Esports Nutshell Weekly | May 20, 2016

Welcome to Esports in a Nutshell Weekly having fun with the world of Esports one week at a time.

I am your host Mark Register and the guy leading the music brigade is Brian DiBiagio. We’ve got a wallop of a show for you. First we’ll get into our top story, the formation and backlash of the World Esports Association and touch briefly on Blizzard taking on racism. Then we’ll give you a rapid fire overview of everything that happened in Esports this week. After that we’ll have fun with the big questions of the week. We’ll watch the best moments of the Counter Strike ESL Pro League Season 3 Grand Finals, G2 Esports v Luminosity Gaming. Then we’ll wrap it all up with a WESA parody song in the key of Beyonce’s “why don’t you love me” Why? Because this is all ridiculous and it’s fun to play. Here’s the news.

For this week’s top story ESL announces the World Esports Association WESA to oversee standardization of tournament regulations, player representation, provide resolution to business and legal disputes, set revenue sharing for teams, manage doping tests, and prevent match fixing, schedule clashes, gambling, and cheating. Oh my.

Richard Lewis on behalf of Daily Dot goes into detail with James Lampkin VP of Pro Gaming – Product & Content at ESL who said this is a project 15 months in the making.

The founding teams included are Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnvyUs, Virtus.pro, G2 Esports, Faze, Mousesports, and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

The first order of business is the creation of an operative Player Council elected by players to represent, strengthen and advocate on behalf of pro gamers on topics such as league policies, rulesets, and player transfers.

The council’s aim is to empower players to influence decision making in tournaments operated under WESA regulations the first of which being ESL Pro League for CS:GO.

The executive board member committee includes Ralf Reichert, the CEO of ESL and Sebastian Weishaar, Senior Vice President at ESL, Hicham Chahine of Digilife and NiP, Tüylü Cengiz CEO of mouseports, and Pietro Fringuelli who will act as WESA’s commissioner whose previous work included a decade of advising soccer leagues like the Union of European Football Association.

Player representation is something desired by the community as there have been attempts to create unions and even an organization launched to help Players called the Player Resource Center by Stephen Ellis Snoopeh and Bryce Blum but after announcing the Association significant backlash occurs. Claims that ESL paid up to $150k per team to join, and the Faze Clan leaving WESA due to demands of exclusivity and now have to pay a $50k penalty, they left saying “we don’t need protection! protection from what “zeh germans?” that’s the news of it, for a long week’s worth of processed information response we’ll delve deeper into this story in our analysis segment which you can jump to in the description below.

Our second headline story has to do with Hearthstone player Terrence Miller who is the subject of racist remarks in DreamHack Austin’s Twitch live stream chat.

In response to the situation and the epidemic, Blizzard CoFounder Mike Morhaime takes action on the situation saying “To help combat this type of behaviour during live events we’ve reached out to players, streamers, and moderators, along with partners like Twitch, DreamHack, and others, to get consensus and collaborate on what to do differently moving forward. To that end, we’re investigating a pilot programme that Twitch has in the works to streamline moderation and combat ban evasion.” Online Abuse in Chat Rooms is a multi headed regrowth hydra but if anyone can tackle it with a wealth of resources, it’s Bazillionaire Blizzard paired with their adventurous sidekick Twitch.

And now here’s a rapid fire rundown of everything that’s happening in Esports to give you a table of contents if you’re feeling scholarly or a cliff notes if you’re feeling…nah.

