FIFA 21 - All the Details So Far!

Another year, another FIFA title from EA in their sports simulator genre. Namely, FIFA 21 looks to continue embracing the successful formula which has driven the series forward across almost all console generations, including the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X. Read on for all the details about the upcoming title.  Has the Release Date Been Delayed due to the Pandemic?  Happily, only very slightly. While the community usually expects the yearly FIFA title around sometime in September, the delayed release date of October 9th seems harmless and not too painful at all. This initial release date is true for the platforms of PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One - for next-gen consoles, a separate release date will be announced shortly afterwards.  EA has been incredibly reasonable here as anyone who purchases a current-gen version of FIFA 21 will be receiving a free copy of the next-gen version to reward player initiative and not punish it. Do note, for anyone interested, that the title will also be available on Google Stadia.  Is it worth buying a next-gen copy? Simply put, find the answer in the trailer below, being part FIFA 21 and part Madden 21:  It looks great, obviously, but I'm not one to make purchase decisions from cinematic trailers - I'd wait for the release to know what it actually looks like on both PS4 and PS5 for example.  Then, there are the Nintendo Switch gamers amongst you. Naturally, FIFA21 will not be as pretty on a Nintendo Switch compared to the next-gen console.  On the other hand, PC gamers have the upper hand here when it comes to performance.  What's new?  With simulation titles such as Gran Turismo, FIFA and Madden, it continuously becomes a challenge to innovate with every new title's release. FIFA has oftentimes been accused of recycling the same game with a slight improvement in graphics. What does FIFA 21 offer?  Career Mode New gameplay changes Pro Clubs FIFA 21 Ultimate Team  VOLTA Football  At EA Play last month, not much was said, but the game is planned to be showcased in August and the above features will be elaborated upon.  Right now, preorders are open for anybody certain over their purchase. Let us know your thoughts on FIFA21 in the comments section below!

Riot Games Announces Six Yearly Agents for Valorant!

Riot Games continues to give the community more things to discuss with regards to VALORANT and its exciting future as a competitive title. An important aspect of a competitive title, without a doubt, is about keeping it fresh. That's why we're excited to cover Riot Games' announcement that they'll be planning to release 6 VALORANT agents every year!  This comes straight from the mouth of Anna Donlon, an Executive Producer behind the new title. Below find the 'Dev Diary', which we can then discuss:  The following is a list of exactly every promise confirmed in the above video:  Expect mutliple quality-of-life improvements in the next few months, together with UI, bugfixes and balance changes  Protection of streamers  'Episodes' run for roughly six months and consisting of three 'Acts' where each of which lasts for two months  A new agent will be released for each Act, meaning that six agents a year should be released  Players will begin to understand the underlying story through the Acts Each Act will also offer its own Battlepass, with skins and cosmetics  Big changes are likely to occur at the start points of Episodes - new maps and features  A promise to strengthen anti-cheat and to target in-game discrimination  None of these are concrete facts for now - the developers are still heavily reliant on user feedback in this early stage of the game and are open to suggestions.  All-in-all, it's all looking incredibly promising in general. The community is ecstatic and completely on board as evident in the comments section of the YouTube video. Riot Games are doing their utmost to lay down the foundation so that the community may grow and of course, a competitive environment may do so too.  The future of VALORANT continues to aim high and promise a lot - let's hope that these promises are kept and that everything goes smoothly! It's already quite impressive to see how much they've worked on from their own homes.  Let us know what you think of the promised changes in the comments section below! 

David Beckham Launches Esports Organization - Guild Esports

At a rapid rate, celebrities, stars and professional athletes alike, or anybody with money in their pocket, is realising the potential in esports as both an investment opportunity and also an incredible way to advertise brands. Recently, the football star of David Beckham launched a new esports organization - Guild Esports - as a co-owner. Read on to learn more! Right now, the organization is looking for a $30 million investment to kick off the London esports organization. Prior to David Beckam's investment, the organization ran by the name of The Lords Esports and wasn't doing so well - the new influx of money and attention looks to get things going. The sponsors of Blue Star Capital and DB Ventures have pledged investments to help its kick-off. The administrative component of the organization is now being run by a former senior employee for both Activision Blizzard and Red Bull - looking highly promising. Until now, the organization has promised to host rosters for three select scenes as listed below:  Rocket League FIFA 20 Fortnite Honestly though, why am I writing this article? No, I'm no fan of Beckham, but through the above example, we can confidently state that esports continues to grab the attention of mass media. Multiple other celebrities have already invested in the industry and my gut feeling tells me that it won't be long before it will be commonplace for a celebrity to be associated with a particular esports organization.   Unlike traditional sports, esports does not restrict investors to those only available locally as most organizations do not have any national ties or restrictions. Apart from Beckham, the following is a small list of personalities invested in esports:  Michael Jordan  Stephen Curry  Drake Odell Beckham Jr.  Kevin Durant  Those are some of the more known ones. Let us know in the comments section what you think of this new trend of traditional athletes investing in esports!

