Esports Digest – Week 27

Our fast-moving Esport industry never ceases to surprise us – for better or worse. Here are the main facts and trends for this week!

Hello Manchester, hello Lisbon


This week, Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon joined the “Sports Clubs going Esports” club, along with Besiktas, Santos, Saski Baskonia, Schalke 04, Valence, West Ham and Wolfsburg. Most of them use the conservative path, adding FIFA players, but somes as Shalke also added a LoL roster.

Can’t wait to see which next clubs are going to enter the fray – and on which games. Rumors has it that Manchester United is in a bidding war with Fnatic over an Overwatch team… The Mercato just reached a whole new level.

SK Drama, s02e04


Want some CS:GO drama? Here we go. We thought the SK / Luminosity poaching saga came to a conclusion, with both club coming to an agreement, with the Brazilian talents going under the German banner.

Everybody was about to get back into business until the biggest of them all suddenly cut ties: the ELeague notified both SK (aka ex-LG) and Team X (aka ex-SK) that these roster changes made them ineligible for the $1.2M league. We later learned that 7 other teams pressured the commissioner to ban SK and Team X. tl;dr: “It’s us or them”.

ELeague is now facing its first crisis, but it may be the last, as the Turner/IMG project could switch to another game next season…

Gambling is ruining CS


While CS:GO is an undisputed top tier Esport, it still suffers from two majors flaws which could cost it endorsement from companies like Turner/IMG. The first one remains realistic violence. It is and it will always be a challenge to broadcast a game about terrorism, bombs, automatic rifles and headshot for a wide audience. While most Esport fans don’t mind and see through the decorum, sponsors and media are still struggling with the game’s thematics.

The second issue is more rampant: since Valve introduced the weapon skin system, players went nuts over over-painted knives and stickers. Some say it saved the game which was struggling traction. Some say it’s killing it right now. Gambling skins has become a huge part of the game.

These past few weeks have seen numerous community leaders such as  Mohamad “m0E” Assad, Trevor Martin or Josh OG caught red-handed with betting frauds. Some were sponsored by the gambling services, other owned equity shares in the services they promoted in their videos and streams.

While the community rages and the analysts worry, Valve hasn’t really taken a stand on the matter. That might hurt slowly but surely – like an incendiary grenade.

The more the merrier


In the meantime, Esport is still attracting more and more people. The ESL One currently taking place in Cologne sold more than 14,000 seats and is poised to break some viewership records.

The International 2016 is receiving money from the community at an impressive rate and may go beyond the unthinkable $20M money prize mark by August.

EVO 2016 will host the largest LAN tournament in history, as more than 5,000 players registered for the Street Fighter V competition alone, while 2600+ will fight for the Smash Bros Wii U champion title. #feelsgoodman

Esports Digest – Week 26

Welcome to our weekly Esports Digest, where we pick interesting trends and facts from our b(l)ooming industry!

The long road to recognition


The US Government received a petition signed by more than 117,000+ people, requesting Esports to be considered as sport and thus, allowing progamers to get the same P1 visas as traditional athletes. As we expected, the community got a “meh” answer, acknowledging the phenomenon, but stating that each state can act as it prefers.

In the meantime, something good finally happened in Britain. Let’s forget #Brexit and the national soccer team. A British Esport Association has just been announced, following in France’s footsteps.

Nothing guarantees it will succeed, but it still a good sign to see more and more initiatives knock at our governments door. They’ll to open the door, eventually.

LG to SK to…


We already talked about the latest CS:GO drama, starring SK trying to poach players from Luminosity. Lack of professionalism, legal frame and rules lead to this nasty situation where players secretly signed with a new org, then changed their mind and tried to stick with their current one… And finally have to go.

Full auto-ing announcements and tweets, both teams and players tried to convince fans and observers how everything finally went fine for everybody. End of story, happy end. But all the cheesy farewell / welcome messages can’t hide the bumpy ride Fallen and his teammates had these past weeks. And the saga could face a new cliffhanger, as SK is rumored to have recruted the talented roster… to sell it to another team for a higher price.

