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Technical Issues in Day 2 of the PGL Krakow Major

As mentioned in a prior article, there had been much controversy regarding the hardware to be used for the PGL Major Krakow which has been underway for a few days now. Unfortunately, day two was struck with such a nuisance and a group stage match had to be completed off-stream. This obviously upset fans and players. The effected game was an encounter between BIG and Cloud9, an important group stage game which many were excited for. By half time, the stream was still online and BIG lead as Counter-Terrorists by 8 rounds; a scoreline of 12 to 4. Suddenly, the match was paused. Casters, fans and competitors were lost in confusion which quickly turned into outrage. Soon after, on Twitter, PGL announced that they were “working on fixing the issues before the start of the next match.”  An in-game observer, “sapphire”, managed to live-stream the rest of the game casted by James Bardolph who sat behind the C9 players. It was an underwhelming attempt to continue showing content.  This is definitely a rarity for a Valve Major. Funnily enough, “Stewie2k” from C9 was sending out tweets while the off-stream match was taking place. Without his phone, he used the in-game computer in the technical break. It was revealed that two players from the match were somehow disconnected from Steam.  The tweeting player was respectably unhappy and felt rather cheated. Below is a sharp statement taken from one of his posts: “There’s no way this is a Major. I don’t believe it,” Apart from this upset, the tournament has compensated and will further do so with epic competition and tight match-ups. However, another technical error could destroy PGL’s reputation; especially if it affects a semi-final or even the grand finale. That would be a nightmare for all.

Gamers.com.mt 5th Anniversary

Today, 18th July, marks a special day for Gamers.com.mt as we commemorate a proud timestamp of five years. We have accomplished so much together as a community, so much to be grateful for; with an even bright future ahead. Gamers.com.mt is a statement of passion and dedication, uniting the population of Malta with one love, one devotion; competitive gaming. Yet, we will confess that things haven’t always been as bright as they have. At conception, when it was simply a school software project, it was a rather passive platform for local gaming community websites. There was some mere success; but all was far from satisfactory. There was limited interaction, socialisation and integration; but that was when everything changed, for the better. Such an action was perfectly timed, to intercept the failing local gaming community. GamersLAN (2012) Suddenly, a surprisingly explosive amount of enthusiasm roared as Gamers.com.mt boldly went on to host its first eSports event. Surpassing low expectations, the community sparked with excitement and joined to compete in Call of Duty, FIFA or League of Legends. Back then, a local LAN event was unheard of; and it was the largest prize pot ever on the island. Thanks to the immense support, this was only the beginning of a wonderful journey punctuated with rippling decisions. To help fixate and motivate all the upcoming decisions, the company decided to state a few aims which after five years remain followed. Firstly, high quality eSports events in all aspects were essential and needed to be regular. Secondly, local talent was prioritised and nurtured so that they may exact their potential. Finally, the company needed to look at everything from an international lens, utilising available sponsors and organisations. Gamers.com.mt will always remain loyal to these aims to increase the sustainability of Maltese esports. The KONNEKT Malta eSports Festival (2013) Over the years, attendance grew considerably and events over online and offline connections captivated local competition. The community has shown a heavy appreciation; for Gamers.com.mt the feeling is mutual. With this increased interest came a greater work load, but the team has managed to carry this responsibility as a group and always prevail. To date, the company has organised 13 events and many are to follow. Until now, at least €26,000 of cash and €24,000 of hardware have been given out at events to deserving teams. That’s enough about the past; let’s discuss the future of Gamers.com.mt. The GO Malta eSports Festival (2016) This year, apart from the Malta Cyber Series #3, the company will be organizing the fifth edition of the Malta eSports Festival which looks to be the largest event ever. Gamers.com.mt will look to increase sponsorships, working with both local and international companies such as GO, ICE Malta, Malta Tourism Authority, The Point, RedBull, AOC and so many more who believe in the future of esports. The Malta Robotics Olympiad Overwatch: Open (2017) Gamers.com.mt would like to make it very clear that without the community’s support, we would never be in the situation which we are currently in. Thus, we feel it right to give something back. In the very near future, a massive giveaway is coming your way as a form of gratitude; be sure to remain in tune for all the details. Thank you all for everything, The Gamers.com.mt team

