News

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;}

100 Thieves Announces New 35-Million-Dollar Facility

The popular Esports organization 100 Thieves recently announced their 35-million-dollar purchase of a state-of-the-art facility in Los Angeles, California. Through Series B funding they were able to acquire a space big enough to host their various professional teams and staff. 100 Thieves CEO Matthew Nadeshot Haag and COO John Robinson recently released a walk-through video showcasing what the facility will have to offer. After touring over 25 locations, the 100 Thieves team finally found a home that aligned with their vision. From retail to content creation, the facility has it all. Walkthrough Of The Facility The entrance will host a hall of fame showcasing all the organization's achievements and will lead directly to a retail area. This area will be open to the public on occasion when new merch drops. The first floor will also host various board rooms, offices, practice rooms, streaming pods, and an apparel workshop.   The Facility also has a second floor which houses more practice spaces, conference rooms, and edit bays. There will also be a lounge area specifically for watching any of the professional teams during tournaments and matches. Nadeshot also insists on having his own bathroom but needs to find a sponsor first. If you are interested, Nadeshot will do one Instagram post a day in exchange for the support.         View this post on Instagram                   We're excited to announce 100 Thieves has raised a $35M Series B round of funding and are building a new company headquarters with retail space in Los Angeles. Two years, 60 million dollars later... time to put our heads down and get back to work. Thank you everyone for supporting this dream of ours and making the next few years possible. A post shared by Matthew (@nadeshot) on Jul 16, 2019 at 7:02am PDT The apparel workshop will allow 100 Thieves to continue pushing the boundary on what an Esports organization can do by blurring the lines of gaming and fashion. Following in the footsteps of popular streetwear brands such as Bape and Supreme, 100 Thieves has embraced “drop culture”. This means their merch is not constantly stocked and only available in limit quantities that sell out quickly. This creates hype around each release and attracts mainstream consumers who are not traditional members of the gaming world. New Content Creation Possibilities For 100Thieves The facility will also have a high-tech production studio where various content will be produced, which includes the Courage and Nadeshot Show, and the Self-Made podcast. The streaming pods will also provide visiting content creators with the tools needed to maintain their schedule while also being available to collaborate on future content. Both podcasts have been well received by the community and have hosted several big names such as iJustine, Pokimane, and Scooter Braun. The new facility will allow every professional team to have their own practice space and allow every aspect of the organization to create and expand under one roof. .instagram-media{margin-left: auto !important; margin-right: auto !important; margin-bottom: 20px !important;}

Donald Trump links violent video games to mass shootings

Jalen Lopez | @JLwrites On Saturday, August 3rd, a gunman killed 22 people in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Hours later another shooter killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio. With no clear evidence that either event was influenced by video games, Donald Trump stated that violent video games and other media are part of the problem that led to these mass shootings: We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. House Minority Leader Keven McCarthy followed suit and stated that video games "dehumanize individuals". Video games have become a scapegoat for politicians in the aftermath of atrocities such as these two mass shootings. A history of false claims In the 90’s, popular games such as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom were blamed for influencing the shooters involved in the Columbine Highschool massacre. In a similar fashion, after the shooting in Parkland, Florida last year, Trump made similar claims that violent video games were to blame. There is no concrete evidence that connects violent media, let alone video games specifically, to violent real-life events. A review of the evidence In February a study showed that violent video games do not lead to an increase in violent behaviour compared to individuals who do not play such games. A Supreme Court case in 2010 established that any exposure to violent video games is comparable to exposure to similar content in other media types, such as cartoons or movies. Research has shown that there is no correlation between violent media or video games and an increase or likelihood to commit violent actions. We can look at two countries who spend more time and money on video games and still have incredibly low crime rates. The difference in other countries Japan is a video game hotbed that hosts major gaming companies such as Nintendo and Sega and has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. South Korea has a booming Esport competitive scene with professional teams in several different video games and has an incredibly low violent crime rate. If violent games had any correlation between violent real-life events, other countries throughout the world would have the same trend of violence. The one difference between these two countries and the United States is the difference in gun control policies. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their relatives.