Gucci Release Fnatic Dive Watch - Fashion and Esports

Apart from celebrities and stars investing in esports from their own traditional scenes, other investors have cropped up as of late including the fashion giant of Gucci. Read on to learn how Gucci released a new and expensive dive watch for Fnatic fans and other implications this has on the esports industry below! Let's tackle the topic at hand first - Gucci has crafted a brand new luxury watch purpose-built to support the LEC roster hosted by Fnatic for League of Legends. Priced at just over $1,600, the Fnatic logo encompassed by the black and orange design makes it the ultimate bling for either hardcore fans together with the players themselves of course. Take a look at it below:  I'm no connoisseur when it comes to watches, but the following are some of the listed specifications for any interested parties:  It is limited edition - so stock will be limited and available for a select amount of time - 100 units right now Quartz dive watch 40mm case  Water resistance to 660 feet  Check out the YouTube trailer below, which is rather dramatic:  So, what can we interpret from this piece of news? Personally, I believe that it's a sign that an 'esports fashion industry' is on its way. Yes, multiple gaming companies such as Blizzard have their own apparel line, but the largest names in the industry are still thinking of investing.  Last year, Louis Vuitton partnered with Riot Games to craft a travel case for the Trophy of the Summoner's Cup as awarded at the 2019 World Championship. It's definitely not a fashion item, but it's better than nothing.  Gucci, on the other hand, seems determined to follow up the watch with other fashion pieces and personally, I'd love to see my own favourite organizations honoured with some quality items.  That shifts the question to you - let us know in the comments section which esports organization you'd put the money down for some quality items!

EA Confirm Apex Legends Mobile - Planned for 2021!

Fortnite and PUBG - both of these hugely successful battle-royales have one thing in common that played a key part in increasing their popularity within the community: they're extension into mobile gaming through respective ports. Apex Legends from EA is still building itself up as a reputable and competitive battle-royale title. Finally, we can confirm that the title will be coming to mobile! It's been bittersweet as of late for Apex Legends as at EA Play 2020, the title's Nintendo Switch port was announced and that was it: nothing about mobile. With the community hopeful and resorting to rumours, EA finally let the cat out of the bag as Andrew Wilson, CEO at EA revealed that Apex Legends Mobile is real and planned to release shortly:  EA wants to reach all players no matter what platform. In mobile games, the company has Plant v Zombies in soft-launch already and will also soft-launch Apex Legends By the end of this year - Andrew Wilson, CEO at EA  If you're a fan or either Apex Legends or mobile gaming, this is definitely a region to celebrate. Now, however, it's all up to EA to handle porting the graphically impressive title into our hands just as well as Fortnite and PUBG have done in the past.  This is certainly an opportunity for esports too - PUBG Mobile has fostered its very own scene in particular regions with prize pools reaching up to $800,000. If Apex Legends isn't thriving as an esport, perhaps a mobile port could solve that problem.  One thing to consider here is the cross-platform compatibility - will mobile players be matched with PC players for Apex Legends Mobile? Honestly, I'm not too sure, but it definitely doesn't make sense to match a touch-screen player with a keyboard.  If EA does this right, this could be the next big thing. Let us know in the comments if you'll be downloading this once it releases globally in early 2021, most probably. 

Pokemon Unite - League of Legends with Pokemon?

