US government recognises League of Legends pros as professional athletes

Tom Sykes at

League of Legends has been (somewhat reluctantly) deemed a professional sport by the US government, after a lengthy campaign by Riot and others to get LoL's pro players recognised as professional athletes. This is more than just an empty title, however - pros will now be able to come to the US on working visas, which will make it considerably easier for international players to appear in tournaments. "The United States government recognises League of Legends pro players as professional athletes, and award Visas to essentially work in the United States under that title," Riot eSports manager Nick Allen revealed in an interview with GameSpot. "This is groundbreaking for eSports."

League of Legends and Black Ops 2 pros star in Gfinity London 2013 tournament

PC Gamer at

PlanetSide 2's Battle Island to bring smaller scale skirmishes with an e-sports focus

Phil Savage at

For most multiplayer FPS's a 96-player map would be considered pretty big. For PlanetSide 2 and it's continent wide military manoeuvres, it's a vast reduction. It's one being made with a view to better supporting e-sports - reducing the size of the conflict to something more suited to competitive play. SOE have produced a video showcasing the first planned map, Nexus.

Dota 2 team banned for alleged match fixing

Ben Kim at

eSports network StarLadder TV has dropped the banhammer on Aleksey "Solo" Berezin and four of his teammates on Dota 2 team RoX.KIS. StarLadder TV claims RoX.KIS purposefully fed during a Star Series match to win a $100 bet placed on eSports betting site

StarCraft 2 American and Korean WCS Season 1 finals this weekend

T.J. Hafer at

We're coming up on the biggest weekend for StarCraft II eSports in 2013 so far, with both the Korean and American WCS Season 1 finals concluding the first round of Blizzard's new, worldwide tournament format. The Korean finals between INnoVation and Soulkey will have already started by the time you read this, but you should be able to check out the WCS archives shortly after the broadcast. The American finals, beginning with the Round of 8, will run throughout the weekend.

Starcraft 2's WCS Europe Season 1 league finalists to clash this weekend

Phil Savage at

A potential bank holiday scenario: You're halfway through a long weekend buried face-deep in a monitor, blasting through some games. Then, all of a sudden, your body kicks you out of the digitally enhanced stupor, complaining of aching fingers and a distended bladder. Look, you're getting older. There's no shame in that. Luckily, with the WCS Europe Season One finals, due to take place this weekend, Blizzard can help you extend that gaming marathon through the vicarious thrill of watching professionals at work.

Dota 2 Interactive Compendium gets new stretch goals, including vote on next released hero

Phil Savage at

After the Dota 2 community blasted through the second stretch goal for the International's prize-pot-boosting Interactive Compendium, Valve have gone back to the bonus board to remap their targets. New stretch goals have added to the virtual document, filling in the previously colossal gap between Smeevil's mount at $1.85 mil, and the new Immortal item at $2.6 million.

Dota 2 Compendium completes second stretch goal, International prize pot over $1.9 million

Phil Savage at

Valve's clever Dota 2 Interactive Compendium has found its way onto enough Steam accounts to unlock the second stretch goal for owners of the virtual eSports sticker book. Sales of the item have raised the prize pool for this year's International tour to over $1.9 million, up $300,000 from the original pre-Compendium total. In celebration, International courier Smeevil is getting an upgrade - a selection of mounts to save his poor, wearied feet as he ferries your items across the lanes.

StarCraft 2's most successful European announces retirement

T.J. Hafer at

StarCraft II pro Ilyes "Stephano" Satouri announced on a livestream today that he intends to retire from professional gaming this August, returning to school with his over $200,000 in winnings. The French Zerg player is arguably the most successful non-Korean in the history of the game (indisputably, based on winnings alone). His most recent major victory was at the 2012 Blizzard WCS European finals, since which he has been showing less impressive performance.

Evil Geniuses remove IdrA from their Starcraft 2 roster after the pro-player insulted fans

Phil Savage at

Esports team Evil Geniuses have "released" Starcraft 2 pro Greg "IdrA" Fields from their roster, after he insulted the SC2 community in a forum post earlier in the week. The often contentious Zerg player posted in the Team Liquid forum's "The IdrA Fanclub" thread Wednesday morning, calling fans "a bunch of fucks" after one poster jokingly suggested he was "crying inside" because of "enforced facade."

PC Gamer Shootmania Launch Cup: week four. Watch the livestream from 7pm BST tonight

Tom Senior at

Welcome to the fourth and final week of the PC Gamer Shootmania Launch Cup. Teams have fought many battles and blasted many visored men over the course of the competition, but now it's serious. We're down to the final contestants which means we get to watch the fastest, twitchiest most spectacular players of the tournament face off for glory. The consistently impressive fnatic are facing off with Swiss Bulls for a share of the prize pot, but who will come out on top? Tune into the livestream at 7PM tonight to witness the action first-hand, with VO from commentators, Ziggy “nVc” Orzeszek and David “Zaccubus” Treacy from Team Dignitas.