Road To The VulkanBet Invitational Finals - Semis Recap

The $20,000 VulkanBet Invitational tournament has reached its final stages. Last week we witnessed the last two teams qualify for the playoffs – HAVU and Epsilon. It was surprising to see the Finnish team (HAVU) have so much success in the group stage. With ease, they beat the favored team to win the whole thing – Epsilon. In the deciding game against Alternate Attax, HAVU acquired a 16-7 victory and secured a spot in the playoffs. As for Epsilon, because they lost the opening match, they played two more bo1’s for the playoffs. In the deciding match against SJ Gaming, the European mixture pulled off a miraculous comeback to come out on top. The final group stage game of the VulkanBet Invitational was a battle between Epsilon and Alternate Attax. It looked like an interesting game on paper, but it didn’t deliver to its full potential. There were a couple of rounds were the Germans would have a significant numbers advantage (i.e a 5v2) and still lose. Epsilon banked on those mistakes and acquired a win. With the group stages concluded, the next stage started off with the playoffs. Depending on how the teams finished the groups, second or first, determined their seeding. The initials bo3’s were: Nemiga vs HAVU and ex-3DMAX vs Epsilon. Nemiga vs HAVU The first bo3 of the playoffs began with Nemiga vs HAVU. The odds were stacked against Nemiga and for good reason. During their time in the tournament, they were able to beat the lackluster VP roster and the French LDLC. On the other hand, a team like HAVU has had profound success. After all, it is the victories against Epsilon and Alternate Attax which helped them secure a 1st place finish. First Come, First Served The Belarusians decided to pick Inferno as the first map. This is the map in which Nemiga has found success in tier 2 Counter-Strike events. Virtus.pro, Windigo, Nemiga, etc. are just some of the scalps they’ve proclaimed. And yet, as the match began, Nemiga had a grueling start. On the ct side of Inferno, they managed to scrape 1 round to HAVU’s 6. Nemiga held on to their defensive and began winning consecutive rounds on after the other. It didn’t take them long enough and by the end of it was 7 rounds for them and 8 for HAVU. Things looked good for Nemiga as they also won the pistol round. But disaster struck for the Belarusians as they ran into a stacked B bombsite and couldn’t hold their own against the mere pistols. The momentum shift couldn’t come in a better time for HAVU. Since they played on the ct of Inferno, they didn’t have a difficult time closing out the first map 16-10. Illusions Of An Easy Victory The second map was Dust2, picked by HAVU. Nemiga is no stranger on this map, after all, it is their second most played map. It saw staggering to witness their proficiency on the t side. You could’ve very easily blinked and missed the whole first half. In a very decisive manner, lollipop21k & co. bounced back from Inferno and led the first half by 12-3. With the pistol round victory going in favor of Nemiga, it looked like the end for HAVU. However, the in 18th round the tides changed completely. In a 1v3 hold on the B bombsite, ZOREE secured HAVU’s first round on the t side. What happened next was an impeccable comeback from the Finns. They won 9 rounds in a row and they had the lead by 15-13. Thanks to some solid hold on the bombsites from Nemiga, they acquired the last two rounds in regulation and the game went to overtime. It was a back and forth affair and even led to the second set of OT. But in this second overtime, it was Nemiga who put their foot down and won the map 22-18. Settling The Score The final map wouldn’t be as exciting as Dust2. On Mirage, HAVU had a difficult time on the ct side. They won the second round after the pistol round went to Nemiga. This meant that the ct’s had a short lasting lead of 3-1. After which the Belarusians began playing full force on the terrorist side. They overcame HAVU’s early lead and secured a 9-6 half.  After which, they yet again secured the pistol round and consecutive rounds followed suit. Even though there was another comeback attempt from HAVU, it didn’t pay dividends. The final score favored Nemiga 16-12 and they secured a slot in the grand finals. ex-3DMAX vs Epsilon The most anticipated match of the tournament. If Epsilon would’ve finished first in their respected group, we could’ve seen this match in the final. But still, the stakes were high and the teams couldn’t just breeze through one another. At least, that was supposed to be the case on Inferno. Ex-3DMAX went for this pick, as it is their most played map. Even though Epsilon tends to play this map, they have been battered by a lot of tier 2 and tier 3 opponents. Blazing Start To Inferno Despite their lackluster results, it was very surprising to see the Epsilon roster perform this well on Inferno. It didn’t really matter where Epsilon would hit on their t side, because ex-3DMAX had a difficult time holding any of the sites. It didn’t help the French that Epsilon had 3 of their players k1to, broky and Surreal popping off. Without much of a struggle, it was a 13-2 lead for Epsilon. Even though the match was more or less over, on the second half pistol round we witnessed an impressive ace and a clutch from hAdji, a sign of things to come. But his performance wasn’t enough for the team to still fight for a victory on Inferno. Shortly thereafter, Epsilon secured a 16-11 win on the 1st map. Exhausting Affair This lead to the second map, Mirage. Now that Epsilon arrived on the map they’ve chosen, it looked like this could be the end for the French. However, ex-3DMAX started things well, as they secured a half eco victory on the second round. After which a flurry of consecutive rounds went in favor of ex-3DMAX. At the end of the half, Epsilon began to recuperate and they themselves won a couple more rounds. It wasn’t enough to equalize the score, as it was still favoring the French 9-6.  As far as the second half is concerned, Epsilon tried to pull off a reverse sweep. They began winning consecutive rounds on their t side and were on the brink of victory. But on the 28th round, LOGAN managed to deny a bomb plant on the B bombsite and secured 3 kills in a clutch situation. This play was just what the doctor ordered, as ex-3DMAX won one more round to reach 15. Yet, Epsilon secured the last round of regulation and overtime ensued. There were moments were the European mixture had a difficult time at closing out advantageous situations in overtime. That cost them dearly, as they managed to scrape only 1 more round in overtime. The French showed good ct and t sides of OT and secured a 19-16 win over Epsilon. When On Dust2, Do As The French Do The final battlefield was Dust2. This map wasn’t back-and-forth like the others. Primarily, it was ex-3DMAX with a constant lead in this map. Early in the map, ex-3DMAX had secured a nice 5 round lead. One of the reasons was hAdji. Just in the second round, he won a 1v4 clutch, including a triple man spray-down on short. Epsilon did retaliate with their own string of 5 rounds, but it was still the French who secured a 9-6 lead moving forward. The lead wouldn’t stop there, as a pistol round and four more rounds went in favor of ex-3DMAX making it 14-9. Arguably, the French didn’t have the easiest time closing out the series. It would take 5 more round wins from Epsilon before ex-3DMAX could take matters in their own hands. At the 29th round, a half eco victory on the ct side and a gun round victory led to the eventual bo3 win for ex-3DMAX. VulkanBet invitational Final Overview That concludes the two semi-final games. Both bo3 were very close affairs, which took us on a 3 map journey to decide the eventual victors. And even then, there’s always a probability if a certain round would’ve gone a different direction, we could see different finalists. Even though HAVU and Epsilon have lost the semi’s, their journey doesn’t conclude yet. There is still a 3rd place decider to be played out amongst the two teams. Epsilon was a couple of rounds away from securing a grand final slot, but there were too many rounds they’ve lost due to petty mistakes. On the other hand, HAVU is looking determined and might prove to be a more challenging foe than on first glance.  As far as the grand-final is concerned, which will be held on May 2nd, it should be an intriguing series. Even though ex-3DMAX seems to be the better team, Nemiga has proven to be a worthy opponent. Be sure to tune in on Thursday’s stream and witness the conclusion of the VulkanBet Invitational.

