01/04/18: Steam detailed its top-selling games of 2017

CynopsiseSPORTS & GAMING
It’s Thursday January 4, 2018 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming briefing.

 

Valve announced its lineup of Steam’s best-selling PC games in 2017, with 12 titles making up its Platinum rankings for the year. Among the roster of games topping the charts are Rocket League and PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, along with Valve’s own CS:GO and Dota 2. Other titles occupying the slot include: ARK: Survival Evolved; The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt; Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands; Grand Theft Auto V; Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege; H1Z1; Divinity: Original Sin 2; and Warframe.
 
 
COMPETITION and VENUES


We are clocking in at less than a week until the launch of the Overwatch League, with play slated to begin on Jan. 10 at 7p that will see a trio of matches include the San Francisco Shock/LA Valiant, followed at 9p by the Shanghai Dragons/LA Gladiators, and the Dallas Fuel/Seoul Dynasty at 11p. Games will run every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday throughout the regular season and carried on Twitch, the Overwatch League site via MLG. Meanwhile, skins featuring the new teams are slated to go on sale next week.
 
WorldGaming is heating up hockey for gamers, announcing the first-ever Snider Hockey Cup Sponsored by Xbox, Powered by WorldGaming, described as a competitive video gaming tournament that will be played across North America on EA SPORTS NHL 18.  Online qualifiers for tournament will get underway on Jan. 10, culminating with the Live Championships at Xfinity Live! Philadelphia on March 7. “The WorldGaming team is thrilled to be partnering with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation to bring this exciting competitive gaming tournament opportunity to players and fans throughout the US and Canada, especially given the support and awareness this will bring to the many student-athletes of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and its great cause and mission,” said Wim Stocks, General Manager, WorldGaming.
 
Hi-Rez Expo kicks off today in Atlanta from the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center and serves up a slate of world championships through Jan. 7. Overall, five champs will be determined: the Paladins World Championship; SMITE World Championship; Paladins Console Wars; SMITE Console World Championship; and Hand of the Gods Founder’s Tournament. Check out our Q&A below for more info…
 
The Fiesta Bowl organization and Blizzard Entertainment, via its Tespa collegiate esports division, announced plans for “high-level” college competition for Overwatch with the debut of  the Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate National Championship. The first-of-its-kind esports partnership between a college football bowl organization and a game publisher brings the top four collegiate Overwatch teams to Arizona for the semifinals and championship match of this year’s Tespa Overwatch Collegiate Series. “With the explosive growth of esports, we identified this opportunity to broaden our footprint and get involved right at our sweet spot – intercollegiate competition. Partnering with Blizzard Entertainment once again puts us at the top of the college game, in a slightly different arena,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. “Now is a perfect time to become a part of a new frontier for college gaming. These are highly-talented and dedicated students showcasing their skills.”
 
ESL unveiled a new format for IEM Katowice, which runs Feb. 27-March 4 with a prize pool of $500,000 at stake. This year’s event will up the ante with 16 teams in contention in lieu of 12, divided into two groups of eight. The winner of each group will then move on directly to the semifinals while three teams from division will advance to the playoffs. The quarter and semifinal matches will be best of three format, while the Grand Final will be a best of five.
 
The Esports Open Tour is open for business, serving as an initiative from ETG, MES, and Platinum 5 Studios designed to serve as a new Call of Duty and Halo national circuit. The lineup will look to put on open LAN events across the country in 2018, along with multiple online tournaments that will allow players to earn ‘EOT Points.’ The first LAN event – the New Jersey Open – will take place from Feb. 23-26.
 
Clear your calendar!!! Cynopsis Esports is teaming with Chief Marketer and Event Marketer for the Esports Business Summit, the premier three-day industry event running Oct. 1-3, 2018 from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. We’ll feature five different tracks, unique networking opportunities, industry awards and access to the most innovative minds in the business. Sign up for info and get updates at http://www.esportsbizsummit.com/
 
ELEAGUE’s upcoming Boston CS:GO Major will feature the Swiss System for the Challengers Stage and Legends Stage, per Dot Esports. The event runs Jan. 12-28 and serves as the first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major to use Valve’s new format with 24 teams instead of 16. Min-Sik Ko, the VP of Tournament Operations at ELEAGUE, posted that both the Challengers and Legends Stages will utilize the Swiss System with opening matches being seeded while other rounds would then pit teams with equal records against one another. Teams that make it to three wins will move forward in the tournament while teams with three losses will be eliminated. 
 
Evo Japan will make its debut with over 5,000 players signing on to contend for the event, according to Evo topper Joey Cuellar, who tweeted the numbers. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition will serve as the event’s biggest tournament with over 2,250 players competing for the event, while more than 1,200 players are registered to compete in Guilty Gear Xrd -REV2 while Tekken 7 notched 1,200 players.
 
Esports Arena in Las Vegas is set to debut a one-of-a-kind gaming-inspired menu when it opens at MGM Resorts International’s Luxor Hotel and Casino in early 2018. The food and beverage program was developed by ThinkFoodEntertainment, a division of chef Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup, and Allied ESports, the world’s leading network of esports properties. Esports Arena Las Vegas is the first dedicated Esports venue on the Las Vegas Strip and its menu will include items catered to gamers and feature portions crafted with efficiency in mind.
 
 
SPONSOR ACTIVATION


Coke Esports is activating around Hi-Rez Expo by bringing the SMITE World Championship to theaters across the US. The SMITE World Championship finals will be held Sunday, Jan. 7, and those experiencing the esports action live at a participating theater location will also get exclusive SMITE prizes from Hi-Rez Studios. Fans can book tickets at www.smitefinals2018.com.
 
