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?

CWL Pro League 2019 Preview

With the end of last, the divisions for the 2019 CWL Pro League were concluded through the Pro League Qualifier event. A total of 16 spots were up for grabs; four of which had already been awarded to the likes of Optic Gaming, Luminosity, eUnited and Splyce following a satisfactory Top 4 finish at the first event of the year; CWL Vegas.  The PQL offered some potential shock, as certain 'top teams' began questioning the notion of the 'favourite'; with the lesser known teams snatching a series now and then. A few teams that many thought wouldn't make it were Red Reserve, Team Envy, and of course, the notoriously problematic squad of 100Thieves. Luckily for them, they all managed to make it through; avoiding communal tension and the subconscious screams for a roster change, at least for now. However, one top name did fail to qualify - FaZe Clan. The squad of 'Replays', 'Attach', 'Zooma', 'Priestahh' and the newly added young talent of 'Cellium'; who I personally believed performed very well overall, were kicked out by Excelerate Gaming in the Losers' Bracket. Perhaps this proves that former player Methodz was not completely culpable for their similarly poor performance at CWL Vegas. With the current state of other teams in mind, such as 100T, and the fact that FaZe is one of the top organizations within the Call of Duty scene; I find that a roster change is on the horizon - the players, especially Zooma and Attach, are undoubtedly disappointed in not qualifying for the esteemed league.  Another team to also fail their expectations, albeit lower than others, was G2 Esports, captained by Parasite, the BO2 champion. Unluckily for them, they matched up against a desperate Red Reserve - the game between them determined with who would progress and who would go home from the two of them. All live viewers were gifted with a 5 map series, terminated with a Round 11 SnD - Methodz was left alone in a 1v3; it really has been a tough year for the former member of the event-winning Rise Nation of WWII.  Anyways, the divisions have been concluded, with the 16 teams grouped up as follows;  The open bracket teams of Midnight, Evil Geniuses, Enigma6 and Team Envy all came out swinging and quickly solidified a spot into the Pro League. Some new names, such as Heretics and Team Space act as undetermined threats to the top tier teams.  Looking over the divisions as a whole, both are rather stacked; the exact aim of the Pro League.  While Division A houses the top-dogs of Optic and Luminosity; it's unsure how these teams will fare against other teams that, although on paper have less stock, have made use of a tremendous amount of practice this past week in qualifying. Personally, I find that Division B is slightly more competitive, with the bottom four splitting hairs, Enigma6 and Envy lacking consistency while eUnited and Splyce juggle for dominance. However, it is imperative to keep in mind the fact that unlike last year's league, teams in different divisions will have the opportunity to play one another this year. With schedules and specific matchups to be released, it'll be curious to witness how these cross-division matches play out.  With $700,000 on the line, the first week kicks off with the 4th of February. All the action will climax with the awaited play-offs. Until then, many teams such as FaZe Clan await impending departures of professional players who wish to compete in the Pro League, to give an example of such a team. A similar situation is being faced by G2 Esports and Team Sween, to note.   The newly updated season of Trading Shots, hosted by CWL, will be sure to break down all of the latest news - personally a massive fan since its introduction last year. 

