CYNOPSISeSPORTS & GAMING
02.09.17 It’s Thursday, February 9, 2017, and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.
The NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software are announcing the launch of NBA 2K eLeague, set to begin play in 2018. Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters that the move was designed to continue to expand his league’s global brand, beginning with 8-12 teams before expanding to all 30 franchises in time with teams of gamers set to play in an 82-game regular season before moving on to compete for a championship. “The large part of my mission is to grow the game of basketball," Silver told The Associated Press. "There’s going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say `Maybe I couldn’t play for the Knicks, because I didn’t have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks."’
Psyonix is shooting for the big score with Rocket League, laying out its 2017 plans that will include an investment of over $2/5 million in the title’s esports program, dangling over $1 million in total prize pools with “bigger, more meaningful” appearances” at major competitive gaming festivals and onsite events at the likes of PAX, SXSW, etc. The publisher is also lining up expanded weekly tournament support in multiple regions, including Europe, North America, Oceania, South America, as well as a “true” collegiate Rocket League Esports program, along with a new esports hub on the Rocket League website and a slate of in-game esports features and enhancements.
These moves are in addition to the publisher releasing details for the third season of the Rocket League Championship Series this week. Season three launches March 4 with the World Championship in June and will include Oceanic contenders for the first time while the prize pool swells to $300,000. Play will be carried on Twitch, with the publisher also launching a new RLCS weekly talk show starting in mid-March.
"Esports is one of our major focuses for Rocket League this year and we want to make sure that we do it right by the entire community,” said Jeremy Dunham, Vice President of Publishing, Psyonix. “We think investing in our players across multiple skill levels, backgrounds, and groups are the best way to go. We want to grow Rocket League as a true esport, and you can’t do that by focusing only on the pro scene (as great as they are). You have to put the pieces in place to allow young children and novice players to discover and learn the game and to improve their skills over time. We want our competitive community to have attainable goals across the board. We’re really looking forward to watching the year play out!"
Meanwhile, Super Evil Megacorp, creators of Vainglory, announced the additions of five of the world’s largest esports franchises – Fnatic, Echo Fox, NRG, Rogue and Immortals – to its professional gaming lineup. Each team will compete in Vainglory’s Spring Season, which kicks off in March. To celebrate the arrival of the new franchises, the publisher will host all five teams at the company’s “Super Evil Lair” in San Mateo for a “Run the Gauntlet” Preseason Invitational on Feb. 26, which will be broadcast live on twitch.tv/vainglory. In addition, the company unveiled its full 2017 esports calendar with the Spring Season beginning in March, Summer season in June and Autumn season in September, culminating with a World Championship in December, followed by the winter offseason.
Riot Games firmed up the locations and formats its two biggest international League of Legends tournaments this year. The 2017 Mid-Season Invitational is slated to take place in Brazil starting April 28, while the World Championships hit China at the 91,000-seat Bird’s Nest in Shanghai, marking the largest venue ever to play host to the event. MSI will mark the first time all 13 global professional regions will compete against each other with the final set to take place on May 21 in Rio de Janeiro. As for Worlds, the field will expand to 24 to mark the largest World Championships of all time.
DreamHack finalized its 2017 primary tournament plans with the addition of DreamHack Masters Malmo in Sweden. That announcement now marks 11 events in 2017 for the company, including two Masters tournaments and nine festivals. The action begins next week with DreamHack Masters Las Vegas starting Feb. 15.
Last chance to enter our 2017 Awards as late deadline expires on Feb. 14! Bring us your nominees to determine who dominated esports in 2016 for the following categories: eSports Event of the Year; eSports Sponsor Activation; eSports Production of the Year; and the Ambassador Award for Personality of the Year. Who will walk away the champ? Don’t miss your opportunity to shine on April 12 at the Cynopsis World eSports Summit, with our pre-upfront event and the biggest names in esports by entering here.
