It’s already been 20 years since the original esports national tournament — the World Cyber Games — first took place. Today, we look back at the aspects, players, and statistics that defined WCG through its two decades of history.
Founded in 2000, the WCG has hosted tournaments featuring millions of players competing in esports like Starcraft, FIFA, CS:GO, Warcraft, and 72 other titles. The last edition of the tournament was held in 2020, entirely online with only China and Korea participating, but still managed to reach a record audience for the tournament brand.
During its 20 years’ history, WCG has awarded $5.8M in prize money to competitors all around the world. It has been held in six different countries, including South Korea, the United States, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and most recently China. Competitors from 36 different countries have won a medal at the WCG since its founding. Some of the most successful athletes to compete at WCG include:
- Warcraft lll player Jang “Moon” Jae-Ho with one gold, two silver, and two bronze medals
- FIFA player Daniel “Hero” Schellhase with three gold and two silver medals
- Warcraft lll player Li “sky” Xiaofeng with two gold, two silver, and one bronze medals
The event’s global viewership peaked in 2020, with hundreds of millions of viewers and fans from around the world tuning in to watch last year’s games via 17 different platforms in four different broadcast languages. WCG’s humble beginnings in 2001 — an era that relied on regular broadcasts only and lacked the power of social media and the immense growth of gaming and esports — saw it broadcast to just over 3.8M people. But in 2020, with the addition of mobile games to the roster and exposure through dozens of channels, WCG engaged over 648M people, the organizers estimate. In 2008, the WCG also won the Guinness World Record for most participants in a video game competition with over 1.5 million players.
The infographic below consolidates 20 years of memorable WCG history — from the best players to the biggest events — as it ramps up to the tournament’s next edition.