12/07/17: The Game Awards locked in talent for tonight’s presentation

It’s Thursday December 7, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming briefing. (Bonus! We are the clock to announce some big initiatives in the coming weeks designed to transform the industry. Stay tuned!)


Tonight sees The Game Awards locked and loaded to celebrate the best of 2017 with a peek at what’s to come in 2018, courtesy of event founder Geoff Keighley. The gala will run live from Microsoft Theater in LA at 8:30p ET, with a live stream available on more than 16 gaming and digital streaming platforms, including localized versions for Chinese, South Korean and Japanese audiences in addition to platforms that include: Facebook, GameSpot, IGN, Mixer, PlayStation Store, Steam, Twitch, Twitter, Xbox Live, YouTube (in 4K Ultra HD), and more and poised to break last year’s viewership record of 8.5 million viewers. Among the category presenters this evening will be Rick and Morty’s Justin Roiland, The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, along with Guillermo Del Toro, Hideo Kojima, Zachary Levi, Justin Roiland, Aisha Tyler, Andy Serkis, Felicia Day and Justine Ezarik.

ESL and Intel announced that IEM Oakland broke new records this year, where 6,500+ esports fans filled the Oracle Arena on Nov. 18 and 19 and 28.6 million sessions streamed in 13 languages on 23 platforms, nearly doubling viewership from 2016. On social platforms, the event earned over 113.4 million impressions, spiking 39% over last year, with an additional 8.6 million sessions viewed, representing almost 50% increase. Online viewers of the broadcast consumed close to 7.5 million hours of content throughout the event, with over 10.8 million uniques. “IEM Oakland delivered one of the most exciting esports competitions we’ve seen all year,” said John Bonini, VP and GM of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation. “We introduced some new experiences this year with PUBG and VR Challenger League, and they were a great showcase of Intel technology powering amazing gaming experiences for esports. We thank the athletes and community who helped make IEM Oakland such a thrilling experience, and look forward to taking this momentum to PyeongChang and Katowice next year.”
The NCAA is tapping the services of Intersport to help the org continue its exploration of the industry. Intersport will help the collegiate entity engage with a slate of collegiate esports stakeholders, with outreach to schools representing all three NCAA divisions beginning in early December, with the goal of learning about how existing esports clubs and programs are structured, funded and administered. “At the request of the NCAA Board of Governors, we’re taking a step forward by working with NCAA membership to understand current interest in and support of esports,” said Joni Comstock, NCAA senior vice president of championships. “Ultimately, we hope to determine if the NCAA should have a role in supporting growth in this rapidly expanding space.”
NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue took to Reddit this week to announce the NBA 2K League Qualifier, described as the first step for potential players to try out for the league. The first stage of qualifying for the NBA 2K League will run from Jan. 1-31, and mandates that players need to win 50 games in NBA 2K18’s Pro-Am mode and complete an online application by Jan. 31. Players can compete as a walk-on, part of a team or a combination.  Players who meet these requirements in January can be invited to the next round of tryouts in February, after which, the best players will be selected for the draft that will take place in March.  Each of the 17 teams participating in the inaugural season will draft five players who will live in-market during the season, which tips off in May 2018.
ESL is reportedly set to standardize its tournament formats for its key events next year, and will now model ESL One, IEM and ESL Pro League events into six-day, 16-team competitions. TEO writes that the evolution will help sponsors plan with the changes affecting at least 10 planned events during the year.
Gfinity announced that season one of its new Australian Gfinity Elite Series will feature a prize pool of $340,000 spanning titles that include CS:GO, Street Fighter V and Rocket League with six city based teams taking part from around the country. The first season begins Jan. 7. “The Challenger Series is designed as an integrated, grassroots support platform, which is frequently seen in traditional sports, and is key to the development of Australian esports,” said incoming Gfinity Australia CEO, Dominic Remond, whose appointment was announced last week.
Speaking of Gfinity, the company is adding FIFA 18 to season three of its Elite Series, which launches in March. The event will serve as an official EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series qualifier. “Gfinity is the first esports company to secure an EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series license and we are excited to build on our long-standing relationship with EA. The addition of the hugely popular FIFA 18 to our game line-up adds a very enticing dimension to The Elite Series,” said Neville Upton, CEO of Gfinity.
WorldGaming unlocked registration for players in Canada and the US for the WorldGaming Canadian Championship presented by PlayStation 4 featuring Call of Duty: WWII. Competitors in the WorldGaming Canadian Championship begin play with online qualifiers starting on Jan. 6. The top eight teams from the online playoffs will travel to Toronto for the National Finals at Cineplex’s Scotiabank Theatre Toronto on March 3 and 4. “This is our third national tournament featuring Call of Duty and it is clear that the gaming community in North America appreciates the supreme and distinctive competitive aspects of the game and of our tournaments,” says Wim Stocks, General Manager of WorldGaming. “Players and spectators alike will bring passion and truly impressive team combat strategies into the mix.”
This past weekend saw the Clash Royale Crown Championship World Finals wrap up with Mexico’s Sergioramos taking home the Golden Crown. The prize included $150,000 for the tournament, which 26,000 people tune in.


