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Blizzard Blunders, Riot Games Capitalizes

After 10 years of refining League of Legends and turning it into the most successful esport in the world, Riot Games has finally started to show everyone that they intend to conquer more than the MOBA genre. After all, their player base of 100+ million might want to enjoy a card game or a good FPS when they start to get bored of leveling up champions and destroying the enemy team’s base. And what better time to make these announcements than immediately after another big blunder from one of their rivals? The Blizzard Scandal Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably learned by now about the mess that Blizzard’s been involved in these past few weeks. Blitzchung, a Hearthstone grandmaster, decided to show his support for Hong Kong after a tournament and showed up with a gas mask on-air, screaming something along these lines: “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times!” Given Blizzard’s deep ties with China and Tencent, it was only a matter of time until the player received his punishment in a clear and totally unnecessary show of force. “You have done well, Marius. Now I think you should have your reward!” – Baal, “Diablo 2, Lord of Destruction” What Blizzard failed to consider, however, was the community’s reaction to their gesture of squashing a tiny insect with a ballistic missile. And in fact, not just one insect but three of them. Because the casters also got punished severely and were fired after the incident, even though they had nothing to do with the player’s actions. Initially, the poor soul lost all of his earnings from the tournament, was excluded from Hearthstone’s Grandmasters and was banned for a year. But shortly after their ruthless decision, taken most likely just to appease China, someone at Blizzard started to feel pity for Blitzchung. Or maybe it wasn’t pity, just the need to respond in a smarter way to a furious community that felt like Blizzard’s been changing for the worst over the last few years. From their famous “do you guys not have phones?” to ruining the career of two casters and a poor soul that dared to stand up for Hong Kong’s independence, the company has slowly but surely moved over to the dark side.  “It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance!” – Frodo Baggins, “The Lord of the Rings” After some careful tactical considerations, Blizzard finally decided to give Blitzchung his money and reduce the penalty to six months. “Am I not merciful?!” Commodus, “Gladiator” Riot Games’ Announcements And while all this was going on, someone at Riot Games did not want to miss the opportunity and so they rushed to the phone and said: “We need to reveal our plans to conquer all of esports right now! No more delays!” It’s quite obvious and you can tell from the YouTube presentation videos that the whole thing’s been rushed. Nevertheless, Riot did insist on showing a disappointed community of gamers that they’re ready to replace or at least compete with some of the company’s they’ve started to hate, by revealing their hand very early. And what did they reveal? Two upcoming games. Project A You can tell from the name (or should I say its placeholder) that nobody was expecting this early announcement. Project A is practically an upcoming FPS game designed to turn into an esport that will challenge both Valve’s CS:GO as well as Blizzard’s Overwatch. And from what can be seen it’s going to be a mixture of both, borrowing mechanics and ideas but becoming something rather different in the process. It’s still too early to tell but hey, why not try your hand at a new thing if you have a massive player base that’s ready to diversify as well? Normally, you’d think that after 20+ years of Counter-Strike and probably 5+ years (by the time it’s going to be released) of Overwatch, the FPS niche doesn’t have room for another wannabe esport. But apparently, Riot has decided to riot against the established order and declare war on Valve and Blizzard alike. Legends of Runeterra This is the second project that just got announced by Riot Games and it’s a card game like Hearthstone. Not much can be said about this project either, except that it has its own flavor judging by the first video that got released. However, this is another saturated market that’s brimming with titles. So again, one must ask: why make another clone of something that has been around for years? Why not try to bring something new? And the answer is obvious: because the model’s been tested and generates a lot of money. And Riot knows that their player base is loyal enough to switch to their upcoming game if they make it good enough and show their support for it, just like they’ve done with LoL.

Fortnite Is Down, Again!

