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City Of Washington D.C. Sponsors eSports Team

As the eSports industry continues to grow, more sponsors begin to flock to sponsor teams. Next on the docket: The capitol of the United States.

The City of Washington D.C. has sponsored upstart eSports team NRG, who fields players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros., For Honor, and more. The team is owned by Sacramento Kings ownders Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, and has big-name investors like Shaquille O'Neal and Alex Rodriguez.

The move is part of the City's new campaign to re-center itself as a hub for a more current, college-aged generation, and sees eSports as a great way to capitalize on it. "This is just another prong in our strategic approach to continue to make D.C. a great place to live and work and play," Chairman of Events D.C. Max Brown said. The sponsorship is only part of its efforts; it also plans to build a new arena for both sports and eSports events, which the city plans to open in late 2018 or early 2019.

[Source: Mashable]

 

Our Take
With the 76ers picking up an eSports and Team Liquid signing to traditional sports owners, this move is part of a larger trend of old money getting into eSports. I wonder what the local, politics-heavy populace thinks of D.C. becoming an eSports hub, though…

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EA CFO Sees ‘Real Opportunity’ In Adding Ultimate Team To Non-Sports Games

EA's Ultimate Team feature, in which players can earn or buy card packs containing players and use them to build teams, has been doing pretty well for the publisher. According to EA CFO Blake Jorgensen, the feature currently brings in $ 800 million in revenue annually. The feature is so successful, in fact, the publisher may be looking to add it to other, non-sports titles.

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley financial conference, Jorgensen mentioned he saw a "real opportunity" in implementing the mode in games outside of FIFA or Madden, such as the Battlefield or Star Wars Battlefront series. "We spend a lot of time thinking about it," he said. "Not for tomorrow, but over the next couple of years you're going to see a lot more of that in our portfolio."

Though the feature has been enormously successful for EA, it's also been host to a recent wire fraud scandal, in which hackers broke into EA's FIFA Ultimate Team servers to steal coins and sell them for real money to third-party marketplaces.

[Source: GamesIndustry.biz]

 

Our Take
I doubt you'll see the mode in its current version in games like Battlefield or Battlefront, but I can definitely see some version of it making its way into other games eventually. I can't say I'd be a fan.

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Team 17 Announces New Sci-Fi Roguelike Genesis Alpha One

Team 17, publisher of games like Worms and the upcoming Yooka-Laylee, has announced a new "mix of roguelike shooter, base building and survival" titled Genesis Alpha One.

The game's debut trailer shows off how those disparate elements come together to create a coherent sci-fi thriller. As you build your base through an isometric interface, you'll discover aliens aboard your newly-built station, which means you'll have to take care of them yourself or build limited-use defenses to help you out. With this being a roguelike and all, proving yourself fit to be one of the last remnants of mankind will likely be no easy task.

The trailer also hints a few story details, such as computers determining that in order to save mankind, you'll have to build "a new one." Whether that means repopulating the planet or creating a new species is unclear. The game does not currently have a release date, but will be coming to both consoles and PC.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

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Valve patches major Team Fortress 2 bug after a decade

Valve has finally patched a 10-yea-old Team Fortress 2 bug that caused client and server hitboxes to fall out of sync.  …


Gamasutra News

Valve Patches 10-Year-Old Team Fortress 2 Bug

"I totally made that shot!" "There's no way that hit me!"

We've all had those infuriating moments during online matches where the shots just don't seem to line up. A newly-patched bug in Valve's multiplayer first-person shooter, Team Fortress 2, may lend some justice to these claims after all.

First demonstrated in a video by Nicknine in January of this year, the bug was further explained by Reddit user sigsev in a comment and additional video. According to them, if a player started as the scout, heavy, or sniper class, then switched to the soldier, pyro, demoman, engineer, medic, or spy class, there would be a server-side discrepancy between the character's avatar and hitbox due to differences in the classes' programming. Once the deviation between animation and hit detection began, it couldn't be fixed, meaning what players saw and what the server detected wouldn't match up.

The two players state the bug has been present since the game's release in 2007. Valve's latest update, applied February 14, 2017, has patched it, meaning the character models and hitboxes should now align with complete accuracy. 

