At the time of writing, there's eight days, eighteen hours, two minutes and thirty-five seconds until the ESL One Cologne Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament kicks off. In the tournament, happening adjacent to this year's Gamescom, the sixteen best CS:GO teams will fight for a $250,000 prize pot.
As a reader of a PC games website, it's 50/50 about whether you're more interested in this or the sticker-betting Pick'Em Challenge Valve just launched for CSGO in support of the event. More details and a wub-heavy trailer below.
The winners of the tournament will pick up $100,000 for their efforts, while the remaining $150,000 is split proportionally among the other teams. Here's the trailer which, gosh, it's very dramatic isn't it.
Adam and I will be at Gamescom this year, battling crowds of German teenagers in order to steal some insight about new videogames from the hands of frightened developers. That means we might conceivably stumble into the ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO Championship while we're there, become bedazzled by the sights, sounds and smells of competition, and return with tales of underdogs, upsets and the resilience of the human spirit.
What's far more likely is that I'll blow some pocket money on the Pick'Em Challenge. It's a system Valve have developed to help fund the tournament, in which players aim to pick the winning team from different matches throughout the competition. The catch is that you can only pick a team if you own their team sticker, and those stickers are gained by purchasing and trading them from other players or by buying random selections through the in-game sticker capsules.
There are then leaderboards for comparing your successes against friends and various levels of trophies to unlock by earning especially high numbers of points. This is all sounds strange, in the way that all of Valve's shopping-with-trophies systems seem strange, but it also sounds like a nice way to engage in the tournament if you're planning on watching it next week anyway. There's only - at the time of writing this sentence - eight days, seventeen hours, thirty-eight minutes and twenty-eight seconds to go.