Posted in CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, OverWatch, SMITE

How Professional Athlete Education Is Becoming Crucial for Esports

Esports is already massive, and will continue to grow even faster. No expert would contradict this: esports is already overtaking ice hockey, and now even competes against flagships sports such as football. However, what is often forgotten in the conversation are the athletes themselves. Pro footballers are highly educated model athletes who leave nothing to chance. Clubs command entire armies of coaches and advisors to help their players cope with the various challenges on and off the field. Comparatively, esports athletes live the life of an amateur.

Football clubs command armies of coaches and advisors. Comparatively, esports athletes live the life of an amateur.

Weekly training schedules with given exercises? No way! Nutritionists, mental coaches, fitness trainers or other specialists? They simply do not exist for most professional esports athletes. While investors and sponsors have smelled blood and are pumping more and more money into the esports market, the professionalisation of esports athletes lags behind.

A career as an esports athlete begins and ends much earlier (in most cases) than the majority of other careers as professional sportsmen. Competitive gaming careers often end in the mid-twenties as the human brain and reflexes no longer react as intuitively to high-speed attacks from the opponent. Therefore, most gamers have to turn pro at the age of 17, or even younger – a rather short time to learn how to live like a pro. The foundations for a successful career as a gamer therefore lay in one’s youth. If a gamer wants to get to the top of his game, he must invest early on.

However, at the start of their esports career, most of them are miles away from a professional way of living – compared to young elite footballer players. Through systematic education and established support systems, footballers not only learn technique and tactics, but they internalize having a professional lifestyle at teenage age. That is exactly what is missing in esports. Only the high-talented gamers manage to get from their bedroom as a child to the top of the esports business.

This is why most recent esport moves of different European high schools are quite interesting. Since last year, the Norwegian school“Garnes Vidaregåande Skule” in Bergen, for example, offers esports as a school subject. In addition to traditional classes, where pupils write exams, their abilities as a team player or their skills in communications are evaluated as well as their performance in game strategy and tactics. On top of gaming exercises there are athletic training, nutritional counseling and special exercises to improve the reflexes of students. Overall, it’s a very popular project, and some High Schools in Sweden already apply similar concepts. Rumors say that schools in the United States and South Korea are also thinking about offering eSports as a subject.


Training and educating esports athletes will need to happen in a professional sports environment.


Universities are also slowly waking up. For example, several US-American and Asian universities offer scholarships for gamers. In England, the University of Staffordshire announced a new bachelor’s degree in esports. Tencent, the largest e-game developer in China, recently announced plans to build a whole city dedicated to esports, which will host a university.

While schools and other academic institutions increasingly discover the relevance of gaming content in their curriculums, training and educating esports athletes will need to happen in a professional sports environment. At least in Europe, pro football clubs entering the scene with dedicated FIFA or LoL teams could play an important role. The gamers can benefit from their coaches and infrastructure, and profit from their expertise in marketing, sponsoring or even scouting. Some clubs already offer academies or campuses to train their employees. Why not open them for professional esports teams?

Scouting esports talents currently takes place mainly through game-specific ranking lists by the developers/publishers. However, a simple update in the game software can completely mix up rankings from one day to another. Accordingly, the contract periods are short. Gamers are usually signed for not more than two splits – high fluctuation within a team is normal. Thus, for football clubs it is important to recognize future stars early on and tie them to the club. Here, Schalke 04 led the way last year with the so-called “Scouting Days”.


Gamers are usually signed for not more than two splits – high fluctuation within a team is normal.


However, discovering talent is only one side of the coin. Developing them is the other. Gamers do not enjoy structured career plans, they did not attend any eports junior performance center or university, and they did not benefit from regional or national support centers. Even if the eSports organization “Penta-Sports” has recently opened the first professional eSports academy in Berlin, this was only a first move. Many more have to follow.

Although linking professional football clubs with esports seems to be a win-win situation, it is still a long way for both sides to benefit from each other. One thing should be clear: the professionalization of esports athletes must go ahead if they want to keep up with the rapid growth of the industry and if they want to keep up with the expectations. Education is crucial, first and foremost.


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.

