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Red Bull M.E.O. by ESL – World Finals will take place in Germany

Following their motto “Open to All! Won by One” Red Bull and ESL will bring one of the world’s largest mobile esports tournaments to Germany. The World Finals of the global tournament series Red Bull M.E.O by ESL (Mobile Esports Open) will take place from 1-3 February 2019 in the Warsteiner Music Hall in Dortmund. The German offline finals of Red Bull M.E.O. will take place on 1st of February. The winners will directly qualify for the World Finals, taking place on 2nd-3rd February, where they will face the best mobile gamers from 36 nations. Apart from Germany, mobile gamers from France, Japan, USA, Brazil, South Africa and many more will meet on stage. In Germany, they will fight for top positions in the mobile hits Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, as well as the brand-new arena shooter Brawl Stars. However, Red Bull M.E.O. by ESL is not an ordinary tournament: it’s open to all ambitious mobile gamers! Matches in the strategy game Clash Royale will be fought between individual players, while the MOBA hit Arena of Valor will set teams of five against each other. Worldwide qualifiers for both titles began in September and ran throughout December. German gamers will also get their chance at a place in the finals: by taking part in online preliminaries, they can qualify for the German Offline Final on 1st of February. Three more qualifiers will take place on the official ESL tournament page with the last one to be held on the 25th of January. Meanwhile, a total of 22 international Brawl Stars teams of influencers and gamers battled it out on the 6th of January to qualify for the World Finals in Germany. Eight teams fought their way through the different game modes and earned a spot for the World Finals with American influencer ‘Ash’ winning the qualifier competition. Tickets for the event are free and limited so make sure to get a seat as soon as possible. As well as two days of pure mobile gaming, there will be many more activities in the arena to make your weekend a true success — including a Brawl Stars free-to-play area and some activities at the Media Markt and Vodafone booths. In addition to that there will be an aftershow party for all visitors on Saturday directly after the live show. Up to 1,000 live visitors are expected for the World Finals of Red Bull M.E.O. in Dortmund. Additionally, the tournament will be broadcast live in English and other languages via livestream. More information on Red Bull M.E.O. by ESL is available on the official homepage.

Hex Media Studio Unveiled - A Local Professional Studio

Anyone who's been keeping up with our social media is probably aware of a new professional content studio on the island; that of Hex Media, a new venture betweeen the Maltese 3D Printing Company, Invent3D and GMR Entertainment. Located within the heart of Zabbar, the studio, prior to even officially opening, has already landed the sponsorship of AOC Gaming, providing some excellent panels, GT Omega Racing, offering some top-notch seating and Trust Gaming granted the centre the peripherals it needs. Not to forget, Red Bull is also on tap for the expanding team behind the project. Speaking of which, the team, hosted a live stream through one of the team member's Twitch channels in NGEN15 and William Cachia (co-host of Game Defined) late on the 11th January, which we shared on social media. The stream consisted of continuous PC building with the team breaking down their future prospects for the project, explaining what it will have to offer once it's officially open. With so much to reveal and PCs to build, it's no wonder that the stream was animated for over 3 hours.  The Hex Media studio looks to be a stand-out centre in Malta, a studio to both entertain and involve the Maltese community in general - not just gamers, but also aspiring content creators such as streamers, podcasters, casters and editors or tournament organizers like ourselves. This is due to the ability to train potential talent in the various area of casting, video editing and production together with online streaming media for both amateurs and also students, especially those who cannot afford their own resources or software, as apart from the software, the studio is decked out with top-of-the-line equipment for audio and visuals. With that being said, consumers may also rent hardware of this type should they choose to do so. Other services include product photography, graphic design, catering for esport team merchandise and media through flexible packages, rendering services and various forms of consultation in tournament casting, production and support in general. Consultation varies from serious business inquiries to something as simple as helping with personalised PC construction, similar, in this way, to the Gamers Lounge. Overall, flexibility and accessibility is something that Hex Media is clearly embracing, thanks to a varied spectrum of talent across a dedicated and friendly team. GMR Entertainment looks forward to using the high-quality services to generate video content for you all to enjoy, host international event casting and possibly video hardware reviews. With the final pieces being put together, 2019's looking great for Hex Media as they prepare to open their doors. Although the venture is between us two, the studio is open to everyone to use its service. They've also hinted at a possible open day once the floodgates of business are opened, allowing everyone and anyone to come to take a look; perhaps even stretching those PCs with some proper gaming. Keep up to date with their progress through their Facebook page here.