The VulkanBet Invitational Group B Recap

The VulkanBet Invitational Group B just ended, and man did it deliver. Because the competition is split into 2 groups, last week we witnessed the action from Group A. This was a pool where the participating teams needed to prove their worth. This group had the newly assembled LDLC roster. Old French talent, left in the wayside of any more meaningful Franco-Belgian shuffle. They lost both of their bo1 matches in a convincing manner. First to Virtus.pro, then to Nemiga. Speaking of which, the VulkanBet Invitational Group A had an interesting conclusion. In the deciding bo1 game deciding who will join ex-3DMAX in the playoffs, Virtus.pro faced Nemiga. It was a darn surprise to witness a Belorussian victory over the Poles. If you thought group A was a gruelling affair, you haven’t seen the teams in group B. This is a pool with known teams of tier 2 Counter-Strike. Epsilon, Alternate Attax, SJ Gaming and HAVU. In a tight pool like this one, upsets were bound to happen. The VulkanBet Invitational Group B Opening Matches Alternate Attax vs SJ Gaming To start things off, the first game of the day was Alternate Attax versus SJ Gaming. Ever since the start of this year, the German lineup has been rising through the ranks. Just like their Finnish counterparts, they too play a lot of online Counter-Strike. In the veto, it was settled that the two teams shall play Inferno. This is a map both teams tend to play often and looked like a good veto. Alternate Attax started things well on the ct side. They garnered a pistol round victory and the subsequent rounds from it. But SJ Gaming would put up a fight shortly after in the early stages of the game. An early example of this would be the 1v4 on the B bombsite that KHRN was able to win. The Finns would also gain a lot of success from their explosive middle takes and they wouldn’t have a difficult time securing middle. This allowed them to acquire a 4-3 lead. What happened next was a convincing ct side from the Germans. They had good opportunities and secured early advantages in many rounds to follow. Even when it came down to a post-plant scenario, like a 2on2, the ct side would still secure a round. Great holds from players like stfN helped secure an impressive 11-4 lead. Alternate Attax had picked up the pistol and from then on out it was just a matter of closing out the game. They achieved victory when the score was 16-8. Epsilon vs HAVU This was an interesting opening match of the two. Epsilon is a rising European team, but they still have some quirks to overcome in online play. HAVU is another team on the cusp of rising through the European ranks. Some haven’t really noticed their growth, especially because they are in the shadow of the Number 1 team in Finland – ENCA. Yet surprisingly, these two teams haven’t crossed paths that often. In fact, the first and last time they’ve done so was in Loot.Bet Season 2. During a very close bo3 series, Epsilon secured a 2-0 (22-19 and 16-13) victory. And now the two teams met on a new map, which was Train. Since HAVU was able to ban out Train or Dust2, they went for the latter. For a good reason. Train is a map that’s been great for this roster. It is their most played map, with the biggest win rate. They may not have played a lot of it during the past two weeks, but it is still a better pick than Dust2. With some neat plays, the Finnish roster found some great early success. It didn’t take them to long to acquire 7 rounds to Epsilon’s 2. One of the biggest success factors was the AWP-er ZOREE. He found a lot of impact for HAVU on the terrorist side with his sniper rifle plays. The only entity to challenge him was the Dutch player CRUC1AL. As much as he tried, none of his other teammates could’ve played to his standards. As the ct side economy would be constantly reset, Epsilon ran away with only 5 rounds on the ct side. When the sides were switched, HAVU didn’t take too much time to close out the game. They got the pistol rounds, the subsequent rounds, have reset the economy of Epsilon and won the game 16-7. The VulkanBet Invitational Group B Winner’s Match Alternate Attax vs HAVU Early in the day, Alternate Attax and HAVU secured victories in their opening matches. Both of these teams have shown to have profoundly good individuals. However, the victory of HAVU was against a higher caliber opponent. Most importantly, this early win might have been a great boost in confidence for the HAVU squad moving forward. This time around, the battleground was set on Mirage. This map was decided by the German veto. Mirage is a map Alternate Attax had difficulties securing wins in. Last two losses were 16-6 against ForZe and 16-1 against NoChance. HAVU themselves are no strangers to avoiding Mirage, as during the month of March they’ve only played it twice. However, they had