Learn how to play ShootMania with Team Dignitas

PC Gamer at

If you've been following PCGamer's ShootMania Tournament, you'll already have a good idea of the things you can do in the game. But the real question is: how? Basic map awareness and game strategy is one thing, but getting those trick jumps and speed boosts to zip you from one part of the level to another is quite another.

Help is at hand, however. Pro-player badasses Team Dignitas have agreed to stream their practice sessions live tonight and on Wednesday, from 7pm until 10pm GMT. Ziggy "nVc" Orzeszek, David "Zaccubus" Treacy and Ted "Kowa" Hansson will be showing off their skills and answering questions from Twitch's chat channel. Watch it over at our Twitch channel or check the embed below.

PC Gamer ShootMania Launch Cup: week three. Watch the livestream from 7pm GMT tonight

PC Gamer at

We're now into the third week of the PC Gamer ShootMania Launch Cup and things are getting tense. Last week saw an almighty upset for early favourites Team Dignitas, leaving them one loss away from being disqualified. Meanwhile, Team Infused have surely become one of the strongest contenders following their showing against Lemondogs - making this week's Infused vs fnatic bout one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament. You can watch that match, and a livestream of the other top matches tonight right here from 7pm GMT. It should be a fun old time, as the teams battle to stay in contention for the grand finale next week - not to mention the £800 prize pot.

Be sure to check out the standings, to see how the fixtures have panned out so far, and which matches lie ahead.

As always, we'll have expert commentary courtesy of Ziggy “nVc” Orzeszek and David “Zaccubus” Treacy from Team Dignitas. Hit the jump to see the feed below.

Against All Authority disqualified from League of Legends playoffs for roster shortage

T.J. Hafer at

Riot has announced that French team Against All Authority has been disqualified from this weekend's LCS playoffs for being "unable to field a roster of eligible players." The situation was created when one of the team's starters was pulled away by a family emergency, and none of their valid substitutes were able to step in within the time frame allotted for aAa's semifinal match against SK Gaming.

DreamHack Stockholm is underway: StarCraft 2 eSports live from Sweden

T.J. Hafer at

The first major event of Dreamhack's 2013 season is up and running from Stockholm, Sweden. 96 top StarCraft II players have gathered to compete for $27,000 in prizes and up to 750 WCS points. Two group stages have already concluded, but there are plenty more matches to catch leading up to and including the overall finals on the 27th.

PC Gamer ShootMania Launch Cup match report - week two

PC Gamer at

Tuesday evening saw the second week of the PC Gamer ShootMania Launch Cup. A double elimination tournament fought in the newly released ShootMania Storm's 3v3 Elite mode, nowhere else can you find so much drama and upset entwined with quite this level of balletic wall-jumps and astonishingly pixel-perfect shooting. The tournament is played entirely in Elite mode, which you can read more about here. In short, the first team reach nine points in this attack/defend game mode wins the game, although, as in tennis, a two-point margin is needed to win. Matches are fought on a best of three basis, with losers in the top bracket automatically relegated to the lower bracket. Once there, they may well be able to fight their way back to the grand final, but another loss in the lower bracket will see them kicked out of the tournament. If you didn't watch on Tuesday, you can still do so below - things kick off at the 15 minute mark. Be warned, beneath the video there are spoilers.

Dota 2: The International 3 announced

T.J. Hafer at

Valve has announced the third annual The International tournament, the most prestigious competition in competitive Dota 2. The competition returns to Seattle's Benaroya Hall August 6-11, where the 16 top Dota 2 teams in the world will compete to be named world champions. A prize pool has not yet been formally announced, but considering both previous iterations of The International posted pots in excess of $1 million, we think it's safe to say that it won't be chump change.

Starcraft 2: WCS Europe Season 1 group play kicks off tonight

Phil Savage at

With the qualifiers now finished, the 32 players competing in the first season of the European leg of Starcraft 2's World Championship Series have been announced. The pros have been split into eight groups, with each group battling on a different night over the next three weeks. The first group - featuring SaSe, ForGG, sLivko and Bunny - kick things off tonight, from 6pm CEST/5pm BST.

StarCraft II WCS point system and prize pools detailed

T.J. Hafer at

Last week, we got a look at the format for the 2013 StarCraft II World Championship Series in the North America region. Today, Blizzard released a detailed explanation of the global prize pools and point system for the new face of top-level competition. If you like eSports, looking at large sums of money, and purple-tinted infographics, this might be the most personally relevant thing you read today.

Dota 2 eSports league suspended after players hit by DDoS attacks

Phil Savage at

G-1, the Chinese Dota 2 league, has been suspended by organisers 17173, following a series of DDoS attacks that caused players to disconnect during their games. The attacks began on Sunday, affecting players from Team Dignitas, Evil Geniuses and Kaipi. 17173 say they are working to rectify the issues, and have sought technical advice from Valve.