With Major League Gaming (MLG) getting record attendance and livestreaming numbers, eSports continues to rise in popularity. Now there’s a new competition in San Francisco, which is part job fair for aspiring engineering tech students and interns and part game tournament with $25,000 in cash prizes for games like StarCraft II, League of Legends, Dota 2, Street Fighter 4 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The two-day, free gaming event called LAMHAMMER 2013 will take place from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. on August 17th and 18th at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco and is expected to draw more than 2,000 of the Bay Area’s top engineering students and interns. The event will be livestreamed on Twitch.tv.
Organizers Andrew Wu and Tansen Zhu took part in the planning of UC San Diego’s Winter Game Fest for four and five years respectively. That gaming extravaganza is one of southern California’s largest eSports events, attracting over 3,000 participants from across the nation. Both recent graduates have been active in the eSports space for several years.
“I took part in the planning of various San Diego barcrafts and TeamLiquid’s post-BlizzCon barcraft in 2011,” said Wu. “I have attended two MLG events in Anaheim, NASL’s live finals in Ontario, and two BlizzCons. I enjoy playing Dota 2 regularly and enjoy following watching Twitch streams of events like DreamHack, Alienware cup, The Defense, D2L, and the Premier League. I am also particularly excited to have the opportunity to go to this year’s The International 3 in Seattle.”
Zhu organized UCSD’s League of Legends Charity Tournament and participated in activities with UCSD’s StarCraft and League of Legends student organizations, and volunteered for the Collegiate Starleague, Gigabyte eSports LAN Invitational, and Intel LANFest SoCal.
“I have attended the last three BlizzCons and one MLG event in Anaheim, IPL 4 in Las Vegas, IPL TAC3 Finals in San Francisco, and the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship and CSL 2012-2013 Season 1 Grand Final in Los Angeles,” said Zhu.
All of that experience encouraged Readyforce, a leading career network for college students, to create this inaugural event. The company gave Wu and Zhu $100,000 to “make it happen.”
“We created this event knowing that gaming is currently one of the most popular and engaging ways to socialize,” said Wu. “We’ve presented companies with the unique opportunity to reach out, network, and connect to the engineering student and intern demographic in a fun and innovative way. The prize pool of $25,000 is comparable to some of the biggest tournaments out there and we’re sure it will attract some of the best competitors, engineering students, and interns from all over the country to our event.”
Wu said this is the first time a LAN of this scale is being held in the northern California area. There will be over 300 PCs and a dozen PlayStation 3s for the 500 open slots in the tournament.
“For gamers, this is going to be a huge free-to-enter eSports event and a great way to experience a live LAN competition,” said Wu. “For companies, this event is in spirit similar to Day’s After Hours Gaming League, where companies have a chance to send a team of competitors to compete for the prizes provided by LANHAMMER. Companies at the event get the unique opportunity to interact with the students at the event as well as slay their rival companies in friendly competition.”
With the US economy still on shaky ground, ultimately, the real winners at this event might not be those who head home with one of the cash prizes. This is, after all, also a huge job fair.
“The number of students looking for jobs is higher than ever, and although there are huge events at campuses everywhere to foster the job search, they have become stale and a chore in recent memory,” said Zhu. “In the spirit of Readyforce’s goal to improve the job search for students, our event aims to subvert this norm and provide a unique and fun environment for these potential employees and companies to interact.”
ESports could find its way into other non-traditional events, as more people realize the potential of pro gaming with reaching a targeted audience.
“There’s just something electric about being at a live event,” said Zhu. “The cheers of a crowd, all the emotions of the players, the victories achieved under extreme pressure – these are all things that you can’t experience from the confines of your living room. When we put the prizes, the hype, the crowd, and the emotions together, we know we’re going to have a great eSports event.”
The organizers are already thinking about the next event. They plan on adding even more games to the roster if all goes according to plan with this inaugural endeavor.