Dave “Walshy” Walsh first started competing at Halo in 2002. Back then, the term “esports” hadn’t yet entered the lexicon, pro gamers rarely earned the big bucks, and competitions were all about the love of the game and discovering who played the best. These days, Walshy still works in the pro gaming field as a commentator for the Halo Championship Series. Compete’s video team sat down with him and some other Halo pros who got their start years ago, when opportunities for pro gamers were much less lucrative. Advertisement Mason “Neighbor” Cobb, also a former pro Halo player, reflects on how few rules these old tournaments had, and how difficult it would’ve been back then to land a sponsorship. These days, esports contests have prize pools in the millions. Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky, a former Halo coach, also weighed in on how much money has been pouring into esports since he started out: “There’s talk within the industry about when the bubble might burst, but I think there’s a long way to go … I think we’re going to go down some interesting turns in the next three to five years.” This video is the READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
NBC Sports will launch a 2v2 Rocket League tournament this summer. NBC Sports will launch a 2v2 Rocket League tournament this summer. Regional qualifiers will air on the FACEIT network, and participating NBC Sports networks will broadcast the final hour of regional finals match-ups on the weekends of August 5-6 and August 12-13. There’s $100K in prize money on the line. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment Video streaming platform Twitch announced a two-year collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment today, where the service will receive exclusive third-party streaming rights to tournaments like the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship and Overwatch APEX League. As esports continues to expand, securing broadcast rights will start to become a growing contest in the industry. Much like bidding for the rights to broadcast Monday Night Football, locking down the exclusive stream for a major esports league means guaranteeing all eyes are on your channel. A spokesman for Twitch confirmed the company would maintain the third-party rights. Outside of Blizzard’s own platforms, only Twitch will broadcast Blizzard tournaments—no YouTube, Facebook or other platforms—for the next two years. Advertisement When asked about whether it would extend to the upcoming Overwatch League, a Twitch spokesman said that the deal currently extends to the events announced in the initial release, and any additional programs will be announced at a later date. The tournaments this deal currently covers are: Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (HGC) StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS Circuit) Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) Hearthstone Global Games (HGG) World of Warcraft Arena READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve At this last weekend’s The Summit 7, one team decided to challenge itself. Rather than lean on any one hero, Virtus.Pro would go the opposite way: Try to never pick the same hero twice. We’re don’t know why the team decided to play like this—the consensus seems to be it was either to prove some naysayers, who admonished the team for lacking in hero variety, wrong, or it was just for the fun of it. Either way, Virtus.Pro confirmed on-stream that the team was intentionally trying to pick every hero in the game only once for their entire tournament run. In the games VP played, heroes who haven’t seen the competitive light of day in months got a chance to shine again. Given five heroes picked per game, and 113 heroes to chose from, the cream of the crop was quickly done away with for niche picks like Viper, Huskar and Lich. Advertisement As fans followed along and updated a tally of which heroes were still available to VP, it became apparent that Virtus.Pro wasn’t just goofing off. The team shined on a variety of picks, able to turn READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF Two players who had faced the greats and came out on top clashed in tonight’s Injustice 2 grand finals, as WhiteBoi and his stellar Scarecrow narrowly bested Slayer at CEO 2017. The Injustice 2 top eight at Community Effort Orlando 2017 had featured a great variety of characters, a host of new and returning talent, and most of all, there was no SonicFox in the grand finals. Advertisement Both players came in with a great deal of momentum. WhiteBoi, a Scarecrow main who was a tough competitor in the first Injustice. He had rolled through the winner’s bracket with his play on the fearsome doctor and dealt with many tough opponents, like ForeverKing’s Batarang-spamming Batman. Slayer, his opponent in the grand finals, had his fair share of eliminations as well. After being dropped to the loser’s side by Whiteboi, he took down SonicFox himself to earn a second shot at the title, in a tense Black Adam mirror match. Since Whiteboi came in from the winner’s side, Slayer had to win two first-to-three sets to come out on top, referred to as “resetting the bracket.” Slayer did just that, READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF During yesterday’s European Overwatch Contenders group stage, Esporati player DIDS put together a highlight reel of Widowmaker shots in short succession to secure the round. In my own experience, a Widowmaker on offense is usually a bad sign. But utilizing Widow’s mobility and power, DIDS makes quick work of the low-health line-up of Team Expert. Impressive stuff. I’m hoping my next Overwatch competitive game has more Widowmakers of this caliber. Regardless, the match ended 3-1 in Expert’s favor, and Esporati ended the day 0-3 in group play. Advertisement Advertisement The North American group stages kick off later today, with teams like Selfless, CLG, Immortals and Luminosity all competing. You can follow the action when it goes live on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch channel. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF In times of trouble, some players turn to a coach or fellow pro, possibly even to a higher power. This Street Fighter player chose to lean on the Good Book: namely, Daigo’s book, The Will to Keep Winning. Daigo Umehara is among the pantheon of Street Fighter legends, with a long and storied career. His book, The Will to Keep Winning, is well-known. In the words of one Amazon reviewer, “if ‘Playing to Win’ by David Sirlin is the fighting gamer’s ‘bible’, then ‘The Will to Keep Winning’ is version 2.0, as if adding a 3rd Testament.” Advertisement So after a loss at this weekend’s Community Effort Orlando 2017, a player by the name of “Patrick” pulled out Daigo’s book for inspiration, even switching his character to Ryu, Daigo’s main. The word of Daigo did not save Patrick, and he lost the next match. While he packed up his book and stick, the commentators had a field day with the moment they had just witnessed. Commentator F-Word even notes how Patrick apparently went back to the book between rounds in the game, joking that he was looking for the READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF CEO’s Royal Rumble is always a good time and this year’s was no exception. The Royal Rumble features 30 contestants selected from the fighting game community battling for the title in an event full of pomp and circumstance that’s as much about showy entrances as deadly combos. Advertisement Focusing on Tekken 7 in light of its recent release, the tournament started with Echo Fox’s Cool Grey AJ facing off against the President of CEO Gaming, Alex Jebailey, who entered the room to chants of “You suck!” from the crowd. He didn’t though, going on to beat AJ and meme the crowd into submission with his winning grin. GIF But the real highlight came just over an hour and a half in when WWE’s Xavier Woods returned to deliver some Jaguar-masked punishment to Tekken strategist and caster Reepal “Rip” Parbhoo. Woods is a lifelong gamer and has parleyed his passion for everything from Zelda to Street Fighter into a form of celebrity outside the ring rooted in the fighting game community. At CEO 2016, Woods threw down against New Japan Pro Wreslting superstare, Kenny Omega in READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: CWL Watch all the weekend’s best pro gaming until your eyes bleed. Below you’ll find where and when you can catch all the weekend’s biggest events in competitive gaming. Let us know what you’ll be watching in the comments or if you think there’s something we might have missed. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare It’s a stacked weekend, beginning with the The Call of Duty World League Anaheim Open, a $200,000 tournament with big consequences for the 2017 Championship later this year. Cloud9, Red Reserve, BitterSweet and Fnatic won spots in the Global Pro League as well as Championship invites for their performance in the Relegation Qualifier held earlier this week. Today, the action resumes at 1:00PM EDT (and the same time on Sunday) as players push through the group stage into the double-elimination bracket. Advertisement Advertisement You can watch all of the matches here. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive DreamHack 2017 is finally here, with a number of pro gaming tournaments headlined by CS:GO whose group stage is currently underway. Matches are ongoing throughout the day, with Group A featuring SK Gaming, Mousesports, Immortals, and READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Valve Toby Dawson has been commentating in the Dota pro scene for over a decade, and has been the voice behind some of its biggest moments. In a recent post on the Dota 2 subreddit, Dawson voiced his concerns on the continued viability of the scene. It started with a tweet, where Dawson laid it out in simple terms: we are approaching a breaking point, and Valve (publisher of Dota 2) will be the ones to determine whether it happens or not. In a more detailed explanation, Dawson highlighted issues that have been brought up by others as well. Tournaments being eclipsed by the majors with little competition and a lack of crowd-funding for events, which in the past created staples like The Summit and experimental leagues like Captain’s Draft. These are two tournaments closely tied to the community, with the long-running Summit series having its