EVO locked in its final title, as gaming fans raised $71,690 for Make-a-Wish International in support of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in a charity battle to determine the final spot at the event, which spans July 14-16. The title bested Pokken Tournament with $66,906 raised. The brawler will now open Sunday’s championship finals.
The ESL Pro League is back for its fifth season, lining up a total of 28 teams from across both the European and North American regions for a ten-week playing period and battling it out for a share of the US $1,000,000 prize pool. That marks a 33% increase in prizes.
Blizzard’s upcoming Hearthstone Global Games tournament is stacking the deck, announcing that this year’s tournament will have teams of four players representing 48 countries vying for a prize pool of $300,000. The team that places first will receive $60,000. The top ranked player from each eligible country will receive an invitation to represent their national team, while the remaining three players will be chosen through votes from the community.
Speaking of Hearthstone, DreamHack revealed that the DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix circuit will see tournaments at more events than ever with play taking place at seven DreamHack events this year, including Atlanta, Denver and Montreal. Each city will see a minimum of 200 competitor slots per tournament, each with a total prize pool of $25,000 as well as side events with special prizes and a $1,500 prize pool at stake.
Super League Gaming announced the launch of eight additional city teams for the game, as well as the first-ever city versus city Minecraft City Champs tournament. Season two sees City Champs expand from four teams to twelve with the addition of: the Boston Revolt, Denver Drakes, Houston Blast, Las Vegas Wildcards, New York Fury, Phoenix Blaze, San Francisco Radicals and Seattle Surge. Qualifiers for both League of Legends and Minecraft City Champs will begin in Spring.
EA is seeing its games take root in linear channels, announcing that its Competitive Gaming Division locked in a trio of broadcast partnership deals with ESPN, NFL Network and Univision in a move to broaden the competitive gaming experience. EA’s partnership with ESPN saw the FIFA Ultimate Team Championship Series Paris Regional Final broadcast on ESPN against the Super Bowl, with additional coverage airing on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.
Meanwhile, EA’s Madden has a long-term home at NFL Network and Univision. Following December’s Madden Classic tournament on the pair of networks, the new extension now includes the three remaining Madden NFL EA Majors tournaments this season: the recently-completed Madden Bowl, Madden Challenge and the Madden Championship.
Major League Gaming hits the Call of Duty World League Atlanta Open with multiple streaming partners throughout the weekend. MLG.tv broadcast will offer source level quality to the viewers at home for the first time, and no secondary transcoding means will create a unique viewing experience that is indistinguishable from the actual game played at home. Fans will also be able to watch live match broadcasts, news, analysis and live replays from the event on MLG’s YouTube channel, Twitch channel, and Facebook page at different points throughout the weekend.
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok’s move to Twitch quickly handed the League of Legends player with the record for the biggest Twitch streamer of all time for a single streamer’s channel. Twitch announced Faker’s arrival to the platform on Monday following a run at Azubu, with his first stream seeing a peak of concurrent 245,100 viewers.
The first ELeague Major, from Turner and WME/IMG, scored a total reach that topped 3.6 million viewers on TBS alone over the course of the tournament, with 1.8 million classified as first-time ELeague watchers. The event’s Twitch channel ranked as the top channel on Twitch for seven consecutive days, with viewing consuming over 2.4 billion minutes of footage over Twitch, TBS, YouTube, and GOTV. The event also drummed up 2.6 million video views across Facebook and Twitter.
Staple family gaming platform Roblox reports that its 4th Annual Bloxy Awards generated big growth in audiences on Twitch last weekend. The event drummed up 555,049 unique views (a 256% rise over 2016), along with a 56% rise in peak concurrent viewers. Meanwhile, the event scored 333K total votes while #BloxyAwards trended in the US and globally for two days. Roblox also unveiled a new deal with JazWares for a toy line.
VGambling, a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on eSports wagering, executed a term sheet for its $850,000 Bridge Round financing. The Financing, available exclusively through Denver, CO-based First Capital Ventures is designed to complete the Company’s peer-to-peer eSports wagering platform and launch its eSports websites.