Posted in Clash Royale, CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, OverWatch, SMITE, Twitch, Uncategorized

Esports to become the greatest sporting event by 2020

 [ THIS POST IS FROM ONE OF OUR ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE, PRATEEK MALHOTRA (https://medium.com/@prateekmalhotra) AND FIRST APPEARED HERE: https://medium.com/@prateekmalhotra/esports-to-become-the-greatest-sporting-event-by-2020-f1ddd15287cd ]
Dota 2 mid-laner Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan plays for the North American team Evil Geniuses

Two college students Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess Cliffe created a total overhaul mod using assets from Valve’s Half Life 2. Le did all the programming and Jess worked with the community of players. What started as an experiment, attracted Valve Corporations, who in turn gave a commercial release to the mod also known as Counter Strike. These digital weapons, players and maps led to the booming of then unknown territory called the ‘esports’.

esports, an online competitive gaming tournament played between pro-gamers on a computer machines has taken the industry by storm as gaming community has started recognizing it as a career option and branded it as a real sport. Getting into the debate of whether esports is a sport or a farce will yield no results, hence I would like to reveal some statistics which will make things more transparent.

According to Newzoo, a leading provider of market intelligence across gaming, esports and mobile gaming released its third edition of esports report which highlights that esports economy will grow to $ 696 million this year. The report also added that Brands will play a major role in shaping the esports economy and by 2020, the growth will reach to $1.5 billion dollars. Further to add, US and China will generate $362 million dollars in 2017, followed by Asia-Pacific regions which will take 51% revenue share.

Why is esports becoming so popular?

esports games are divided into different genre and the most popular being fighting games ( Street Fighter ), first-person shooter ( Counter Strike Series), real time strategy ( WarCraft 3 ), and multiplayer online battle arena ( League Of Legends and Dota ).

Just like any other sport, esports has managed to garner a wide range of spectators across the globe. The overall operations of esports is similar to that of any other sporting event like NBA, NFL, Football and many others. A team consists of 5 members having individual skills which can be executed during the game. The team is managed by an esports expert who oversees players salaries, housing, office space, healthcare and sports staff. The players go through rigorous training and practice for hours to reach the pinnacle Esports tournaments are held on a grandeur level and the level of intensity and cheerfulness seen among gaming fans is similar to that seen in a football or a cricket fans. These tournaments are live-streamed on mediums like Twitch and YouTube which have millions of followers.

The popularity of competitive gaming is testament to the fact that Intel Extreme Masters which was held in Katowice, Poland drew 173000 fans to the stadium event. Online, the event was watched by 46 million unique viewers, more than Trump’s inauguration TV audience of 30.6 million viewers.

Pro Gaming Scene In India

Pro Gaming Scene in India is at its nascent stage, but it is evolving and growing at a fast pace. Hardware companies like Asus, GigaByte and NVIDIA are bolstering the esports mania by organizing Dota 2 and CS:Go tournaments across gaming cafes and events. Many startups and gaming companies have jumped into the scene to promote esports culture.

In January, USports, a ₹100 crore league, announced by the founder of UTV Group, Ronnie Screwvala, will take its course this year.

In February, Nazara Games announced that it will invest INR 130 crores in a new esports league in India over the next five years in the league, which will include PC based games DOTA 2 and Counter Strike : Global Offensive.

Last year, Mountain Dew launched Dew Arena Gaming Championship with a prize pool worth INR 10 Lakhs. Many brands followed the bandwagon by announcing individual leagues and tournaments, thus encouraging and boosting the gamers and esports scenario.

Talking about the role of a team manager and esports scenario in India, Eklovya Dutta, Captain and In Game Leader of upcoming esports team FEROCIOUS believes that the role of the team captain is to make sure that there exist a discipline, cohesion, and structure within a team. As the team captain himself , he sets fixed goals to every member and encourages them to focus on playing the game and improvise while doing so. Esports is a massive industry and is gradually growing in India. However, lack of infrastructure, support and topsy-turvy management and self-pride can impair the esports scenario in India.” In order to compete with the International players, its important to focus on team game-play rather than changing the team member.”

The pro-gaming scene will further strengthen its hold in the Indian market considering the situation of Internet is improving in India. From 105th position and 4.1 Mbps speed till three months ago, the country has risen to 97th position on a global level with 5.6 Mbps of average connectivity speed.