HyperX locked in a deal to become the official peripherals sponsor of PGL Dota 2 Major Bucharest. The brand will be onsite showing the latest products, offering giveaways, and providing show specials on HyperX accessories. “We are pleased to work again with HyperX as our official peripherals partner for The Bucharest Major,” said Silviu Stroie, CEO, PGL. “We want to keep up the tradition of PGL Majors that offer the best of Dota 2 action and entertainment. HyperX has always supported us in achieving our goals, both technical and creative. Our partnership will not only add to the value of the event but will also allow fans travelling to the Polyvalent Hall the opportunity to experience first-hand the quality of HyperX peripherals.”
 
The Checkered Flag is coasting into esports, announcing a partnership with The Online Racing Association to become the series sponsors for TORA’s TASCAR championship. “I’m over the moon to have The Checkered Flag on board as the series sponsor for TORA TASCAR,” said TORA TASCAR’s Jordan Groves. “The series has been utterly fantastic the last few years. We’ve had some of TORA’s closest ever championship finishes in the TASCAR series, including last year’s tie between myself and Nick Totten. The racing is always excellent and I expect more of the same this time around.”
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PLATFORMS

FIFA is inviting bids for its esports competitions throughout 2018, according to ESPN. The org previously announced a partnership with EA Sports to stage a “global series” that will culminate in the FIFA eWorld Cup next summer that will see 32 players compete for the title, a large cash prize and a trip to next year’s the Best FIFA Football Awards.
 
 
TEAMS

Professional poker player Fedor Holz has invested in Envy Gaming, Inc., the parent company of TeamEnvyUs and their Overwatch League brand, the Dallas Fuel, according to esportsinsider.com. Holz, 24, is the highest-earning German poker player in history, with almost $27 million in winnings over the past five years.
 
Manchester City doubled the size of its esports roster, inking professional FIFA player Marcus ‘ExpectSporting’ Jorgesen to the club where he joins Kieran ‘Kez’ Brown. Brown will play in the Xbox One side of tournaments while Jorgesen will be City’s PlayStation 4 player.
 
The University of Akron announced its entry into the varsity esports world via its Zips Gaming program that will launch in the fall of 2018. According to reports, a projected 35 to 40 students will officially represent the university in intercollegiate competitions for League of Legends, Hearthstone, Rocket League and Overwatch. Merit scholarships will be given to both these players and their student coaching staff, starting at $1,000 for the former and up to $5,000 for the latter.
 
 
TEAM SPOTLIGHT-FNATIC


Courtesy: Esports One & Esportspedia: Revolutionizing Esports Data
 
 
INDUSTRY


PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to notch new records, passing three million concurrent users on Steam – more than four times the amount of people playing the number two game on the platform in Dota 2. Meanwhile, PUBG Corporation CEO Chang Han Kim said in an interview with Inven Global that the company is looking to leverage the title as a “universal media franchise. “We want to take part in diverse industries including Esports, movies, drama, cartoons, animation, and more,” he said. “In fact, we received a couple of love calls from a number of developers in Hollywood and Netflix. Our dream is to build a new game-based culture through various ways like this, and have the lead of that culture.”
 
Nintendo is looking to approach 40 million units of the Switch console sales by the end of the next fiscal year, according to company president Tatsumi Kimishima in an interview with the Kyoto Shimbun. He notes that the company will look to sell 20 million units in fiscal 2018 alone, noting that the Switch’s performance has exceeded company expectations.
 
Rocket League has its own celebrations for 2018, announcing that the game now boasts 40 million players worldwide since its launch in 2015.
 
Microsoft pulled the plug on production of the Kinect Adapter, the company confirmed to Polygon. “After careful consideration, we decided to stop manufacturing the Xbox Kinect Adapter to focus attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming accessories across Xbox One and Windows 10,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon.
 
 
POWER PLAYERS-Hi-Rez Studios


As Hi-Rez Studios prepares for its annual gathering in Atlanta, complete with cosplay and competition, Cynopsis Esports caught up with company marketer Andee Cantatore to break down how they are leveraging the event and its esports to boost the brand and game sales.
 
On Hi-Rez Expo: Hi-Rez Expo is a four day immersive experience for fans of Hi-Rez titles. It’s a gathering of around 3,000 super fans of SMITE and Paladins. The cosplay, the showroom floor, the esports are all dedicated to Hi-Rez Games. Players get to meet other dedicated SMITE and Paladins fans from all over the world. At most cons, the SMITE and Paladins fans feel like they are in the minority. But HRX is a weekend dedicated entirely to our gaming community.
 
On lessons learned: Our biggest strategy for engaging fans at HRX is attending the event ourselves! All of our 400+ employees are encouraged to attend the event and meet the players of our games. Fans can meet our on-screen personalities, stand in the food truck line with our developers, and get in lengthy meta discussions with our pro players. HRX really breaks down that barrier between studio and players. This is our 4th annual esports event, and it evolves every year. We’ve added a second stage, a huge free-play area, and an opening keynote address. We have definitely learned that people at home want to see the new game content we announce at the expo! We will live stream a keynote address right after doors open this year, at 9:15 AM EST on twitch.hireztv.
 
On esports: Esports is the best way to spread the word about our titles! We see a measurable spike in the number of new players trying our titles during esports events. It’s also the best way to show the full potential of our games. Pro players really are an elite group of gamers who come up with game-play strategies that the devs never even thought of. They shape the upcoming seasons of each game and influence balance by showing us new possibilities.
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ON THIS DAY in 2011: Nintendo releases the Mario Sports Mix video game for the Nintendo Wii in the US.
 

Trivia: In Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, what is Rick’s last name? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
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Develop online gameplay features in C++ on top of a large proprietary engine.
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