Iceland Is The Esports Hub You Never Knew Existed




With Iceland ranked the number one country in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum, Icelanders have shown a long track record of shaking things up. Now Iceland is making headlines again with their growing esports scene and ambitious investment plans.


Here are some key points

- Iceland has a strong legacy in video games development as CCP Games headquarters are located there and they have created Iceland's most successful game EVE Online. CCP Games has also started to expand into the esports arena within the last few years and todayís Iceland is home to a small but fast-growing esports scene with multiple organizations and events.


- Iceland already has several successful organizations involved in esports and many more have been founded since 2016 which signals that Iceland is on its way to becoming a major player in the esports industry.


- Iceland has some of the best training facilities in all of Europe and their own dedicated studios and equipment to train players which they have never had before. Furthermore, Iceland's high quality internet is capable of streaming 4K content. Iceland also has an abundance of nature and fun things to do outside, making it a tourist destination on top of being a major esports country.


- Iceland has massive plans for the development of their esports scene in the future as they announced Iceland will become an official member of the World Esports Association (WESA) and Blizzard Entertainment is looking into expanding its operations to Iceland.


- Iceland's prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, recently said Iceland is on its way to becoming a significant player in the esports industry and Iceland will be actively looking into developing this booming sector.


Now that you've been given the information, here's an in-depth explanation of why Iceland has such a booming esports economy.


For starters, Iceland has a strong legacy in video games development as CCP Games (formerly known as CCP hf.) is headquartered there. What that means is they've helped create most of the country's biggest successes like EVE Online which CCP developed and released in 2003 after four years of development.


In fact, many Icelandic people were part of the original development team for EVE Online and some have even gone on to work at other video game companies around the world since then. This proves how hard working and talented Icelanders are when it comes to intensive software programming jobs such as coding and developing new games or apps.


Moreover, Iceland also produced two different MOBA games (a type of competitive PC game) between 2014-2017 entitled Smite and a Skylight Studios MOBA called Heroes & Generals. Both were published by American video game publisher, Activision Blizzard Inc.


All of this proves how talented Icelanders are when it comes to creating games and that they know what they're doing which is why many big gaming organizations choose to hire them for their work on esports or other digital products. This also shows the country has plenty of resources when it comes to creating new digital products such as apps and video games since so much talent lives in Iceland, especially people who have experience working with computers or developing software from scratch.


Another important thing to note about Iceland's legacy in video games is that CCP Games was founded there and has even gained international attention over the last decade due to their spaceship MMO game called EVE Online.


This is important for esports because CCP Games has a long history of putting on live-streamed events which feature players from the international community playing their video games and competing against one another at tournaments. These events are usually watched by thousands of people online and even more in person at local bars or sports arenas.

Global technology company, Samsung Electronics, also outfitted EVE Online with virtual reality (VR) support which allowed players to control the game using VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. This was primarily to showcase the capabilities of their brand new Gear VR headset but it shows how serious CCP Games is when it comes to pushing technological boundaries since they were able to take an old space MMO game and apply all this new technology to it.


This is important for esports because players are constantly seeking new ways to increase the immersion of their games and that's exactly what CCP did with EVE Online when they introduced practical VR support. Furthermore, before CCP Games decided to implement VR into EVE Online, there wasn't much fanfare around virtual reality support in video games yet but now that a major game company like them has added it as an official feature, more developers will follow suit which opens up massive opportunities for those who create content for VR headsets since there's a higher demand by gamers everywhere now.


Furthermore, many people would argue that due to the fact Iceland is so small and isolated compared to other countries where esports thrives, Iceland doesn't have enough money or population to support a healthy esports scene for video games, especially those that are competitive. However, Iceland's gaming developer and publisher history show that's not true because these companies have proven they're just as capable of producing high quality software and content as any other country in the world.


Despite what many people may think about this subject matter, there is indeed an active esports community in Iceland, even if it isn't very large yet. That being said though, Icelandic gamers who play video games professionally usually do so at regional events but don't often travel overseas to compete on the international stage which is why their name recognition among casual gaming fans worldwide isn't very high yet. In fact, most people would be hard-pressed to find even one or two Icelandic players who have competed at a major gaming tournament that had an international level of participants.


One thing that may keep Icelandic gamers from traveling to compete on the international stage is the fact they don't have enough money to financially support such trips or their team, even if it's just one player going for himself. Although many Americans would laugh at this notion, it's actually quite common in countries around the world since esports isn't nearly as lucrative as mainstream sources of entertainment such as movies or music yet so most people can't make long distance travel a priority right now which hurts their chances of being able to gain any name recognition among fans abroad.


The rapid growth of the esports industry in Iceland can largely be attributed to two factors, WOW air and ISPs. WOW air is a domestic airline in Iceland which doesn't charge any extra fees for passengers who want to carry their gaming devices such as laptops or desktop computers onto the plane with them. This allows gamers to travel more often and more cheaply than they would be able to if they had to worry about baggage fees or excess weight charges, especially when it comes to carrying their expensive peripherals like high-end gaming mice or keyboards.


Most of the esports events hosted in Iceland are showcased live on Twitch which means there's an extremely fast internet connection available since that website requires at least 10MB upload speeds per second for live-streamed content and that's what most ISPs in Iceland offer so it makes sense why these two hot topics within the country have grown so much in the relatively short time since they were introduced.


The fact Iceland has three out of five major internet service providers all headquartered on its small island is also a reason why esports are so big in this country. LAN gaming events for games like Rainbow Six and CS:GO are usually hosted by a combination of one or two companies called CCP Games and Origo & Leedrivik Data which give players who own PCs an incentive to purchase high quality hardware from these manufacturers because they want their computers to be able to run the latest titles smoothly even at tournaments where there can be hundreds of people playing at once. PC gamers have proven themselves to be loyal brand advocates when it comes to companies like NVIDIA, ASUS, Gigabyte, Intel, Creative Labs, and Logitech.


The aforementioned LAN tournaments that are hosted in Iceland have also attracted some international attention, including John Harris from Slingshot Esports. He wrote an article on June 5th, 2017 which cited the growth of esports in Iceland as one of the reasons for why he thinks it's a good idea to make esports a medal sport at either the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics or the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.


To conclude, I believe the esports industry in Iceland has a promising future ahead of it and will continue to grow so long as there are companies that offer competitive gamers low-cost travel options to competitions overseas or even large LAN venues for local events where they can gather regularly to play video games with their fellow gamers.

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