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Found 25 results

  1. Hi Extra Life Team, I work with a lot of clients (both gaming and non-gaming). This year I've seen a lot of non-gaming brands join the scene through either direct sponsorship (Gillette, DirecTV), or direct involvement (GEICO Gaming). I have non-gaming contacts who would like to join the scene through a philanthropic approach. Sample idea 1: Brand X promotes their product on a streamer's page. For every lead generated, the brand would donate a portion to the streamer and a portion to the charity. Sample idea 2: Brand X does a straight donation and "buys" screen time on a stream/team. Sample idea 3: ??? Is this allowed? Is there a list of "top stream teams" that can be asked? Who would I need to talk to regarding business development? Peter
  2. Hey all! I love to play competitive video games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, CS:GO, and so forth. I'm ranked pretty high in each game and was looking to see if we could start up an ExtraLife themed team where we could compete either in local events, or online events, and call it ExtraLife. It would probably gain some notoriety with the scene, and cause gamers to search for what ExtraLife is and such. And if we attended the same type of lan events, I'm sure people would sign up once they meet us. I'm a local around Philadelphia, PA and would love to even get some online events going. Here are a list of the games I play, and a way to contact me: 1. League of Legends - Diamond 4 Support / Top Main 2. Overwatch - Master Tier - Season 3 Ended 3800 MR, Season 4 is currently 3650. 3. Hearthstone - I normally end up around Rank 2-3, but I know there are a lot of tournaments held online for points. 4. CS:GO - Haven't played in a year or two, I was LEM before I stopped. If I had a team I could get back into it for Extra Life 5. Heroes of the Storm - Just started but I am well versatile in MOBAs and am trying to get to ranked now. 6. I also play Smash Brothers Melee in tournaments from time to time. You can contact me on: Battlenet - Clementine#11594 Steam ID - I'll modify this when I get home and get it You can always drop me a message on the forums as well. This is just an idea I had, If anyone is interested in getting a following together, it would be great and super fun! We could even stream our tournament matches, make some vods and get some publicity out there in the gaming world!
  3. Major League Gaming is partnering with Lai Fung Holdings Limited and eSun Holdings Limited to construct the first-ever MLG Arena on Hengqin Island in China. The MLG facility will be located in the middle of an area called V-Zone, a space dedicated to video games featuring facilities like an expo area for game developers to reveal new and upcoming games, creative workspaces, gaming-themed restaurants, retail shops and more. “MLG has been at the forefront of the global eSports phenomenon for over a decade and we’re taking our leadership position to new heights with this expansion into the world’s fastest growing eSports market – China,” said Mike Sepso, president and co-founder of Major League Gaming. Tournaments and events held at the Arena will be broadcast live via MLG.tv. The MLG Arena in Hengqin is slated for a 2017 opening. This is the second regional expansion following the opening of MLG Brasil.
  4. Do you play League of Legends? Have you been struggling to up your game to dangerously talented levels? LoLClass is here to provide you with live lessons with professional League of Legends players. LoLClass has recruited some of the best and most well-known pro players in the scene to teach at their online academy. Coaches include the likes of VoyBoy, St. Vicious, and DoubleLift. Registering on the site nets free users one free class per month. Each class only has 50 seats available for free users, so there are no guarantees that users will be able to get in to the class of their choice. Members who pay at one of the pricing tiers have more access to live classes than free users, while people who pay the $49.99 platinum membership have unlimited access. There are also classes on demand which are recorded classroom sessions which can be watched by any pricing tier, though some are locked away for premium students only. Honestly, this is an amazing idea given how large the player-base is for League of Legends. Sure, this service isn't going to be for everyone, but highly motivated players or aspiring pro gamers would definitely be willing to pay for this kind of tutelage. If this is successful it is possible we could see similar services spring up around other professional gaming scenes as well. If you want to check it out, head over to lol-class.com. What do you think, Extra Life community? Silly? Awesome? Savvy business?
  5. The motion picture studio Lionsgate will be working with Twitch and MLG to put on a month long tournament February 5-22, culminating in a championship showdown with $10,000 on the line. While this represents the first time a major Hollywood studio has partnered with eSports and streaming organizations, it isn't entirely without motivation. Lionsgate is sponsoring the tournament in an effort to market the Blu-ray release of Ender's Game on February 11th. Ender's Game, both a novel and a film, is about a boy named Ender Wiggin who is sent to a remote space station for special leadership and combat training. The tactical tutelage that Ender endures is roughly analogous to the strategies professional StarCraft II players display on their own sci-fi battlefields. “Lionsgate understands that gamers are more than a niche, they are everyone,” said Ben Goldhaber, the director of content marketing at Twitch. “By leveraging Twitch’s community of 45 million gamers, many of whom spend hours playing and watching sci-fi inspired games, creating an eSport event around Ender’s Game on our platform makes perfect sense.” MLG, in partnership with GameOn, will run the Ender’s Game on Blu-ray Tournament. MLG will directly invite 12 players, and fans have the opportunity to vote on the remaining four players. Voting will take place from now until February 5th at http://gameon.gg. In total, over $20,000 in prizes are being awarded to skilled players. What kind of play can we expect out of this tournament? Check out one of the games from MLG's 2013 Grand Finals.
  6. October 18-19 teams of eSports competitors will descend on Winter Park, FL for a chance to take home the autumnal title and over $30,000 in prize money. Dota 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are the games of choice for this year's Fall Invitational. The tournament will be held on the Winter Park, FL Full Sail University campus. Teams for both games will be battling it out for $10,000, with runners up netting a cool $5,000. The first place Dota 2 team will also snag a guaranteed spot in the International tournament at the MLG Championship, November 22-24. Fans of eSports can spectate the action either in-person or online. Spectators at the physical event have the option of purchasing a $15 general admission pass or a $100 VIP pass that includes reserved seating at both events, a behind-the-scenes tour, and an MLG hoodie. For those who can't make the trek down to Florida, online viewing will be live during the event over on MLG.tv. You can plan your viewing with the handy programming schedule. Dota 2 fans have a third option to view the Dota 2 tourney. Purchasing the In-Game Ticket enables full spectator-mode access and live commentary while within the Dota 2 client. Tickets are available for about $5 in the Dota 2 store in-game and online.