a decent start. Something you can’t really say for the Germans. Alternate Attax ended up losing the pistol round, but still showed some solid stuff on the ct defensive. Especially on the B bombsite from Mantuu. However, after their 3-2 lead, things just went downhill. The HAVU squad was consistently finding opening kills on the terrorist side. This allowed them to become very mobile and unpredictable. What made matters worse was the German inability to win crucial rounds. There was a particular 2v5 the Germans lost due to their lackluster positioning. And as the half ended, they only secured 3 rounds total. At the end of it all, it was a fine showing from HAVU and they secured the map, yet again, 16-7. VulkanBet Invitational Group B Elimination Match SJ Gaming vs Epsilon Epsilon had an upper hand in this matchup, even after their early loss to HAVU. It was a mere bo1 scenario and could’ve been a flimsy start. As the veto was decided, the map was Dust2. The early start was somewhat murky. The pistol round was picked up by Epsilon on the ct side, but the terrorist side of SJ Gaming secured a force-buy victory with a 3-1 lead. The Finnish players weren’t planning to stop there. Their solid terrorist side approach helped them to win over bombsites, even with the Epsilon double AWP setup coming into play. In order to gain some early advantages, the European mix began looking for early opening kills. This was a good idea as it helped them to accumulate an 8-7 half. After that demoralizing end for the Finnish side, it was interesting to see how they hold up on the second half. They started out strong, as they secured an early pistol round victory. Yet the gun rounds were still favoring the terrorist side. On the 20th round the Finns had to go on a full eco. But their aggressive 5 usp push down mid not only garnered them some kills, but also a round victory. It looked like SJ Gaming was on the cusp of securing a win on Dust as they were up 15-11. However, we saw a momentum shift and the Epsilon squad pulled off a comeback of their own to make it 15-15. Overtime was impressive for Epsilon, to be more exact, for Broky. On the terrorist side, he won 2 back-to-back 1v2 scenarios, to put his team up by 17 rounds. They were able to close out the game 19-17, but it was a gruelling match. The Decider Alternate Attax vs Epsilon The final group stage match of the VulkanBet Invitational Group B. It’s was an interesting match considering that the two teams met just a day prior in the Loot.Bet Season2. That was an entire bo3 Epsilon had to power through in order to secure a victory (16-13 and 19-17). The VulkanBet Invitational is only a bo1 for a spot in the playoffs so this could’ve been a close map. Especially since the decider was Inferno. An unforgiving map for the Epsilon players as it has been particularly hard in recent events. For Alternate Attax this a middle of the pack map, thus it’s a fine map to land on. It was looking fine and dandy for the German side as they secured a pistol round victory and two more subsequent rounds to work with. However, Epsilon fought back on the 4th round in a disadvantageous 5v3 scenario. Crucially enough, they couldn’t build a bank from their victory, because a simple eco push through the apartments caught the ct off guard. This allowed the Germans to secure yet another round. From that point onward, the game was back and forth. There were well-formulated pushes from the terrorist side, but the cts proved to be a tough nut to crack. At the end of the half, it was 9-6 favoring Epsilon. Because the sides were switched, it was a fine start for Alternate Attax. They picked up the pistol and some subsequent rounds to follow. But that was a very brief moment of success. The Epsilon players began mounting strong offensives on their t side. Attax would have a difficult time holding the sites and even blew away an easily winnable 5v2. At the end, it was a victorious Epsilon with a spot in the playoffs. Concluding Thoughts And that brings us to the end of the VulkanBet Invitational Groups. Unlike Group A, there was more intrigue about the teams. Because the group was seemingly stacked, it wasn’t easy to predict the victors. Not to mention the fact that these teams are on a very similar level. One of the biggest surprises has got to be the performance of HAVU. Not only did they top the group, but it was done in a very convincing manner. Epsilon, the best team on paper in this group, had a difficult journey to the playoffs. In the deciding game against SJ Gaming, they almost lost and went out dead last. But some expertise and individual skill came through in the end. Best of luck to Alternate Attax and SJ Gaming in the future, as they proved to be worthy opponents in Group B. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the VulankBet Invitational CS:GO playoffs.