Pokemon UNITE was revealed to the community only a day ago, with massive promises to rekindle the lore of the Pokemon series and to entertain the community with a soundly worked MOBA experience to take online. Let's take a closer look at the title and specifically, why it's garnering so much hate.  Developed by the mobile gaming giant of Tencent, together with Game Freak and The Pokemon Company, the free title, with in-game purchases looks to marry both Nintendo Switch and mobile gamers through cross-play. The MOBA gameplay works out as a frantic rush to score more points, capture more Pokemon, than your opponennts on the map in a 5v5 Team Battle.  Your very own collection of Pokemon, through practice, may slowly grow more experienced and unlock new individual abilities which altogether conjure a deadly squadron of personalised Pokemon. There will be varying playstyles, corresponding to the type of Pokemon owned.  This all sounds great - so why isn't the community completely on board?  I'm no Pokemon fan, but from the list of comments and the shocking like-dislike ratio in favour of the latter, it's clear to me that the community wanted more. The community was demanding two things: either a new MMO or a remake of one of the earlier classics. Check out the trailer below:  It is a mixed bag though - some fans are enthusiastic for a new experience, though many fear that the MOBA experience will not be casual enough. The Pokemon community has never been too based on PVP battles and moreso boasting to your friends as to how many Pokemon you've collected and how rare they are - so maybe that's why a MOBA isn't sitting too well with the majority.  Personally, I think the community should give this title a chance. Tencent is the giant behind the best mobile games of the year - PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile amongst others, which both foster esports scene. Similar success could be scene here, so I'd wait for the release of Pokemon Unite before judging.  Let us know your thoughts on Pokemon Unite in the comments section below and if you're interested in playing!

Cyberpunk 2077 - Read People's Minds in a New Trailer!

It's safe to say that everyone was a little saddened by the news that CyberPunk 2077 would be delayed yet again to, later on, this year as it simply isn't ready yet. Seemingly, to compensate for this loss, CD Project Red hosted a live stream in which developers of the title got the opportunity to show off two new trailers and sit down with the community.  We've got both trailers right here - let's watch them together and then discuss them. In the first trailer, 'The Gig', it looks like we get to peer closer into the world of Cyberpunk 2077, especially the night-life. What also seems likely is that many of the story clips above are taken from side missions - if CD Project Red employs the same rich investment into sidequests as they did for The Witcher III, it's very likely that Cyberpunk 2077 will have the same structure.  Beyond the cinematics, we also get glimpses into the gameplay - driving vehicles through the country and the city, fist-fights and of course, gunfights.   The next trailer is all about an -in-game mechanic - 'Braindance'  Perhaps not as flashy as the previous trailer, this is for the parties interested in purchasing the title as it goes in-depth into the aforementioned mechanic 'Braindance' where players can enter the recorded memories of other characters in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe. The extent to which this mechanic will be used is uncertain, though it's certainly neat.  So, with a release date of November 19th later on this year, the community has retaken its position of expectation and demand for potentially one of the biggest hits on current-gen and next-gen gaming. Let us know in the comments section below what you thought about the trailers and whether you'll be picking up Cyberpunk 2077 on Day One. 

