As pro gaming becomes more mainstream, game studios and e-Sports organisations are making more concerted efforts to clean up the sport's image. Case in point is the suspension of Patrick 'Aches' Price from four MLG CoD Pro League Matches, as well as the NA 2K Tournament. Aches is part of the renown Evil Geniuses team, and is known for his combative and outspoken personality. Evil Geniuses boasts endorsements and sponsorships from the likes of Razer, BenQ and Monster Energy drinks, among others.
Dota 2's The International has been immensely popular, with more than $10 million worth of crowdfunded prizes up for grabs. It's no surprise, given Dota 2's Steam domination. So it only makes sense that Valve should consider the same treatment for some of its other properties. Obviously, a Counter-Strike international tournament would not go astray.
Dota 2's The International is here. While the finals won't kick-off until Friday, 18th July, the playoffs for the main competition's few remaining places will start in just a few hours. Here's why you should be excited. One: it's the biggest event in e-sports, with a prize pool of over $10 million. Two: this year, Valve are providing multiple ways to watch, with a separate stream dedicated to those unfamiliar with the game.
Images courtesy of the official ESL Twitter account.
'Timing' has been the watchword of this entire tournament. It was a concern this morning, when another late start threatened to force the entire show to run long, with the last quarterfinal match - Na'Vi vs. EG - not starting until 10.30am. It was a concern when the arena's internet connection went down and when Fnatic's voice comms broke for twenty minutes. It was a concern in-game, too, as the strengths and weaknesses of today's greedy, ult-centric metagame came down to who had power at the exact minute when it counted.
Timing problems caused a fair amount of heartache today, but I also got to see a terrific showcase of what the best Dota 2 teams can achieve when they're moving to their own rhythm. In addition, the event itself held together despite the technical problems to deliver one of the best large-scale e-sports experiences that Europe has seen since TI1. Great casting and analysis and a hugely engaged crowd made Frankfurt a great place to spend a weekend - and I'm not just saying that because I've been surviving on beer, sausages and energy drinks since Saturday morning. Well, mostly. The point is: it's gone midnight and I've got games to discuss, so let's get into it. As ever, spoilers below.
Images courtesy of the ESL Twitter account.
What an incredible day for DIGITAL SPORTS. You get used to the idea that these events are always going to get bigger; that the next step up is always going to mean a larger stadium and more impressive production values. But there's something pretty startling about seeing games played at the highest level in an environment like the Commerzbank Arena. It's more than you get from attending other kinds of large gaming convention: it's not just about having something in common with thousands of other people. It's about the catalysing impact of sport, the way a hobby can grow and grow and grow until it becomes a spectacle.
Two teams appear to have been denied US Visas for next month’s Dota 2 International tournament. China-based CIS-Game and Southeast Asian team Arrow Gaming are both facing the possibility that they’ll lose their place in the tournament, which takes place July 18-21 and offers a prize pool of nearly $10 million dollars.
The popularity of eSports has taken off in recent years but even so, the addition of League of Legends to the varsity sports lineup at Robert Morris University Illinois represents a big step toward mainstream legitimacy. The program, the first of its kind, offers qualified gamers scholarships worth up to 50 percent of the school's tuition, room and board.
Riot Games has suspended two Challenger Series players, Alfonso Aguirre "Mithy" Rodriguez and Erlend "Nukeduck" Holm, for repeatedly engaging in "extremely toxic behavior" during games. The League of Legends developer said in its suspension ruling that both players have been punished previously over similar issues but have "shown no improvement" in their conduct.
Last month, Blizzard announced that it will hold the Hearthstone World Championships at this year’s BlizzCon. Players are already vying for positions in order to be one of the 130 players to be included in the Americas Qualifier Tournament, from which they’ll move on to the World Championship. Most of them probably compete for the love of the game (we love it too), and bragging rights, but yesterday Blizzard announced that the winners will also be rewarded handsomely.