[Source: Endgadget]

 

Our Take
This may be one of the oldest bugs to go unnoticed and then be patched in video game history. Guess we'll all have to go back to blaming lag for our missed shots…

 

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The God Of Thunder Returns In New Team Thor Clip

Last summer, Captain America: Civil War took the world by storm, blowing past one billion dollars at the global box office. Pretty much every Marvel Cinematic Universe character showed up to take part in the grand battle. The most notable exception was Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth.

Taika Waititi, director of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, created a satirical short film, entitled Team Thor, to humorously explain what the Asgardian God of Thunder was up to during his time away from The Avengers. Apparently, Thor was laying low with his roommate, an Australian office worker named Darryl.

While we eagerly await the November release of Ragnarok, which will see Thor and Hulk fighting in gladiatorial combat, we can catch up with Thor and Darryl in Team Thor, Part 2, which will be included on the Blu-ray release of Doctor Strange. Marvel has released a clip, which shows the Norse deity bickering with Darryl about how his half of the rent will be paid.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Doctor Strange comes out on Blu-ray on February 28.

Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3.

[Source: Marvel Entertainment]

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Evil Geniuses CEO Peter Dager On Playing For, Building, And Managing An eSports Team

In this month’s issue of Game Informer we dove into the world of eSports, detailing how players, teams, and sponsors work with each other to make sure people who excel at games like Street Fighter, Halo, and more can make a living off their skills. Here at Gameinformer.com, we’re also taking a look at some of the periphery aspects of eSports vital to understanding the world of competitive gaming.

Peter “ppd” Dager is one eSports’ most recent success stories. What began as a few excursions in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Heroes of Newerth tournaments eventually became something more when, in 2014, he signed up with Evil Geniuses’ Dota 2 squad. While on the team he helped elevate the North American Dota scene and scored a million-dollar paycheck when he won Dota 2’s The International tournament in 2015. Since then, he’s gone from captain of his team to CEO of his company, trading competitive glory for a quieter (but busier) lifestyle.

We recently caught up with Dager and talked to him about his early career, what it takes to pick the right lineup in a game like Dota 2, and why he made the transition from player to executive.

Game Informer: When did you first start playing video games?

Peter "ppd" Dager: My big first dive into video games was Mario 64 on the N64. I took it very seriously.

What was the first video game you became really competitive in?

I’ve always been an incredibly competitive person when it comes to pretty much anything, but as it pertains to video games I would probably say Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. My buddies and I would have LAN parties and compete on [online tournament website] GameBattles until we couldn’t stay awake any longer. 

Your first big venture into eSports was in Heroes of Newerth (HoN). What drew you to that game?

I had played Dota and enjoyed it. My friend Ben pushed me into Heroes of Newerth because it was identical to Dota, except with a couple new heroes and much better graphics. It was a compelling game, just as Dota was, but was current for the time.


Ludwig "Zai" Wåhlberg

HoN was where you met [fellow EG teammate] Ludwig “Zai” Wåhlberg, correct? How did that happen?

Zai was just another player on another team when we met. We became friends near the end of our time in HoN, as we both had aspirations of switching over to Dota 2 sooner rather than later.

What prompted your move from HoN to Dota 2?

I was no longer the top dog in HoN and saw an opportunity to start competing in some lower-tier Dota 2 tournaments. Eventually I couldn’t split time and stopped playing HoN to go back to college while I spent my free time learning Dota 2.

Everyone recognizes you as an EG player, but do you have a major accomplishment from the early days on teams like Dignitas, Stay Free, and Super Strong Dinosaurs?

None in Dota 2 really. With Stay Free we managed to find ourselves playing against some top teams and were casted by some of the premium casters, which was cool.

How did the move to EG happen? Why was the team first branded under the S A D B O Y S moniker before being unveiled?

EG went after Arteezy and pitched the idea to him about building a team with Fear. FluffNstuff, Demon, Universe, Zai, and myself were the tryouts. I was chosen for my in-game leadership and rapport with the guys through in-house leagues. I also said I wouldn’t play on the team without Zai (not that he wasn’t strong enough to make it on the team on his own merit).

What do you think it was about that initial roster that catapulted it into a tier-one team?

The idea of playing around a polarizing player like Arteezy made a lot of sense to me. I managed to come up with some cool ideas and convince my team to believe in them, and we ended up changing the way people played Dota 2 entirely.

You’re well-known as one of the best drafters in all of Dota 2. What do think goes into creating a good draft? Why do you think you’re so good at it?