Interview with Isaac Boldarini - Smashing Continental Competition

The European Smash Crew Invitational, or ESCI, is an international event organized by the European Community of Super Smash Bros. which aims to unite all of Europe together for some incredible fighting action. Amongst the 24 countries, Malta has been invited to compete from the 27-28th of June. Therefore, we sat down with one of the competitors on the national team, Isaac Boldarini, in order to learn more about himself, the title and the scenes, both local and international.  Note that the following is an interview conducted prior to the event - we'll potentially get in touch for post-event content too! 1. Hi there Isaac! To start, please introduce yourself to our readers by describing your personal life a little: your profession, hobbies, lifestyle etc. – we want to get to know you. Hi, I'm Isaac Boldarini (HoneyWobbles is my gamertag), I'm 25 years old. I'm a competitive Super Smash Bros Ultimate player who also organizes tournaments here in Malta. I work as a game designer and most of my time is spent in playing video games. Whether it's practicing Smash Ultimate, or playing games in my free time, I'm usually always found with a controller in hand if I'm not at work. 2. In terms of gaming, where did you find your beginning in fighting games? Did you always have a liking to the genre and if so, why is that? I fondly remember playing Smash Bros on the Nintendo 64 back when I was around 10 years old. At the time it never really struck me as a fighting game, so I'm not sure if it counts. But my love for the fighting game genre started when I picked up Street Fighter 2 back on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I wasn't any good, but I enjoyed it a lot, to the point where I wanted to check out other fighting games. This is where I started to truly appreciate fighting games. I heard about M.U.G.E.N, which is a fighting game that allows the player to create their own custom characters. I suppose this is where my roots as a game designer also begun, as I started experimenting with different values to create move sets for various custom characters. But overall, I think at the time Smash 64 and its mechanics were so ingrained into my mind that it was hard not to stick with the series, so here I am still playing Smash Bros 15 years later. 3. What moment specifically, marked your decision to take it to the next level and begin competing? Since that moment, what have you managed to achieve? Well, after being exposed to the competitive scene with the help of the Smash Brothers Documentary on Youtube (I recommend everyone who is interested to watch this), I really wanted to give competitive Smash a shot. But there was no scene here in Malta at the time, so I partnered with my friends in the group “NGM” (Nintendo Gamers Malta) to organize Smash tournaments for the public. While I did take part in these tournaments, at the time there weren’t many players that were familiar with the competitive scene, so I didn’t quite face the challenges I was looking forward to. These tournaments I'm talking about are ones that my team and I organize at Malta Comic-Con and a few other events in Malta when Smash Bros for the Wii U was the most recent title. So I decided to try traveling and competing internationally, and every time I traveled my love for Smash grew stronger.  My best showing was at “Valhalla 2” in Copenhagen, where I finished 65th out of 238 players; it doesn’t sound like an amazing achievement, but it's the first time that professional players started to take me seriously. 4. Now, as the ESCI is set to take place imminently from June 27-28th, what are your thoughts and how are you preparing for the competition ahead of you? How does it feel to be representing Malta? The ESCI tournament will be in Crew Battle format; basically 5 players on each team compete in 1v1 battles until the last member of a team is eliminated. So this is a group effort, as we need to strategize our lineup and who plays in which order, and which character to play for the most optimal matchups. We’ve got 10 players participating; 5 on the main team and 5 reserves, so we need to decide carefully. This is not the first time I'm competing against other high ranking players, but it's pretty exciting to try and get Malta on the map in this invitational. Me and my teammates are hard at work practicing daily together and trying to gain as much game knowledge as we can, as we will be competing against some of the best players in Europe, and the competition is going to be very fierce. 5. Jumping into international competition may be quite daunting for some – first though, I’d like you to describe the local community here in Malta. Is there room for improvement in any way? I've been cultivating the Smash scene in Malta for years and since Smash Bros Ultimate came out on the Nintendo Switch in 2018, interest in the competitive scene has increased and local players improved exponentially. I'm quite proud of them! Though with that said, we're still pretty small in numbers, as we have only around 12 to 16 active players. But because of this, everyone is friends with each other and we all help each other to improve. That is something I truly love about being part of a community of this scale. 6. Do you have any specific goals in mind for ESCI? Apart from the event, do you have any other goals for your future as a competitor? No specific goals in mind apart from trying to win the invitational. But after getting to know my teammates better, I want to try and take them with me for a regional tournament abroad once the COVID-19 pandemic is over and tournaments start popping up again. Though for me personally, ever since the last few months of Smash Bros for WiiU, I stopped entering local competitions in order to take on a more administrative role for organizing tournaments. But nowadays, thanks to Smash Ultimate, there seem to be a lot more skilled players that are interested in the competitive scene, so I might start to compete locally again. Besides, it's perfect practice for whenever I go abroad in the future. 7. Does the event being online benefit or work against you as a competitor? Will it lessen the pressure or affect the gameplay? Unfortunately, Smash Ultimate is notorious for its horrible online implementation.  Sometimes it’s so bad that the lag makes you play the game completely differently as precise inputs are pretty much out of the question. It's something that even top players have addressed and sadly it seems that Nintendo aren't willing to fix it for now. 8. Let’s zoom out a bit and take a look at the fighting game genre. In your opinion, what makes competitive fighting games different from all the other esports? Moreso, what makes Super Smash Bros. Ultimate different to other titles? Well, fighting games in general offer a way to interact with your opponent that you can't find anywhere else. How you have to condition your opponent to react to your moves, and all the nuanced mechanics that can be found in each fighting game, make it even more special to me. It feels like a faster paced chess. What's different about the Smash Series is that it uses platforming elements and combines it with fighting game mechanics in an intuitive way that everyone can simply pick up and play. In regular fighting games, you usually have to reduce their health to 0, but in Smash, your goal is to knock them out of the stage. You do this by racking up damage so that you could throw them away from the stage harder. This can set up to very interesting interactions between players and it excites me to see that a game can end in seconds, or taken to sudden death. 9. To conclude: I’d like you to offer some advice to our readers who may be novice fighting game players themselves – what does it take to compete and perform well in the fighting game scene? Do you have any tips on how to progress as a competitor? Just play. It's that simple. Most beginners feel discouraged to continue playing usually because they end up losing to the more skilled players right when they start. If you press on and try to learn how to overcome that obstacle, you will improve and in turn enjoy the game even more! This sounds like some sort of life advice. If you are already a competitor and want to improve, save your replays. We live in an age where most games have a replay function. There is so much information that you can learn from watching your past matches and it can help you notice some bad habits in-game that you might not be aware of. Honestly, the above responses from Isaac are simply fantastic, especially considering how quickly he delivered them to me. Anyways, there's a lot to chew through here.  First off, his comment of describing fighting games as 'faster paced chess' is incredibly clever and accurate too - many undermine how complicated the in-game mechanics and mental game is when playing such titles. His advice for novices is also extremely applicable to all outlets of life - just as he said - because the ability to overcome our difficulties extends way beyond just competition.  With regards to the comments about the local scene, it's certainly a pity that the community is small, but perhaps it will grow in time.  GMR would like to thank Isaac for the wonderful responses and wishes his team the absolute best of luck in the upcoming ESCI event! 