The VulkanBet Invitational Group A Recap

The VulkanBet Invitational is a $20,000 CS:GO tournament. It has GSL style groups with a bo3 playoff. The invitational has 8 teams competing across two groups. VulkanBet Invitational Group A consists of Virtus.pro, LDLC, ex-3DMAX, and Nemiga. Group B has Alternate aTTax, Epsilon, Havu, and SJ. As you might see from the teams here, it is a good mix of the veteran players and rising talent. For example, a team like Virtus.pro are part of this old guard. It no longer includes players from the golden five, but they still have individuals like Snax and Byali. It should be a formidable roster, but they have been on a downward trajectory. They are the worst ranked team in the event, being placed at 87th in the world. An invitational like this is a great way to prove they are still capable of competing. As for rising talent, Epsilon is one of the teams that comes to mind. After their performance at Charleroi Esports, they have garnered attention from the community. This mixture of old, young, new, experienced and inexperienced is simply delightful. The Vulkanbet Invitational is the right battleground to show a team’s expertise. VulkanBet Invitational Group A Opening Matches ex-3DMAX vs Nemiga The first match of the VulkanBet Invitational Group A. The number one team in Belarus going up against the 3rd team in France. However, these are two teams that lurk in the shadows of tier2/tier3 Counter-Strike. They tend to compete against a similar level of opposition. So no wonder that their most played maps include inferno, Dust2, and Mirage. For this particular match, the veto landed on Mirage. This is a map both teams tend to leave open. Its something you can pick-up on their veto’s. It will come as a first ban, only when the opponent they are playing against is a specialist of Mirage. In other cases, they leave it as a decider or allow a lesser opponent to pick it. As the battlefield was set, ex-3DMAX came out swinging. They had a very aggressive terrorist side approach. They wouldn’t be phased by any molotov’s or smokes from the Belarussians. The Frenchmen would hit a site guns blazing and the cts had a difficult time. Once Nemiga began abandoning mid presence and focusing purely on the sites, that’s when 5 rounds where won. Things didn’t get much better for Nemiga on the terrorist side. Ex-3DMAX won the opening pistol round and secured a flurry of rounds to 15. After a brief 4 round stint from Nemiga, ex-3DMAX secured a 1v1 to win the Mirage 16-9. LDLC vs Virtus.Pro The LDLC roster is a newly established team. Yet, the composition is looking somewhat weird. You have 3 possible in-game leaders, that’d be MAJ3R, Happy and XMS. There also doesn’t seem to be a star player on their team. Maybe, they’re hoping that Roden, the newcomer, fills the igl shoes. On the other hand, you have Virtus.pro, who have made massive roster changes themselves. They’ve now added Vegi, a player from another Polish team called Pact. From what we’ve seen of him at Charleroi Esports, he had a good individual performance. That’s a good sign for this Polish team. As the veto took place, the teams landed on Nuke. This is a map Virtus.pro have tried playing in the past but lost 4/6 times they played. They’ve lost to Nemiga, Sprout, and Optic, just to name a few. For LDLC this was their first official match Nuke, so it was hard to grasp their level on the map. Nonetheless, the Frenchmen had a good start by winning the pistol round. But their success didn’t last too long. Virtus.pro began exploiting the upper bombsite defensive, which wasn’t held properly at the start. Once the members of LDLC realized what was going, VP began changing their avenues of attack. This led to a tight scoreline between the two teams. But for a lot of the half, the ct side of LDLC was struggling in the money department. This led to a half score of 9-6 in favor of VP. Then it was a matter of closing out the game for Virtuus.pro. But the French showed resilience and even tied the scoreline 10-10. But alas, once VP had their cash flow secured on the ct side, they began winning consecutive rounds in a row. This led to the eventual victory of 16-12. VulkanBet Invitational Group A Winner’s Match ex-3DMAX vs Virtus.pro These are two teams that won their opening matches at the Vulkanbet Invitational Group A and were fighting