Is Samsung looking to make a return to the eSports scene? Their latest trademark filing hints as much. Samsung has trademarked World Cyber Games, and if you’re unaware it was a popular annual eSports event that ran from the year 2000 at global destinations such as South Korea, United States, Italy and Germany. Professional gamers compete for money prizes at these eSports events.
But for some reason, Samsung — who is known as the primary sponsor and was once considered the owner of WCG — decided not to continue the tradition in 2013. An event organizer says it was right around the time the company’s focus was shifting to supporting its global mobile brand, and they seemingly had no interest in continuing to pursue eSports.
Bad idea, that, considering the eSports scene is blowing up right now. It’s estimated that more than 75 million people watch eSports events annually. Dota 2, Counterstrike and League of Legends competitions draw hundreds of thousands of viewers every week, and prize pools for the events creep into the millions for the biggest events. Dota 2 put up $10 million for its 2015 Invitationals.
eSports tournaments also have the capability of drawing viewership that’s even higher than some professional sporting events, with League of Legends’ Season 3 World Championship in 2013 pulling a whopping 32 million viewers. That’s enough to best the MLB World Series, NBA Finals Game 7, and the BCS National Championship from that same year. And yes, they sell out arenas just like any big sporting event would:
Perhaps Samsung has noticed, and they’re looking to jump back into the fold by reviving the World Cyber Games for a return in 2015? We wouldn’t mind seeing another legit tournament with a rich history find its way back onto the scene, that’s for sure.
Samsung drew a global audience with the WCG, with the height of the competition coming in 2008 when they put up a $470,000 prize pool for a total of 14 games, and drawing record highs of 800 people from 78 different countries. Their highest prize pool came in the 2009 event where they put up $500,000 across 12 games, but they were only able to draw 600 people from 65 countries that year.
One unique thing the World Cyber Games had going for it was its support of mobile gaming, which we imagine was thanks in part to Samsung’s involvement. Gameloft’s Asphalt racing games have been featured in several prior events, and with more competitive shooters and MOBAs making their way to mobile devices each year they might try to use a strong focus in mobile as a good reason to spark an eSports renaissance.
Or maybe they just don’t want anyone to be able to use the name, and this filing is a means of making sure of that. Either way, we’ll be on the lookout to see if Samsung sneaks back into eSports at some point this year.