Crash Bandicoot 4 - 20 Years Later

Many thought that the Last of Us II had a lot of pressure as a sequel due to the gap of seven years from its prequel. Fans of Crash Bandicoot know such hardship, as they've patiently awaited a sequel to Crash Bandicoot: Warped from 1998 and now it's finally here in the form of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.  If you're an avid fan of the series, it's probably that you've already knew this and have quickly began replaying the Crash N. Sane Trilogy to warm up. We'll be going beyond the reveal by trying to guess as to what to expect from the title when it releases this fall, on the 2nd October.  Story - a true successor to the previous title, no restarts or alternate realities or whatnot, just a classic Villain vs Hero narrative Characters - Crash is being joined by an array of friends who seem to be playable characters too Gameplay - expect more comedic, perhaps downright frustrating 3D platforming fun. Note the addition of new abilities to Crash's arsenal together with new masks to defy physics and time.  Graphics - one can expect a graphical level similar to the remastered trilogy released earlier on the platform  The following is a statement from Activision, the publisher of the $60 title which I find fitting:  The core experience of what makes Crash Bandicoot games so entertaining – an intense and hilarious 3D platforming experience defined by a certain marsupial’s brash attitude – remains faithfully intact, but with a number of new twists. This includes a reimagined and updated art style, new gameplay mechanics, and innovative abilities, like being able to switch between Modern and Retro modes of play: These are all features that allow longtime fans and new players alike to enjoy Crash’s latest adventure! - Activision One thing I would also expect for the title is a PS5 release as it wouldn't make sense for Sony to release such a popular title on the PS4 exclusively.  You've seen the trailer, read the description and evaluated the pricetag. I'm no hardcore Crash fan, but I can only imagine the joy of finally getting a sequel so many years later.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! Have you preordered already? 

EA Play 2020 - Skate 4 Announced and Many Others!

EA Play is an annual event held by the controversially acclaimed videogame publishers of EA - I say 'controversial' as many of their decisions in the past have been downright unacceptable. Anyways, this year's iteration has revealed all of EA's plans for the current and next generation of consoles. Read on for a concise list of all the announcement.  The Sims 4 - following its 2014 launch on console, the simulator has just made the switch onto Steam and is available right now.  It Takes Two - from the passionate creators of 'A Way Out', another co-op action-adventure is back in the works - coming 2021. Lost in Random - another original title, the diversity here is quite difficult to nail down with the preview given - coming 2021. Rocket Arena - an arena shooter with a strong focus on rockets, condensed in 3v3 actions with multiple characters to choose from with their own abilities - releasing July 14th.  Star Wars: Squadrons - probably what most people are looking forward too, the next Star Wars game in the series which is coming out October 6th with a story mode too! EA Sports - combination of next-gen Madden and FIFA titles  Skate 4 - with no details whatsoever, all we have is a promise, and a very exciting one too.  Personally, these all look to be great fun: I'm highly enthusiastic for 'It Takes Two' as hardly any games nowadays cater to local couch multiplayer while 'Lost in Random' and 'Rocket Arena' look like new, experimental, leaps forward for EA as a studio.  Meanwhile, the Star Wars and Sports series need to have an impact on next-gen, and hopefully they'll make use of the new graphical ceiling too.  Included in the showcase was also a small montage previewing other potential games, which the community has interpreted as Battlefield gameplay, a hint of Dragon Age 4 and other unannounced titles. Who knows: perhaps EA can compensate for their history of unethical conduct and offer up some awesome games in the future? Let us know which of the following titles you're looking forward to in the comments section below!