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

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

Hex Media Studio Unveiled - A Local Professional Studio

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

Top 5 Viewed Articles of 2018

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

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: PUBG

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

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: FIFA 19

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

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: Black Ops 4

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

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 Recap: CS:GO

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

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

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

CWL Las Vegas 2018 Recap - An Explosive Start to Black Ops 4

Earlier this month, the CWL 2018-19 season for Black Ops 4 commenced with the first Major LAN event, being CWL Las Vegas. The city of fortune produced an incredible event, not just for the players and audience involved, but for Call of Duty in general. Climaxing at a staggering 200,000 views during the grand final, when OpTic redeemed their poor WWII performance, viewership was the highest it's ever been for a Call of Duty event. Progression towards becoming a more notorious esport is on the horizon. For now, let's just focus on this incredible event and discuss all the details.  Group Stage  What truly makes a phenomenal event is the unnerving notion of not being knowing the final result of any match-up. Since no statistics were on the board, (though they would have been thrown out the window anyway) all the players were keen to impress at the first event of the season, starting with group play. Across the 4 pools, I'll safely say that only 1 went according to the numbers, since the open bracket teams from a selection of 272, have had an unparallel effect within the group stage.  Pool A consisted of eUnited, 100T, Team Reciprocity and Mindfreak, later to be joined by the Open Bracket team in Team Sween. With 100Thieves acting as the perceived favourite, they started out the event demonstrating their prevalent weaknesses in SnD and Hardpoint; a recurring theme for their disappointing lifetime at the event. These weaknesses were heavily outlined by eUnited, the team set for second place, now rising to the top of the group. Meanwhile, Mindfreak and Team Reciprocity were stuck at the bottom. What effect would Team Sween have? Well, the favourite British team, having upset frequently in the past years, came in swinging, immediately throwing 100T into the jaws of the Losers' Bracket. Nobody expected such an outcome, especially NadeshoT. To foreshadow the disappointment, the supposed 'all-star' team would pack their bags with a Top 16 placement. Team Sween and eUnited, on the other hand, would make it much further.  While Pool A housed the worst disappointment of the event, there are plenty more awaiting the light of scrutiny. Evil Geniuses, Luminosity Gaming, Red Reserve, Heretics KFC and UYU were collected into the second pool, Pool B, for a little bit of fun. The three-way contention between EG, LG and RR would have placed the boys in blue at a certain third place finish, that is, if Red Reserve had bothered to practice more before the event. The brits placed a dismal 4th in the group, beneath UYU and above Heretics KFC on maps. Any negative connotations are from the fact that I listed this team as a sort of favourite, being heavily disappointed. Meanwhile, Luminosity defied doubters with a strong second place finish underneath the newly formed Evil Geniuses roster. Main takeaways; Red Reserve were not as prepared as they were made out to be, finishing Top 16, while Evil Geniuses benefitted from their continuous online practice. However, poor practice doesn't make perfect as we'll find out in Pool C.  Last year's Champs; in the form of Aches, SiLLy, Apathy and Assault picked up the young gun Huke ahead of the new season, ready to defend their position on the top. Unfortunately for them, CWL Vegas 2018 would leave any Team Envy fans shaking their hands; they placed last in their group stage, beneath Mazer Gaming. Also in Pool C, were Lightning Pandas and FaZe Clan; both contending for first place. However, the Open Bracket team in Str8 Rippin would happily rip apart these expectations as they fought for second place, denying FaZe Clan entry and instead directing them to the Losers' Bracket. FaZe would go ahead to clinch an honestly rubbish Top 24 placing, at the hands of Team Reciprocity, worse than Team Envy who placed below them. FaZe and Team Envy especially, being world champs, seriously need to get their 'stuff' together for future events.  The final pool, being the most straightforward one, saw green bricks pilled uniformly to form a proudly reinstated wall; OpTic Gaming back on form, back on top of the group too. They'd lose 1 map to their toughest competition, Splyce, who'd be back for more later on in the event. The name of Dashyy was immediately thrown around like a volleyball for the MVP right after the first series, only to continue up to Sunday - solidifying his current reputation. Splyce did in fact finish second, with a strong international roster, while G2 Esports dropped to a staggering last place to give way to Pittsburgh Knights and Excelerate Gaming. OpTic quickly made a statement; Scump, Crimsix and Karma were hungry, and they'd brought some young guns to help too. 

Fortnite and PUBG Banned in China For Cultural Reasons

As gamers, we've all heard of the apparent 'violence' inducing nature which certain studies and people tend to suggest, although such a claim is still to be confirmed. The Chinese government has taken this a step further by banning some of the world's most popular titles, as they allegedly 'promote incorrect values'; with concerns on gore and depiction of female characters.  With that claim, the government has banned the BRs of Fortnite and PUBG outright, with no warning of any sort. These titles failed the critique proposed in the review process the Chinese government underwent. Alongside these blatant bans, many titles have been warned in requiring 'corrective action' in order to avoid a potential ban. Twenty games were reviewed; titles, including esports giants, such as League of Legends, Overwatch and World of Warcraft, are all stationed in this category. These games are yet to respond to the accusations.  Although one could possibly justify the 'gore' accusations, even though age restrictions are present for a reason, banning Fortnite on such parameters seems a little odd. Regarding the representation of women, the titles of LoL and Overwatch are indeed culpable for perhaps revealing more than the minimum, which keenly upset the government. Will Riot Games and Blizzard heed to China's requirements and mend their games?  The other factor would have to be the state of game chat within these multiplayer titles, often having no restrictions at all.  The following are effects which such bans could have. Removing esport titles from China will certainly reduce the state of the esports industry within the country, potentially affecting the international state of the title. China is definitely one to apply pressure to the rest of the world, with certain developers often creating versions of games just for the Chinese market.  We'll be keeping up with the situation, as this may definitely switch up how some of the largest esport titles in the world present their titles. 