  • Echo Fox signs Smash Brothers Melee player Mew2King
  • Shaq does a commercial for ELeague, it’s cute, one might say a slam dunk into the Esports ring.
  • PepsiCo’s AMP Energy partners with Twitch after top tier gamers requested, “Give me caffeine and sugar…in water…more…more…arg”
  • Copenhagen Wolves look for a buyer for their Challenger Series. For pricing scale, Splyce bought up EU Challenger team Team Dignitas for $750k.
  • Take Two Interactive announces their new streaming service on Playstation 4 & Xbox One consoles called 2K StreamCast so fans can watch the 2k Pro-Am competition with a $250k top prize.
  • Colin Cowherd who expressed that Esports is filled with booger eating nerds playing video games finally sees the green and is in talks with Esports companies to invest.
  • Shanghai Intellectual Property Court makes Guangzhou Douyu Network Technology pay $168k to a local company for illegally airing the same Dota 2 Asia Championships broadcast when they didn’t have broadcasting rights.
  • After Team Liquid signs PokerStars player Bertrand Grospellier Elky, they sign a deal to have Team Liquid Hearthstone players Savjz, Sjow, and StarCraft player TLO streaming poker matches sponsored by PokerStars.
  • Team EnvyUs buys up Renegades for over $1MM pending Riot Game’s approval thanks to their sugar daddy investor Charlotte based Sierra Maya 360. Crumz retires and Renegades Banditos will go back to it’s pre rebrand name…The Misfits.
  • Berlin based Esports company Dojo Madness’s CEO Jens Hilgers, also Turtle/ESL founder in 2000, raises $4.5MM from March Capital Partners, Investment Bank of Berlin, London Venture Partners, and DN Capital to help grow their Esports coaching app.
  • Bryce Blum writes an oped for ESPN on the the two schools of thought for Publishers on Esports Leagues. Riot’s way of doing things, control everything to do it right and Valve’s way of doing things, control nothing and let the plebeians fight it out.
  • Activision Blizzard announces they will broadcast their matches on Facebook’s live video platform and release daily VODs including their new daily show the Esports Report on Facebook all under MLG’s Facebook account starting June 10th. MLG.tv is also getting an improvement on it’s proprietary streaming platform dubbed the Enhanced Viewing Experience including lots of new HUD info like statistics.
  • Valve starts its in game Battle Pass sale which 25% goes towards their annual DOTA 2 International Tournament. Valve threw in $1.5MM to kick it off and so far the community has put in $4.5MM. Last year’s prize pool totaled $18.4MM. The battle Battle Pass allows owners to increase their Battle Levels to earn additional Immortal Treasures and other rewards by completing Quests, winning Wagers, unlocking Community Goals, or purchasing Battle Level Bundles.
  • Blizzard offers an in game client link and a direct email hacks@blizzard.com for players to report pumpkin eaters using hacks, bots, or third party software while reminding potential snitches with stitches to keep in mind that most likely the reason you are losing your game is due to the superior ability that some players possess…like what may seem like unnatural or physically impossible movement and reaction times, but in truth, they’re real and they are spectacular.

Do you wonder why you don’t sleep well? It’s because there are big questions on your mind that have yet to be answered. Would you like to sleep well tonight, well you can, now with me answering your big questions like…Should I love or hate WESA, Is Activision Blizzard making war with Twitch? And why is it a big deal that a European Football club bought a League of Legends team. These are excellent questions…because I made them up…let’s start with WESA

So is WESA good, bad or eggs all the above?

Eggs. Just like there are different Governing bodies and Commissioners for leagues like the NFL, NBA, and FIFA, there are and will be more league governing bodies in Esports like the LCS, CWL, and WESA. But here’s the hairy part. ESL used to run as a white label tournament organizer for Riot, Blizzard, and well every publisher. But now, Riot runs and governs their League of Legends Leagues, Blizzard runs and governs all of their Leagues. So for ESL to create WESA, a governing body to rule all of Esports is like America going around and saying to the rest of the world hey we’re going to tax you and rule you all now, yeah that’s nice.

But ESL WESA found the path of least resistance, Valve. Valve is the Swiss Bank of Esports and doesn’t care what your business is as long as you put your money in their marketplace which is great for both parties. So other than other third parties like FaceIt and Turner’s ELeague, ESL WESA’s biggest giant that they have to face…Activision Blizzard MLG.

Activision Blizzard makes $4.6BB a year in revenue and is putting their weight behind constructing their Esports Kingdom and will govern it by themselves which includes MLG whose claim to fame before their $46MM Activision Blizzard acquisition was their Counter Strike tournaments like MLG Columbus which garnered 1.6MM peak concurrent viewers from their last tournament.

So Valve will allow ESL at best to rule Counter Strike’s Competitive play jointly with MLG, a dollop going to ELeague, and a pinch to FaceIt but ESL & WESA’s main role in this Game of Thrones is to help develop tournaments for smaller publishers and run their own independant tournaments for the Publisher Giants as long as they allow them to.

To build ESL up a little after this brutal beating. Thank you ESL for helping build this wonderful world of competitive gaming and jumping into help organize it. When you’re blazing a trail you will get burns from the fire, cuts from the brush, Mary will die of typhoid fever, and you’ll shoot 2,000lbs of buffalo and you’ll only be able to take 460lbs with you. But because of your efforts the Esports trail becomes that much easier for the rest of us to trek, so thank you ESL.