for a slot in the playoffs. The stage was set and Nuke was the deciding map. The French started things on the ct side, while the Poles where on the terrorist side. Even after losing the pistol round, ex-3DMAX got up to a nice 4-2 lead. But the half score was close between the two teams. As the half ended 8-7 in favor of the French, the real fun would begin on the 2nd half. Ex-3DMAX had a similar style at play, as we saw in the Mirage game against Nemiga. Ex-3DMAX were very quick on their aggressive pushes. This allowed securing an impressive 15-9 lead. This is where the French needed one more round and they win the game. But on the 25th round, we witness a whacky push from the French. They had 4 players coming out of the orange squeaky door on the upper bombsite. They were easily shut down by VP and afterward, they began winning round after round. Suddenly, the scoreline was 15-15. Overtime was a truly enthralling affair. Individual performances were the main reason for a team’s success. Even though Snax won an impressive 1v2 on the upper bombsite on the ct side, it was no match for what the Frenchmen pulled off on their ct side. With an AUG in hand, DavidP shut down 4 players in the outside area. In the last round of the game, we saw Hadji pick up 3 kills with the awp, whilst holding A. These performances led to an ex-3DMAX victory at 19-17. VulkanBet Invitational Group A Elimination Match Nemiga vs LDLC A do or die scenario for both teams. But an important match for the Frenchmen. Could this possibly be another event where they finish dead last? It turned out that the map shall be Inferno. Nemiga have got a lot of experience on Inferno. This is their most played map in online Counter-Strike with a win percentage of 57% these past 3 months. LDLC, however, have played the map in Charleroi Esports. But it was a lackluster map. They lost it 16-4 to Sprout and made a comeback against the inexperienced team FrostFire to secure a 16-14 score. Pretty early on the French had a difficult time on the terrorist side.  They’ve tried time and time again to change up the pace. But they would hardly get comfortable, as Nemiga had a very aggressive ct side. And that aggression would always net them an early kill. It was a bleak half for the Frenchmen and the game ended 16-4 in favor of Nemiga. It is important to note that both Nemiga and LDLC had to resort to stand-ins. That’s something to keep in mind when talking about the result. The Decider Nemiga vs Virtus.pro The final match for the Vulkanbet Invitational Group A. The winner can proceed to the semi-final, whilst the loser is out of the tournament. There’s a lot at stake for the two teams. Even in a scenario like this, it’s hard to predict who can win. Not too long ago, Nemiga secured a 2-0 victory against the Virtus.pro roster in a one-sided fashion. When Nemiga was given the opportunity to choose between Overpass and Inferno, they chose the latter. The Polish team had a solid 3-0 start on the terrorist side. Then slowly but surely Nemiga began picking-up a lot more rounds in a row. However, they couldn’t go for the same aggressive tactics as they did in the LDLC game. They were punished more often, thus it was a more of a passive hold. Things were looking pretty good for Virtus.pro, but then they lost some massive rounds. First was the eco from Nemiga and then the 1v3 from lollipop21k on the B bombsite. This made the half 9-6 in favor of Nemiga. The Polish side had a swell start on the ct. Things were looking up, but then the Nemiga shifted into 5th gear. They won the last couple of rounds and secured Inferno 16-12. Concluding Thoughts Those were the matches for the first day at the VulkanBet Invitational. As expected, a team like ex-3DMAX was able to push through to the playoffs without dropping a map. But it’s a somewhat dissatisfying affair for a team like LDLC. The first loss against Virtus.Pro on Nuke was still somewhat close. Yet, there’s very little to defend them in the game against Nemiga. There didn’t seem to be a lot of team cohesion not to mention proper team play. This isn’t a team with some amazing fraggers, they definitely need more time to work on this project. As for Virtus.pro, it’s another exit in the early stages of the tournament. This concludes the matches of Group A. Tune in next week to find out who’ll make it out of Group B.

