IEM returns to Sydney in October after three year Covid hiatus

IEM Sydney
(Image credit: Sarah Cooper | IEM)

The final stage of the 2023 Intel Extreme Masters tour, better known as IEM, will hit Sydney this October. The event hasn't come to Australia since 2019—you can blame the pandemic for that—but its return will take place as part of SXSW Sydney 2023. This is the first time the SXSW showcase has graced antipodean shores. 

IEM, which operates under ESL, focuses on Counter-Strike and StarCraft II—the former is the focus of this ESL Pro Tour Masters comp. It'll take place at ICC Sydney on October 16-22, with 16 Counter-Strike teams from around the world competing for a spot in the playoffs and a slice of the $250,000 (~AU$374,000) prize pool. The winning team will also qualify for the 2024 ESL Pro Tour Championship.

Tickets went on sale last week and are available from AU$149, with some higher tiers already sold out (including 'God Mode' tier, which doesn't grant invincibility but instead such luxuries as "lounges instead of chairs"). Anyone with SXSW Platinum or Games badges can attend all IEM proceedings at no further charge.

If not for Covid, IEM was poised to hit Melbourne instead of Sydney in 2020, which would have proven a great indignity to the harbor city. State capital rivalry aside, it's good to have IEM back in 2023. Aussies didn't fare particularly well in the 2018 event in Sydney, but it was a very good time regardless.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.