  7. If you are a fan of independent games, last weekend's IndieCade Festival was the event for you. Billing itself as the International Festival of Independent Games, the 2013 IndieCade Festival was held from Saturday, October 5 to Sunday, October 6 in Culver City, California. Every year the festival acknowledges the achievements of independent developers and serves as a gathering of independent talent for discussions of interests to indies. This year, in addition to the 36 games that have made it into the final rounds of judging, IndieCade selected 77 other titles to showcase at their event. Those selected include eight PlayStation 4 titles, a number of VR projects on the Oculus Rift, a handful of Ouya games, and a showing from Nintendo. All titles at the event should be playable. In addition to the games, a few notable events will be occurring throughout the weekend. There will be a small eSports tournament/exhibition of a variety of titles such as the minimalist DiveKick and Pulse of the Samurai. Speeches will be given from respected indie developers like Jenova Chen, creator of Journey. Finally, public discussions will be held between developers and industry honchos regarding the games on display and past games those involved have helped create. Did you make it to IndieCade? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments.
  8. Today marks the beginning of the Red Bull Training Grounds, a three day intensive training period and tournament for professional StarCraft II players from around the world. With $10,000 in prizes on the line, which of the eight world renowned RTS masters will emerge victorious? At this Red Bull Training Grounds, fans will be able to see: NesTea, SeleCT, Succeed, Illusion, State, Snute, and Huk go toe-to-toe in the fast-paced, real-time strategy arena. For the low price of $0, you can watch the livestream over the weekend or view the event at the Full Sail Live venue which is at the address you see below: 3300 University Blvd Winter Park, FL 32792 Doors open at 1 PM EST for the live event while the livestream begins at 2 PM EST Friday through Sunday. You can find the stream over on the Red Bull Training Grounds hub as well as some great Q&A interviews with the eSports competitors. I'll be rooting for SeleCT, who will you be cheering on?
  9. Beginning Friday morning and running through Sunday evening, the annual EVO championship series (short for Evolution) will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. EVO is an umbrella event that covers all of the major and some of the not-so-major fighting games, giving each game its own tournament or exhibition. This year, EVO will consist of nine sub-tournaments, one for each of the following: Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat, Persona 4 Arena, Street Fighter x Tekken ver. 2013, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, The King of Fighters XIII, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In addition to all of these games, there will also be exhibitions for indie fighting games Divekick and Skullgirls, as well as a demonstration of the upcoming box One fighting game, Killer Instinct. As someone who has very little experience with fighting games, I still find EVO to be a blast to watch. While I might not know the ins and outs of the gameplay and some of the nuances certainly go over my head, I know can still appreciate moments like my favorite video game comeback of all time from a 2005 Street Fighter EVO tournament between Daigo Umehara, who is widely considered to be the greatest Street Fighter player of all time, and Justin Wong, another contender for the position. There will be three streams via Twitch bringing EVO’s content to you live on the srkevo1, srkevo2, and srkevo3 channels. Viewers will be able to switch between the three of them from Twitch’s EVO 2013 hub. Each stream will have two commentators who know the intricacies of the games and will be able to translate for viewers who aren’t as familiar with fighting games. While the main streams are free, it is possible to purchase a $12 HD ticket to view the streams in HD. All proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund at NYU Game Center for aspiring game makers within the fighting game community. There was some contention yesterday, when Nintendo announced that they would not allow Super Smash Bros. Melee to be streamed from the competition, despite a fan movement that raised $94,000 for charity in order to bring Melee to the venerable EVO event. After about five hours of massive outrage, Nintendo reversed its stance, allowing the fighting game to be streamed. The full streaming schedule for EVO 2013 can be found here. For a more in-depth look at EVO including players to watch and fighting game jargon, be sure to check out this excellent viewing guide over on Shoryuken. Below you can find my favorite match-up from EVO 2012. For any of you fighting game fans out there, who are you rooting for this EVO? Personally, I’m hoping to see Daigo sweep Street Fighter IV.