Announcing The VulkanBet Invitational

The VulkanBet Invitational is an upcoming CS:GO tournament organised by GMR Entertainment that brings together eight teams and gives them a chance to test their skills against some excellent European rivals. Tournament Info The VulkanBet Invitational offers a prize pool of $20,000 and is scheduled to take place between April 17th – 26th. Given the duration of the event, we will probably have the chance to see some good matches and get to learn more about some of the European teams that are on their way to break into the Majors and Minors of CS:GO. In this article, we will give you a better understanding of who these teams are, what they’ve done so far and why they’re worth watching in spite of not being at the top with the likes of Astralis, Natus Vincere or Team Liquid. Some of them you already know if you watch CS:GO, because they used to be among the world’s best just some time ago. Prizes A total of $20,000 in prizes will be shared among the top four participants in the following way: Placement Reward 1st $10,000 2nd $5,000 3rd $3,000 4th $2,000 Participants and Format VulkanBet Invitational features eight teams from Europe. The teams will be split into two groups of four and the GSL format will be used for each of these groups. The Playoffs Stage (April 24th – April 26th) will be played in a Single Elimination format and every match will be a BO3 series.   Group A (April 17th – April 18th) Group B (April 22nd – April 23rd) ex-3DMax Epsilon Nemiga Alternate Attax LDLC SJ Gaming Virtus.Pro Havu Team Analysis Be sure to check out the upcoming pages Group A and Group B for a brief analysis of the eight teams that will participate at the VulkanBet Invitational.