VALORANT Ranked with Patch 1.02!

With competitive matchmaking or ranked mode finally arriving for VALORANT and going live through patch 1.02, Riot Games found it ideal to share a few updates with the community on their own news site - the following is what you need to know! According to the announcement, (viewable here), Riot Games offers two changes for the launch of ranked together with a future promise to work on Rank Progression as outlined in the following list directly from Riot Games:  Updated rank iconography and top rank name  Easier to play with your friends  (After launch) Rank Progression As viewable in the image below, Riot Games has taken another pass over the rank icons, touching them up to ensure their own uniqueness and clear legibility during in-game matches. Besides this, the top rank has been renamed from the former confusing name of 'VALORANT' to 'Radiant'.  Bearing the ranking system, matchmaking is also being worked on - especially to allow friends with a major gap in skill to still perhaps play in the same lobby though this may not always be possible. Skill-based matchmaking continues to remain a priority for VALORANT, and Riot Games is concerned about how to match solos and teams together.  To reach the rank of 'Radiant' players can compete through 'Acts' which run for two months, where kills and overall achievement will help propel you through the rankings. Beyond the change to the icons, Riot Games has implemented an endless amount of alterations to the game with weapon, character and map changes to ensure that everything is improved upon since the closed beta. View the entire patch note here.  To end the announcement, the future of competition is addressed and so is the need for tournaments - but first things first, the game needs to walk before it can run.  So - ranked is finally here. Gear up and get some final practice in, as now, the boys will be separated from the men as everything will hopefully work smoothly. 