Millions of people from around the globe are currently experiencing what alcoholics call a moment of clarity. Just kidding. They’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms because Fortnite is down and everyone’s addicted to it. But how long will it last? To put your mind at ease, just remember that this is not the first time it happened. At the end of season seven, earthquakes and a big volcano (inside the game, of course!) announced the end of the season and the imminent start of the next one.  Just a Marketing Move The black hole that people are currently experiencing in the game is likely nothing more than a marketing move. It’s a way for the developers of the game to attract a monstrous amount of attention from the Fortnite community as well as other, totally unrelated sources, for the sake of making their creation even more popular than it already is. Right now, thousands of people, perhaps millions, are staring into the black hole that has swallowed the Fortnite map. And everyone’s wondering “what’s next?”. The answer to that is quite simple: “Season 11”. Celebrities Joining the Craze As soon as the horror show began, gamers and celebrities alike have started to either troll or simply ride the wave of this strange phenomenon that has been carefully engineered to do exactly that. For example, Elon Musk tweeted this ridiculous thing and got 400,000 retweets and over one million likes. Had to been done ur welcome pic.twitter.com/7jT0f9lqIS — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 19, 2018 Others, such as the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, have commented on the issue because, well, there’s a black hole inside the game and that’s his speciality. Having sold a lot of copies of books on topics such as Astronomy and Physics, he had to say something about the situation and let everyone know that this can happen in real life too. And in fact, it does. Did your @fortnitegame suck you & everything else into a black hole? Can’t help you there. But death-by-black-hole is a thing, and there might even be an entire universe on the other side.https://t.co/Toio6gpgdv — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 13, 2019 A Metaphor Perhaps? The black hole at the centre of Fortnite might also be looked at as a metaphor for the millions of hours that people pour into this game. It’s still a mystery why such a recent title has proved to be more successful than others that have required 10 or even 20 years to get to where they are today. And while any game has some utility to it because it trains your mind and creativity just like any other serious discipline, one cannot but ask: why this one?

Mobile Gaming Made over $15 Billion Dollars Last Year

The mobile gaming industry has exploded over the last few years and is no longer a novelty genre for the casual gamer. According to a report by Niko Partners, a market research and consulting firm based in Asia, the mobile gaming industry made 15.3 billion in revenue last year. The mobile esports market already has a larger player base than PC and console gaming combined. The report also stated that mobile gaming will be the primary area of growth in the digital games industry over the next five years, which is huge news as this will allow mobile gamers to join the esports world. A 15.3-billion-dollar sector of the gaming industry will not be overlooked, and bigger games will continue to port and create games specifically for this market. PUBG, Fortnite, and Minecraft have already stepped into this area of gaming, and other games and developers will definitely follow in their footsteps. When bigger games such as Call of Duty eventually make a mobile-specific title, a competitive scene will grow around it and give the best players on this format an opportunity to showcase their skills in tournaments. With the continued growth of the mobile esports market, this will expand the scope of the current high-profile tournaments and allow a rise of a larger number of open tournaments across different titles.   Mobile gaming also has less barriers of entry when compared to PC gaming and console gaming. PC and console gaming can be more expensive than playing on a mobile device, and the average consumer already owns a gaming compatible mobile device. Most mobile games are also free to play, which eliminates the cost of purchasing a full game, which is the norm on consoles and PC. Mobile gaming exclusives such as Clash Royale, Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends are also filling the void of major titles such as League of Legends and Counter Strike who have not made the jump to mobile yet. Major brands and companies have already begun to enter the esports world, and this growth in the mobile sector will allow this trend to continue. The mobile esports industry will also promote more healthy competition between the different formats that already exist between consoles and PC. It will be exciting to see this market continue to grow and expand, and how mainstream brands and consumers embrace the booming mobile market.

Ninja Becomes First Professional Gamer Signed By Adidas

Tyler “Ninja” Belvins is the first professional gamer to be signed by the giant sportswear company Adidas. This is not the first step into esports territory for Adidas as they already sponsor other teams, but it is the first time they have sponsored an individual.  Ninja recently made headlines when Twitch accidentally promoted porn on his old channel when he made the jump to Mixer. He left the popular streaming platform Twitch for its Microsoft backed competitor Mixer, where he has almost accumulated almost 2 million followers. In the past few weeks, Ninja has been seen wearing Adidas clothing to various events, but nothing was made official until he revealed the partnership on his Twitter account. Adidas recently told Endgadget that they committed to “Supporting creators who show dedication to excelling in their field”. It is clear this is only the first step for the powerhouse brand into the esports world. Ninja signed on for a multi-year deal and claims Ninja inspired apparel or content is on the way. On his Mixer stream, he stated: “I can’t say specifically what is in the works with Adidas but use your imagination”. Ninja is one of the biggest names in gaming at the moment, and this partnership with Adidas is one of many recent lucrative deals, but it definitely might be one of the biggest. The king of Fortnite has his own toy line on the way and was recently paid 1 million dollars to stream Apex Legends. He also recently teamed up with Samsung for their #TeamGalaxy campaign and has had a long-running sponsorship with Red Bull. Other Sports Companies Are Jumping On The Esports Hype Train Adidas is not the first clothing company to dive into the esports world. K-Swiss recently put out a limited-edition sneaker for gamers known as the “One-Tap”. Nike has also recently sponsored the professional Counter-Strike team Furia, a Brazilian esports organization. On the other hand, American sports company Champion recently put out an esports clothing line inspired by popular esports organizations. Large brands are starting to see the potential in the billion-dollar industry known as esports, and this will definitely not be the last time a sporting clothes company sponsors gamers and athletes on the digital battlefield. It will be exciting to see how this partnership between one of the biggest brands in the world and one of the most popular streamers in the esports scene plays out over the next few years.