People who are dedicated to video games will go to extreme measures to enjoy them. We’ve probably all skipped a day of school or work following the release date of a sequel to our favorite game, or abandoned many social events in favor of marathoning them. But Pro League of Legends Player Hai Lam just took it to a whole new level.
People are playing League of Legends right now. Millions of people. From May 8 to May 11, though, the best players in the world are going to be playing League of Legends in the All-Star 2014 tournament, and millions of people are going to be watching. But how will you watch? Where will you watch? Riot's put together a handy list of who's competing and when. Here's the coolest thing about this year's All-Star Challenge, which precedes the tournament: fans voted on which pro League players get to compete.
Action-oriented sports games and PCs, for some reason, never seem to get along very well. There are a few out there, sure, but the big names just refuse to stray away from the console space. No matter: we are PC gamers, and we'll invent our own sports games. Enter: Supraball, a first-person reimagining of soccer in the Unreal engine.
Sometimes you have to watch the professionals at work to appreciate how brilliant a game is. After watching some of the highlights from this weekend’s 2014 EMS One Katowice Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship, I was reminded how tense and thrilling Counter-Strike can get. Here are some of the best moments from the event in Poland, from some of the best players in the world.
The Natural Selection 2 World Championship tournament played out in Cologne, Germany a couple of weeks ago, and the whole event was broadcast live over Twitch complete with lights, commentators, and prize money. The spectacle will be familiar to anyone who follows eSports, but now developer Unknown Worlds has shared with PC Gamer a detailed breakdown of what that event cost to put on and how that cash was used. It’s a rare look inside the costs of an eSports event.
All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's part two of our five-part series; stay tuned all week for more from the future of PC gaming.
The future of PC gaming is online. So is the present, actually—Twitch livestreams and massive League of Legends tournaments are already integral pieces of the PC gaming community. As the audiences for livestreams and eSports surge over the next few years, our broadband infrastructure's going to be hard-pressed to keep up. Here's our look at what the future holds for online gaming: bigger and better eSports, the culture of livestreaming, and the slow spread of fiber Internet that could hold us back from our gigabit dreams.
Free to Play, the Valve-made film exploring the highly competitive and demanding world of Dota 2 eSports, will appear on Steam March 19 following a premiere event at San Francisco's Castro Theatre. True to its name, Free to Play won't cost anything to stream or download, but a paid Dota 2 item and skin pack will also be available that will donate 25 percent of purchases toward the players featured in the movie.
If you know your eSports, you may have heard of Gfinity, who run tournaments for pro players and amateurs alike. Up until now they've been mainly concerned with Call of Duty, but they've recently announced their roster for 2014, which includes tourneys for DOTA 2, Counter-Strike GO and StarCraft 2 across February and March. There are cash prizes on offer for teams that wish to enter, and you don't have to pay anything for the privilege - but signups do close Monday at 17:00 GMT, so if you're interested in participating you'll need to get a wriggle on. The rest of us will be able to watch the events on their Twitch channel. Details below.
If gaming can sometimes seem like a solitary experience, Spela Modigt // Play Bravely shows what happens when a group of players finds the chemistry and will to take the bad with the good and still succeed. The new documentary follows professional Counter-Strike: GO player Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg and his Fnatic team as it attempts to win the Dreamhack Winter 2013 tournament.
Just because we weren't the biggest fans of Call of Duty: Ghosts doesn't mean it isn't still immensely popular. It has a huge, highly competitive following, big enough to serve as a primary attraction to Major League Gaming's eSports streaming service, MLG.TV. Those players care passionately about details in the game the average player won't even notice, which would explain why Infinity Ward's latest update focuses on eSports and balancing.
Tribes: Ascend was unfortunately llama-dropped by developer Hi-Rez studios earlier this year, but now the community has rallied to build an unofficial software development kit and server hosting solution. As posted in a thread in the Tribes subreddit, this will allow the community to host and support versions of Ascend in place of continuing official support from Hi-Rez. Hi-Rez’s reaction, however, is the big unknown: players using modded software and hosting modded servers could be vulnerable to bans or cease and desist orders from the developer.