ELEAGUE inked Boost Mobile to a deal that will see the mobile carrier serve as the Official Wireless Partner of ELEAGUE. Activations will span ELEAGUE’s linear television, digital and social platforms, as well as on-site at ELEAGUE competitions. Boost Mobile will leverage ELEAGUE’s expertise in creating “award-winning custom brand integrations within their programming and content. “Some elements of the partnership include sponsorship integration on the ELEAGUE caster desk and within ELEAGUE’s AdTracker, which facilitates uninterrupted game coverage, as well as promotion across ELEAGUE’s platforms ELEAGUE’s social media channels, and on TBS). Twitch and YouTube are ELEAGUE’s digital distribution partners for live event coverage and on-demand content.
Meanwhile, HyperX unlocked its first NBA 2K team sponsorship, signing on to become the official gaming headset partner of the future Dallas NBA 2K League team as well as the Dallas Mavericks. HyperX will participate with the Dallas Mavericks at NBA home games with in-arena activities including digital signage, giveaways and concourse activities. “We see the NBA 2K league as a great way to provide entertainment value and partnering with HyperX is a valuable part of our plan to build a competitive NBA 2K League team,” said Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas NBA 2K league team. “HyperX brings an abundance of experience in the gaming community and will be a valuable partner both on and off the court during esports tournaments and events.”
HyperX is also launching a charity livestream with professional esports celebrities and broadcasters at its gaming headquarters in Orange County on Dec. 12 starting at 2p PT. The brand is partnering with the charity Extra Life and Square Enix Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT with ten pro players from the fighting games community that include Daigo, players from Echo Fox, Team SoloMid, NRG, Team Liquid, and more. The HXGiving charity event runs on the HyperX Twitch channel.
Schick Hydro announced plans to “foster innovation” by spotlighting and investing in independent game developers. The brand’s efforts include a new, fan-choice award for The Game Awards 2017 (“The Best Debut Indie Game – Presented by Schick Hydro”), a consumer giveaway that puts break-out indie games in fans’ hands, an exclusive indie game jam in partnership with Playcrafting and a custom arcade experience at The Game Awards. 
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Preseason play is underway for Overwatch League’s first season, and today’s matches are set to include the Spitfire/Gladiators, Outlaws/Fuel and Uprising/Excelsior. Blizzard announced that all preseason contests will be carried on MLG.com and OverwatchLeague.com. Platforms for its regular season, which starts Jan. 10, have not been announced.
Meanwhile, Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer hit up Reddit to update audiences on the state of the org, telling fans that a fantasy play on the league was in the cards. “One of the things that is super cool to me about esports is the rich library of data that we have available to us,” he said. “Like with traditional sports, fantasy is an awesome way for fans to engage with the leagues they love. We think fantasy would be a great addition to the fan experience for the Overwatch League too, but from a stats perspective we are currently focused on the launch of Season 1. We definitely want to do fantasy in the future, though, so stay tuned!”
ESP Gaming formally announced its launch as a production company for esports and competitive gaming content creation, anchored by a team that brings over 20 years of live event sports production experience, including productions of events like the X-Games, Olympics, NFL and World Series of Poker. The lineup of productions for its partners CJ Network/Com2uS and Amazon Appstore, includes the Summoners War World Arena Championship: World Finals and the Champions of Fire tournament. In addition to its production capabilities, ESP Gaming is also offering ESP Labs as an investment arm for securing esports investments in games, platforms and products.
The Esports Championship Series cemented its talent lineup for the Season 4 Finals including new analyst, Jordan ‘n0thing’ Gilbert, and returning commentators James Bardolph, Dan Kapadia and more. The ECS Season 4 Finals take place at Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun, Mexico on Dec. 15-17, with each of the three days to be broadcast around the world exclusively on FACEIT’s official YouTube Gaming channel.
MLG announced that John ‘Revan’ Boble will return to his commentator role for the upcoming Call of Duty World League Dallas Open event. The event marks the first major LAN of the CoD: WWII season.
ROG Masters 2017 sees 12 champion teams converge at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Malaysia this week to battle for a slice of the $470,000 via CS:GO and Dota 2. The weekend showdown will be hosted by Ben Green with Elfishguy, KaRath, Jiro Pineda, Vill, and Hugo Byron on the assist for CS:GO, while Capitalist, Fogged, Luminous, Lyrical, and GranDGranT handle Dota 2 with action starting today.