Akamai’s State Of The Interne

To conclude, the competitive gaming market is growing at an exponential rate, media giants like ESPN are broadcasting the tournaments and competitions, and brands like NBA and YouTube are jumping into the world of esports. The positive synergies between companies, pro-gamers and developers can surely make esports the greatest sporting event.

Posted in Dota 2, League of Legends

Is League of Legends really worse than Dota2 ?? (as the elitist Dota2 veterans say)

(This article is for a common gamer out there. All of us do NOT play professionally.. And though, we want to get better in which ever game we play, we don’t aim to be an esport star).

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LoL or Dota2 ??

This is something that has been raging on since time immortal (okay, since those two games came into existence). And over the years, there have been countless articles written on this subject, debating which of the two titans is better.

One of most common attitude of Dota2 players, who act like douchbags, is to ridicule LoL players by calling the game casual, kiddy, meant-for-noobs, etc. Here are some of the things what you would usually hear from them:

  • League of Legends has a worse optimized and technologically inferior engine.
  • League of Legends meta is very strict and allows for very little variation and strategy.
  • Individual skill and performance in LoL is more reliant on execution and reflexes, whereas Dota 2 is more about strategy, tactics and utility.
  • Dota 2 is a much deeper and varying game.
  • BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…….

On the other hand, LoL players try to defend their game, though poorly.

To be honest, it simply depends on what you prefer. (But people understood it so easily, this whole article would have been useless)

Here, I am trying to prove that LoL is rather better than Dota2. (Thank me later, LoL players)

  1. League is more “newbie” friendly. Anyone who has played both the games know it. Dota2 players are less welcoming and are rather “cancerous”. On the other hand, LoL players are usually for friendly, and would welcome you to the game. (Nah, they don’t need to promote their game… LoL has an bigger base than Dota2)
  2. On comparing Skills, LoL takes the lead. The game has so much diversity between characters that playing a different hero often requires a very different mindset. Yasuo for example, has a spell that creates a wind wall in a direction that blocks all incoming enemy projectiles resulting in some really punishing team fights. Other than the uniqueness of skills, one major difference between the two games is how DOTA2’s skills level up, and deal a static amount of damage after a few levels. Some even become useless at later levels when enemies have high health pools and a skill does 300 damage. In LoL, skills share offense stats and scale with attributes. As a result, casters can do massive damage in their combos, taking out enemy caries. This attribute allows for build paths with more variation. (DOTA 2 has started introducing items that enable ability scaling as well, but LoL has had this feature from day one.)
  3. League champion abilities have smaller mana costs compared to DotA 2. The former encourages frequent use of skills and aggressive play in the laning phase, while in the latter you have to be mindful of your resources and utilize abilities strategically unless your hero has a way to regain used mana fast.
  4. Accessibility: Ask anyone who has spent time with both games and they will tell you that DOTA 2 is unforgiving. On the other hand, League of Legends is more accessible and less intimidating by comparison. In DOTA 2, the ‘denying’ mechanic and death penalty is so merciless that it is possible to leave an enemy quite useless later in the game, making things intimidating for newcomers. While recent DOTA 2 patches have tweaked things so that killing enemies with greater level advantages grants bigger gold bonuses, the core lockdown mechanic is still quite brutal. LoL is more balanced in this regard. For one, you cannot execute or deny your own lane minions, nor do you lose gold on death. While you can slow a player down, if things drag, an underperforming teammate can catch up and change the course of the match. This makes the game more fun.
  • League has faster animations in attacking, turning, moving, and using an ability compared to DotA 2, so a more fast-paced feel and gameplay is obvious on the former. Players who try both games may find the latter a bit lethargic.
  • Its a tough call whether the overall lower power cap of characters in LoL is a bad thing. It allows for some nice comebacks of a team that slipped behind earlier in the game.
  • One of the common argument, Dota2 players use is that LoL requires money to buy champions and other customizations. But, this is quite far from truth. You can buy Champions with Influence Points (IP), which you gain by playing the game. Riot rewards you quite well, and you gain IP even on losing games. Plus, there is an weekly rotation of free-to-play champions, which sort of force you to try out the new ones. (Dunno why exactly Dota2 veterans consider it bad)
  • LoL matches are usually shorter, lasting about 30 to 45 mins. But it is quite unpredictable, and you can’t say that a weaker team will surely lose, as the tides may turn around anytime.
  • Last but not the least, LoL doesn’t require less skills to play. This is downright absurd. Tell any Dota2 player to try out an game or two on LoL, and they would suck.