It’s all about giving your team an opportunity to win. I’ve been blessed to have such skilled teammates the last few years that if I can give us even a 40-percent chance to win a game through the draft they’ll make up the difference. I think I’m okay at drafting because I think big picture. I also care enough to work at it, and a lot of my skill comes from my desire to win. Drafting well helps you win!

Similarly, what makes for a good captain?

I think I have a good idea of how to facilitate both communication and ideas. My Dota 2 skill plus the skill of my teammates should be enough to win any game, but if you can’t organize those ideas you won’t go anywhere.

How much communication is going on during a pro match among teammates? Is it very talkative, or do you all know what you’re doing and give each other minimal instruction?

Communication is everything. Sometimes it’s talkative, other times it's not. It depends on what is going in the game.

As soon as someone wins The International, it seems like they start falling off. But EG has staved off that curse and is still one of the highest-rated teams around. What do you think causes that decline? Did you feel you had to make a conscious effort to avoid it?

When we won [The International] 5 I don’t think we ever felt like we were the best team, we just won a tournament that happened to be the big one. We play numerous double-elimination tournaments every year, and TI is just another tournament but with a much bigger prize. I think after winning what was your loftiest goal it makes losing a lot easier. We brought in Arteezy [Artour “Arteezy” Babaev left Evil Geniuses in January of 2015 then signed on with them again in August of that year. - Ed.] and still had the drive to win but losing wasn’t that big of deal, which prevented us from playing 100 percent, in my opinion.

On Page 2, we talk about the Amazon/EG split and Dager's switch to executive.


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NBA & Take-Two Team Up For NBA 2K Esports League

The NBA and Take-Two Interactive have announced a partnership to form an eSports league centered around the NBA 2K series, with (eventually) all 30 real-life NBA teams owning a team participating in the eSports league.

The NBA 2K eLeague is currently scheduled to start in 2018, and NBA league commissioner Adam Silver says he hopes at least half of the real-life NBA teams will have their eLeague teams ready to go when the league starts.

Each eLeague team consists of five players (picked in a draft) in a five-month season that takes place concurrent with the NBA season. More details are still to be ironed out.

This isn't the first intersection between real-life basketball and eSports. Previously, the 76ers picked up an eSports team, and NBA team owners Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis bought Team Liquid.

[Source: ESPN]

 

Our Take
This is a great move for all sides, and perhaps we'll even see some eSports teams draft and perform better than their real-world counterparts…

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Get real-time rendering tips from Rogue One’s VFX team at GDC 2017

Come to GDC 2017 for a chance to reach across disciplines and study the real-time rendering techniques used in the latest Star Wars film! …


Gamasutra News

What To Watch This Weekend: League of Legends, Super Smash Bros., And Team Fortress 2

It seems like every big scene is fully waking up this weekend. Between the start of several major competitive seasons starting up, a week-long major, and one of the of biggest Super Smash. Bros. tournaments of the year, everyone's fighting for your precious viewing time.

League of Legends begins its Spring season with its Spring Split, pitting eight formidable teams against each other for the chance to represent their region in the Mid-Season Invitational (Europe Stream / Europe Schedule / North America StreamNorth America Schedule)

Meanwhile, Dota 2's best teams will be facing off in the Dota Pit, one of the biggest online tournaments outside Valve's own majors. The tournament features a $ 136,000 prize pool. (Stream / Schedule)

Heroes of the Storm's competitive season also goes into full swing this weekend, as both North American and European teams begin fighting for the their spots in the Mid-Season Brawl. (Stream / Europe Schedule / North America Schedule)

This Sunday also marks the return of the Counter-Strike:Global Offensive ELEAUGE, which will have a week-long major pitting the best teams in the world against each other for a $ 1,000,000 prize pool. (Stream / Schedule)

The Super Smash Bros. scene is hosting Genesis 4, which will have major events for Super Smash Bros. Melee, Wii U, and the Nintendo 64 version of Super Smash Bros. The event will also feature some Street Fighter V action, as well. For a list of streams, see below. (Schedule)

Finally, for those looking for some vintage gaming action, the eSports Arena is hosting the Rewind tournament, which features tournaments for Team Fortress 2, Halo: Combat Evolved, and Shadowrun. (Stream / Schedule)

That's it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed any tournaments, or if there's a scene you'd like us to cover in the future.

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