Apex Legends at the Malta Cyber Series#5: MRO Edition

It was bound to occur; the arrival of a free-to-play battle-royale which would contest with the juggernaut of Fortnite in both spectra of competitive and casual play. It goes without saying, that I'm referring EA's Apex Legends; an engaging mix of pick-a-hero gameplay and other unique mechanics tossed into the recipe of battle-royale. The title has definitely taken the world, and the country by storm; we've realised this. Hence, GMR Entertainment will be capitalizing on the current buzz by offering competitive Apex Legends at our upcoming event; the MCS#5: MRO Edition.  The MRO, year in and year out, has always been an opportunity to dig our heels into the ground and push forward with a new titles such as Overwatch, Battalion 1944 and now, Apex Legends. The announcement is probably less of a surprise to most of you, especially those who tuned in to last week's stream hosted by the new Hex Media studio, where we revealed our intentions through a little gameplay of our own. For the tournament; one can expect a format similar to the one utilized by the international Twitch Rivals event: in which teams attempted to score as many points as possible overall through placement and kills. The Apex Legends tournament will be part of the BYOC area, which is a new addition for the first time in the MRO series.  With new legends, updates, ideas and tonnes of support from social media and communities, Apex Legends is definitely the 'next big thing' in gaming. However, the cyclic nature of these free battle-royale titles will only become more rapid as developers cram for the spotlight - though, if they keep these titles free and accessible to the community, it's only beneficial to the community. The only drawback, is that the contemporary nature of these battle-royale games, and the fact that attention is being pulled in many directions, makes sustaining a long-lasting and stable esport quite difficult.

Angelo Vella at the Red Bull MEO Clash Royale Finals

Ever since winning the Maltese Red Bull MEO Clash Royale Finals and the Qlash Clash Royale Tournament hosted at the Malta Esports Festival 2018, GMR Entertainment has been keeping a close eye on the champion; Angelo anglu Vella. Such attention led up to the fact after he had qualified for the international Red Bull MEO Clash Royale Finals - where he would represent Malta in an international competition, stacking ambassadors from each country across the mobile title of Clash Royale. Apart from the event itself acting as quite the breakthrough for mobile-gaming in general, it was an opportunity for Angelo to show his stock.  The international event, involving a total of 36 countries, had been building up ever since September of last year, with qualifiers gradually concluding in each respective country within every continent. With the event including the other titles of 'Arena of Valor' and 'Brawl Stars', the venue was certainly buzzing with excitement, but also tension - $50,000 were on the line on the whole. This mentality was embraced immediately, and it seems that Angelo anglu Vella found himself in quite a tough spot within Group D. Competing against players from America, Mexico, Turkey, Portugal, Greece, Brazil and Egypt, the Maltese competitor would undoubtedly struggle. Anglu tied points with Greece and Turkey, but due to score difference he was placed 7th out of 8 within groups - ending his tournament there. "The Ice" (BR) Vs "Anglu" 3:2 "Sergioramos" (MX) Vs "Anglu" 3:0 "iForg1ven" (GR) Vs "Anglu" 3:1 "lelouch" (TR) Vs "Anglu" 2:3 🏆 "UnstoppableCR" (US) Vs "Anglu" 3:0 "The Awesome" (EG) Vs "Anglu" 0:3 🏆 "RafinhaJr11" (PT) Vs "Anglu" 3:1 Nonetheless, we're very proud of Angelo and we encourage him to continue pursuing this notion of competition - you're only 18 and a plethora of future opportunities will arise; keep striving to compete with others and yourself most of all.  The rest of the event concluded smoothly with ThunderStruck from UK being crowned as winner, though we will admit that our peak interest was in the performance of our representative Angelo Vella. One interesting fact is one pertaining to cheating - the French player GregEmpire77, as reported by Dotesports, was competing against a German player within the play-offs, when he was accused of communicating to his manager during the game. He pleaded guilty to the accusation, showing off the AirPods he had snuck underneath his headset, through which his coach communicated to him, selling the lie that all was legal. He was quickly disqualified. With this event being a major primary step in mobile gaming and to witness cheating early on - is the accessibility of mobile phones, leading to a higher susceptibility of cheating, going to be a detriment to future mobile esports?  To conclude, we'd like to congratulate Angelo for participating, flying out to an international event and gaining the experience which we wish for him to use to push forward in the scene. Also, we've managed to gain further insight into the mobile esports scene - how long will it take before we start seeing major and headlining events based on a mobile platform?

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