If you want just to have fun and relax in a game of this genre, go for LoL, you will have tons of fun. If you have group of 5 people with similar mindset – that’s even better, you’re gonna have even more fun!

(I know this article may seem incomplete right now, and I may discuss this in another post again)

Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, League of Legends, Twitch

IEM Katowice Most Watched Esports Event Ever, 35 Percent Increase in Viewership YoY

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IEM Katowice was a success in every metric. The high profile two weekend tournament from ESL will easily become what esports fans point to when telling their friends that esports are here to stay. The event was record breaking in many ways, innovative in others, and lucrative as a whole.

The tournament saw 173,000 fans attend in person at the stadium in Katowice, Poland which is a greater than 50 percent increase against last year. Online, the event was just as successful breaking the record for unique viewers—previously held by 2016’s League of Legends World Championship—of 43 million handily. The event saw over 46 million people tune in over the course of the event with 340,000 of those using VR to do so.

It is likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market.

As a method for sponsors to engage with fans, the story gets even better. 255 million impressions were generated by the event’s social media channels which makes it likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market. Most avenues for advertising allow for little interaction but the digital natives that make up the esports audience are on every form of social media, sharing, clipping, and talking about the events they are watching.

IEM Katowice was also the most widely broadcast event is ESL’s history. The long-time producer and organizer of esports events had broadcasts in 19 languages across 70 media outlets and platforms. Business Insider points out that this shows just how lucrative exclusive broadcast deals could be. As esports continues to cross boundaries in audiences and platforms, YouTube has been signing exclusive broadcast deals and we can expect Twitch and YouTube—and soon traditional sports broadcasters—to be competing for broadcast rights in the future.

Posted in ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, League of Legends, Player Rankings

The 10 highest earners in League of Legends

The MSI stage heats up

Prize money in League of Legends is not as famously ostentatious as Dota’s frankly ridiculous International prize pots, but earnings tell the story nonetheless. On top of that, many organisations play salaries close to their chest, but you can bet at least some of these players are earning many times their tournament winnings listed here, as tracked by esportsearnings.com. So here are the best earners in LoL:

10. Jang ‘Looper’ Hyeong-seok – $346,307.48

Looper made his name warming the bench for MVP Ozone, before being called into action during 2013’s World Championships. While not managing to keep his team in the competition, he stayed with Ozone through their eventual transformation into Samsung White and came back a year later (this time in the starting line-up) to sweep first place. In something of a LoL tradition, his year after winning Worlds was not as successful with White dissolving. After a disappointing 5th-8th finish at the World Championships in 2016, Looper has joined Echo Fox with veterans Keith and Froggen.

9. Ming ‘ClearLove’ Kai – $347,768.06

China’s top earner is, rather unsurprisingly, Edward Gaming’s longest serving member. After joining the organisation in 2013 (having already made a small pocket of winnings at the young World Elite LoL team) ClearLove has stayed with EDG as the team remains one of the strongest sides in the LPL.

8. Cho ‘Mata’ Se Hyeong – $371,621.02

Returning to our run down of the members of Samsung White’s winning 2014 Worlds team, Mata has fared only slightly better than his former team-mates. Joining DanDy in swapping to Vici Gaming after White’s dissolution, Mata too has had little luck in the Chinese LPL outside a third place NEST finish last year. When Vici Gaming failed to qualify for Worlds, Mata began plans to join Royal Never Give Up and eventually convinced Looper to join him from his unsuccessful ventures at Master3. He now plays for KT Rolster.

7. Heo ‘PawN’ Won Seok – $394,293.08

Rounding out the 2014 Samsung White roster we have PawN, who has certainly fared the best after his big win. After joining ClearLove as a mid laner with Edward Gaming, he has since joined his other old teammate Mata at KT Rolster. His dedication to the game is admirable, even leaving hospital while undergoing treatment for a back injury to help win a 2-2 tiebreaker against World Elite in the LPL quarter-finals. He works hard for the money.