Interview with Christian Spiteri - The BOV ePremier League Champion

With the end of the inaugural season of the BOV ePremier League, being Malta's first-ever official marriage between traditional sports and esports on a local scene, here at GMR Entertainment we're overjoyed with how successful the season was.  Apart from the general successes, the level of competition the league offered was simply insane - especially with our crowned champion of Christian Spiteri who played out of his mind to secure first place. Taking the season in dominant fashion, I decided to virtually sit down with the champion and conduct the following interview where I picked his brain a little in order to learn more about his personal and professional life.  1. Hi there Christian and congratulations on your win! Before diving into the competitive side of things, let’s first get to know you on a personal level. Tell us a bit about yourself – your age, your hobbies, what you do for a living and how gaming is a part of your life. Hi, thank you! Well, I’m 25 years old, I like to walk/jog, play and watch football and read a lot. At the moment my only focus is achieving my ambitions within FIFA. 2. Gaming is one thing, and esports is another. When exactly did you decide to take it all to the next level and start competing? What events, or even who, inspired you to do so? Was it always something you wanted to do? The moment my dad bought me the PS3 together with FIFA 09 and I connected it to the internet, and could play other people online. From that moment on I always took it seriously, but the first time I watched the FIWC tournament (World Cup) streamed, which is the best honour a player can win, this event really made me dream to one day compete in such competitions. I always had and continue to have a competitive nature. It wasn’t something I thought I would do or ever planned to do. I always planned to play the real sport, but unfortunately I was never good enough to reach the heights I would be satisfied with, and with this game I felt there was potential. Also, the fact that the scene kept growing and introducing more international events made it an easy substitute to the real thing, feeding my competitive hunger by competing in the sports I love which is football, just on the virtual pitch instead. 3. Let’s start diving into your recent performance at the inaugural BOV ePremier League: first of all, how did you come to represent Santa Lucia FC? What was your reaction to it all? What did your friends and family have to say?  Santa Lucia was the first from a few clubs that contacted me, they showed great belief and interest for me, and I knew straightaway it was the club for me and it was a very straightforward discussion. I was happy to reach an agreement with such a club that is so united together and ambitious, some of my friends were disappointed as I didn’t join the club they support, but they wished me luck nonetheless and my family was also very supportive. 4. You started the league with an absolutely phenomenal run of 22 consecutive wins! How did you manage, game after game, to keep besting every single opponent that came your way? Is there a particular way in which you prepare for each game? Do you prepare differently depending on the opponent? Obviously with this type of run, you need a little bit of luck to go your way sometimes, which it did for me in particular games, such as against Lawfu and Gianluca in the first legs. However, luck alone is not enough to pull you through such a run and obviously you need to play consistent, you will have many different scenarios to face and that’s when you need to show your character. One needs to stay concentrated and try and play to the best level despite the challenges and pressure you are facing and feeling. I prepare the same way for every opponent, I never take for granted any player that I’m facing as they will sit and play against you to beat you, and every single player has earned their spot. 5. Halfway through the league, with you performing dominantly, the pandemic broke out and the championship had to be suspended. How did this affect you as a competitor and what did you do to maintain your form at the top of the standings? When it was suspended there was a possibility that it would have been cancelled, and so here I want to thank the organizers for giving us the opportunity to finish the league. I kept practicing regularly and compete in online tournaments too, so I kept my usual routine despite the pandemic, but the difficulty in the last matchday was to play with the excitement and anxiety that was built due to the league being suspended. Having to wait since the beginning of March to continue the season was a challenge to handle the tension and emotions but I am pleased with the end result. 6. At the end of the season, after 26 games, you finished on top without a single loss. How does it feel to be the inaugural champion? How did you celebrate? I feel relieved in having my work and sacrifices result in me winning the league, and going undefeated is just a bonus. I’ve celebrated by allowing myself to take a break and not play FIFA for a while. 7. What do you think was the key to your success? What would you say was the most challenging part of competing in the BOV ePremier League together with any thoughts on the level of local competition? Definitely the key and the most challenging aspect for me was handling the pressure and expectations. I think. I felt before it even started that the level would be really good and it proved to be, and obviously during the season the competition was getting tougher and better, with the experience players were gaining within the league, in my opinion. 8. As champion of the BOV ePremier League – what are your goals for the future as an individual? Will you be competing in future seasons? As you’ve already participated in multiple international events in the past, do you have any future international plans that you’d like to share with us? My major goal and ambition is really to continuously aim high and challenging myself to achieve and direct my efforts appropriately towards – specifically, my goal is to win an international honor next season. 9. The BOV ePremier League was the first of its kind in Malta. What are your thoughts on how the season went know that it is finished in terms of professionalism and organization? Do you have any suggestions or ideas for future seasons? How much potential do you see in continual support of the local competitive FIFA scene? I was pleasantly surprised at how well organized it was and I want to congratulate the organizers for doing as good as a job ,in my opinion, as international events in their infrastructure and set up. I think the current format is the right one, maybe with time it can be improved by someone with a better idea, but I can’t see it getting better for now. Seeing this as the start of involving local Maltese clubs is highly encouraging and I think things will only improve from here on out. 10. Finally, this final question goes out to our readers. Christian, as a local champion, what words of advice do you have to offer to those individuals who think they have what it takes but are reluctant or even shy to compete? What tips do you have to offer to the rookies out there looking to make a name for themselves? My advice is to play the qualifiers and just try, this shyness or pressure of competition won’t affect you so much after some experience - this is the beauty of experience, the more you get use to something, the better you get at it. So don’t shy away is my advice and look at it as something that will make you an even better player by facing up to these challenging emotions. With regards to gameplay, my tips would be to watch high level players play, study them a bit, try and learn from them and after some time I would even recommend recording the games you play and analyze your games to see what you can improve upon. Obviously not everyone’s got the time for this but I think it’s better to play 50% less than what you normally play and use the time you use to spend playing to analyze your gameplay, I think this is way more efficient route to improving. Christian has definitely earned my respect with the humility present in his responses: having gone undefeated through 26 games, the amount of respect he still shows the competition is highly commendable and a reason as to why he is mutually praised for his performances. He has every right to be cocky, but still, he retains a cool and humble resolve. Apart from the responses to the questions, he also had the following to say:  I'm very happy to have taken part in the first official Maltese FIFA league, I would like to thank my family for their constant support, my friends, Santa Lucia for the honor they gave me in allowing me to represent them, and I would like to congratulate all the staff that made this happen from MFA and GMR Entertainment and well done to all the players that took part. Bearing this level-headed attitude in mind, Christian offered some incredible advice to rookies which is definitely worth noting as his emphasis on efficiency couldn't be highlighted further.  As an individual, GMR Entertainment would like to congratulate him one more time on his success at the BOV ePremier League and we wish him the absolute best for his future as an international competitor too. We also hope to perhaps see Christian back again next season to defend his title! Let us know what you thought of Christian's responses and his performance at the BOV ePremier League in the comments section below! 