  10. Recently, I was given the opportunity to ask Sundance DiGiovanni, the CEO and founder of North America’s largest eSports organization, Major League Gaming (MLG), a few questions regarding console eSports and the future of gaming. Jack Gardner: If console manufacturers had their hearts set on getting in on the growing eSports industry, what more could they do than the features the PS4 was announced to have (i.e. accessible streaming options, partnership with a streaming service, increasing the amount of competitive titles available, integrating social media, etc.)? Sundance DiGiovanni: In addition to all of the great technology and features planned for PS4, in order to have a strong eSports presence it really comes down to the games themselves. Titles need to have competitive settings built in and a strong community following to be successful in the eSports landscape. He’s not wrong. Many recent games billing themselves as the next big thing in eSports have failed or been only marginally successful. Tribes: Ascend and Heroes of Newerth are perfect examples. Both games are free-to-play, relying on microtransactions to make money for the developer, which would seem to guarantee a large user base because who doesn’t love a free game? However, despite holding tournaments with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, neither have found anywhere near as big a following as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft 2, or League of Legends. The bottom line is that not many people are interested in watching professional gamers play a game that isn’t popular and that lack of interest kills eSports potential. Jack: What can developers do to create games better geared toward eSports (in terms of casting, recording, content distribution, etc.)? Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s eSports features seem to be the best consoles offer. Can developers do better or are those what we can expect from future console releases? Sundance: Activision and Treyarch did an incredible job of developing Black Ops 2 with eSports in mind; that is why we are featuring it on our MLG Pro Circuit this year. They connected with the eSports community, attended our events, listened to what players wanted out of a game and even brought on Pro Players to consult on the feature set. They were dedicated to making the game work and they should be a model for other game publishers looking to create a successful eSports title. Now that we have seen just what is possible when you create a video game from the ground up with eSports in mind, we can reasonably expect to see other titles aping the features in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Being able to stream while in-game with no additional set up is an incredible boon to gamers looking to go pro, as they can look over their matches and see where they need improvement and also make names for themselves online. The functionality brought to viewing and shoutcasting these matches is nothing short of incredible: Players can commentate the action, switching between an overview mode, map, first-person perspective, and listen in to team chatter. Jack: How will having built-in streaming and viewing features in the PS4 and possibly the next Xbox affect eSports and do you believe that this is at least partly a response to the massive growth we’ve seen in the competitive gaming scene over the last few years? Sundance: In the last two years, online viewership of eSports competition has increased dramatically largely in part to streaming technology. It has become easy and seamless to stream on a regular basis, whether you are an individual player or an eSports organization like us. Having built-in features will make eSports even more accessible for aspiring competitive gamers looking to make a name for themselves as the barrier to entry will be even lower. Throwing some statistics out there: From 2010 to 2012, MLG saw its audience grow from 1.8 million to 11.7 million, a growth of about 636%. In 2012, more than 15 million hours of MLG eSports content was streamed to viewers. None of this growth would have been remotely possible without the ability to stream via services like Twitch and Ustream. As Sundance said, having the ability to stream built into the console will allow more people to enter the streaming arena and make a name for themselves. This isn’t limited to professional gamers, more people could popularize themselves as game commentators, also known as shoutcasters, as well as broaden the audience of eSports viewers. It also eliminates many of the difficulties inherent in streaming today. It is expensive to stream. You need a high-quality internet connection, a powerful computer, a subscription to a streaming program, and (if you are streaming games on consoles) a capture card. None of that comes cheap, either. Having these all built-in will be a huge boon to future streamers and hopeful next-gen competitive gamers. Jack: MLG has a history of making gaming partnerships with companies like Microsoft. Do you think we could expect to see MLG or other eSports content making its way onto consoles in the form of apps or built-in functionality? Sundance: MLG has a long standing relationship with both Microsoft for Xbox LIVE in the form of pic packs and video, as well as PSN. I think we will definitely see eSports content increasing its footprint within the console world. That’s a good sign. Currently to watch eSports content of any kind on consoles you either need to use an internet browser or watch big tournaments after the fact using apps like YouTube. Neither of those alternatives are very appealing to most people, who opt for the much simpler alternative of viewing on a computer. The biggest ray of hope for those who were hoping to easily watch eSports on their televisions was a Twitch streaming app exclusive to the Xbox 360. It was announced last year, but since then it seems to have disappeared from the public light. What could have happened to it? Jack: Do you see Sony’s partnership with the streaming service Ustream as significant to eSports on consoles? Why do you think they didn’t partner with the more gaming oriented Twitch streaming service? Sundance: It's great to see Sony embracing streaming. Hopefully we will see it crossover into eSports efforts on the console, but for now it seems to be a broader initiative. As far as why they picked Ustream over Twitch - I really can't speak to that. I wasn't involved in the decision making process. The fact that Sony partnered with Ustream over Twitch certainly seems to indicate that they are aiming for a wider array of people interested in streaming for various reasons. However, it does seem like an odd decision, given that Twitch has made a name for itself (literally made a name for itself, changing from Justin.tv to Twitch.tv to cater to the gaming crowd) by focusing on streamed game content. Our theory: It could be that Twitch was already partnered with another company. Remember that Xbox 360 exclusive streaming app from Twitch? Remember that after the announcement that it existed, it promptly went completely dark, but the company insisted it was still being worked on? Remember that both the PS4 and the next Microsoft console are both expected to launch this holiday season? It is highly likely that the reason Sony wasn’t able to get Twitch on-board as their streaming service is because Twitch was busy creating services for the next-gen Xbox, which would certainly explain why not much has been heard about it recently. What do you think of eSports or the next-gen? Let us know in the comments! Also, enjoy one of our favorite MLG StarCraft 2 moments below:
  11. Activision Blizzard launched their eSports division last year with the former CEO of ESPN, Steve Bornstein, as the chairman and Mike Sepso of MLG as the vice president. Pete Vlastelica joins the team as their new president. Vlastelica created Yardbarker, an online sports network, and sold it to Fox in 2010. Since then, Vlastelica has been with FOX Sports as their executive vice president of digital up until he made the leap to eSports. His biggest achievements while with FOX Sports included launching programs like Garbage Time with Katie Nolan and organizing the digital infrastructure to stream Super Bowl XLVIII, which set a new record for online streaming of a sporting event. Bobby Kotick, one of Activision's most well known executives, released a statement on their new hire saying, "We continue to add to our all-star eSports leadership team. Pete is an entrepreneurial leader with a history of creating inspired content and developing new digital channels of distribution. As we continue to build MLG into the premier esports network, Pete will further our mission celebrating the accomplishments of gamers worldwide." Major League Gaming was acquired by Activision Blizzard earlier this year for $46 million. The buyout included all assets and personnel while allowing MLG to continue with its branding. MLG continues to operate mostly independently under Activision's umbrella, joining companies like Blizzard who retain a great deal of autonomy after becoming a part Activision. "I'm joining MLG because of the rare combination of massive digital scale and deep audience engagement around competitive gaming, and because there's no better category of live streaming video content out there," said Vlastelica. "It's clear that video games are the future of sports - and if any company is positioned to capitalize on this global opportunity, it's Activision Blizzard. I'm thrilled to join the team." This new hire follows a series of milestones for MLG. Back in April, MLG's Counter-Strike: GO Major Championship reached record viewership with 1.6 million concurrent viewers, 71 million views, and 45 million hours of footage broadcast across the internet. MLG launched a collaboration with Facebook several months ago to broadcast live events to the platform's potential audience of 1.6 billion people. Just a few days ago, Activision launched the Call of Duty World League while incorporating MLG to host its finals and cover Call of Duty XP. Over 256 million people watched competitive gaming events this year alone. It seems that in all respects eSports continues to grow at a rapid pace. This latest move, bringing on leaders with experience in the world of traditional sports, seems to indicate that one of the largest eSports organizations in North America is gearing up for a big expansion, possibly even into the mainstream.
