German esports – a true European hub

Around the World: Esports in Germany

Esports in Germany - ESL Tournament

Esports in Germany – ESL Tournament (Image credit: ESL)

It’s no secret that North America and South-East Asia are THE places to be if you are an esports fan – but German esports are nothing to scoff at either. In fact, esports in Germany are growing consistently – even supported by the German government.

The center of European esports

While many European countries’ esports scenes are mostly still in a fledgling state, German esports is a fair bit ahead. The biggest name to mention when talking about esports in Germany is, of course: ESL One. The huge esports tournament traditionally takes place in Cologne and draws a huge international audience every year. Focused on CS:GO, the ESL-run tournament regularly features players from all over the globe.

Naturally, ESL One is hardly the only event to happen there – German esports is much bigger than that. Proof of that is the consideration the government paid to esports in Germany in 2020. Early in the year, a specialized esports visa was introduced that allows professional esports athletes from outside of the EU easier entry for tournaments and competitions.

Previously, that was (and still is, in other countries) a considerable barrier for esports pros – the fact that Germany made it easier really puts Germany on the map for German esports events featuring non-EU players.

German esports - cosplay at ESL Cologne

German esports - cosplay at ESL Cologne

German talent

Although esports in Germany have a growing presence, there are only a few professional esports players that have made it big – chief among them is definitely KuroKy, a German-Iranian Dota 2 player that’s among the top players in the world.

Of course, there are a few other German esports personalities – League of Legends player Amazing, the Reichert brothers that founded the SK Gaming e-sports clan and are active with the FC Schalke 04 esports division and a few more. There are also a few internationally renowned esports organizations that are based in Germany – Team ROCCAT, and the aforementioned SK Gaming, for example.

While they are certainly admirable, there is definitely still a lot of untapped potential in Germany, as far as its esports players go. Since there is still some cultural bias against it, especially from parents that want to steer their kids towards what they perceive to be "better" hobbies or careers.

As other countries have modeled, however, it’s a question of when rather than if German esports will find wider acceptance and more young people will actively pursue them as a career. Compared to countries like China or India, there is still relatively little recognition of esports as a career path.

The future of German esports

Already, Germany has managed to present itself as an attractive location for events to take place, though its own esports talent hasn’t been taken advantage of yet – if German esports follow the trend of other countries, soon grassroots organizations will form and really put the country on the International esports map, so to speak.

Until then, players like KuroKy have to lead by example – while fans continue supporting their favorite franchises and organization.

If you're wondering how esports is viewed and developed around the world, check out our other pieces in our Around the World series:


For more esports, gaming news and fun videos, keep it here, with EarlyGame!

Melanie Hawthorne

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