Starting off as a small meeting between schoolmates and friends in the Swedish town of Malung in the early 1990s, DreamHack has gone on to become one of the largest events in the esports calendar. Having been held at the Elmia exhibition centre in Jönköping since 2001, DreamHack has now introduced a whole host of other annual competitions, with the DreamHack Summer taking place in June, along with DreamHack Winter in November. Back in 2011, DreamHack AB announced that they would be partnering with Major League Gaming and Electronic Sports League, in order to help to continue the growth and development of the European and North American esports markets.
DreamHack hold several events throughout the year, including BYOC tournaments and exhibitions, with the Spring season ending with the season finals at DreamHack Summer, as well as the Fall season ending with the DreamHack winter. DreamHack also host large esports tournaments at each of their LAN’s, including League of Legends, StarCraft ii, Heroes of the Storm and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. In November 2015, Modern Times Group purchased DreamHack for a fee of 244 million SEK, roughly $28 million.
All events are now streamed live on the DreamHack Twitch page, with millions following the action from around the world. DreamHack is much more than competitive gaming, with the events providing the platform for knowledge and creative competitions, music acts, lectures and internet and gaming culture. DreamHack was awarded with a Guinness World Record for “Number of computers in a LAN” back in 2007, with 10,455 connected devices, which has since been beaten on numerous occasions. DreamHack events are often staged 24 hours a day, with non-stop action for esports fans to enjoy.
The first ever DreamHack Summer event took place in Jönköping, Sweden back in 2002. DreamHack had already been hosting both general and Winter events for almost ten years, before making the decision to host two large events per year, including the DreamHack Summer every June. The first DreamHack Summer featured a Counter Strike tournament, the first of its kind.
The inaugural event saw 32 teams compete, with home favourites Ninjas in Pyjamas placing first, followed by Devine esports and Backstab. In fact, Ninjas in Pyjamas hold the individual record for most championships, with four to their name, in 2002, 2006, 2013 and 2014. Other successful teams over the years include Fnatic and SK Gaming, both of whom have two wins apiece. Meanwhile, Natus Vincere hold the record for the most runner-up finishes, with three, whilst failing to ever win the event.
DreamHack undoubtedly took a huge risk in separating their events into a Summer and Winter Series, however it has certainly paid off. DreamHack Summer has become hugely popular, especially within the Counter Strike community. With a prize pool of over $100,000, the DreamHack Summer 2017 is set to be the biggest of its kind to date, taking place between 17-20 June in Sweden. Two groups of four teams make up the event, before the playoff stage will determine who will take home the $50,000 first place prize pool. Cloud9, Fnatic, Gambit Esports, Immortals, mousesports, SK Gaming, Team Singularity and Counter Logic Gaming will make up the participants.
Similarly to the DreamHack Summer, the DreamHack Winter takes place in Jonkoping, Sweden each year. Some of the biggest tournaments of the year from League of Legends, Counter Strike, Dota 2, Overwatch and Hearthstone. The 2017 DreamHack Winter will take place between the 30th November- 2nd December, with the participating teams still yet to be confirmed. The first winners of the competition back in 2010 came in the form of mousesports and Natus Vincere, with Gambit Esports having claimed the crown in 2016, ahead of the likes of Renegades and GODSENT.
The DreamHack Open was launched back in 2012, quickly making a name for itself as DreamHack’s premiere esports circuit, featuring no fewer than seven tour stops across Europe. Such titles include Counter Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft ii and Heart of the Swarm. The competition offers a prize pool of $350,000 across all games, with the events open to both amateur and professional players. Ninjas in Pyjamas won the very first DreamHack Open in Valencia, with Bucharest also hosting events consistently over the following years. The likes of Malmo, Montreal, Atlanta and London in the United Kingdom have all joined the list of cities hosting in recent times, with the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas in 2017 undoubtedly the biggest to date. Russian team Virtus.Pro claimed the spoils ahead of SK Gaming, North and Astralis, taking home £250,000 in the process. With Gambit Esports having already collected the DreamHack Austin, DreamHack Valencia, Atlanta, Montreal and Denver are all still to take place in 2017, with the season ending with the DreamHack Winter. French team G2 Esports have recently won the DreamHack Open Tours 2017 in the world of CSGO, taking home $50,000 in winnings.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Sweden has dominated proceedings when it comes to DreamHack CSGO, with Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic having ten wins between them to date. Ninjas in Pyjamas have been victorious on six separate occasions, including at the DreamHack Masters Malmo in 2016, as well as at the Astro Open in Valencia back in 2012. Meanwhile, compatriots Fnatic have come out on top four times, including victories at the DreamHack Tours in 2015 and DreamHack Bucharest in 2012. Elsewhere, France are Sweden’s closest rivals, having won DreamHack CSGO events four times. Their last win came back in 2014, when Team Titan claimed glory at the DreamHack Invitational I in Stockholm.