Mixer's Death - Ninja and Shroud Free to Go

A while ago, roughly this time last year, the streaming platform of Mixer owned by Microsoft began to gain traction in terms of viewership. Later on in the year, the platform signed exclusive contracts with multiple top streamers including the likes of 'Shroud' and 'Ninja' - this all spelled discussion within the community as to whether Twitch would remain on top within the market. With the announced death of Mixer, this is all null and void. Indeed, just recently, Microsoft officially announced the shutting down of Mixer as they've chosen to move forward instead with Facebook Gaming. Dedicated viewers of Mixer have until July 22nd to enjoy the platform, though one may expect streamers to begin making their own transitions immediately such as 'Ninja' who's already updated the description of his untouched Twitch channel.  Does the death of Mixer come as a surprise?  In short, no. It never really served itself up as a contender to Twitch. Yes, exclusive signings of the aforementioned personalities was a great move, but not enough to support an entire platform. Twitch never really broke a sweat, and neither did YouTube for that matter. Multiple Twitch personalities who didn't make the move, such as DrDisrespect predicted its downfall multiple times due to the lack of content available.  Officially, the names of 'Ninja' and 'Shroud' are free to go wherever they please - it's likely that both will go back to their roots and return to the land of Twitch.  Microsoft is looking for greener pastures, and this seems to be in the form of Facebook Gaming. Many have speculated as to why, but an interview with The Verge has shed some light on the situation:  “We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there. I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties, and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has.” With the intention to push out their 'xCloud' service with the Xbox Series X and Facebook Gaming seems to be the right place for content to them.  In conclusion, Mixer tried and tried, but it couldn't topple the giant that is Twitch.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section - where you a fan of Mixer? Did you see this coming? 

All The Next-Gen Consoles Exclusives So Far

With both developers expected to release their respective consoles later on this year, it's safe to say that the war between Microsoft and Playstation is back on and maybe this time it won't be a slaughter. Below we've gathered a list of all of the exclusives confirmed for the Xbox Series X and the PS5 - you get to decide who sits on top.  A quick disclaimer before we get started, the following are exclusives which have been confirmed as of the June 20th, as perhaps some surprises still await and the developers could be leaving the best for last as a marketing scheme or something of that sort.  Playstation 5 Horizon: Forbidden West Gran Turismo 7  Demon's Souls  Returnal  Destruction All Stars  Astro's Playroom Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Sackboy: A Big Adventure  Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales  Bugsnax  Deathloop Ghostwire: Tokyo  Godfall Goodbye Volcano High  JETT: The Far Shore Kena: Bridge of the Spirits Little Devil Inside Oddworld Soulstorm  Project Athia  Solar Ash Stray  Tribes of Midgard  The Pathless Xbox Series X  Everwild  Forza Motorsport 8  Gears 5 Halo Infinite  Orphan of the Machine  Senua's Sage: Hellblade II Scorn It's not looking too balanced - I know, though I searched as thoroughly as I could to equalize the list though Sony simply won't allow it.  Console gaming has never been about graphics or pure performance, as many have fussed over the new technology both next-gen consoles are packing. Simply none of that is important or relevant without the games - consoles are purely tools to be used to power experiences. It's all about, and always has been about, the games which are available to play.  Personally, as a fan of the Dark Souls/Bloodborne series, playing Demon's Souls is a must for me on the Playstation 5. I will have to reiterate here that perhaps your own favourite publisher is yet to announce any exclusive titles and could be worth waiting for.  Let us know your thoughts on who you think is winning the console war so far in terms of exclusives in the comments section below! 

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