Competitive gaming has gotten really, really serious.
Major League Gaming, the largest competitive video game league in the world, flew in 32 of the best Starcraft 2 players from all around the world to its headquarters in New York City.
They duked it out for $26,000 in prizes, along with pool placement and travel to the Winter Championships in Columbus, Ohio later this month, where a $76,000 prize pool will be up for grabs.
It was an exclusive, private event with no live audience, but the matches were streamed online (pay-per-view for $20).
MLG allowed us behind-the-scenes to see all the fun—and work—that goes into a gaming event like this.
The folks at MLG converted the bulk of their office into gaming-mode. This area was for people to hang out, mess around and warm up for games
The other side of the room had all the cameras and the desks where they played all the official matches. That's two of the semi-finalists going at it
The tourney's participants were flown in from around the world. Here are IdrA (middle), who's from the US, and DeMusliM from the UK (right)
Most of the eyes in the room were glued to this giant LCD screen, as Huk and MarineKing duked it out in a semifinal match
Here's the bracket that they used to keep track of all the happenings. It was double elimination, so there was a loser's bracket too
In another room, we ran into a couple guys from fansite Team Liquid interviewing MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni
This is the control room where they handled the stream. Director Ryan Thompson is on the left along with engineer Kieran Phillips
MLG staff members were packed into a few offices. Here are Camber Weiss, Patrick O'Neill, Chris Puckett, David Cooper and Kyle Magee
There were a bunch of photos of pro gamers on the wall. They'll all be at the next big event in Columbus
Then, we headed over to the BarCraft event—it's where a ton of people get together at a bar to watch the big Starcraft 2 matches
It was dark by the time we got back to the HQ, and the final match was about to start. MLG commissioner and VP of league operations John Nelson (left) and translator Sung Whan Kim (right) looked on with one of the referees
The finals! DongRaeGu (left) faced off against MarineKing (right), and the set looked absolutely gorgeous at night
MarineKing (left) came out the victor. He went home with a cool $10,000—not a bad haul for the 18-year-old South Korean
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