  12. Activision Blizzard launched their eSports division last year with the former CEO of ESPN, Steve Bornstein, as the chairman and Mike Sepso of MLG as the vice president. Pete Vlastelica joins the team as their new president. Vlastelica created Yardbarker, an online sports network, and sold it to Fox in 2010. Since then, Vlastelica has been with FOX Sports as their executive vice president of digital up until he made the leap to eSports. His biggest achievements while with FOX Sports included launching programs like Garbage Time with Katie Nolan and organizing the digital infrastructure to stream Super Bowl XLVIII, which set a new record for online streaming of a sporting event. Bobby Kotick, one of Activision's most well known executives, released a statement on their new hire saying, "We continue to add to our all-star eSports leadership team. Pete is an entrepreneurial leader with a history of creating inspired content and developing new digital channels of distribution. As we continue to build MLG into the premier esports network, Pete will further our mission celebrating the accomplishments of gamers worldwide." Major League Gaming was acquired by Activision Blizzard earlier this year for $46 million. The buyout included all assets and personnel while allowing MLG to continue with its branding. MLG continues to operate mostly independently under Activision's umbrella, joining companies like Blizzard who retain a great deal of autonomy after becoming a part Activision. "I'm joining MLG because of the rare combination of massive digital scale and deep audience engagement around competitive gaming, and because there's no better category of live streaming video content out there," said Vlastelica. "It's clear that video games are the future of sports - and if any company is positioned to capitalize on this global opportunity, it's Activision Blizzard. I'm thrilled to join the team." This new hire follows a series of milestones for MLG. Back in April, MLG's Counter-Strike: GO Major Championship reached record viewership with 1.6 million concurrent viewers, 71 million views, and 45 million hours of footage broadcast across the internet. MLG launched a collaboration with Facebook several months ago to broadcast live events to the platform's potential audience of 1.6 billion people. Just a few days ago, Activision launched the Call of Duty World League while incorporating MLG to host its finals and cover Call of Duty XP. Over 256 million people watched competitive gaming events this year alone. It seems that in all respects eSports continues to grow at a rapid pace. This latest move, bringing on leaders with experience in the world of traditional sports, seems to indicate that one of the largest eSports organizations in North America is gearing up for a big expansion, possibly even into the mainstream. View full article
  13. Be sure to swing by the Microsoft Perimeter Store this Saturday, June 18, from 12 pm – 4:30 pm, to see our Extra Life booth during the Smite Masters DreamHack Paladins Tournament viewing party. Miracle child, Parker, will be there for portions of the tournament as we watch the pros battle from Sweden. Microsoft Perimeter is located at Perimeter Mall in the lower level between Von Maur and the food court. See you there!
  14. South Korean officials have released a document detailing the findings of a criminal investigation into StarCraft 2 match-fixing. The document indicates the involvement of twelve individuals including a head coach, two pro-gamers, one former pro-gamer, four brokers, two recruiters, and two gangsters. Nine of these people have been arrested, two indicted without arrest, and one is still at large. Though the statement released by investigators doesn't name any of the people involved, it has been widely reported in South Korean media that the prominent individuals involved are Gerrard, the head coach of team Prime, pro players YoDa and BBoongBBoong, and former StarCraft 1 pro turned journalist Enough. The ring allegedly worked like this: The gangsters operated as financial backers, providing money to brokers (one of which was Enough) who would in turn solicit match results from Gerrard, YoDa, and BBoongBBoong. Gerrard acted as a conduit to the players, receiving a cut for continued access. The gangsters would then turn around and profit from the fixed match results through betting clubs or websites. Players, coach, and brokers would receive payouts of tens of millions of won, which converts to tens of thousands in USD. Each match was thrown for amounts ranging from $4,500 to $17,600. Gerrard has been charged with spending over $50,000 in illicitly won money over the past year. Investigators claim to have apprehended everyone involved in this particular ring and seem confident that this crackdown will prevent more occurrences in the future and "preserve the spirit of fairness that is at the heart of wholesome sports culture." For more information, Team Liquid has translated the entire statement. You can even get links to the allegedly thrown matches.