Having originally been known as the Dota All-Stars, before moving to DreamHack, the DreamLeague is now perhaps the most prestigious Dota 2 events around, with teams from Europe and North America competing. Having kicked off in 2013, with Ukrainian team Natus Vincere taking home the spoils, the DreamLeague Season 7 is set to take place in 2017, with a total prize pool of $175,000 up for grabs. So far, Team Liquid, Team Secret and Vega Squadron have been confirmed as participants. Despite being dominated by Asian teams on a global scale, DreamHack events provide European and North American teams with the opportunity to do battle for the biggest prizes.
League of Legends
Despite not featuring as heavily as some other esports titles, League of Legends still plays a significant part in the success of DreamHack events. The DreamHack summer 2011 staged the League of Legends Season 1 World Championship, which saw Fnatic come out on top. The likes of Counter Logic Gaming, SK Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas have all claimed LoL victories at DreamHack, with We Are Doggsz the last team to do so at the DreamHack Summer 2015, the last time in which League of Legends featured. DreamHack and Riot Games recently announced a new high tier competitive league for Nordic players, which featured as one of the main events at DreamHack Winter 2016. The winners also received a place in the Spring EU Challenger Series qualifiers. As well as this, a whole host of BYOC style tournaments can be found at DreamHack Masters and DreamHack Open events, perhaps the biggest of which coming at the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas at the beginning of 2017.
Despite having only been released in 2010, StarCraft 2 quickly became a big part of DreamHack events, with Finland’s “Naama” winning the first ever competition at the DreamHack Winter in the very same year. With the increasingly popular now a mainstay at both Summer and Winter DreamHack events, as well as major DreamHack Open tournaments. Asian players quickly began to dominate proceedings in terms of taking home major prize money, with South Korea’s Yun “TaeJa” Young Seo having five DreamHack wins to his name. However, it was American player Alex “Neeb” Sunderhaft who won the most recent event, the 2017 World Championship Series Austin, with the WCS Jonkoping, Valencia and Montreal still to come in 2017.
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm features heroes from other Blizzard franchises including Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, The Lost Vikings and Overwatch. Having been released in 2015, Heroes of the Storm made its DreamHack debut at the DreamHack Bucharest, with Team Liquid European’s Team Liquid winning the PGL Spring Champions of the Storm 2015. The same team went on to win three separate titles in the same year, earning themselves over $35,000 in prize money. The success of the game at DreamHack is growing all the time, with BeGeniuses ESC winning the DreamHack Tours 2017, along with over $5,000 in prize money. The Global Championship Mid-Season Brawl will take place at the DreamHack Summer in June 2017, with the likes of Team Dignitas, Fnatic and MVP Black set to battle it out for the $250,000 prize pool, the biggest in StarCraft 2 history.
Another Blizzard Entertainment title that has proven popular at DreamHack is Hearthstone, with the Hearthstone Grand Prix set to return once again in 2017. The Grand Prix will feature at seven DreamHack events, each of which will host a major open Swiss tournament, before 16 players move onto a single-elimination stage. With a maximum of 200 slots available, along with a prize pool of $25,000, the DreamHack Austin, Summer, Valencia, Atlanta, Montreal, Denver and Winter will host these Hearthstone events. American player “Shoop” has already claimed victory in Austin back in April this year.
Titles including the likes of Super Smash Bros, Smite, Street Fighter V, Heroes of Newerth and Mortal Kombat XL have helped to make up the full DreamHack circuit, and despite not having the same financial backing as with games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends, are gaining in popularity all of the time. Heroes of the Newerth is a multi-player online battle arena game developed by S2 Games, originally featuring at DreamHack Summer 2012, where FnaticRC defeated TT esports in the final. In the same year, Trademark esports claimed the title at the DreamHack Winter. The likes of Stay Green and Neolution esports.MRR winning before its final appearance at DreamHack in 2015.
Meanwhile, Smite is a third-person multiplayer online battle arena game developed by Hi-Rez Studios, that made its DreamHack debut in the Summer of 2016. European team Panthera, whose roster is dominated by Swedish players, came out on top of the event, seeing off the threat from US trio SoaR Gaming, Enemy esports and Team Eager.