Posted in CS:GO, Dota 2, FIFA, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, The International

Forget dancing horses, surfing and BMX- the Olympics Games need eSports

If we have learned anything from the previous few Olympics, it is that the Games are going through an identity crisis. Rocked by a doping scandal and with an older audience than ever, the International Olympic Committee is attempting to rehabilitate its image by appealing to a uninterested youth.

With sports such as BMX freestyle and baseball taking their place alongside archaic remnants from the age of imperialism, like modern pentathlon and dressage, it is difficult to know what or who the Olympics represent anymore. If the IOC is serious about joining the brave new world that seems to have passed it by and more importantly if it wants to keep its sponsors happy, it needs to make serious changes – starting with introducing eSports.

Described by the organising committee as an opportunity “to inspire new generations and become a turning point and a model for future Olympic Games”, the decision to include events such as surfing and climbing in the programme for the 2020 Games comes across as a desperate and cynical ploy by an organisation that is clinging on to what relevance it once had by including sports they believe will address flagging viewership amongst the under-30s. The inclusion of skateboarding especially smacks of a decision made in a focus group run by a man who uses the word “dude” unironically.

Whatever nostalgia we may have about the Games, the simple truth is they are no longer a celebration of the world’s greatest athletes but rather a corporate exercise in mass marketing. And therein lies eSports’ greatest strength. eSports generated $493m (£386m) in revenue with a global audience of about 320m people in 2016, the eSports website Newzoo reported last year. Purely from a financial standpoint, advertisers are missing a potentially massive opportunity to reach new audiences. There are estimated to be over 100m League of Legends players worldwide, and unlike surfing or softball, it has proven its mass viewing appeal, with 36m unique viewers tuned in for 2015’s League of Legends final between Koo Tigers and SK Telecom, exceeding the 31m people who tuned in to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers, inspired by a virtuoso performance from LeBron James, defeat Golden State Warriors in last year’s NBA Championship decider. Incidentally, that figure is also higher than the average of 27.5m American viewers for the Rio Games.

The Asian Games, the second largest multisport event after the Olympics, is set to feature eSports first as a demonstration event in 2018 as part of the run-up to eSports’ official inclusion as a medal sport in the 2022 Games in Hangzhou, China. This should come as no surprise because of the enormous popularity of eSports across the continent, and especially in the far east. Seoul’s Sangam Stadium, which hosted a World Cup semi-final in 2002, was sold out for the 2014 League of Legends World Final which was broadcast to a global audience of over 27m in 19 different languages. The popularity of eSports is not solely confined to Asia though, with Sweden’s DreamHack, the world’s largest digital festival, hosting a variety of tournaments including games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Heroes of the Storm.

Perhaps one of the main peculiarities of eSports competitions is that they rarely feature sports games. Despite their global popularity, football games such as Fifa lag behind the likes of Dota 2 and Hearthstone, with last year’s Fifa Ultimate Team Championship Final providing the first lucrative opportunity to play the game as it featured a $400,000 prize pool and was broadcast on traditional gaming platforms, YouTube and Twitch as well as BT Sport.

Football teams are slowly starting to embrace the growing trend of global tournaments, with Manchester City, West Ham United, and Wolfsburg all signing professional eSports players, while other teams such as Valencia and Schalke have gone beyond Fifa – the former have a Rocket League team and the latter a League of Legends roster.

Football’s involvement should provide the IOC with the encouragement they need to incorporate eSports onto the Olympic schedule. Its global appeal far outstretches nearly every other sport in the world, while it also makes commercial sense. For the naysayers who claim it will devalue the Olympics to have skinny, pasty, nerds smashing buttons and pretending to shoot one another, just remember – at least it’s not dancing horses.

COURTESY: The Guardian

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Posted in Dota 2, The International

The International will stay in Seattle despite concerns over US travel ban

Photo via Valve

For the sixth year in a row, the largest Dota 2event in the world will be heading to Seattle.

That’s in spite of concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporary halting immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

The news was inadvertently revealed in apress release focused on the International 7’s cosplay competition.

The fact that Syria and Iran were on the list of banned countries raised the ire of the international Dota 2 community. Team Liquid captain Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi is an Iranian citizen, while Digital Chaos midlaner Omar “w33” Aliwi has Syrian heritage.

A number of teams and players from regions such as Southeast Asia, China, and Eastern Europe have struggled to acquire visas to attend the International since its relocation to the U.S. In 2016, LGD Gaming’s Xue “September” Zhichuan missed the event altogether after his visa application was denied four times.

In an extended roundtable discussion with PC Gamer on Feb. 10, Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson were asked whether the executive order would influence affect the tournament’s location. “Ideally we’d run it here [in Seattle] because it has a bunch of advantages being close to our office,” Johnson replied. “But the event’s going to happen. So yes, if it became too difficult, we’d find a way.”

Launched in 2011 in tandem with the beta-release of Dota 2, the first International took place in Cologne during the annual GamesCom expo. Since 2012, however, the mega-event has taken place in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and Key Arena.

Posted in Dota 2, The International

5 highest earning gamers in the world

Virtual gaming has evolved into one of the richest tournaments globally.

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Competitive video gaming has spiralled into a worldwide movement

Competitive video gaming, popularly known as eSports, has spiralled into a worldwide movement, garnering millions of spectators.

The virtual gaming platform has evolved into one of the richest tournaments globally, with the prize pool varying between $1 million and $20 million. To put that into perspective, the prize money for winning the Superbowl is USD 8.5 million, while the ICC Cricket World Cup is USD 10 million and UEFA’s Europa League is USD 9 million.