SPYR is taking its flagship game, Pocket Starships, to Facebook’s new Gameroom, where it is now available in beta, for Windows PC gamers. "Mobile gaming has gotten the lion’s share of recent attention in the industry, but PC gaming is still very much a thriving market. According to PwC’s industry research, by the end of 2016, PC game sales were expected to reach $29 billion around the world, compared with $28 billion in sales for the console market," said James Thompson, CEO & President, SPYR. "Between the explosive growth of eSports and strong PC sales, we don’t see that appetite for PC games going anywhere anytime soon."
Turtle Beach locked in a new partnership with VfL Wolfsburg to become the club’s official eSports audio partner. The deal will see VfL Wolfsburg eSports athletes sporting Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headsets other gear in all competitions, with the Turtle Beach brand incorporated into club’s upcoming activities. "We’re pleased to have Turtle Beach as our new headset partner for our eSports team,” said Steffen Grupp, head of sponsoring and events at VfL Wolfsburg. “We know that many of our supporters play video games, and as a club we’ve shown our first mover position in competitive gaming and further digital innovations in football. Together with Turtle Beach we can be at the forefront of eSports competition."
Nintendo’s foray into Super Bowl LI with its Switch & Play spot ranked as one of the most popular commercials in the game, according to Ace Metrix. The company reports that the commercial ranked as the fourth most popular from the game, behind Ford, Audi and King’s Hawaiian, but ranked at the top under its surprises category for its ability “to demonstrate an innovative new product with an entertaining ad that viewers responded to.” The extended spot on YouTube has now generated over 5 million views.
Rocket League game developer and publisher Psyonix unveiled a partnership for an upcoming line of toys with Zag Toys based on the indie video game. The new line of toys will initially launch with 12 Rocket League ‘Original Minis Pull-Back Racers,’ with the first cars set to include Octane, Dominus, Masamune, Hotshot, Grog, X-Devil, Merc, and Backfire, as well as variant decorations.
After launching E3 Live a year ago to give public a taste of the annual event outside of the LA Convention Center, ESA will now offer gaming fans full public access to E3 for the first time ever. Gamespot reports that the ESA will sell 15,000 tickets to the public for $250 withan early bird rate of $150. Tickets will offer fans access to the show floor, panel discussions, during the three days affair, spanning June 13-15. In addition, the ESA is partnering with Geoff Keighley to "provide attendees with access to special benefits associated with Keighley’s own E3 programming, such as developer interviews and more," according to the report.
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime issued an internal memo condemning the US government’s recent immigration ban, according to Polygon. The email also promies support (via Blizzard’s legal and human resources teams) for any employees impacted by the policy change. "The executive order issued on Friday directly affected a small number of our employees and their families, and supporting them is a priority for us. Our HR and Legal teams are in touch with those impacted and providing travel guidance as well as legal assistance and further counseling as needed," the email stated in the report. "The executive order strikes an incredibly sharp contrast with the values on which our company was founded. We are, and will always be, a company that strives for inclusion, embraces diversity, and treats one another with respect. This is the very foundation of what makes not just our company but America great, which is why I am so troubled by these actions."
Speaking of Blizzard, the company is now allowing players convert in-game gold from World of Warcraft into Battle.net credit that can be applied toward other company titles such as Overwatch. The exchange can be completed via WoW Tokens, purchased within World of Warcraft using real money, or in-game gold earned through quests, item auctions and more. “The Wow Token is an easy and secure option for players who would like to purchase some extra gold from other players, or would like to pay for their WoW subscription, pets, mounts, and other Blizzard products using gold,” the company said in the announcement video.
