100 Thieves is releasing a new weekly documentary series calling The Heist, spotlighting their North American League of Legends Championship Series team. The series will drop weekly on the team’s YouTube channel.
Intel Extreme Masters locked in talent for its StarCraft II tournament ahead of the Olympic Winter Games. IEM PyeongChang runs Feb. 5-7, and will feature 18 top players from around the world competing for a $150,000 prize pool. Calling the action will be host Sue “Smix” Lee with desk host James “Kawlaris” Carrol. Running commentary will be Yoan “ToD” Merlo, Dan “Aerosis” Stemkoski, Nick “Tasteless” Plott, Kevin “Rotterdam” Van Der Kooi, Jared “PiG” Krensel and Nathan “Nathanias” Fabrikant.
The 2017 Hearthstone World Championship Tour begins today from Amsterdam as 16 players and the Last Call qualifiers from every region battle for the crown. Returning to the casting table for the HCT World Championship on the Hearthstone Twitch channel are: Brian Kibler and Dan “Frodan” Chou, Simon “Sottle” Welch, Alexander “Raven” Baguley, TJ Sanders and Nathan “Admirable” Zamora with a prize pool of $1,000,000 in play.
Nickelodeon in Latin America is partnering with Spanish production firm Mediapro for a scripted series about esports, titled N00Bees. The Spanish-language show centers around a group of friends who form an esports team and will go into production in April before airing on Nick across Latin America in the third quarter of 2018.
Las Vegas-based team Rogue has a new owner, as ReKTGlobal announced that it was acquiring the esports organization. The esports infrastructure company now takes on a team that previously saw investment from DJ and EDM entrepreneur Steve Aoki, and will “provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for Rogue to take its expansion to a new level.” ReKTGlobal will retain all current Rogue employees and staff, and focus on expanding the esports organization’s scope, enter new games and pursue Overwatch and League of Legends franchises in the future. “The combination of Rogue and ReKTGlobal is unstoppable. We have all the right elements to dominate the industry: a champion esports team, a passionate fan base, exciting and genuine content, events and activations, deep roots in both esports and traditional sports, connections to the right sponsors and partners, and the best management in the industry,” said ReKTGlobal founder Amish Shah.
The University of Providence is launching a scholarship-based esports program designed to bring 10-15 new scholarships to its esports club beginning with the next academic year with more scholarship opportunities set to be added over the following two years. In addition, the school will join the National Association of College Esports for this year’s season of League of Legends.
Team Dignitas is bringing a Super Smash Bros. Melee Team in-house. The Super Smash Bros. Melee Team will mark the sixth squad in the Team Dignitas family that includes a Counter Strike Global Offensive men’s and women’s team, Heroes of the Storm team, SMITE team and PUBG team. The Team Dignitas’ Super Smash Bros. Melee Team will include marquee players Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez from Canoga Park, California, and Jose “Lucky” Aldama from Norwalk, California.
With MLS jumping into the esports world, the New York Red Bulls signed Mike LaBelle as the club’s first esports player. LaBelle will represent the Red Bulls in the eMLS, and in FIFA tournaments around the world.
Mobile operator MTS added Gambit Esports to its portfolio. With the team sporting rosters in League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, among other titles. Team CEO Konstantin Pikiner will remain in his role, where he will serve as the Chief Gaming Officer at MTS.
Team Liquid is adding MOPA Team, a Brazilian Rainbow Six: Siege squad to compete in the 2018 Pro League. The team includes Leo “ziG” Duarte, André “neskwga” Oliveira, Lucas “yuuk” Rodrigues, Jose “Bullet1” Victor, and Thiago “xS3xycake” Reis.
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences unveiled nominees for its 21st DICE Awards, co-hosted by Greg Miller and Jessica Chobot. Winners will be revealed at the ceremony on Feb. 22 from in Las Vegas as the culmination of the 2018 DICE Summit. Overall, 68 games from 2017 received a nomination, led by Horizon Zero Dawn, which leads the group with 10 total nominations. Other titles with multiple nods include: The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild with 6 nominations; Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Cuphead with 5 nominations; and Gorogoa, PUBG, and Super Mario Odyssey which received 4 nominations each.
Speaking of DICE, the AIAS announced four additional speakers for this year’s Summit, running Feb. 20-22 from Las Vegas. Names are set to include: Neil Druckmann, Creative Director of games such as The Last of Us, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Dan Trachtenberg, Director and Writer of 10 Cloverfield Lane, as well as Maureen Fan, CEO and Co-Founder of Baobab and Executive Producer and Artist Maja Moldenhauer.
Nintendo opened the doors to Nintendo Labo, a new offering for the Switch designed to allow players to insert the console into cardboard items and create objects ranging from robots to pianos. The new line of interactive build-and-play experiences will be available on April 20.
Millennial Esports Corp. closed the first tranche of its previously announced non-brokered offering of equity units of Millennial for gross proceeds of $12,121,380. Part of the proceeds will be used to complete the previously announced acquisition of an approximate 82.5% majority interest of Eden Games. “The acquisition of Eden Games represents a major milestone for Millennial Esports Corp. and demonstrates how the company continues to evolve in parallel with the Esports industry,” said Millennial Esports CEO, Alex Igelman. “Eden’s acquisition secures our position as a leading mobile racing game publisher and in combination with our existing racing IP, including World’s Fastest Gamer, positions Millennial as a leader in global Esports racing.”
Disney is looking to bring its properties to new genres according to VentureBeat, with company SVP of games and interactive experiences Kyle Laughlin stating that role-playing games and brawlers were two possibilities for its brands. In addition, the next wave of Disney mobile games will come from publishers Ludia, Glu, and Gameloft, as well as PerBlue.
A new report from Digi-Capital is projecting that games revenues from both hardware and software could top $230 billion by 2022. For 2018, the company is forecasting total market revenues of around $165 billion, anchored by mobile, PC hardware and online PC games.
Dot Esports is broadening its wings and will be launching The OP, a new vertical dedicated to general gaming news. Content will focus on particular games that have a competitive element at their core, such as Pokemon Go, Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Animal Crossing. “Instead of the IGN model with generalised reviews of everything coming out and just a sort of thumbs up thumbs down approach, we’re going to focus on certain games and the competitive spirit that makes them so engaging,” said Riad Chikhani, CEO and founder of GAMURS, parent company of Dot Esports.
Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin will step down from the COO role at the company but will now take on a newly developed role. Meanwhile former Pandora COO Sara Clemens will come aboard to step into the role, along with Mark Weiler, who joins from Rubicon Project to become SVP, Head of Platforms & Services at Twitch; and Amir Shevat, VP of Developer Experience, who joins from Slack.
Jim Ryan has been named deputy president of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Ryan will continue in his role as president of SIE Europe and SIE’s head of Global Sales and Marketing, but he will now work under SIE CEO John Kodera and alongside existing deputy president Kazuo Miura to further the PlayStation business worldwide.