  15. South Korean officials have released a document detailing the findings of a criminal investigation into StarCraft 2 match-fixing. The document indicates the involvement of twelve individuals including a head coach, two pro-gamers, one former pro-gamer, four brokers, two recruiters, and two gangsters. Nine of these people have been arrested, two indicted without arrest, and one is still at large. Though the statement released by investigators doesn't name any of the people involved, it has been widely reported in South Korean media that the prominent individuals involved are Gerrard, the head coach of team Prime, pro players YoDa and BBoongBBoong, and former StarCraft 1 pro turned journalist Enough. The ring allegedly worked like this: The gangsters operated as financial backers, providing money to brokers (one of which was Enough) who would in turn solicit match results from Gerrard, YoDa, and BBoongBBoong. Gerrard acted as a conduit to the players, receiving a cut for continued access. The gangsters would then turn around and profit from the fixed match results through betting clubs or websites. Players, coach, and brokers would receive payouts of tens of millions of won, which converts to tens of thousands in USD. Each match was thrown for amounts ranging from $4,500 to $17,600. Gerrard has been charged with spending over $50,000 in illicitly won money over the past year. Investigators claim to have apprehended everyone involved in this particular ring and seem confident that this crackdown will prevent more occurrences in the future and "preserve the spirit of fairness that is at the heart of wholesome sports culture." For more information, Team Liquid has translated the entire statement. You can even get links to the allegedly thrown matches. View full article
  16. The term eSports has become very wide-encompassing over the past few years, incorporating all types of gaming genres, from fighting games to first person shooters to strategy titles and MOBAs. Even as the burgeoning competitive pastime has grown to huge heights, I’ve never been able to fully appreciate the appeal. Until now. What changed? Two words: Rocket. League. If you’ve played Rocket League, you might understand how it could convert a former non-believer. If you haven’t played Rocket League, my description of the game won’t really help you understand the appeal at all, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Rocket League is a game of indoor soccer played with rocket powered cars instead of people. The objective is to get to ball into the other team’s goal and stop them from getting the ball into your goal. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4. That’s it. That’s really it. Despite its simplicity (and, as I’ll explain later, perhaps because of its simplicity), Rocket League is a runaway success, with over five million downloads and the servers constantly running at around a hundred thousand players at any given time. It’s also becoming a popular spectator sport with YouTube videos of matches and highlights garnering huge numbers already. So what is it that makes Rocket League so much fun, and such a strong candidate for eSports immortality? It’s deceptively simple Rocket League is the best representation of “Easy to learn, difficult to master” game design that I’ve seen since… well, I honestly can’t think of many games that do it better. Once you understand the basic fundamentals of Rocket League – jumping, boosting, centering, defense and aerials – you can follow and appreciate any match. Even if you can’t pull off an aerial windmill kick into the goal, you can at least appreciate what makes it such an impressive feat. Rocket League makes anyone think they can be a professional, as you’re always improving, and anyone could potentially get lucky bounces and have a great match any time. Rocket League’s approachability allows for everyone to appreciate the time and effort required to excel at the game. It’s skill-based It’s the truly skilled players, though, that are really fun to watch. It can be exhilarating to watch the best players in the world go head to head, as both sides make mesmerizing saves and gravity defying goals. And since everyone is playing on an even playing field, and Rocket League features no upgrades or bonus powers, there’s little for players to rely on besides their own abilities. The developers are hinting that new modes and power-ups might become available at some point, but the main mode is pure and simple – and should remain that way. It’s that mode, specifically 3v3, which is the most eSports worthy. Variety is derived from the unpredictable physics and the various strategies teams can utilize to achieve victory. This ensures that wins are always earned and losses always deserved, which is ultimately what makes for a strong competitive sport. It’s fast! In the most literal sense, Rocket League is fast. After all, the cars are rocket powered. A match can change pace in an instant, which makes each contest a nail biting volley of physics, explosions, and speed. It’s a good thing, then, that each match only lasts for five tension-filled minutes. It’s easy to imagine a tournament with a dozen or so teams lasting for just around an hour or two, which is the perfect amount of time for a sporting event in the digital age. Cars are customizable A sport is nothing without all-star players, and since Rocket League cars don’t have jerseys with numbers on them, we need some way to tell all the players apart. Luckily, taking a cue from Valve, Psyonix has created a robust car customization suite with different paint jobs, hats, antenna ornaments and even exhaust effects. Combined with the easily legible player ID’s above the cars, this customization allows for each car to look unique and possess its own identity. Hopefully Psyonix will expand this feature and even add licensed cars or features. On the other hand… There are some things that the developers need to implement or improve before Rocket League can attain full eSports legitimacy. The recently added spectator mode is a huge boost, as the only two camera options – “standard” and “ball cam” – aren’t great for casual viewing of a match. As mentioned though, the game needs some more content; expanded car customization options, along with more stadiums would go a long way in improving the viewing experience. Foremost though, some strategic planning abilities are an absolute must for Rocket League to compete in the wide world of eSports. Teams should be able to assign positions and choose their starting positions from the pitch, eliminating the randomization that could create an accidental advantage for one of the teams. At the risk of contradicting myself though, the game could become a bit stale after a while, since there are few variables that would differentiate one match from another. Only time will tell if audiences start to lose interest in the standard 3v3 mode. For now though, it’s hard not to be excited about the future of Rocket League as an eSport, especially after the recent Major League Gaming tournament and its absolutely stunning finale. I could go on and on about why Rocket League is a great spectator sport, and what it needs in order to be a legitimate part of the competitive community, but the fact is, there’s no denying it once you’ve played and watched a few rounds yourself. With an ever-improving player base and growing community, Rocket League is already exploding on YouTube and Twitch, and has nowhere to go but up.