H.I.G. Growth Partners completed a strategic investment in SCUF Gaming, a leading designer, manufacturer, and e-commerce platform for sales of advanced feature, customized gaming controllers and accessories for use on PlayStation, Xbox and PC. John Kim, a Managing Director with H.I.G. Growth Partners, stated, “SCUF is the market leader in advanced feature gaming controllers with an unmatched intellectual property portfolio. We are excited to partner with Duncan and the entire SCUF team to continue the Company’s strong, profitable growth trajectory, further develop the SCUF brand, and introduce SCUF’s products to an even greater audience of consumers.”
UFC undisputed flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson continues to blaze new trails as a competitive staple with legions of fans, and that’s just outside the famed octagon. The man known as Mighty Mouse has established himself as a fixture in gaming circles, not only for his popular Twitch channel, which he launched in Oct. 2015, but also through his recent affiliation with Northern Gaming, marking the first MMA fighter to partner with an esports organization.
Tuesday saw Johnson join Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Jessica Chobot (gaming host), Eric Pope (Ubisoft) and James Vendenberghe (Ubisoft) for an exclusive live-stream launch of Ubisoft’s For Honor, available in Open Beta though Feb. 12, where Cynopsis was able to ask him about his gaming endeavors.
On gaming: I got into gaming when I was a kid. As a kid from a low-income household, there weren’t a lot of things to do for entertainment, like going to the movies or going to the mall for shopping. The one thing we did for entertainment was play video games. The first game I remember playing was Contra 2 with my Mom. Since that moment, I’ve been in love with playing video games. Throughout my life, I’ve had tons of gaming consoles, from Nintendo to Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Game cast, Game Cube, Xbox One, PC’s, etc., etc. Now, as an adult, gaming is one of my main hobbies, whether it’s when I’m in-between training sessions preparing for my next fight or when I’m just relaxing.
On favorites: All of them! As a kid, I would play Street Fighter, Castlevania, Zelda, Turtles in Time, etc. I don’t think there was a bad game I grew up playing. Right now, my favorite game is H1Z1!
On launching a Twitch channel: I launched my Twitch channel to better engage with my fans on a different level. Normally, my fans only see me when I’m competing in the Octagon. My fans don’t get a chance to see my real personality because when UFC Fight Week comes, I’m cutting weight, drinking two gallons of water daily, dieting and focused on the upcoming fight. Launching my channel allowed fans to both see and relate to my other side, while interacting on something I’m extremely passionate about, video games. Fans can also ask questions. It’s great to be a part of and help build a community that’s as passionate about fighting and gaming that I am.
On his partnership with Northern Gaming: Right now I’m an influencer and I’m trying to help get their name out there in the gaming landscape. When they initially approached me, we spoke about esports in general and they offered to help me out with a potential esports team. With exposure through my Twitch channel coupled with my interest in esports, I’m an influencer and hopefully we can help them continue to expand their footprint. We don’t have any financial agreements, it’s just mutual assistance pushing each other’s platforms. It’s fun, I’m really enjoying it.
On the biggest challenge to esports: I think right now they are doing an amazing job. One thing I’d like to see them do to continue its growth is to offer more games. Ubisoft’s For Honor is a great stepping stone and hopefully they’ll add another esports fighting game. Right now, they just have Street Fighter 5 and I’m sure they’ll add Tekken 7 as well. I would like to see them add more variety to go along with DOTA 2, League of Legends, Counter Strike and StarCraft II.
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Later — Chris
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Senior Technical Designer
Be fully self-sufficient to make brand new Weapons, Ships, and other Hard Surfaces for Destiny.
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Deploy, evaluate performance, optimize and test UI software on PC and console platforms.
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Assist the Creative Director in realizing the game vision and desired experiences.
Maintaining a strong collaborative work relationship with programming peers, animation artists, and design staff.
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Work with the Art Director and Animation Manager to help set the quality bar for asset creation.
Senior Gameplay Animator
Develop and coordinate the execution of project wide level test plans across multiple teams to ensure a high quality release on schedule.
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Create high-quality animation based on motion capture performances and key frame animation to meet visual expectations in the Destiny Universe game..
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