Top 5 Viewed Articles of 2018

To conclude 2018 and introduce 2019, we thought we'd look back through the thousands of views that the News department received, pinpointing our top 5 most-viewed articles of the year. I'll be organizing them into a list, providing comments regarding the process of writing and the thoughts heading into each piece of content.  Number 5 - Interview with the Maltese FIFA Star - Kurt "kurt0411" Fenech Released on the 10th of August, I had high hopes after finally securing an interview with the local international FIFA professional in Kurt kurt0411 Fenech. In order to do so, my superiors at contacted him directly. Now I had my chance to interview a FIFA player for the first time, with a few questions of my own.  The main aim of the interview was to act as a follow-up to his performance at the FIFA eWorld Cup, where he placed a phenomenal 4th out of the entire professional FIFA scene, to his own disappointment, as his own personal goals aimed higher. With this achievement, came a certified amount of pride - leading to one of the reasons why the interview gained so many views.  Kurt's comment in describing himself as the 'best chance of winning something truly special in representation of our country for esports' which is both acceptable and deniable as a statement turned many heads on the FaceBook post - 88 replies. Across these threads, outraged Maltese argued otherwise, while a few cavemen denied the validity of the esports industry.  Overall, the interview was a joy to conduct, as Kurt was helpful and full of great answers, even after other news sources such as TimesOfMalta had spoken with him. Then again, we offer sympathy that no other local news source does. Apart from that, it was a head-turner on social media. We'd like to thank Kurt for the interview, which you may read here:

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: PUBG

Last year's iteration of The GO Malta Esports Festival was the very first inclusion of competitive PUBG on the island, exposing and slowly building up the local scene for the relatively new battle-royale. Since then, the title has progressed and so have we. The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 hosted another PUBG tournament across the eventful weekend; involving €1,700 cash prizes up for grabs between 12 teams, all of which were local Maltese teams, more than last year.  In order to determine a champion, the usual 'Bracket' format isn't followed due to the nature of all the teams competing simultaneously. A total of 17 matches were played across the three days, with all 48 players involved simultaneously. Note that the PUBG tournament only involved Quads, teams of 4. Points were given out according to placement and then adding 10 points for each kill. The number of points given for each placing remained constant across every single game; 400 for first, 300 for second, 240 for third and so on. To calculate the final scores, scores were added at the end of the weekend; the following standings were achieved.  No time 4 losers - 4550 points Paradigm6 White - 4086 points Salty Seamen - 4084 points  While NT4L conquered with a decisive 500 point lead, second and third were placed painfully close to one another, with only 2 points separating them. This tiny gap meant that it all came down to the final game, Game 17. Here, Paradigm6 White managed to best Salty Seamen by 125 points due to a total of 10 kills from Paradigm6 while SS only offered one kill and a lower placing. Due to placing 5th, while Paradigm6 finished 4th, this 2 point difference was made apparent. This is a difference of only two kills! Still, NT4L, together with their 108 kills, have cemented themselves as the top quad team in the local scene. The following are their rosters:  No time 4 losers FunkeYYYY  Vault4  nt4L_Pucink  Shocker Paradigm6 White  Got1ke  very najZ  vortex  repper55 Salty Seamen  MeloMit  Dizzy  Bahri  Coolinizer  The team placing 4th finished 200 points underneath, while the rest of the teams followed suit with such intervals. To view all the placings, we recommend you check out the placings through the event page: Overall, the tournament was a great success and a huge step forward for the local PUBG scene. We'd like to thank everyone who participated and made it all possible, as with every team we increased the prize pool. Also, we were delighted with the fact that no early glitches disturbed the competition like they did last year. 