Six Arrested By Australian Police Over CS: GO Match-Fixing

Match-fixing in CS: GO is not a new phenomenon, as the potential of throwing a match for financial gain is always present. In Australia, six individuals were arrested after local authorities received information from a betting agency about suspicious betting activity centered around a CS:GO tournament. The individuals involved arranged the outcome of their own matches during a tournament and placed bets on the outcome of these matches. Once the betting agency noticed the pattern and suspicious behavior of said bets, the authorities were notified. It is estimated that at least five matches were affected by their actions and that over 20 bets were placed by the members involved in the match-fixing. As a result of this information, a combined investigation involving the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and the Organized Crime Intelligence Unit led to the arrest of all parties involved. Six raids were made by the Australian authorities across Australia, which consisted of three in Mill Park and South Morang, two in Mount Elizabeth, and one in Perth. All individuals arrested are between 19 and 22 years old and are facing up to 10 years in prison if fully convicted. The involved parties are facing charges in relation to “engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency or use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.” The six individuals have been released, but the investigation is ongoing. This is Australia’s first police investigation into sports match-fixing, which has already been established as a problem throughout the world. The actions taken by the involved law enforcement agencies show just how serious these crimes are being considered. Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson stated: Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches. It’s important that police and other agencies with law enforcement, gaming and betting industries continue to work together to target any suspicious activity. The sports competitive industry already has an established betting scene that will continue to grow as the sports world continues to expand. Law enforcement agencies around the world will need to adapt to monitor and police these industries to avoid match-fixing or throwing from becoming rampant. This event will most likely not be the last attempt of match-fixing but set a precedent for future investigations to take notes from.

Malta National Team Available To Players For First Time In Five Years

Local Football fans can once again lead their team to victory in the virtual world in the upcoming video game PES2020. The Malta National team has not been available to players for over five years and was last available in FIFA World Cup edition 2014. Thanks to Konami, this lack of inclusion in the virtual realm will finally be addressed. Konami recently announced that it was able to reach an agreement with the UEFA that will allow over 50 national teams to be exclusively recognized in their upcoming game alongside other notable teams such as FC Barcelona, Manchester United, and Celtic FC. The agreement also means PES2020 will be the official game of the UEFA 2020 tournament, which is a huge win over their competitors, FIFA. The UEFA Euro 2020 tournament will also be exclusively featured in PES2020 in a free DLC package that will be added to the game after launch. This is a nice change of pace in the micro transition world of the video games industry today. The game will include new features such as improved dribbling skills, better ball physics, and “new first touch techniques”. This exclusive deal and improved gameplay will definitely cause an intense competition between the two franchises over the next few months. The reign of FIFA might finally be coming to an end, or at the very least will be challenged by its updated and polished competitor. This agreement also expands the real-life tournaments reach into the esports competitive scene as there will be a companion esports tournament which will put the national teams from all over the continent head to head against one another. The first step of the tournament will be an online qualifier in which 16 lucky competitors will make it to the finals that will be held in London, England. This in-person event will take place between the semi-finals and finals of the real-life tournament. The Malta national team will now join other football clubs who have also expanded from the traditional confines of sports into the digital realm. This trend of expansion will no doubt continue as other teams and organizations realize the market and popularity of the Esports world Mark September 10th on your calendars in honor of the release of PES2020 (over two weeks before FIFA will be released) and prepare to lead your favorite local team to victory.