KSV officially acquired the world champion League of Legends team, Samsung Galaxy. “League of Legends is one of the top esports games in the world, and KSV has been looking for the right opportunity to enter this global esport since the summer,” said Kevin Chou, Chief Executive Officer of KSV. “From the beginning, we’ve explored acquiring a League of Legends team that aligned with KSV’s long-term goals and vision. In addition to their impressive championship victory, we admire Samsung Galaxy’s focus on team play and felt it was a strong culture fit with the rest of our teams and company.”
Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer announced that fans of the league would be able to buy home team skins early next year with all 26 heroes in the game each having a jersey for each of the 12 Overwatch League teams. “Purchasing Overwatch League skins will provide monetary support for teams in the league,” Nanzer said in a YouTube post with Blizzard, using a separate currency system specifically for the skins to ensure the correct amount of money goes to the teams – which will nab 50% of the revenues.
Unfortunately, the preseason will see OWL down a team, as the Philadelphia Fusion announced that player logistics issues will prevent the Fusion from participating in preseason matches, although regular season plans remain on track.
With an assist from ReKTGlobal, Harrisburg University and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts are launching a “first-of-its-kind collegiate esports collaboration” and the official launch of HU’s esports program. ReKTGlobal will help HU develop a program that benefits both the university and students. Harrisburg University is the first Mid-Atlantic university and 50th school in the nation to join the National Association of Collegiate Esports. “We look forward to helping Harrisburg University and other colleges bring esports to campuses across the nation,” said ReKTGlobal’s Kevin Knocke. “Through ReKTUniversity, we can help do it all – from recruiting coaches and players, to resource acquisition and setting up programs and tournaments.”
FaZe Clan opened the doors to the squad’s official online merchandise store. Merchandise includes the likes of shirts, phone cases, more.
Mexican League of Legends squad Lyon Gaming is rebranding as Rainbow7. The move comes after Riot Games announced that the team would be fined due to a breach of contract when it was revealed that the team owner did not own the rights to the team’s name and logo.

Capcom locked in plans for Mega Man 11, announcing details during the Mega Man 30th Anniversary Livestream in partnership with Twitch. The new game features tight side-scrolling action gameplay the series is known for while completely revolutionizing the experience for modern consoles and hits Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC in late 2018. Also confirmed are both Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man® Legacy Collection 2 coming to Nintendo Switch in Spring 2018, making all 10 of the numbered series games playable on Nintendo Switch leading up to the release of Mega Man 11 later next year. In addition, all eight games from the Mega Man X series are coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in Summer 2018.
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences announced the return of their co-hosts for the 21st D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony with Greg Miller, co-founder of internet video and podcast Kinda Funny, and Jessica Chobot of Nerdist News heading back to Las Vegas. The D.I.C.E. Awards will close the three-day D.I.C.E. Summit, on the evening of Feb.  22. “I am both thrilled and honored to be invited to host this year’s D.I.C.E Awards,” said Chobot.  “I look forward to an evening of great fun, incredible people, and a celebration of the best our industry has to offer.”
Roblox introduced the Celebrity Collection of new action figure toys, available exclusively at Walmart and Walmart.com. This new collection of toys includes game packs and playsets from top games on Roblox such as “Top Roblox Runway Model” and “Neverland Lagoon”.Roblox’s CEO and co-founder, David Baszucki, said, “Roblox inspires over 64 million players a month to play, collaborate, and socialize with one another and this new collection of toys further promotes this imaginative play by extending the digital world to the physical world and back. Our licensing strategy, which now extends to books and apparel, in addition to toys, further promotes and strengthens the intellectual property already created by our developer community.”