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: FIFA 19

While for Black Ops 4 we partnered with EEG, for FIFA we decided to coordinate the tournament with Qlash, an Italian esports organisation that has just opened a branch on the island. Together with them, a massive tournament was successfully organized, consisting of 64 participants spread across two tournaments, talent split into Gold and Silver tiers for Maltese and international players. All of which were competing for the €2,000 cash prizes made available.  Before discussing the action, I'll first acknowledge the exceptional staffing of the FIFA tournament in general, especially regarding guests. Amongst the professionals from across the world, there was the friendly Bulgarian WickyBG, a very familiar name to the FIFA scene. Let's get this done in one sentence; FIFA 10 European Champion, FIFA 11 Bulgarian Champion and Top 6 International, FIFA 13 FIWC Grand Finalist and Top 9, FIFA 15 FIWC Grand Finalist and Top 9 and FIFA 16 Bulgarian Champion. Overall, an honour to have him visiting and even playing a few matches, being such a respected character in the international FIFA scene. Together with him, came our own local star in Kurt Fenech, making a guest appearance and happily spoke to the fans. These guest appearances added tremendously to the environment, and we'd like to thank both of them for attending the event.  Of course, they weren't the focus of the event; the competition always is. Unlike other tournament recaps, I'll simply have to brush over the Group Stage, as accounting for 16 groups would be quite the headache for myself and anyone reading. Thanks to Qlash, the event was truly massive and this carried on to the bracket of both tournaments.  In the Gold Tournament, bracket play kicked off with 48 teams, with a balance of Maltese and European talent; with 29 Maltese and 19 Europeans; a fantastic demographic as it gave our local players to try their luck against the rest of the continent - and they happily did. Overall, the top 4 consisted of two Maltese and two international players. Sampi.WickyBG placing second and Dankha finishing third while from Malta, Txrbulance1 claimed fourth while brandsha managed to place first, taking home a total of €1,000. An incredible performance overall from the local talent, placing us at the same level to the rest of Europe.  In the Silver Tournament, with a similar mix of participants, those placing lower in the Group Stage, the Maltese once again came to play. The top 4 of the Silver are as follows, from fourth to first; ramonramzi_, eliesabb, karl_kurun and then ninutamalta placing first. Although this was a lesser Tournament in terms of skill, credit is still due where it is due. Overall, the FIFA 19 Open, supported by Qlash, was a phenomenal set of tournaments and a superb opportunity for the evolution of the local FIFA scene. We'd like to thank Qlash one last time, for the event and also for hosting a great stand.  

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: Black Ops 4

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has solidified itself as the instalment of Call of Duty where the series has come back as a fan favourite title. Ignoring the minor complaints of removing the traditional Campaign for BlackOut, it's been a great success on the public and professional front. Therefore, we decided to partner up with EEG in order to organize a top-notch competition, including €5,000 cash prizes and 16 international teams from over 6 countries, one of them being Malta. The following is the recap of the tournament.  Group Play The 16 teams were mixed into 4 groups of 4 teams each, with the Winners and Losers Bracket acting as prospective destinations. A larger tournament overall, compared to the CS:GO competition, so we'll try to cover everything without entering into too much narration. In each situation, only the top teams progressed to Winners while the other two fell to the Losers Bracket.  Making up Group A; Iconic Gaming, Future Gaming, spenzA and SIN Gaming would create quite a tense environment, as a tie would lead to score difference at the bottom. Iconic Gaming happily maximized their wins, all 3, while the other three settled on a single victory each, all of them having 3 points. Down to differences, Future Gaming, spenzA and SIN Gaming were arranged in that specific order. No Maltese team would make it out of this group.  That narrative hits a speed bump with Group B, as Project Eversio managed to steer themselves to a second place finish, wrestling out 6 points from 2 victories. They placed below the leaders of AfterShock, who would journey very far in the competition, and above the other teams of Recognised Talent and Born to Play. Within this group, the pattern of 9-6-3-0 was observed. Project Eversio would face stronger competition further down the line.  Moving on to Group C, a similar pattern was created by EFFICIENCY Team, Supra, Atlas eSports and We are Spaniards. EFF wouldn't drop a single map, displaying one of the most dominant Group Play performances, with a team like Spaniards struggling to grab a single map. In the middle of the map, Supra bested Atlas in the final series of the group to ensure they progress upwards, while Atlas would have to pick up the pieces in the Losers Bracket.  Now it's time for my personal favourite and the final Group; Group D. Consisting of Sea Chickens, Cosmic Energy, Black Claw and LEGIO IXI, it would all come down the final three series of the group. Keeping this in mind, the resulting tie between three of the teams except for LEGIO IXI, each sitting at 6 points, would lead to Sea Chickens and Black Claw finishing top 2, while Cosmic Energy would finish 3rd.  Already being Saturday by the time all Groups were concluded, it would be quite an eventful Sunday for everyone involved. 

