It seems Overwatch is caught in an arms race, with each new tournament vying for the claim of the "largest prize so far". ESL has certainly set the bar extremely high with their new announcement of a $100,000 tournament at gamescom in Cologne this year.

With Overwatch only weeks out of release, this title seems destined for great things. The game has received phenomenal levels of interest in every department, pulling in pro players and casting talent from other esports, eclipsing the CS:GO subreddit in terms of users, and consistently maintaining a top-5 spot in terms of Twitch viewership. This prizepool, which some may find premature or exaggerated, is a sign of how much faith companies have in Blizzard and Overwatch, and reflects the enormous fanbase the game has already accrued.

The $100k ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown will take place at gamescom in Cologne, Germany, and will see four European and four North American teams clash on LAN for the gigantic prize purse. These teams will be decided by an extensive online qualifier series which should provide exciting content for the Overwatch community all throughout July.

ESL Overwatch setting the pace Picture credit: ESL Community Cup

The European qualifiers begin on the 27th June and run every Monday and Tuesday afterwards for four weeks. Once 16 teams have been distilled from the qualifier process, they will be thrown back into the fray for a final qualifying tournament (23rd & 24th July) and the four top teams will progress to LAN. The North Americans qualifiers will follow the same process, but on Wednesdays and Thursdays with the final sixteen playing on the 30th and 31st July.

The four weeks of online qualifier games will be played as best-of-threes, with the final qualifier tournaments played as best-of-fives "making sure only the very best teams advance"! The matches will be covered by the ESL Overwatch team of Jason Kaplan, Mitch "Ubershouts" Leslie, and Leigh "Deman" Smith.

The LAN itself will see the 8 best teams from Europe and North America clashing as never before on the 20th and 21st August.

ESL have not announced the exact tournament structure or how the teams will be seeded going into the qualifiers or main event, and note that the full details including signups and dates will be released next week.

With only four final spots available from each region for this LAN, who will make the cut?