CWL Las Vegas 2018 Preview - Kicking the Season Off

Competitive Call of Duty returns this weekend with the CWL Las Vegas Open 2018, taking the community to foreign ground with offline Black Ops 4 competition and a new venue. With $250,000 on the line, together with heaps of pride heading into the rest of this exciting year of competition, this weekend of 7-9 December will set the tone for the coming months.  Retaining the classic Open format, a 16 team group stage will be satisfied by 12 automatic qualifications (either through last year's achievements or points from this year) together with 100 open bracket teams scrambling for the remaining 4 spots. To settle the final 4 spots, a play-in tournament will be held on Thursday evening between the potent list of teams; including names such as Mindfreak, Tainted Minds and Str8 Rippin. Note that one of the most prominent changes from last year includes the removal of a continental barrier for players - all professionals are free to represent any team. Of course, there's the remarkably important fact of a new 5-player format, for anyone living under a rock.  Besides the typical open bracket teams, there are the well-known teams aiming at that podium finish. Here, I'll also settle my need to make a list of teams to look out for - I won't dare predict a top 3, knowing that this is the first event of the year and anything could happen.  I'll start off with the elephant in the room; Optic Gaming. They've simply looked incredible, being the most consistent team online in winning every single tournament so far, with very few teams managing to take a series off of them. Although this is reminiscent to last year's performance before LAN, this year's different. These past months have seen Scump returning to his grind and actually enjoying the title once more, which is rather dangerous. Crimsix has stepped up to his destined IGL role, Karma is now free to be as devious as he likes with 5 players on the board and the fresh skills of TJHaly and Dashy are working miracles for them in SnD and respawn gamemodes. As usual, it's their event to lose, and if they do they'll have to deal with the community pressure.  Next, eUnited is definitely a top contender with Optic, also being fun to watch. Last year's Champs, should anyone forget, eUnited was the crowd's favourite following Optic's early departure - the atmosphere was simply electric and the team played out of its mind. Retaining the leadership in Clayster, they've added the heavy experience from the side of JKap, even though many are sceptical of their cooperation with one another. The twins are also still present and as determined as ever - quite content with their curious fifth player in aBezy, a young gun new to the scene. Do note that Felo was indeed dropped from last year.  The remaining are all a mesh of teams sitting at the same level: Red Reserve, Evil Geniuses, Luminosity, FaZe Clan, Splyce, Team Envy and 100Thieves. I could narrate the storyline of each time, but I'll stick to two who deserve the attention and quickly discuss the others.  Red Reserve, in my books, are the best from this bunch. Being a favourite to watch last year, it was agonizing to witness their arrival to almost every grand final, only to be defeated by whoever made it their too - ending the year with a disappointing 7-8th finish. Nonetheless, the team is one of the very few to keep last year's roster, with the inclusion of the lethal skrapz, together with the addition of  Bance from rival European squad Splyce. With this team chemistry and the overall creativity of the team, I've set high expectations for them. Also, they've been keeping their practice and scrims on the down-low; bound to surprise many at the event.  Secondly, I simply must discuss 100Thieves. The so-called 'godsquad' began assembling right out of the gate, with pickups of Kenny and Fero, followed by a standstill. Struggling to seize arguably, the top available players in JKap and Karma, the team then signed Enable, SlasheR and Octane. The names of SlasheR and Kenny on the same roster are rather terrifying following last year, as these two could easy be considered the best AR and SMG respectively from that year. However, they didn't start off the year too well with shaky performances at the 2Ks, but it all doesn't matter in the scope of a $250,000 prize pool. Matt Nadeshot Haag is counting on this new team to reignite his return to Call of Duty.  Something I have to add is the fact that the players of Team Envy will act as the defending champions, even though many are overlooking them heading into this event. We'll have to see if Aches and the squad, including the newly added Huke still have what it takes to prove everyone wrong again.  All of this ambiguity will be settled this weekend, from the 7th to 9th December, where all the action will be streamed on Twitch. The pools have been drawn, the brackets predicted; all that's left to do is play the game - I cannot wait for Black Ops 4 to get started!  Simultaneously, the local GO Malta Esports Festival will also be ongoing this weekend, hosting its own Call of Duty tournament hosted by none other than EEG. International teams will also be flying in to compete for the 5000 euros worth of prize pool. There's plenty of Call of Duty for everyone to enjoy this weekend!