  17. The term eSports has become very wide-encompassing over the past few years, incorporating all types of gaming genres, from fighting games to first person shooters to strategy titles and MOBAs. Even as the burgeoning competitive pastime has grown to huge heights, I’ve never been able to fully appreciate the appeal. Until now. What changed? Two words: Rocket. League. If you’ve played Rocket League, you might understand how it could convert a former non-believer. If you haven’t played Rocket League, my description of the game won’t really help you understand the appeal at all, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Rocket League is a game of indoor soccer played with rocket powered cars instead of people. The objective is to get to ball into the other team’s goal and stop them from getting the ball into your goal. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4. That’s it. That’s really it. Despite its simplicity (and, as I’ll explain later, perhaps because of its simplicity), Rocket League is a runaway success, with over five million downloads and the servers constantly running at around a hundred thousand players at any given time. It’s also becoming a popular spectator sport with YouTube videos of matches and highlights garnering huge numbers already. So what is it that makes Rocket League so much fun, and such a strong candidate for eSports immortality? It’s deceptively simple Rocket League is the best representation of “Easy to learn, difficult to master” game design that I’ve seen since… well, I honestly can’t think of many games that do it better. Once you understand the basic fundamentals of Rocket League – jumping, boosting, centering, defense and aerials – you can follow and appreciate any match. Even if you can’t pull off an aerial windmill kick into the goal, you can at least appreciate what makes it such an impressive feat. Rocket League makes anyone think they can be a professional, as you’re always improving, and anyone could potentially get lucky bounces and have a great match any time. Rocket League’s approachability allows for everyone to appreciate the time and effort required to excel at the game. It’s skill-based It’s the truly skilled players, though, that are really fun to watch. It can be exhilarating to watch the best players in the world go head to head, as both sides make mesmerizing saves and gravity defying goals. And since everyone is playing on an even playing field, and Rocket League features no upgrades or bonus powers, there’s little for players to rely on besides their own abilities. The developers are hinting that new modes and power-ups might become available at some point, but the main mode is pure and simple – and should remain that way. It’s that mode, specifically 3v3, which is the most eSports worthy. Variety is derived from the unpredictable physics and the various strategies teams can utilize to achieve victory. This ensures that wins are always earned and losses always deserved, which is ultimately what makes for a strong competitive sport. It’s fast! In the most literal sense, Rocket League is fast. After all, the cars are rocket powered. A match can change pace in an instant, which makes each contest a nail biting volley of physics, explosions, and speed. It’s a good thing, then, that each match only lasts for five tension-filled minutes. It’s easy to imagine a tournament with a dozen or so teams lasting for just around an hour or two, which is the perfect amount of time for a sporting event in the digital age. Cars are customizable A sport is nothing without all-star players, and since Rocket League cars don’t have jerseys with numbers on them, we need some way to tell all the players apart. Luckily, taking a cue from Valve, Psyonix has created a robust car customization suite with different paint jobs, hats, antenna ornaments and even exhaust effects. Combined with the easily legible player ID’s above the cars, this customization allows for each car to look unique and possess its own identity. Hopefully Psyonix will expand this feature and even add licensed cars or features. On the other hand… There are some things that the developers need to implement or improve before Rocket League can attain full eSports legitimacy. The recently added spectator mode is a huge boost, as the only two camera options – “standard” and “ball cam” – aren’t great for casual viewing of a match. As mentioned though, the game needs some more content; expanded car customization options, along with more stadiums would go a long way in improving the viewing experience. Foremost though, some strategic planning abilities are an absolute must for Rocket League to compete in the wide world of eSports. Teams should be able to assign positions and choose their starting positions from the pitch, eliminating the randomization that could create an accidental advantage for one of the teams. At the risk of contradicting myself though, the game could become a bit stale after a while, since there are few variables that would differentiate one match from another. Only time will tell if audiences start to lose interest in the standard 3v3 mode. For now though, it’s hard not to be excited about the future of Rocket League as an eSport, especially after the recent Major League Gaming tournament and its absolutely stunning finale. I could go on and on about why Rocket League is a great spectator sport, and what it needs in order to be a legitimate part of the competitive community, but the fact is, there’s no denying it once you’ve played and watched a few rounds yourself. With an ever-improving player base and growing community, Rocket League is already exploding on YouTube and Twitch, and has nowhere to go but up. View full article
  18. Major League Gaming is partnering with Lai Fung Holdings Limited and eSun Holdings Limited to construct the first-ever MLG Arena on Hengqin Island in China. The MLG facility will be located in the middle of an area called V-Zone, a space dedicated to video games featuring facilities like an expo area for game developers to reveal new and upcoming games, creative workspaces, gaming-themed restaurants, retail shops and more. “MLG has been at the forefront of the global eSports phenomenon for over a decade and we’re taking our leadership position to new heights with this expansion into the world’s fastest growing eSports market – China,” said Mike Sepso, president and co-founder of Major League Gaming. Tournaments and events held at the Arena will be broadcast live via MLG.tv. The MLG Arena in Hengqin is slated for a 2017 opening. This is the second regional expansion following the opening of MLG Brasil. View full article
  19. Do you play League of Legends? Have you been struggling to up your game to dangerously talented levels? LoLClass is here to provide you with live lessons with professional League of Legends players. LoLClass has recruited some of the best and most well-known pro players in the scene to teach at their online academy. Coaches include the likes of VoyBoy, St. Vicious, and DoubleLift. Registering on the site nets free users one free class per month. Each class only has 50 seats available for free users, so there are no guarantees that users will be able to get in to the class of their choice. Members who pay at one of the pricing tiers have more access to live classes than free users, while people who pay the $49.99 platinum membership have unlimited access. There are also classes on demand which are recorded classroom sessions which can be watched by any pricing tier, though some are locked away for premium students only. Honestly, this is an amazing idea given how large the player-base is for League of Legends. Sure, this service isn't going to be for everyone, but highly motivated players or aspiring pro gamers would definitely be willing to pay for this kind of tutelage. If this is successful it is possible we could see similar services spring up around other professional gaming scenes as well. If you want to check it out, head over to lol-class.com. What do you think, Extra Life community? Silly? Awesome? Savvy business? View full article