Activision Blizzard announces they will broadcast their matches on Facebook’s live video platform and release daily VODs including their new daily show the Esports Report on Facebook under MLG’s account starting June 10th. MLG.tv is also getting an improvement on it’s streaming platform dubbed the Enhanced Viewing Experience including lots of statistics. Are these acts of war towards twitch?

No. Twitch’s baby is League of Legends, Counter Strike, Dota, and well every game ever. So as long as Riot continues to stream their League of Legends tournaments on Twitch, Valve remains tournament agnostic with their Dota and CSGO titles, Twitch will remain a behemoth that will continue to grow. As far as Activision Blizzard’s partnership with Facebook it’s a good move. Blizzard makes great games for the casual user, and there are a lot of potential casual users on Facebook. So now everyday in your Facebook news feed you’ll see an Activision Blizzard tournament for Call of Duty, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and that’s what we call advertising and Blizzard will see a big uptick in game sales, my guess specifically Hearthstone. Think about all the Facebook games people play, Farmville, and whatever crap we’re all sick of getting requests for, now replace those games with Blizzard games, everyone wins.

As far as MLG.tv as a proprietary streaming platform, Activision Blizzard wants to and should control all aspects of delivery and this way they will be able to develop features to accompany their content for a viewing experience that is just right for their audience. Activision is a publisher, Blizzard is a Developer, and MLG is live video platform…and tournament organizer.

German Bundesliga football club FC Schalke 04 buys up EU LCS team Elements. Why is this a big deal?

It’s a big deal because you have a traditional sports team that has an annual income of $264MM a year with a low operating income of $67MM a year with the know how to run a competitively & financially successful sports organization with the existing infrastructure and financial means to build a powerhouse organization. This also means there may be a new paradigm of sports organizations buying or creating Esports teams and compared to their regular operating income it’s petty cash or at worse a write off. So good news for Esports.

Well that was so insightful, thanks me. Let’s get to the good stuff, the games. From ESL’s Pro League Season 3 Grand Finals, G2 Esports v Luminosity Gaming fighting with pistols, AKs, and Mac 10s oh my. Giddy up.

  • In map 1 Round 1, Luminosity not doing well in a 2 on 4 in the pistol round but FNX takes Smithzz, FER takes Scream and Bodyy while FNX cleans up RPK for an amazing comeback.
  • Round 2, Coldzera is so ready for his man to come through the doorway, Coldzera is so not ready for the headshot Shox slowly and carefully lines up from his behind.
  • Round 6, FER slides to the right bam bam takes Smithzz, slides to the left bigity bam takes Scream.
  • Round 15, How many seconds does it take G2 Esports to take out all of Luminosity Gaming’s 5 man team? 9 Seconds.
  • Round 26, Coldzera not having a good day when it comes to checking his 6, Bodyy takes his sweet time with him from behind. G2 Esports takes Map 1.
  • Map 2 Round 4, Shox does a scene out of Home Alone when he rushes up the stairs as he takes out Taco and Coldzera but gets a taste of his own medicine when FER hits his right flank.
  • Round 12, FER lines em up and takes em down, RPK, Shox, and “lets the Bodyy hit the floor.”
  • Round 20, Scream takes out FER making it a one on one against the Taco truck. Taco sets the bomb and sits back and waits for Scream to give away his position as he plays it smart, Scream finally goes in and takes Taco runs to defuse the bomb without a kit and with three seconds left kaboomy.
  • Round 28, FNX in a three on one, no way can he come back, the fat lady refuses to sing and FNX takes out Bodyy, Shox, and Scream with one second left to defuse the bomb, nailbiter! Luminosity takes Map 2.
  • Map 3 Round 22, Fer knows that to turn a butt into an arse you have to work on your squats, Scream turns that arse into fresh meat.
  • Round 23,” On the third day of Christmas Luminosity gave to me, HyperX, FNX, and Fallen in my AK line of sight.” G2 Esports takes Map 3.
  • Map 4 Round 4, Scream hits one of the craziest shots we’ve ever seen. All within a half a second he sees FNX, FNX jumps, Scream pulls left and hits him mid air with one shot.
  • Round 6, RPK plows right through FER, FNX, and Fallen.
  • Round 14, another plow comes through, the Shox plow on FNX, FER, and Taco.
  • Round 16, Taco baits Smithzz into Fallen’s trap, but Fallen putzes it up and dies while Taco closes the trap on Smithzz.
  • Round 19, Coldzera already taking out two for the round is left alone against two, he evens out the field when he takes Smithzz, hits Bodyy but runs out of ammo, switches to his pistol, finishes the job and gets a quad kill for the round.
  • Round 26, Shox in a 4 on 1, takes out Taco, gets a move on towards the planted bomb, headshots Coldzera, pushes forward takes Fallen above the smoke, taps out FNX and gets the quad kill clutch. Luminosity takes map 4.
  • Map 5 Overtime Round 1, Taco nabs Scream, Shox takes Taco, leaving him alone with Fallen, Shox plants the bomb, sitting pretty with a triple kill, gets locked and loaded ready for Fallen’s attack but he’s looking the wrong way and Fallen keeps his steps quiet not to give away his right flank position, takes out Shox to win the round.
  • Overtime Round 4, Shox in a 4 on 1, goodbye Fallen, who wants some more? I’ve got some more, Taco wants more, yeah Coldzera wants it, where are you FNX, gotcha, Shox with the quad kill clutch.
  • Overtime Round 5, Smithzz is the only thing keeping Luminosity from their game point so they shoot him out of the way.
  • Luminosity takes the Overtime Round, the Map, and the ESL Pro League Season 3 title.