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: CS:GO

A total of nine tournaments were held at The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018, embracing 9 of the top esports across the globe. One of which was our tournament designated for CounterStrike: Global Offensive, the most popular first-person-shooter in the world. With $15,000 worth of prize pool on the line and some of the most prominent upcoming names in the international scene, we had high hopes for this specific tournament which were satisfied doubtlessly.  There was one slight hiccup with the tournament, however. Due to the gravity of the tournament, inviting 8 of the top teams in the world to fly in and compete on Maltese soil; the event, unfortunately, collided with ESL qualifications for another event. Nonetheless, the tournament was carried out, but the final stages were completed online as certain teams were forced to cancel their trips for the mentioned reason, which is completely understandable. I'll reinforce once more that this did not at all affect the intensity and ferocity of the overall level of competition.  Group Stages The eight international teams were split into two groups of four teams each. Group A housed Epsilon, AGO, Red Reserve and LeftOut in what would prove to be a tight squeeze while Group B would offer Team Vitality, Valiance, x6tence Galaxy and Team Spirit to battle it out. These group stages would be carried out online prior to the event.  Starting with Group A; every single round mattered here. With certain matches going up to 16-13 roughly three times, these scorelines added up as the dust settled. Epsilon, AGO and Red Reserve all managed to steal 2 victories, trading with each other while each of them defeated LeftOut, who were truly left out, having no victories to boast about. With 2 victories and 1 loss each, we crossed our fingers for a three-way-tie, because we can't help but love competition. However, it seemed that while Epsilon and AGO tied at 30 RF (rounds for), Red Reserve only amounted to 22, meaning that they would not make it into the Playoffs, instead, packing their bags. Epsilon and AGO would head to this bracket, though AGO would unfortunately not manage to make it, being replaced by 3rd place from Group B following careful evaluation of the situation and availability of the teams.  Speaking of the other Group, this one would stratify itself typically, with a 9-6-3-0 ratio between the four teams. Here, Team Spirit would offer a victory to each of their opponents, as they failed to close out a single series, x6tence Galaxy hanging on to this sole victory. Meanwhile, Team Vitality would edge out over Valiance in a 16-13 match, claiming the three victories while Valiance would qualify for the Playoffs with a second place victory. As stated before, due to the situation, x6tence Galaxy would also be invited to play in the Playoffs due to availability. With Team Vitality and Epsilon topping their groups, bracket play was in sight.  Bracket Play In this tight bracket of only 4 teams, Valiance would match up against Epsilon and x6tence would entertain Vitality, each in a best-of-three format. There being no Losers' Bracket, losing meant going home, taking with them less of the prize pool.  Epsilon vs Valiance would kick off with Mirage, where both European teams had found success earlier in the tournament. Remaining rather close up to half-time, Valiance would close it out over a reassuring 16-8 scoreline. Unfortunately, for Epsilon, with Dust 2 on the horizon, Valiance would once again repeat the scoreline to close out the series after 2 maps.  A similar fate awaited x6tence on the opposite side of the bracket. However, the first map, once again Mirage, saw Vitality feeling the pressure as the scoreline drew close, concluding with a 13-16 for Vitality. The French team would quickly gain their bearings, ending the series with a strong 16-5 game on Cache. Once again, we'd like to thank the Swedish team of x6tence for filling in and performing quite well. To note, Epsilon and x6tence placed 3rd/4th. On the 10th of December, the European teams of Vitality and Valiance were ready to conclude the event online, due to priorities elsewhere. Having encountered one another earlier on in the event, in Group B, Vitality had the advantage on paper, winning 16-11 at that point in time. However, this was a best-of-three and it was indeed a new day for Valiance.  Here are the team rosters for the Grand Final squads, who'd face head to head, deserving of recognition:  Valiance  Nestor 'LETN1' Tanic  Nemanja 'huNter' Kovac  Nemanja 'nexa' Isakovic  Otto 'ottoNd' Sihvo  Rokas 'EspiranTo' Milasuaskas  Vitality  Nathan 'NBK Schmitt  Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer  Mathieu 'ZywOo' Herbaut  Dan 'Apex' Madesclaire  Cedric 'RpK' Guipouy.  Game 1, on Nuke, would see Vitality clench an early, expected lead through a 16-9 victory with some poor choice on the side of Valiance. They'd have to pull themselves together to bring this back - and bring it back they did. Mirage hosting their second game, Valiance flipped the switch and the scoreline too, heading to the final map with a 16-8 victory. With the comeback almost complete and Dust 2 being a strong map for them, a 16-9 victory crowned them The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018, CS:GO champions. More than 1.5 million views accumulated throughout this specific tournament, while a peak of 13,000 CCV was reached at times, excluding Chinese viewership.  We're happy to also mention that in the meantime both teams managed to qualify to the ESL Katowice 2019 Minor and we wish the best of luck to the two of them! To learn more about the tournament, check out the event page here.