  20. The motion picture studio Lionsgate will be working with Twitch and MLG to put on a month long tournament February 5-22, culminating in a championship showdown with $10,000 on the line. While this represents the first time a major Hollywood studio has partnered with eSports and streaming organizations, it isn't entirely without motivation. Lionsgate is sponsoring the tournament in an effort to market the Blu-ray release of Ender's Game on February 11th. Ender's Game, both a novel and a film, is about a boy named Ender Wiggin who is sent to a remote space station for special leadership and combat training. The tactical tutelage that Ender endures is roughly analogous to the strategies professional StarCraft II players display on their own sci-fi battlefields. “Lionsgate understands that gamers are more than a niche, they are everyone,” said Ben Goldhaber, the director of content marketing at Twitch. “By leveraging Twitch’s community of 45 million gamers, many of whom spend hours playing and watching sci-fi inspired games, creating an eSport event around Ender’s Game on our platform makes perfect sense.” MLG, in partnership with GameOn, will run the Ender’s Game on Blu-ray Tournament. MLG will directly invite 12 players, and fans have the opportunity to vote on the remaining four players. Voting will take place from now until February 5th at http://gameon.gg. In total, over $20,000 in prizes are being awarded to skilled players. What kind of play can we expect out of this tournament? Check out one of the games from MLG's 2013 Grand Finals. View full article
  21. October 18-19 teams of eSports competitors will descend on Winter Park, FL for a chance to take home the autumnal title and over $30,000 in prize money. Dota 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are the games of choice for this year's Fall Invitational. The tournament will be held on the Winter Park, FL Full Sail University campus. Teams for both games will be battling it out for $10,000, with runners up netting a cool $5,000. The first place Dota 2 team will also snag a guaranteed spot in the International tournament at the MLG Championship, November 22-24. Fans of eSports can spectate the action either in-person or online. Spectators at the physical event have the option of purchasing a $15 general admission pass or a $100 VIP pass that includes reserved seating at both events, a behind-the-scenes tour, and an MLG hoodie. For those who can't make the trek down to Florida, online viewing will be live during the event over on MLG.tv. You can plan your viewing with the handy programming schedule. Dota 2 fans have a third option to view the Dota 2 tourney. Purchasing the In-Game Ticket enables full spectator-mode access and live commentary while within the Dota 2 client. Tickets are available for about $5 in the Dota 2 store in-game and online. View full article
  22. If you are a fan of independent games, last weekend's IndieCade Festival was the event for you. Billing itself as the International Festival of Independent Games, the 2013 IndieCade Festival was held from Saturday, October 5 to Sunday, October 6 in Culver City, California. Every year the festival acknowledges the achievements of independent developers and serves as a gathering of independent talent for discussions of interests to indies. This year, in addition to the 36 games that have made it into the final rounds of judging, IndieCade selected 77 other titles to showcase at their event. Those selected include eight PlayStation 4 titles, a number of VR projects on the Oculus Rift, a handful of Ouya games, and a showing from Nintendo. All titles at the event should be playable. In addition to the games, a few notable events will be occurring throughout the weekend. There will be a small eSports tournament/exhibition of a variety of titles such as the minimalist DiveKick and Pulse of the Samurai. Speeches will be given from respected indie developers like Jenova Chen, creator of Journey. Finally, public discussions will be held between developers and industry honchos regarding the games on display and past games those involved have helped create. Did you make it to IndieCade? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments. View full article
  23. Today marks the beginning of the Red Bull Training Grounds, a three day intensive training period and tournament for professional StarCraft II players from around the world. With $10,000 in prizes on the line, which of the eight world renowned RTS masters will emerge victorious? At this Red Bull Training Grounds, fans will be able to see: NesTea, SeleCT, Succeed, Illusion, State, Snute, and Huk go toe-to-toe in the fast-paced, real-time strategy arena. For the low price of $0, you can watch the livestream over the weekend or view the event at the Full Sail Live venue which is at the address you see below: 3300 University Blvd Winter Park, FL 32792 Doors open at 1 PM EST for the live event while the livestream begins at 2 PM EST Friday through Sunday. You can find the stream over on the Red Bull Training Grounds hub as well as some great Q&A interviews with the eSports competitors. I'll be rooting for SeleCT, who will you be cheering on? View full article
  24. Beginning Friday morning and running through Sunday evening, the annual EVO championship series (short for Evolution) will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. EVO is an umbrella event that covers all of the major and some of the not-so-major fighting games, giving each game its own tournament or exhibition. This year, EVO will consist of nine sub-tournaments, one for each of the following: Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat, Persona 4 Arena, Street Fighter x Tekken ver. 2013, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, The King of Fighters XIII, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In addition to all of these games, there will also be exhibitions for indie fighting games Divekick and Skullgirls, as well as a demonstration of the upcoming box One fighting game, Killer Instinct. As someone who has very little experience with fighting games, I still find EVO to be a blast to watch. While I might not know the ins and outs of the gameplay and some of the nuances certainly go over my head, I know can still appreciate moments like my favorite video game comeback of all time from a 2005 Street Fighter EVO tournament between Daigo Umehara, who is widely considered to be the greatest Street Fighter player of all time, and Justin Wong, another contender for the position. There will be three streams via Twitch bringing EVO’s content to you live on the srkevo1, srkevo2, and srkevo3 channels. Viewers will be able to switch between the three of them from Twitch’s EVO 2013 hub. Each stream will have two commentators who know the intricacies of the games and will be able to translate for viewers who aren’t as familiar with fighting games. While the main streams are free, it is possible to purchase a $12 HD ticket to view the streams in HD. All proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund at NYU Game Center for aspiring game makers within the fighting game community. There was some contention yesterday, when Nintendo announced that they would not allow Super Smash Bros. Melee to be streamed from the competition, despite a fan movement that raised $94,000 for charity in order to bring Melee to the venerable EVO event. After about five hours of massive outrage, Nintendo reversed its stance, allowing the fighting game to be streamed. The full streaming schedule for EVO 2013 can be found here. For a more in-depth look at EVO including players to watch and fighting game jargon, be sure to check out this excellent viewing guide over on Shoryuken. Below you can find my favorite match-up from EVO 2012. For any of you fighting game fans out there, who are you rooting for this EVO? Personally, I’m hoping to see Daigo sweep Street Fighter IV. View full article