 

 

6. Kang ‘Blank’ Sun-Gu – $419,260.80

We begin our run of players from 2016 World Champions SKT Telecom T1 with Blank. With Bengi only playing a handful of games during the Spring and Summer splits, Blank got the chance to shine as the team’s substitute jungler. However, that only translated into a few appearances during Worlds. Surely still worth it for that share of the money, though? He’ll remain with SKT in 2017.

5. Lee ‘Duke’ Ho Seong – $450,210.43

The top laner for SKT at Worlds 2016 sits just above his former teammate in prize money earnings. 2016 has been a standout year for both Duke and the entire SKT team, with a spattering of wins over the last 12 months. The future throws some mystery into the mix, though, as Duke left SKT in November and has now moved on to Invictus Gaming alongside Kid, RooKie, JackeyLove and Megan.

 

 

4. Bae ‘Bang’ Jun Sik – $631,239.89

Yes, it’s another SKT player. This time it’s two time World Champion and AD Carry, Bang. A career peppered with first place finishes, it’s clear to see why he breaks into the top half of this list. Wins at Worlds 2015 and 2016 are supported by a host of seasonal victories and podium finishes at Mid-Season Invitationals. He sticks as AD Carry with SKT for 2017.

3. Lee ‘Wolf’ Jae Wan – $635,741.13

And now for something completely different! Sorry, nope, it’s SKT again. A win at Worlds 2016 puts Wolf on equal footing to Bang with two World Championship titles. The South Korean support player will continue to play for SKT in 2017, although there will be another player leaving the nest…

2. Bae ‘Bengi’ Seong Ung – $810,683.00

As evidenced by their position in the list, our final two show that there is only one South Korean super team to outdo Samsung White and that’s SKT T1. While the former was a bright supernova of a team, bringing together some of the best for one perfect season before fizzling out, SKT endures. Bengi has been a big part of that sustain, providing one of the most consistent junglers in the LCK. However, that could now all change as he’s recently joined his former teammate, Easyhoon, at Vici Gaming for 2017.

 

 

1. Lee ‘Faker’ Sang Hyeok – $897,818.98

Clearly the Demon King of the Mid Lane will not be outdone. The most famous and successful of any eSport player is just as sharp now as he was during either of SKT’s first Worlds wins. He can now add a third win to that list after SKT’s victory in 2017. He’ll be staying with the team in 2017 where we can’t imagine him aiming for anything less than a fourth Worlds win this year.

Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, League of Legends

MTN DEW® and ESEA provide a path to the ESL CS:GO Pro League with the MDL!

In partnership with ESL, MTN DEW® and ESEA have created the Mountain Dew League to give thousands of amateur gaming teams the opportunity to qualify directly into the next season of ESL’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Pro League. MDL teams will battle for eight weeks and the top teams will face off at the Mountain Dew Championship in the hopes of joining the ranks of the CS:GO pros.

“MDL provides a unique opportunity for aspiring professional gamers to realize their dreams on a global stage,” said Craig Levine, CEO of ESL America. “With the popularity of esports exploding, we’re excited to partner with MTN DEW and find the next generation of Counter-Strike superstars.”

MDL will kick off with the Mountain Dew Last Chance Qualifier on August 27 and 28 where over 7,400 amateur players will compete in ranked matchmaking. The top 24 teams from the Mountain Dew Last Chance Qualifier will then play each other once a week over the course of eight weeks in the Mountain Dew League Season.

The action will culminate at the Mountain Dew Championship in December where the eight best MDL teams in North America and Europe will compete for the coveted slot in the following season of each region’s ESL CS:GO Pro League.

Throughout the tournament, DEW will be providing the competing gamers with top tools and training, including access to online tutorials and pro coaches. Fans will be included as well as they watch the competition unfold through livestreamed events, behind-the-scenes action, and real-time stat tracking via ESEA and Twitch channels.
“Esports is becoming an integral part of gaming culture. As instigators in this space, we want to push the boundaries of competitive gaming and enable everyone in this community to take part in the experience,” said Sonika Patel, Sr. Brand Manager at Mountain Dew. “Our partnership with ESL is unique in that it gives everyone a platform to participate on a level playing field.”

Courtesy: eslgaming.com