Support your local Esport association

From traditional media to traditional sports clubs, Esport is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Last, but not least, governments are embracing the movement and build legal and economic frames to structures our booming industry.

Following the steps of South Korea, several countries have pledged to support their local scenes, opening talks with national federations and associations.

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France Esport and the French government

Quebec is one of the latest case: The Canadian province of Quebec now considers Esports as skill-based competitions. Until now, they were clasified as “publicity contests”. This victory for the FQSE (the local Esport federation) follows a similar one in France, were France eSports association helped the government separated Esport from luck-based games and is willing to authorize Esports matches on television – they are still considered adds for a video game.

All these progresses in Quebec, France, but also Spain, Great Britain, Russia, Finland or Malta were made possible because of Esport fans, volunteers and professionals pushing the boundaries. We at Toornament are also involved in numerous Esports initiative and we hope you’ll join the movement make yourself and your local Esport community heard by your officials!

 

Toornament is the free Esport Platform

Yep, Toornament is free. You’ll read this sentence a few time during this blog, but want to make it super clear: Toornament is free.

With our explosive growth these past few months a lot of new members, organizers and participants alike, asked the money question: do I have to pay to run a tournament? Are there features to unlock on you mobile app? How much does it cost to access the API? etc.

Our take is simple: Toornament aims to be the most powerful Esport platform. Toornament aims to remain free and open.


We’re on a mission to elevate the Esport tournaments quality bar for Esports communities and the best way to achieve it is to make the best product possible and open it to everyone.

So yeah, you got the brief: Toornament is the powerful, open and free Esport platform.

Toornament joins Webedia

Big news: Our parent company Oxent has been acquired by Webedia. Toornament joins a media group active in France, Germany USA or Latin America with a strong focus on Gaming and Esports.

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The Oxent team

Since its official launch one year ago, Toornament has powered more than 20,000 tournaments and covered the largest Esports events around the world. Key features such as a Mobile App, open API and Participants dashboard have followed since then to cement Toornament’s leadership in Esports.

This acquisition will help Toornament accelerate its development worldwide, while acting as the backbone to Webedia’s Gaming and Esport efforts.

To our present and future users, Toornament will remain free and opened to every tournament organizers and participants.

Esports Weekly Digest –  Week 34

Missed something in the ever-evolving Esports industry? Here’s your weekly recap!

LCS teams are rioting

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Let’s talk LCS. In the eve of the Summer Split Finals in Europe and North America, an interview sparked a response which sparked a drama which sparked many more responses.

Andy “Reginald” Dinh, owner of fan-favorite Team SoloMid, complained in an interview on how Riot doesn’t care about their LCS teams, throwing game-changing patches days before major tournaments. He went on, comparing the cost-to-revenue ratio of an LCS team compared to Dota or CS:GO sections which generate more money.

Riot co-founder Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill was (maybe too) quick to answer Reginald in an emotional and now infamous/edited reddit post where he called out the TSM owner for investing in other Esports. The community uproar was swift, but the best part was that the other LCS team owners came in defense of Reginald, sharing their own struggles and doubts with the Riot’s way.

We followed and gathered all the drama and discussions on our dedicated Twitter thread.

In the conflict of interest of everyone…

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The latest community witch hunt is about a few people controlling too many Esports organizations. A powerful Russian company named ESForce was recently under the spotlighs for owning organizations such as Virtus.Pro, SK Gaming, media rights for Natus Vincere and numerous Esports websites in the CIS region. The funny part is that the website which published the story is now caught in the same scandal.

The well-respected Esports Observer has financial ties with Jens Hilger, an influencial Esports entrepreneur. Part of the founding ESL team, he then left to start new ventures like Dojomadness.

He’s also involved in numerous companies, which seems normal for an investor and entrepreneur. But some of his investments are in rival teams (G2 Esports and Fnatic) and the self-proclaimed independent Esports Observer. Feels like a drama inception.

On a more serious note, these conflicts will keep on happening as long as there is no legislation to rule all this mess.

Team Rocket

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Let’s end this digest with the beloved Rocket League which is doing well, very well. The latest numbers show that jet-motorized football is not a fluke. A year after its launch, the latest Psyonix game boasts impressive numbers :

  • 7,000,000+ paid sales
  • 20,000,000 players
  • approx. $150,000,000 revenue
  • All this with a mere $2,000,000 budget.

Rocket League is a great case study on how to make a successful competitive game: make a great game, put it in as much players’ hands as possible (Rocket League was free with the PlayStation Plus) and keep on polishing its mechanics while adding new content. Then and only then, launch the Esport efforts.

Esports digest: Week 33

Few tournaments this week, but some interesting discussions about Dota 2, CS:GO and League of Legends. Here’s what you need to know!