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: A 'Standing' Ovation

With absolute confidence, 2 weeks after the event, GMR Entertainment may happily state that The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 was an incredible success, holding up to the expectations set in stone by this franchise. So much so, that three days was barely enough to take it all in, which is why we'll be releasing a series of articles covering all the statistics and details relevant to it all. This introductory article will include an overview and a closer look at the popular stands housed at the event.  To begin with, the MFCC was definitely challenged as a venue, by the increasing local gaming industry. Over 350 gamers, both foreign and local, professional and semi-professional, sat underneath one roof to initiate in competitive gaming through each of the several tournaments. The said gamers originated from over 10 countries; with most international names travelling for the sake of the FIFA and Call of Duty tournaments specifically. In total, a total of 9 tournaments were successfully initiated and concluded within the three-day period, all of which will feature recaps of their own. Returning to demographics, an estimated amount of more than 1,000 people attended the event, viewing the competition and interacting with the stands, including the likes of families, friends and other interested parties. Note that these were also foreign too. This number of people meant that the venue was always full throughout the weekend. Of course, we should keep in mind the online viewership which heavily contributes to our events. A staggering number of at least 1.5 million views on our live streams across each of the tournaments, with thousands of viewers interacting with online chats and enjoying the content from the comfort of their homes. The slight majority of viewers especially enjoyed Sunday competition, as grand final after grand final crowned the respective champions of each tournament - a total of €25,000 was handed out in prize cash. Most winners had to fight for their crown; a notion we'll discuss in the recap articles.  For the remainder of this introduction, we'll turn our attention to the Stands which were located at the event and run across the three days. First of all, we'll start with World Pro Racing and their stand which included the Thrustmaster GT Tournament, where over 40 participants took part in the racing action. The stand's aim was to increase local awareness in regards to the newly growing SimRacing scene locally and internationally; achieving this aim as many were inquisitive about the parameters of the esport, quickly satisfied upon sitting in the driver's seat.  The stand buzzed with activity continuously.  Speaking of activity,  Battlemax VR, gave bystanders the opportunity to immerse themselves in an intense VR experience, engaging in sports such as boxing to everyone's amusement. We did share some footage on our social media due to the hilarity of it all. Many viewers had the opportunity to try out VR for the first time, with titles such as 'Creed' and 'Beat Saber' being very popular.   Robert Borg also put up a stand, showcasing his superb items on display in a fantastically organized stand. Representing the local game collecting industry, Robert Borg let everyone know why he's got the largest collection on the island, answering questions, touring guests around his collectables and simply hosting a great stand overall. Qlash brought their own share of personality to the table, as 10 team members of the Qlash organisation set-up an impressive stand together with a mobile Clashy Royale tournament, won by a certain Angelo 'Anglu' Vella who now has the pleasure of flying to a bootcamp within the Qlash House this upcoming year. Included in the team was 'CrazyFatGamer', the FIFA Pro Player, bringing experience and enthusiasm to the area. The international company of Qlash definitely experienced an astounding launch to their Maltese branch, which we expect to grow indefinitely.  Perhaps, the most surprising stand was that held by St. Martin's College. Showcasing some of the students' work in both VR and video games simultaneously, their youth was the main attraction to visitors who eagerly ventured over to learn more. This is the first time that GMR Entertainment has experimented with such inclusion of an educational programme; we're looking to continue this trend heading into the future because these youngsters are of ultimate importance to raising awareness of the industry to the older demographic.  With that, we're ready to conclude this first recap article. Let us know your thoughts about the event in general below, and stay tuned for the upcoming recaps of each tournament across these very merry holidays. 

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