seventh installment this weekend, and without crowdfunding they wouldn’t have started in the first place. These tier-two and tier-three tournaments are also the events that help support up-and-coming teams, and without the possible influx of new talent, high-level Dota risks becoming stale. Advertisement READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF It’s Tuesday, and Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth is waiting on a plane. His flight’s been delayed twice. At 15 years old, he’s one of the youngest signed players in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, and one of the best Bayonetta players in the world—a character as strong as she is controversial. Lauth, like his other siblings, is home-schooled, which allows him to travel outside of New Orleans and compete in the rough circuit of the competitive Smash scene with relative ease. People often mention his age relative to his skill level, Lauth says. “Wow, he’s 15? He’s so good,” said Lauth of the praise he’s received in the past. “He’s so mature, how he’s doing this, how he’s going to these things.” Advertisement “Honestly, I appreciate it but I don’t prefer or like it,” said Lauth. “I’d rather just be known for how I play in general, or how I act in general. I don’t want something to be attached because of my age, I want it to be because of me.” Image credit: Phoenix 1 Lauth is known for his Bayonetta, his sole character and main, READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF After winning yesterday’s E3 Arms Invitational, the people’s champ Zerk had the chance to play the game’s producer, Kosuke Yabuki, in an exhibition. Mr. Yabuki showed no mercy. At the end of the first match, Yabuki (on Min Min, the right-hand side character) executed a combo that had been tossed around in testing during the last few public betas—a throw into the arena’s springboards, followed by popping his rush power-up and rushing the opponent down. Zerk had made a strong run through the invitational’s bracket with his own tech on Twintelle, mostly involving some solid one-two punches with his twin Chillers and cancelling grabs with his rush. He even did a little dance pop-off after taking down competitor SkyWardWing in the grand finals. Despite a few dropped games, Zerk seemed to comprehend Arms to a competitive degree. Yabuki’s play, however, is on another level. Even in the back-and-forth leading up to the combo, Yabuki show the clear skill gap between the two. He utilized character-specific abilities like Twintelle’s time slowdown, and side-dashed away from punches with ease. If the skill gap between players can be this wide, there might be some competitive legs on Arms. READ FULL STORY AT…
Compete’s video team headed to the University of Utah to check out their varsity esports program, which began as a student-run League of Legends fan club called Crimson Gaming and has since grown into an official scholarship program for budding pro gamers. The University of Utah is part of the Pac-12 conference, and according to Robert Kessler, executive director of the school’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering program, the Pac-12 has “been talking about the idea of having a conference-wide league for esports. But it hasn’t been able to get everybody to agree to all the details. So we decided … we might as well jump into this.” Advertisement Compete also spoke to Angie Klingsieck, the Executive Director of Crimson Gaming, as well as Crimson Gaming’s Competitive Director Jordan Runyan, about the student-run organization’s growth over the past few years. The school’s devotion to League of Legends caught the attention of Riot Games as well as University of Utah’s administration. According to A.J. Dimick, the director of operations for University of Utah Esports, the “grassroots movement of these students” led to the eventual foundation of the school’s program, which they hope will inspire similar programs READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF An invitational was hosted yesterday on Nintendo’s E3 stream for Splatoon 2, featuring four teams competing for a sweet silver squid trophy. Surprisingly, it was a strong showing for the game’s competitive aspirations. E3 has had no shortage of “esports” presentations, from Electronic Arts showing off Star Wars: Battlefront II with a commentated live match to a random shoutcaster appearing on the stage mid-presentation. Most of these vary from ineffective to just plain wrong, and come off as forcing a game to be competitive, ignoring the community groundswell that pushes competitive scenes further than any shareholder presentation can. The Splatoon 2 Inkling Invitational was by all means a showcase for the game and its competitive potential. What set it apart was the willingness to step aside and let the game speak for itself, allowing the competition between four top squid-squads to put the game on display. Advertisement In a competitive Splatoon match, two teams of four compete on different maps and modes. Most of them involve territory control to some degree, measured by how much ink covers the ground. Turf War literally measures the percentage of map covered by READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!