It’s also reported that eSports are likely to debut at the 2024 Los Angeles Olympics. Thus, with the increasing popularity, eSports has now attracted a number of participants from all across the world, all trying to perfect their craft. 

Here, we take a look at the five highest earning gamers in the world.


#1 Sahil Arora (UNiVeRsE)

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The Dota 2 veteran was also named the MVP by Redbull at the International 2015

American professional Dota 2player Sahil Arora, who goes by the alias ‘UNiVeRsE’ is the world’s highest eSports earner with total earnings of $2,720,623.84. The 27-year-old gamer is also the highest earner in all of the United States.

The biggest cash prize ever won by UNiVeRsE from a single tournament was $1,326,932.14 at the International 2015 Dota 2 Championships held in Seattle. His 1st place cash prize made up for almost 48.77% of the total prize money of the tournamenttal prize money of the tournament.

The Dota 2 veteran was also named the MVP by Redbull at the International 2015 (TI5) for his spectacular gameplay on Clockwerk and an incredible 5-man Echo Slam on his Earthshaker in Game 4 of the Grand Finals against CDEC Gaming.

On March 25, 2016, Sahil left Evil Geniuses (EG) to join Team Secret (TS). However, in June, Sahil left TS to join his previous team, after Team Secret finished last at The Manila Major 2016.

#2 Peter Dager (Ppd)

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Peter had a meteoric rise as he went on to win the TI5

CEO of the eSports organisation Evil Geniuses, Peter Dager, who uses the alias ‘Ppd’, stands second on the list of highest overall eSports earners with a staggering amount of $2,603,724. The acronym ‘Ppd’ comes from his alias “peterpandam, with which the 25-year-old gamer began his career.

Peter started gaming at a very young age, playing Heroes of Newerth, mostly with his older brother and friend. However, Peter had a meteoric rise as he went on to win the TI5 tournament as captain of Evil Geniuses. Eventually, he moved on to an administrative role in the Evil Geniuses’ organisation and later became the CEO.

Following The International 2016, he decided to leave active competition in order to prioritise his managerial role with Evil Geniuses. However, Peter has not officially announced his retirement as a professional. He has, in fact, joined WanteD for the upcoming Major as a part-timer.

#3 Sumail Hassan (Suma1L)

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Sumail is the youngest gamer to surpass $1 million in tournament winnings

Pakistan-born American gamer, Sumail Hasan is the third highest earner globally, with earnings of $2,401,560. Aged just 17, Sumail holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest gamer to surpass $1 million in tournament winnings.

On February 9, 2015, ‘Suma1L’ reached the $100,000 mark after winning the $256,831.60 cash prize for finishing first at the Dota 2 Asia Championship in 2015.

Sumail was also featured in Time Magazine’s top 30 influential teenagers of 2016 and was the first ever Dota 2 player to be included in the magazine awards.

Sumail first started playing Dota when he was seven years old. However, it was UNiVeRsE, who was really impressed with his ability and pushed for EG to recruit him in January 2015. Following TI6, Sumail was rumoured to have departed from EG, but a few days later they announced that he had indeed re-signed.

#4 Clinton Loomis (Fear)

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Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis is an American veteran Dota 2 player from Medford, Oregon

Clinton Fear Loomis is an American veteran Dota 2 player from Medford, Oregon. The oldest Dota player until his retirement in 2016, Loomis is now a professional Dota 2 coach. Winning over a million dollars during his stint with EG, 28-year-old Loomis ranks fourth on the list with overall earnings of $2,372,459.

Chris also featured in the documentary ‘Free to Play’ alongside gamers Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin and Benedict Lim “hyhy” Han Long. However, following TI6, Chris retired from active gaming citing health issues and shifted his focus to being the team coach of EG.

#5 Li Peng (iceice)

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Peng achieved great success winning ESL One Manila 2016, The Summit 5 and the TI6

Li  Peng, who uses the alias ‘iceice’ is a Chinese Dota 2 player and currently, plays for Wings Gaming. Standing fifth worldwide with overall earnings of $1,980,996, Peng started his gaming career with team Big God.

In 2016, Peng achieved great success winning ESL One Manila 2016, The Summit 5 and Valve’s sixth International, the TI6. The numero uno player from China won his biggest cash prize worth $1,827,800.40 at the TI6 which made up 92.25% of total tournament prize money.

Li Peng is most famous for his characters ‘Rubik, the Grand Magus,’ ‘Zharvakko, the Witch Doctor’ and ‘Dazzle, the Shadow Priest.

Posted in Dota 2, The International

Wings becomes a top-earning esports team after winning The International

Over the weekend, Wings Gaming took home the trophy at 2016’s The International—and with it, a hearty $9.1 million dollars. Not bad. The Chinese team won the tournament with a 3 to 1 victory over Digital Chaos in the finals.

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Positioned now as the top-earning Chinese Dota 2 team, every member of Wings sits within the top 10 for highest earnings overall in esports. Wings is now the third Chinese Dota 2 team to win the The International, with the previous winners including Invictus Gaming , who won The International 2, and Newbee, who won The International 4.

Despite losing to Wings, Digital Chaos didn’t come out of the tournament empty-handed. The second place team took home more than $3 million in prize money. Evil Geniuses , who came in third, earned just over $2 million.
The total prize pool for The International 2016 ended up at 20 million, breaking last year’s record, and continues to be the highest prize pool in the esports world—topping many traditional sports prize pools as well.