Do it for the memes

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For many, Dota 2’s The International 2016 was the best Esport event ever. The level of the teams, the record breaking money prize and the great storylines made it memorable, but a detail struck us and reminded us why we love Esports: for the lol.
These past years, our industry has grown tremendously and gone pro, often looking up to the likes of Football league, the NBA, ESPN… From grassroot events we evolved to professional tournaments. But some of what makes the Esport community unique seemed to be left behind. The clowns, the lol, the memes, the kappa.
After the Shanghai debacle where Valve fired the event host for not being professional enough, we feared that this TI would become a very serious event, with casters in suits and television-like content. We were pleasantly surprised.
Switching from top-notch analysis to savage banter, obnoxious fans bashing or even muppets (!), TI6 delivered each day and conveyed the soul of Esports, a phenomenon born on the Internet. We don’t need to mimic dominant sports to get credibility. Skateboarding got huge and the contest judges didn’t have to wear ties for that. We’ll see if Riot, Blizzard and Activision will take note and stay true to our roots, or go the pure mainstream way.

Coach-Hell-a

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Valve did good with Dota 2? Valve did wrong with CS:GO, their other top Esport. The publisher reduced the coaches role this week. So far, coaches could talk to their players during a match and even lead the game. Valve felt that coaches had become 6th players and wanted to restrict Counter-Strike to 5 men experience. They can now communicate with players before and after each half-time and during 4 authorized time-outs per map.

The outcry from both the pro teams and the community has been swift and loud, also condemning the ESL for adopting this rule for its non-Valve sponsored events. Even tho this coach approach is already used by LoL or DotA, the CS:GO backlash shows how each Esport is evolving with its own codes. Let’s compare with Sports: NFL coaches have headsets, Football coaches have to scream – and tennis coaches can’t even go on the court…

Wanna build a pro LoL team? Think again

LoL analyst, caster and personality Monte Cristo has published a very interesting vlog on the struggle to build a professionnal Esport team nowadays, especially for the LCS, Riot’s top league. From the lack of shared revenues, to the sponsor volatility, this video is a must-see if you want to understand the high-risk, low-reward that is running an Esport team.
This piece from Monte Cristo highlights the main differences between Esport and Sport teams in terms of revenue source. The broadcast rights are the main ones for Sports teams, the sponsors are everything for the Esports ones.

Esports Digest – Week 31

Early August means slow activity for everyone but Esports. With The International 2016 finally live and Overwatch breaking records, there’s no way we’ll slack at the beach. Here’s your weekly digest!

TI6: The pinnacle of the MOBA era?

Valve huge Dota tournament is the talk of the town, from its infamous prize money approaching the historic $20M mark to its numerous storylines, drama and top notch actions – and yes, we’re covering it all.

It will be interesting to see if MOBAs are peaking like everyone is predicting, as the community crowdfunding grew less compared to last year and the active players pool even dived under the all-time high 13M. League of Legends is also feeling the stagnation, as viewership on Twitch has been quite stable this season and South Korea seems to fall in love with love with a challenger named Overwatch…

Overwatch: Summer Hit

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Who can stop Overwatch? Hailed as the next big thing in Esport, the Blizzard shooter has been performing above expectations. Blizzard has been bragging about its latest IP performances since its launch: 15M active players, beating Diablo III as the biggest launch performance. More interesting is the Asian market, known to prefer RTS and MOBAs. Blizzard claims that Overwatch is the fastest selling PC game in China and overtook League Of Legends in South Korean PC Bangs. We can confirm on the latter claim.

Now, what’s next? We discovered a Seasonal Event for this month and a World Cup for November’s Blizzcon. Enhanced spectator mode and stats are also in the pipes, proving Overwatch is definitely gunning for the Esport throne.

Battleborn… Dead?

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The same cannot be said for Battleborn. Take-Twos own take on class-based FPS has been struggling since its launch and after heavy promotion and early discounts, the towel is thrown. Take-Two president Strauss Zelnick had to admit the game failed.

It feels like 2004 when people would launch MMOs during the World of Warcraft frenzy or 2013 where a bunch of MOBAs went crashing at LoL and Dota’s doors. Timing is everything.

Quake Champions: Same Recipe, different Flavor

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Watching all these FPS brats fighting each other, Quake keeps grinning. The father of (fast) FPS is still well and alive. The Quakecon tournaments (which we power) gather fewer players, all of them being seasoned fragger or straight railgun gods. While Esport legends like Zero4 or Faze were fragging each other of 25 years old maps, iD Software gave us a glimpse at Quake’s future.

Quake Champions first gameplay trailer felt right: it’s beautiful, it has abilities but above all, it feels like Quake. The oldest Esport in history may be the surprise underdog for the Esport era to come…

Esport Digest – Week 30

Esports never cool down, especially in Summer. In the eve of the much-awaited International 2016, here are the 3 facts worth your read.