 

 

We talk with Kurt Melcher Assistant Athletic Director at Robert Morris University who created the first varsity collegiate esports program, for the full interview you can find the link in the description below, fair warning, the audio is a little off but the discussion is worth it, Kurt brought up a great point about what we should focus on while building Collegiate Esports, here’s what he had to say.

Kurt Melcher – I’d like to bring up, where do Collegiate Esports go from here because I think we’re at an interesting crossroads and it’s touchy times.

When we started in 2014 I feel like I was kind of screaming off the rooftops that Esports are a real thing and they belong in schools, these are the benefits, banging doors down.

People thought I was crazy.

Two and a half years later it’s a different landscape from when I was talking about it back then.

I hope in the long term that I didn’t do a disservice to collegiate Esports by money and outside interests coming in too soon that sort of prey on the super data research and the newzoo research of demographics and numbers and projections.

We have in my mind a delicate position right now to take care of Collegiate Esports the right way and an opportunity if you look at it that things can get structured where the student athlete can be at the center focus and all the benefits weighed on and to measure it out to what their dedication and time spent in could actually be worth.

Only time will tell where it goes from here and how it will be sort of sorted out.

I feel like almost back then I was sort of screaming about it, now I feel like I’m in protection mode.

But there’s not a whole lot I can do about it other than say that whatever gets structured it should 100% be in the interest of the student athlete first.

 

 

Well that’s it! We hope you learned and laughed a little and here’s a song in the key of Esports because it’s all a game and this is us having fun with it.

Angry Esports Peeps

You better sit down and look around

Cause you must’ve bumped yo’ head

And we love you enough to talk some sense back into you Esports

We’d hate to see you without a union

Underpaid, Voiceless

Check our credentials…

We give you everything you want everything you need

Even Snoopeh Blum are cautiously for us

All WESA needs to know is why?

 

Why don’t you love WESA?

Tell me Esports why don’t you love WESA

We make WESA damn easy to love?

Why don’t you need WESA?

Esports why don’t you need WESA?

When we make WESA damn easy to need?

We got reps from all your teams

We got meetings with the CEOS

And you don’t even care to care

We paid out of pocket to fund this thing

Up to $150 K per team to join

Please don’t talk about that  

Why don’t you love WESA?

Tell me Esports why don’t you love WESA

We make WESA damn easy to love?

Why don’t you need WESA?

Esports why don’t you need WESA?

When we make WESA damn easy to need?

We got committees to end disputes

Expensive litigation to build it right

But you don’t care to know we’re lawyered up

We got Auditors in house

Keep corruption like we saw with FIFA out

But you don’t seem to be in tune

Why don’t you love WESA?

Tell me Esports why don’t you love WESA

We make WESA damn easy to love?

Why don’t you need WESA?

Esports why don’t you need WESA?

When we make WESA damn easy to need?

There’s nothing not to love about WESA

There’s nothing not to love about WESA

There’s nothing not to love about WESA

There’s nothing not to love

Maybe you just play the game

Or maybe you’re just plain…Dumb

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