Intel® Extreme Masters will host the first of Blizzard Entertainment’s all-new 2016 StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS) Circuit Championships as part of the elite pro gaming tour’s World Championship event in Katowice, Poland. The WCS Circuit Winter Championship will feature 32 of the best players from the WCS Circuit at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice and will pay out US$150,000 to the sixteen top-performing players, along with 10,000 WCS points distributed among all the competitors. Additionally, the StarCraft II champion at ESL’s Polish mega event will be invited to compete in the 2016 WCS Global Playoffs at the end of the year.
The Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in 2015 broke global viewership records for its four-day event. Foot traffic was recorded at over 100,000, with online numbers hitting peak concurrent viewership highs of over one million across numerous games. It remains the Twitch record-holder for highest concurrent viewership across a single event, with numbers expected to rise in 2016 with the addition of new tournaments.
“StarCraft II esports has a very exciting year ahead, which I’m very proud to say gets kick-started at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice,” said Michal Blicharz, VP Pro Gaming at ESL. “Our World Championships will be the first major test for Legacy of the Void™ professional players and will be an important focus at the event this year, alongside what will be a fantastic set of tournaments.”
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2016 will host World Championship competition for a number of games, including StarCraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, with more games and tournaments to be announced.
Prior to the Katowice tournament, ESL will host a $25,000, 8 player invitational at Intel Extreme Masters Taipei featuring the top Korean performers of the IEM season as well as certain legendary players. The event will take place on February 2-3, 2016 at the Taipei Game Show.