing sessions and lots of photo ops.

Open tournaments

Festivals like MEO aren’t all about the pros. Around the park, various open competitions were being played. Fans had the chance to test their skills in any one (or more) of the 15 titles on offer. The platform fighters featured heavily with Dragon Ball FighterZTekkenSmash, and Street Fighter V.

It’s not just fighters either. Minecraft, Halo, StarCraft, Forza, and Rocket League were all fair game too. And we all know how popular Fortnite is. Fortnite had its own dedicated stage in Margaret Court Arena. Anyone could enter the $20,000 AUD prize pool competitions. The money was split across open and charity tournaments. This plays into Epic Games’ $100 million pledge to Fortnite esports in 2019. The diverse range of titles drew in fans of all ages. If competing isn’t your thing, then you’d probably try out the latest games instead.

Game Zone at Melbourne Esports Open

We know not everyone has a competitive streak in them. That’s what’s so cool about playing games. You can do simply that — just play them! Melbourne Arena was hosted by the JB Hi-Fi Game On Zone. There were heaps of titles on offer. Fortnite freeplay areas, League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, and tons more were on display. Unreleased games were included such as Borderlands 3, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, and Marvel’s Iron Man VR. Plus, it was the first time in ANZ that Gears 5 was available to play.

The Game Zone isn’t just about the biggest and best titles. The zone hosted plenty of tech companies: RIG Gaming, Razer, Corsair, Omen, you name it. One Melbourne-made indie game, Drone Legion, was on show, and Australia’s own Girl Geek Academy were showcasing their latest book series.

For all the people out there who think gaming isn’t physically active enough, MEO has you covered. Fans of all ages enjoyed the Monster! The world’s biggest inflatable obstacle course was anyone’s game. We hope they bring it back next year!

Australia’s esports scene continues to grow

Following the success of MEO, the Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport, and Major Events, Martin Pakula, commented on the growing opportunity of esports:

Melbourne Park has come to life over the weekend, with thousands of digital gaming fans converging for the live esports action. Digital game development is a growing opportunity for our creative sector, and we’re proud to support this fast-growing industry that is bringing so many enthusiasts together.

MEO was run in partnership with ESL Australia and TEG Live. The Managing Director of TEG Live says these record crowd numbers are a testament to the growth of the industry:

TEG Live is extremely proud to be the leading promoter of esports in Australia and delivering world-class events such as the Melbourne Esports Open in partnership with ESL. Esports is not just the future but it’s the now, with not only record crowds attending this weekend’s event but huge numbers streaming the games across the world. With the support of the Victoria Government and presenting partner JB Hi-Fi, we look forward to an even bigger Melbourne Esports Open in 2020.

We hope this means MEO will be around for years to come. As the scene grows, we’ll continue to bring you more action from the world of esports.