I don't know why it took me a full week to post about this. Call it absent-mindedness, poor time-management, alien abduction - in any case, I spent last Sunday in Santa Ana, California at the eSports Arena watching the first ever HEX Invitational, an event that was all the more exciting because of its $100,000 prize pool.
eSports fascinates me because of its live public entertainment aspect, something that makes it entertaining even when you don't play the game. In this case, I had played HEX: Shards of Fate, but not competitively (or even PvP for that matter) so I had some inkling re: what was going on, but not enough to ooh and ah with the audience every time a card was drawn.
Even so, it was a nicely-produced event that once again proved the viability of competitive gaming as a public pasttime, and an American player going by the name of "Koma" was the big winner, taking home $40,000 in the form of a giant novelty check. Even the players who came in last got some money, and everyone got a nifty trophy.
The event was held at the first ever designated North American eSports venue, the eSports Arena, which interestingly enough, was across the street from the Santa Ana branch of The Church of Scientology. Yikes.