Celtic Football Club Sign Call of Duty Esports Team

Celtic Football Club has announced they will be expanding their presence in the Esports world by signing their own professional Call of Duty team. The new team was one of 32 teams competing in the Call of Duty World League Championship which is currently taking place (as at the time of writing) in Los Angles, California. The Call of Duty Championship will host a total prize of 2,000,000 and will be the last championship of the open ecosystem style. Unfortunately. Celtic FC Esports did not make it out of Group A as they finished the group with a 1-2 record having only won one match against Elevate. The Celtic FC Call of Duty team roster is as follows: Sean "Seany" O'Connor Shea "QwiKeR' Sweeny Ben "Bance" Bance Byron "Nastle" Plumridge Sam "Chain" Dineley The team had already qualified by taking first place in the Amateur Finals in July. Bance has competed in the Call of Duty Championship before and finished second in the 2016 tournament with his previous professional team Splyce. Before being officially signed, the team went by the name "The Bhoys", which is also Celtic's nickname. Being able to play under the Celtic banner for both Seany and QwiKeR this is a dream come true, as they both are lifelong Celtic fans. In fact, QwiKeR was recently in attendance for Celtic FC's victory over St Johnstone. The Call of Duty competitive league will be moving to a city-based franchise format which includes locations such as Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto. This is the perfect time for the team to gain "worldwide exposure" according to Miguel Pacheco who is the leader of the Esports project for Celtic FC. "This will be a great opportunity for Celtic FC Esports to align with a world-class esports event. It will give the team worldwide exposure, before Activision converts the league into a city-based franchised model with slots going for $25m each." Pacheco also said that Celtic FC Esports is interested in the possibility of expanding into other Esport competitions, which is a trend throughout the world. The Esports industry is starting to gain mainstream attention as a result of huge events, such as the Fortnite World Cup which was heavily covered over the last few weeks. Other football Clubs have already begun expanding into Esports, such as FC Barcelona and its Rocket League team, and Fc Shalke 04's League of Legends team. Several other Premier League Clubs also have professional teams competing in the FIFA. Celtic FC will not be the last Football Club to expand into the Esports environment, and the lines between sports and Esports will continue to blur.

Twitch Advertises Porn on Ninja's Old Channel

Tyler "Ninja" Belvins recently announced his transition to streaming full time on Mixer and his departure from Twitch. Ninja is best known for streaming the popular game Fortnite and even hosted the Fortnite World Cup last month. Ninja had amassed over 14 million followers on Twitch and was one of the most-watched streamers on the platform. Gaining a household streaming name like Ninja is huge for the Mixer brand and has already brought in a huge increase in users on the site. Originally known as Beam, the service was created in 2016 and was met with little success which led to the eventual rebranding as Mixer in 2017. Since Ninja has moved to Mixer, the platform has moved up to the 8th most popular app in the entertainment category in the app store, and he has already accumulated over 1 million subscribers on the new platform. The transition to the new platform has not been completely smooth for Ninja, as Twitch has taken controversial steps in response to losing one of their largest streamers. The next chapter,https://t.co/lvn9KBjEYq pic.twitter.com/tljVgyM3bG — Ninja (@Ninja) August 1, 2019 A day after stopping all activity on his Twitch channel, Ninja lost the partner checkmark. The page also started to promote other channels and content on the Twitch platform, and visitors were greeted with a message that stated, "the streamer you are looking for is in another castle." This message and the promoting of other content on Twitch is not normally what happens when someone is offline or no longer using the platform, and Ninja had no say or influence on this decision. In a video response to the situation, Ninja stated: "They don't do this for anyone else who is offline by the way, just me... I have no say in any of this stuff." The biggest issue arose when a porn stream was one of the top channels recommended on this page. Ninjas audience largely consists of underage children, and if they were unaware of Ninja making the switch to mixer, they were exposed to this lewd content. In response, Twitch banned the inappropriate channel, changed the page to how it was before, and publicly apologized. Twitch CEO Emmet Shear tweeted that the platform was "experimenting showing recommended content", which essentially backfired and caused this entire situation. Ninja also publicly apologized for the entire situation, even though he had no direct involvement or responsibility in the matter. Ninja's switch to a new platform will continue to impact the Esports community as a whole and might be the turning point in Twitch's long reign as the streaming king. .twitter-tweet{margin:auto;}

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