Virtual Cheering


Twitch is expanding the way you can reward your favorite streamers and tournaments with its “Cheering” feature. In a nutshell, you buy virtual confetti that you can throw at your screen, putting some positive vibes in the infamous Twitch Chat.

The move is more serious than its looks, as everybody is trying to find the right post-ad formula. You can already subscribe and donate to a streamer, we’re wondering how Cheering will fit into the fan’s arsenal.

Let’s note that Valve has always been spearheading the virtual cheering business model, with Stickers for CS:GO and the community funded International prize-pool.

Competitive modes



The two newest and hottest competitive games are inching toward full-fledged Esports, adding Competitive modes. Overwatch just released its much awaited competitive mode. While tournaments will still use custom games, the built-in ladder will greatly help nurture talents and grassroots scene.

On the other side of the Esport spectrum, Supercell is teasing its own competitive take on Clash Royale. Going the private ladder way, Supercell wants to make it easy to hop in and out from a tournament. Even tho the options are still basic, it’s a huge leap forward from the current  method where you have to leave your clan to join a temporary one. Kudos to Blizzard and Supercell to start at the base of the pyramide before focusing on the juicy “top tier pro” Esport efforts.

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How the Arcana Cup is operating thanks to Toornament

Today, we meet with Yannick and Benjamin, the people behind the Arcana Cup, a tournament platform for Hearthstone players.



How did you start Arcana Cup?

We wanted to create a simple to use tournament platform based on solid foundations. We thus started to use Toornament very early on as it fits our needs and offer features never seen elsewhere, to retain control over the way we run our tournaments. We knew your API was in the works.



Why Hearthstone?

Hearthstone is the perfect game to reach a large audience. It’s both easy to learn, free and popular. Anybody can join a tournament in its spare time – and no need for a team. We saw the opportunity to run tournaments open to all regardless of their level or card collection.



What are your next goals?

We want to grow the platform and the community by adding more games – and maybe sponsors. As of now, most of tournaments award a little prize money, funded with our personal finances. Bigger prizes is one of the goals! The first step to this is being approved by Blizzard, our tournaments are now part of the HCT.

How is your typical event?

Very straightforward. The participant logs in with his Battle.Net ID and can then register for the tournament he wants. The day of the tournament, he then joins the dedicated lobby and can check his next opponent and current position in real time as the results are added. The hard part is to win the game 🙂
After the tournament ends, the participants rankings are into the general ladder account. We then run a monthly invitational tournament with all the best players

How do you rely on Toornament?
We use nearly all the API functions to generate and run our tournaments. The regular dashboard comes in handy when a manual edit is required.

Your future use of Toornament?
Our roadmap goes through more games and a higher tournament rate. We’re also thinking about Paid Registration, as we’re now Trusted Users.

Share your suggestions with us!
We can’t wait for additional API endpoints, like participants placement, or tournament description. And of course, running  tournaments with Paid Registration through the API!

The International 6: follow all the Regional Qualifiers

For this year’s International, Valve gave less direct invitations. Only 6 team got their tickets for Seattle, leaving a lot of other competitors fighting in the numerous regional qualifiers.

Add to the mix powerhouses like Team Secret, Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming and you get highly contested tournaments. As each region get its own qualifiers and these qualifiers go through 2 phases, tracking hundreds of matches and results can turn into a spectator nightmare…

Don’t worry, our coverage team it here and gathered them all in one place! Enjoy all the latest results, scores and stats on this post.

Stage 1

For the first time, Regional Qualifiers will start with a huge Round Robin, where everybody faces everybody in Best of One Matches. The best performing team of each region will get their pass to The International.

Stage 1 : Europe (June 25-26)

Stage 1 : America (June 25-27)

Stage 1 : China (June 26-27)

Stage 1 : South East Asia (June 25-26)

Stage 2

The winner of stage 1 qualified for the International 6 gone, it will be all down to the 4 teams which finished 2nd to 5th. They’ll enter playoffs where the winners will take the last spots for TI6. The runner-ups will then have to compete in a last-chance Wildcard tournament, where the two finalists will take the ultimate spots.

Stage 2 : Europe (June 27th)

Stage 2 : Americas (June 27th)

Stage 2 : China (June 27th)

Stage 2 : South East Asia (June 27th)

Happy following!