  25. Recently, I was given the opportunity to ask Sundance DiGiovanni, the CEO and founder of North America’s largest eSports organization, Major League Gaming (MLG), a few questions regarding console eSports and the future of gaming. Jack Gardner: If console manufacturers had their hearts set on getting in on the growing eSports industry, what more could they do than the features the PS4 was announced to have (i.e. accessible streaming options, partnership with a streaming service, increasing the amount of competitive titles available, integrating social media, etc.)? Sundance DiGiovanni: In addition to all of the great technology and features planned for PS4, in order to have a strong eSports presence it really comes down to the games themselves. Titles need to have competitive settings built in and a strong community following to be successful in the eSports landscape. He’s not wrong. Many recent games billing themselves as the next big thing in eSports have failed or been only marginally successful. Tribes: Ascend and Heroes of Newerth are perfect examples. Both games are free-to-play, relying on microtransactions to make money for the developer, which would seem to guarantee a large user base because who doesn’t love a free game? However, despite holding tournaments with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, neither have found anywhere near as big a following as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft 2, or League of Legends. The bottom line is that not many people are interested in watching professional gamers play a game that isn’t popular and that lack of interest kills eSports potential. Jack: What can developers do to create games better geared toward eSports (in terms of casting, recording, content distribution, etc.)? Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s eSports features seem to be the best consoles offer. Can developers do better or are those what we can expect from future console releases? Sundance: Activision and Treyarch did an incredible job of developing Black Ops 2 with eSports in mind; that is why we are featuring it on our MLG Pro Circuit this year. They connected with the eSports community, attended our events, listened to what players wanted out of a game and even brought on Pro Players to consult on the feature set. They were dedicated to making the game work and they should be a model for other game publishers looking to create a successful eSports title. Now that we have seen just what is possible when you create a video game from the ground up with eSports in mind, we can reasonably expect to see other titles aping the features in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Being able to stream while in-game with no additional set up is an incredible boon to gamers looking to go pro, as they can look over their matches and see where they need improvement and also make names for themselves online. The functionality brought to viewing and shoutcasting these matches is nothing short of incredible: Players can commentate the action, switching between an overview mode, map, first-person perspective, and listen in to team chatter. Jack: How will having built-in streaming and viewing features in the PS4 and possibly the next Xbox affect eSports and do you believe that this is at least partly a response to the massive growth we’ve seen in the competitive gaming scene over the last few years? Sundance: In the last two years, online viewership of eSports competition has increased dramatically largely in part to streaming technology. It has become easy and seamless to stream on a regular basis, whether you are an individual player or an eSports organization like us. Having built-in features will make eSports even more accessible for aspiring competitive gamers looking to make a name for themselves as the barrier to entry will be even lower. Throwing some statistics out there: From 2010 to 2012, MLG saw its audience grow from 1.8 million to 11.7 million, a growth of about 636%. In 2012, more than 15 million hours of MLG eSports content was streamed to viewers. None of this growth would have been remotely possible without the ability to stream via services like Twitch and Ustream. As Sundance said, having the ability to stream built into the console will allow more people to enter the streaming arena and make a name for themselves. This isn’t limited to professional gamers, more people could popularize themselves as game commentators, also known as shoutcasters, as well as broaden the audience of eSports viewers. It also eliminates many of the difficulties inherent in streaming today. It is expensive to stream. You need a high-quality internet connection, a powerful computer, a subscription to a streaming program, and (if you are streaming games on consoles) a capture card. None of that comes cheap, either. Having these all built-in will be a huge boon to future streamers and hopeful next-gen competitive gamers. Jack: MLG has a history of making gaming partnerships with companies like Microsoft. Do you think we could expect to see MLG or other eSports content making its way onto consoles in the form of apps or built-in functionality? Sundance: MLG has a long standing relationship with both Microsoft for Xbox LIVE in the form of pic packs and video, as well as PSN. I think we will definitely see eSports content increasing its footprint within the console world. That’s a good sign. Currently to watch eSports content of any kind on consoles you either need to use an internet browser or watch big tournaments after the fact using apps like YouTube. Neither of those alternatives are very appealing to most people, who opt for the much simpler alternative of viewing on a computer. The biggest ray of hope for those who were hoping to easily watch eSports on their televisions was a Twitch streaming app exclusive to the Xbox 360. It was announced last year, but since then it seems to have disappeared from the public light. What could have happened to it? Jack: Do you see Sony’s partnership with the streaming service Ustream as significant to eSports on consoles? Why do you think they didn’t partner with the more gaming oriented Twitch streaming service? Sundance: It's great to see Sony embracing streaming. Hopefully we will see it crossover into eSports efforts on the console, but for now it seems to be a broader initiative. As far as why they picked Ustream over Twitch - I really can't speak to that. I wasn't involved in the decision making process. The fact that Sony partnered with Ustream over Twitch certainly seems to indicate that they are aiming for a wider array of people interested in streaming for various reasons. However, it does seem like an odd decision, given that Twitch has made a name for itself (literally made a name for itself, changing from Justin.tv to Twitch.tv to cater to the gaming crowd) by focusing on streamed game content. Our theory: It could be that Twitch was already partnered with another company. Remember that Xbox 360 exclusive streaming app from Twitch? Remember that after the announcement that it existed, it promptly went completely dark, but the company insisted it was still being worked on? Remember that both the PS4 and the next Microsoft console are both expected to launch this holiday season? It is highly likely that the reason Sony wasn’t able to get Twitch on-board as their streaming service is because Twitch was busy creating services for the next-gen Xbox, which would certainly explain why not much has been heard about it recently. What do you think of eSports or the next-gen? Let us know in the comments! Also, enjoy one of our favorite MLG StarCraft 2 moments below: View full article