The Record Breaking Numbers from ESL ONE Cologne 2017

Roughly a week ago, this year’s ESL One Cologne came to a halt with SK Gaming crowned champions; counting towards the Intel Grand Slam. The LANXESS arena flexed its muscles and hosted a fantastic competition all-round. After the dust settled, some astounding numbers were recorded and have now been revealed to the public. Starting from physical attendance; every day of Counter Strike: Global Offensive action welcomed over 15,000 fans warming the seats and making an absolute ruckus. This has been the highest ever for ESL One Cologne since 2014. However, such numbers appear negligible compared to the digital attention; we are living in a modern age after all. Over 30 million different socal media platforms made at least 209 million impressions. Viewership climbed to a whopping 62 million session and watchers absorbed approximately 13 million hours of content. Amazingly enough, the event was streamed in Virtual Reality and grabbed the attention of another 180,000 viewers. Ulrich Schulze; VP at ESL was overwhelmed by the numbers as seen in the following statement: “Our fans have named LANXESS arena and ESL One Cologne the ‘Cathedral of Counter-Strike’ and we couldn’t be prouder. It’s been incredibly rewarding and humbling at the same time to see how much this event has grown and improved over the years. We will continue building its legacy for years to come, and are looking forward to making it even better next year.” It certainly was a great event, with much more to do than simply watch. Physical attendance had the chance to meet pro players, get everything signed and participate in grand giveaways hosted by sponsors. There was even a DJ, perhaps you’ve heard the name TheFatRat, who really escalated the epic atmosphere before the Grand Finals. ESL One Cologne is an event to remember for all who were watching; either virtually or physically. Right now, the PGL Krakow Major has everyone’s attention and we’ll be sure to cover all the highlights here at Gamers.com.mt.

Ttesports Challenger Gaming Keyboard Review

Serious gaming will often lead to high pressure moments in which sweating may occur. Those with especially sweaty hands know all too much about this dilemma, how may one game when the WASD keys are drowned in a sea of sweat? Ttesports, partnered with Thermaltake, has recognised such a problem and thus, created the Challenger Gaming Keyboard. Its defining feature is the fan, perhaps tied with its attractive price. Yet, it’s natural to question - What else does this keyboard have to offer? A review should surely fill in the blanks. A bold statement of ‘dominate like no others’ decorates the front of the package, building certain expectations. The keyboard is tucked away in the firm box, together with some other contents. These include a key remover, dummy keys, extra rubber caps, manual, driver cd, warranty policy and the fan. Being rather lightweight, the keyboard is quickly chucked onto any setup. The lack of weight is brought about by the plastic construction and thin form. Moving on to the face, keys have a typical layout and a neutral font. Top row function keys are invaded by multimedia buttons, a Windows disable button and a profile toggles. Accessing the mentioned requires pressing the blue function key which replaces the left Windows key. The blue colour is rather a surprise, combined with red strips to the side.  Taking a central position in the plastic wrist rest, which provides sufficient support, is the ‘Tt’ logo which lights up in a breathing motion using the red plastic to create a red light. To the top right, above the number pad, are the outlines of the lock keys which exercise a saturated red highlight when lock keys are activated. A row of dots populates the furthest point up the keyboard with rubber pieces at the ends. Removing them reveals the two positions in which the fan may be installed. Speaking about the fan, a storage compartment for it can be found on the cable side, for when it isn’t required. The cable is a considerate 2m of braided goodness finishing with a gold-plated USB 2.0. A strong connection allows for a USB pass through to the right of the cable.  Flipping over the hardware allows viewing of the four rubber feet, retractable legs, product details and a sparse routing system which allows the cable to exit a little bit to the right. Everything is packed into a keyboard measuring 480x 205.5x 25 mm in dimensions. The experience was certainly unique with the fan, but there are other points to mention about this product. As expected for this price and weight, membrane keys are utilised, reducing tactility along with noise levels. For such a keyboard, keys feel great using a bit more actuation force than expected and a 10 million keystroke lifespan.  Typing and gaming should be met with a fair amount of accuracy from a 500Hz polling rate. However, there are no backlighting options to view keys at night – the logo illumination is much too weak and not placed well for the task.  Also note, that anti-ghosting is only introduced when holding the spacebar, which is not an option for most games. The slim and brushed plastic build makes this keyboard more portable, but extremely vulnerable to flex under pressure.  Retracting any legs will induce an uglier flex effect, but isn’t needed anyway with such a thin aesthetic. Though, flex can still be felt when placed flat.  Build quality is a weak point for this peripheral. Ticking some more positive points, is the accessibility of the Challenger Keyboard. A full set of multimedia keys are usable with the function key long with a windows key disable toggle. This toggle is a bit controversial, since the product comes with a key remover and dummy keys to remove the Windows key for gaming and is boasted about on the design of the box – unnecessarily hassling when one can simply use the quick function.   Apart from that, 6 macro keys are programmable anywhere on the keyboard using the software. Installed from the given disk on Windows 10 (even though on product details it only mentioned windows xp, vista and 7), 3 profiles can be made with different macros. Lighting can be toggled and memory imported onto the 32kb of internal storage. Immediate interchanging of profiles thorugh function keys makes 18 macros only two button presses away. The software is simple and one will only use it for macro programming, which is not complicated, and not the gimmicky feature of a timer.  It is worthy to note, that utilising function key combination to adjust media or switch between profiles will stain the display with a rather tasteless thick green font. Colour scheme is rather confused on this peripheral; green, blue and red all find a place. Enough beating around the bush; let’s talk about the fan. As mentioned before, two holes represent the possible locations for the fan to be placed. The position above the number pad is going to be the less popular side, for those who use the number pad and arrow keys. Although there is ventilation over number keys, this keyboard is an obvious nope for use at a workplace. Spinning at 6,000 rpm, it produces airflow of 2.7 CFm for a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. For those who fail to understand the units, the little fan produces a subtle airflow. Noise levels peak at around 21.7dB; personally, since my computer isn’t the quietest system, the fan noise was barely noticed. Those whose ambient noise is lower than around 20 dB will hear easily, but we game with headsets for the most part anyway. So, does the fan affect gaming? Yes, it does. The gentle coursing of air dries fingertips to ensure the best grip possible over brushed plastic. Long gaming sessions have seen the keycaps stay dry and precision remain constant. The concept is implemented very well by Thermaltake and gives this keyboard a singular identity among others With summer crawling into the year, heat is something to watch out for. Gamers will still feel the radiation, although most gaming occurs indoors. Keeping fingertips cool and prices down, is the TTesports Challenger Gaming Keyboard for €50. You’re not just buying it for the fan, but the accessibility of multimedia keys, macros, USB pass through and portability. Who it’s for; Budget gamers who need macros and USB I/0 Budget gamers who don’t care for lighting effects Gamers with well-lit areas for night time gaming to view keyboard Those looking for a solution to sweaty fingers Those ready to try out a fanned gaming experience Those who don’t mind membrane keyboard gaming and lower build quality Portable gamers Who it’s not for; Budget-less gamers who need mechanical switches Those who need a sturdy build quality Employees at work place Gamers in well-ventilated setups or who don’t’ struggle much with sweating Those scared to try out something unique Gamers selective about colour scheme in setup Get yours now from The Gamers Lounge; http://shop.gamers.com.mt/product/86/ttesports-challenger