13 reasons you should visit The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 between the 7th and 9th of December is set to be the largest Esports Festival of its kind that Malta is yet to see. We’re taking gaming to one of the largest commercial centres on the island, that being the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali, with the central stage being the largest yet. Of course, the spectators’ main objective is to observe high-quality esports; made possible thanks to the top-class tournaments being organized, fuelled by large prize pools, inducing a new dimension of competition within participants. Amongst these competitors, foreign professional players will be present beside the many Maltese getting involved. Below are 13 reasons why it's a must to visit this event: 1. Opening Ceremony Get ready for a complete show during Friday's Opening Ceremony at 7pm with short speeches from Maltese key figures in the esports Industry and also a feature showing's journey throughout the years.   2. Cosplayers Enter for Free!! Yes you heard right! will be providing free spectator entrance to cosplayers for the upcoming event. Feel free to emulate your favourite characters; we know that many of you will show up and demonstrate the strength of the cosplaying community - with that being said, this is something we're bound to continue carrying out.   3. Children under 11 Enter for Free!! All children under the age of 11 accompanied by their parents can enter the festival completely FREE and enjoy the great atmosphere together with all the other gamers coming to the event.   4. Clash Royale On the 9th of December Qlash Malta will be organising a FREE Clash Royale Tournament where all local players are invited to come and battle one another to win an amazing prize, a Clash Royale Bootcamp at the Qlash House in Treviso Italy with all expenses paid for the winner and one guest! Just bring your device and register till noon. Do not forget to bring your chargers!   5. Qlash €2000 Fifa 19 PS4 Tournament We have teamed up with Qlash a foreign Italian esports organization to bring you the Qlash FIFA 19 Tournament. Starting with registration on Saturday 8th December 10.30am with the actual games starting at 12pm participants will compete against players from two skill levels (amateurs and pros) in order to find the title winner of each level. This is your opportunity to show off your talents and skills in gaming more than ever before. We will be splitting the players in two tournaments after the groups stage: Gold and Silver Tournament. Full info can be found on the tournament's website, while the last set of tickets can be purchased online or from the Gamers Lounge in Msida.   6. Watch the Pro Players Live on Stage Come and watch pro CS:GO players battle it out on stage on Saturday and Sunday in order to be crowned champion in our $15,000 tournament, while 16 Call of Duty Black Ops 4 teams from all over Europe will be fighting for a €5,000 prize pot with some of the games being played live on stage on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.   7. The Gamers Lounge Stand Be sure to visit the Gamers Lounge Stand where 10 PCs will be setup for you to enjoy some gaming time with friends for FREE. In addition you can come try out some cool gaming equipment from the brands you love with special discounted prices throughout the weekend.   8. VR Have you ever experienced the VR world? What it feels like to be under water, on the highest building or out in space - all these while wearing a VR headset? Truth be told, it is one hell of a journey - and we have made this possible for you thanks to Battlemaxx which will be presenting this to the general audience at the festival.   9. Sim Racing One of the recent trends we've acknowledged in the local community is the recent excitement regarding the SIMRacing scene, thanks to the care of companies such as World Pro Racing. Therefore, it only made sense to include the esport in the event, in order to continue kickstarting the scene! All the action will take place from the 7th through to the 9th of December.   10. Meet Malta's Biggest Gaming Collector We've got Robert Borg, probably Malta's best gaming collector.  An avid collector, while being a caring father and a hard-worker, who aims to spread the word of collecting on the island.  Be sure to come and visit a very small part of his exhibition and have a chat with a true gamer and ask him the famous question "How could someone find all the time to play all these games?"   11. Tekken 7 Tournament Iron Visionary Team will be organising n a Tekken Tournament on Sunday 9th starting at 12pm. They will be doing a Sensei and Student Challange were the aim is to be have the best Tekken players teaming up with others in order to work together as a team by putting their partner in the same light as themselves. Come and meet this wonderful community and have a chat with others sharing the same passion as you do.   12. Meet and Greet Saturday is the chance to meet and greet some of the pro CS:GO players who will be flying over to Malta. One will be able to take photos while have some of their merchandise signed. Be sure to there in order not to miss this unique opportunity    13. Free Merchandise It's the event of the year so why not, our sponsors and partners will be giving away free merchandise for the lucky spectators. Be sure to visit the Gamers Lounge Stand, Qlash Stand and Pepsi Stand to get the chance to get some nice merchandise :)   Tickets are on sale from the following website at the below prices:  €5 for 1 day €10 for 3 days (Not Valid to enter BYOC Area, PUBG Area and COD Area) €15 for 3 days (Valid to enter BYOC Area, PUBG Area and COD Area)

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