Saluting TV’s Commitment to Community

Now more than ever it’s crucial for media organizations to utilize their influence for the greater good of the community and we look forward to shining a light on these altruistic companies. Whether the focus is disaster-relief, humanitarian efforts, public service announcements, health and safety, environmental relief or something else, we can’t wait to see how your brand has made its mark!
Early-bird rates expire 12/20, so enter now!

ON THIS DAY in 1990 – Nintendo holds the Nintendo PowerFest grand finale at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Trivia: The Power Glove (above) was originally released as an accessory for what console brand? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In the theatrical version of Max Payne, what actor played the titular character? Answer: Mark Wahlberg. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Danny Araque/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick-National Geographic/DC; Glen Ross/DC; Joey Olson-Arlington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica
Later — Chris
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JOB OPENING: SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR/National Geographic/DC: Lead marketing strategy for tentpole programming across all platforms. Drive tune-in & increased ratings for major marketing priorities. 10+ yrs of entertainment category exp. Excellent verbal and written communication skills Full info/apply HERE (12/14)

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR/A+E/NY: Lead & motivate an On-Air creative team in delivering best in class campaigns. 10+ yrs hands-on exp in cable/tv mktg and/or branded advertising. Exc tech skills with: Avid/Final Cut Promo; After Effects and Adobe Suite. Full info/Apply HERE (12/9)

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Collaborate closely with the Art Director and other Concept Artists to produce quality designs that define and expand the look of the game.
Concept Artist
Vicarious Vicious
Albany, NY
Working with Designers, Artists, and Engineers to create stunning effects and immersive visuals.
Senior VFX Artist
Vicarious Vicious
Albany NY
Troubleshoot application issues and provide possible solutions with appropriate risk assessments.
Software Engineer—Steam eCommerce
Valve Software
Kirkland WA
Help generate inspirational concept and prototype art to pitch game scenarios. Screenshot paint overs to guide the characters and environment team in look, feel and lighting.
Senior Character Concept Artist
Sucker Punch Productions
Bellevue WA
Create and manage tasks with clear deadlines across multiple missions.
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Sucker Punch Productions
Bellevue WA
Business owner of cross platform free to play games and business tools.
Senior Product Manager
Jam City
Seattle WA
Illustrate interaction methods, user flow and interface details for the end-to-end
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Next Generation Esports
Burbank CA
Work alongside company founders to help shape the future of online esports entertainment.
Front End Web Developer
Next Generation Esports
Burbank CA
Lead an internal team responsible for the global execution of high profile collegiate esports competitions.
ESports Product Manager, Collegiate
Irvine CA
Bring new ideas to the table in regards to every facet of the game; mechanics, story, missions, and more.
Lead Level Designer
Ready at Dawn
Irvine CA
Strong artistic interpretative ability within the context of a particular art style and gameplay.
Senior Environment Texture Artist
Ready at Dawn
Irvine CA
Conceptualize, present and execute ideas within a schedule, while actively participating in technical and artistic problem solving.
Lead Environment Artist
Crystal Dynamics
Redwood City CA
The senior combat designer will be charged with designing player combat and boss mechanics.
Lead Combat Designer
Crystal Dynamics
Redwood City CA
Develop new premium experiences with game and commerce teams.
Senior Product Manager, Video Experiences
Major League Gaming
Santa Monica CA
Build mobile games from the beginning to the end.
C++ Engineer
San Francisco CA

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