Sports Direct Takes a Slice of GAME

Just in, Sports Direct has managed to swallow a quarter of GAME. The owner of the sport chain, Mike Ashley, snatched $44 million worth of GAME shares, approximately 26 per cent of the whole company. GAME is a British gaming peripheral retail store which feeds gamers needs acreoss the globe. It’s evident that the company has fallen under rough times as of late due to a dangerous revision of its financial expectations after a disappointing beginning to 2017. This definitely wounded the organisation. Funnily enough, GAME blames the problem on the low stock of Nintendo Switch units. Not a very impressive excuse. Sports Direct is also not exactly thriving; with a shade of controversy thrown onto it after many judiciary procedures. A recent lawsuit regarding a business deal worth £14 million haunted them this year, preceeded by an exposing investigation into working conditions and wage for the chain. Mike Ashley had his hands tied and paid for the exploitation. The chain also has affiliations and stakes with other retailers, including Debenhams and French Connection. Below are a few words from a GAME representative: "GAME is aware that Sports Direct has taken significant strategic equity stakes in a number of retail and brand businesses across both the UK and USA, and is a leading retailer which partners with major global brands and suppliers. "GAME is pleased that the strategic value of the group has been recognised by Sports Direct through this acquisition of a 25.75 per cent stake. The Group looks forward to working collaboratively with Sports Direct to explore the clear opportunities that a constructive partnership and collaboration can deliver for all stakeholders in the gaming, live events and rapidly growing esports markets in which it operates." Sports Direct is popular for its wicked prices and discounts on everything sports. However, with this growing control over GAME, perhaps gaming equipment could be victim to such deals for the benefit of us all.

Controversy Regarding PCs at Krakow Major

According to some of the professional players who are to compete at the Krakow Major, the PCs provided by PGL are apparently insufficient for proper gameplay. This concern grew from internal arguments between players on the social media platform; Twitter. An angered “NiKo” from the side of Faze Clan is an example of those who remain complacent with the tournament literally hours away. He states that; “PC’s are so shit here, step up.” Taking a more specific approach, SK Gaming’s “coldzera” suggests that swapping out the old Intel i5 processors could do the trick and resolve this situation. Other players such as “shroud” of Cloud9 are indifferent and don’t believe it should effect an individual’s performance as long as he adapts; “I’ll make it work". In the hope of completing a change quickly, Denis Kostin of Na’Vi has rightfully thought of creating a players union that could work hard to ensure that professional Counter Strike gamers can help themselves. Such a concept would definitely grant the players much more control and it’s expected that it will be studied further after the event. Yet, as of right now, it’s too late to upgrade PCs for the Krakow Major. One small update has truly caused quite the ruckus. The update in question also brought in a hit to framerate, which is slightly more worrisome. A tournament will still proceed, hopefully lacking technical issues; but one can expect to hear a few players go out of the tournament on the excuse of computer performance.

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