Posted in Uncategorized

Are SKT gods?? (Is SKT’s dominance good for League of Legends?)

SK Telecom T1 won another League of Legends tournament.

The number of people surprised: 0.

The number of people who actually watched the ‘world champion’ defeat Europe’s G2 Esports in a surprisingly close final at MSI: possibly millions depending on how many tuned in from China and South Korea.

Unless SKT internally combusts in its LCK summer split or Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok decides to quit pro gaming to become a full-time gardener, the three-time world champion and back-to-back winner of the event will be heading off to China in October as the heavy favorite to win the next tournament.

We’re living in SKT’s story. They’re all the main characters, and all of us, including their rivals — internationally and at home in South Korea — are cannon fodder or side characters at best.

It’s impossible to hide the fact we’re in the midst of the SKT dynasty, so it’s time to ask the question: Is it bad for League of Legends as an esport, or is it a good thing?

SKT’s dominance can get tedious and, quite frankly, a bit boring. That’s the beauty of how SKT has played the game under coach Kim “kkOma” Jung-gyun. When SKT is at its best, the game isn’t fun to watch. It’s like watching a 30-year-old father playing with his 4-year-old son in basketball. The father will let his son get a couple of baskets, have a few laughs, and keep the score close; but you know, as a bystander, that all the 30-year-old has to do is raise his arm in the air to win.

But even though the games aren’t always the definition of exciting, SKT’s clear place above everyone else is what makes each international tournament more heated than the last. Each team, big and small, wants their shot at SKT, Faker, and kkOma, regardless of how futile it may seem on paper. If SKT as an organization was lazy or simply toying with the competition at all times, it might be an issue, but the reigning world champion is playing for perfection. As others teams chase SKT wanting to overcome the titan, SKT chases something less tangible — it chases mastery of the game itself and the ultimate feeling of being content with its work.

SKT’s search for something that might be unreachable pushes teams to go further in their preparation. Teams across the world are investing more money and resources trying to keep up with SKT, and that’s only a good thing for the longevity of League of Legends. Team SoloMid and G2 Esports, champions of their regions, aren’t satisfied with being the throwaway villain in SKT’s tale of conquest. KT Rolster, SKT T1’s biggest rival in South Korea, created a super team for the sole purpose of dethroning SKT.

Riot might prefer to have said dynasty of SKT in North America, where the dev is based, or in China, where there are the most fans. But SKT T1 has broken through regional pride to become a must-watch whether you live in South Korea or not. Faker has transcended esports and is ever so slowly becoming a name to the general public.

People tune in to watch history unfold in front of them. Like all dynasties, one day, SKT will be toppled. But for now, with each win Faker and the team acquire, the house of cards only gets higher and higher with each possible defeat creating an even greater spectacle than the last. One side building toward something they can only see in the distance, and the rest wanting to see the castle come crashing down.

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Posted in OverWatch

The number of esports organizations leaving Overwatch continues to climb

Dignitas joins an ever-growing list of esports organizations that are vacating the Overwatchscene. The organization did not cite a specific reason for dropping the roster, instead saying that the team is “still committed to the game of Overwatch” and that it “remains optimistic about the long-term opportunity it presents for teams, players, spectators and fans.”

Recently, other endemic organizations such as SplycecompLexityDenial, and Red Reserve have parted ways with theirOverwatch teams, while TSM decided against fielding a team at all.

Splyce cited a lack of competition for leaving the scene, while compLexity said that the state of Overwatch’s “current transitional phase” left them with “limited exposure opportunities.” Most of organizations have left because of the uncertain state of the competitive circuit as players and organizations await news of Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League.

Blizzard recently released a statement regarding the league. The company said saying that the process is ongoing and there is nothing new to report just yet. It remains to be seen how many esports organizations will be left when any official news arrives.

Posted in Uncategorized

eSports to be a medal event at 2022 Asian Games

eSports will be an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China, in the boldest step yet toward mainstream recognition of competitive gaming.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced a partnership with Alisports, the sports arm of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, to introduce eSports as a demonstration sport at next year’s games in Indonesia, with full-fledged inclusion in the official sporting programme at the Hangzhou Games in 2022.

The OCA said the decision reflects “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.”

The Asian Games, which are recognized by the IOC, are billed as the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. Forty-five national delegations and about 10,000 athletes took part in the most recent Asiad three years ago in Incheon, South Korea.

The IESF is one of two organizations, along with the British government-backed International eGames Committee (IEGC), that submitted a request to the IOC last year to obtain information on how to gain inclusion for eSports in the Olympic programme. While that prospect remains distant, the incorporation of eSports to the Asian Games will offer a highly visible testing ground. 

While initially popular as a spectator sport in Asia – more than 40,000 people attended the 2014 League of Legends World Championship finals in Seoul – competitive gaming now draws tens of millions of spectators to online platforms and real-world venues, including New York’s Madison Square Garden, the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

Posted in League of Legends

Australian Football League To Enter Esports, Want Tournaments in 53,000 Capacity Stadium

aflThe Australian Football League plans to enter the esports industry, wanting it’s member teams to sponsor or create esports teams of their own, according to a report from The Age.

The AFL will use the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne as the venue for it’s events. The stadium has a capacity of 53,000 for AFL games, but can reach as high as 77,000 for other events, such as music concerts. Etihad Stadium is the headquarters of the AFL, who have had exclusive ownership of the venue since October 2016.

The league wants to target the millennial audience, and broaden the appeal for the clubs, increasing sponsorships, revenue, and brand consumption.

The AFL is the wealthiest sports body in Australia. In recent years it has sought to increase it’s appeal to various markets, most notably with the introduction of a female national league in 2017, and with exhibition matches in China. Esports is just another one of the ways the AFL plans to reach a broader audience.

Darren Birch, the AFL’s growth, digital and audiences general manager said:

“eSports is very strong in the millennial area, so for us it is about diverse exposure to that audience. That’s no different to AFLW where we became more relevant to a female audience.”

“Whether that translates into football is somewhat relevant but also not totally relevant. We want AFL, through eSports, to have the ability to generate a broader appeal for clubs and be able to bring more sponsors, revenue and consumption of your brand – whether that’s a live footy event or a live eSports event.”

Australian rules football is the largest sport in Australia, with dedicated pay TV channels, and various talk shows on television and radio. The league’s grand final in 2016 had 99,981 people attend at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and it was reported 91.2 percent of television sets on during the final were tuned into the game.