Shaq Attack

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Esports sure feel like a next-gen farwest. In an industry were teams come and go every other day and leagues struggle to maintain some stability, everybody looks up to the big sports where “mercatos” and transfers obey numerous and strict rules. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal seems to enjoy immensely the loose rules of Esports, as he simply invited famous Overwatch player Seagull and his teamates to leave their current team Luminosity and join NRG, a rival team part-owned by the Shaq. All this with a witty, public tweet. And another incoming drama for Luminosity (check our previous digests).

They talk about my 140 taps

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Talking about Twitter: Even tho the little blue bird is struggling compared to other social networks, it remains the premier platform for stars, athletes, live events reactions and thus, for Esports.

Following their first broadcasting deals with the NFL and Wimbledon, Twitter just announced a streaming partnership with Turner’s ELeague. It’s a big step forward for Esport and a promising one for Twitter, which could turn into the best “watch live and live comment” platform out there.

Open Sesame, Alibaba

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Alibaba’s forray into Esport has been an obsession of ours since the first announcements back in March. Things just got real this week with a huge $150M investment in the International ESports Federation, plenty of tournaments and projects.

Following Amazon spectacular acquisition of Twitch for $970M a few years ago, Alibaba confirms that good content is the perfect match for giant retailers. And that Esport is serious business in China.

Esports Digest – Week 29

Here’s our weelky Esports Digest with 3 stories: good news for fighting games, bad news for skin gamblers and potential good news for sports. But first of all, let’s enjoy NBA Legend Bill Walton enjoying Esports.

Fighting Esports, round 2

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Last week was the Fighting Games fest, with EVO 2016. One of the largest Offline Tournament in the world welcoming thousands of competitors eager to duke it out on famous disciplines such as Street Fighter, Smash Bros, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom, Guilty Gear or Tekken.

2016 is also a pivotal year for EVO, as the event moved away from its grassroots approach, hosting the numerous finals in an Arena and having the Street Fighter V Top 8 broadcasted on ESPN 2. Despite some caveits and usual issues, all went quite well, according to several reports.

This first step is a crucial one for the FGC, as the whole “Pro Esports” path taken by the other genres have been hotly discussed by the community, willing to remain a bit underground. The potential is here, the first tests are positive, now is the time for the FGC to jump the shark and embrace its Esports status.

Bad bet

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Who would have bet (pun intended) that a whole part of the CS:GO ecosystem would crumble in a matter of days? The weapon skins gambling sites have been all over the place lately. Hugely popular within the community, they sponsored everything, from tournaments to streamers, raising some eyebrows about the classic addiction / fraud issues.

Things went south when several prominent streamers got caught red handed : gambling with money provided by the sponsor, getting favorable bet results or even own equity stakes in the services they promoted / were sponsored by. Doesn’t need a genius to understand that this little industry was shady and out of any control and regulation.

Comes Valve. The CS:GO publisher is infamously know for its unpredictable communication style, ranging from full hands-off to sudden decisions. The CS:GO gambling business learned it the hard way, as Valve sent several Cease and Desist letters and officially condemned the way these sites took advantage of their public API, all this after months without actions.

This will come as a hard lesson in Esports: whether you develop a healthy and legal business or shady one, everything you built and invested on will still remain in the Publisher’s hands.

Goliath likes David

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We’re at the Eve of a major shift in Esports, a shift named Sport. For the past few weeks, more and more traditional sport franchises, players and leagues have made their first move into Esport. NBA club owners and players, European Soccer clubs and more recently the Spanish and French Soccer Leagues. And this week, 3 NFL Clubs will hire Madden players.

These moves are both exciting and disappointing. Exciting because the whole “Sports/Esport merger” dream is closer everyday. Disappointing because most of these organizations have huge resources but start very slow. Most of them just hired a FIFA/Madden player to represent the club in gaming tournaments. Make sense, but it still look like some glorified PR stunt. We hope that more ambitious Esport divisions will grow and look at Shalke 04’s ambitious Esports project as the current benchmark.

The Toornament CS:GO Stats

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is one of the greatest Esports out there.
Played at all levels around the world (in our offices), the Valve shooter continues to strive and is one of the most popular Esport on our platform.

In the wake of our integration with CS:GO match manager AdminBot, we ran a scan over all the CSGO tournaments created on our platform and came up with interesting numbers and metrics.

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Interesting trends here. Offline tournaments are more widespread than one could think. Our tip? Pick Cache to build up hype, it’s the most contested map of our pool.

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Europe is still CS stronghold, with 7 countries in our Top 10. America comes second but is clearly on the rise since last year, as we see more and more tournaments from Brazil, the USA and Canada.

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Cache, Mirage and Dust2 represent more than 50% of the map picks. This trend applies for both pro and amateur tournaments.

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It’s always very interesting to see our maps are popular in given countries. France’s top maps are evenly spread while Israel shows a clear preference towards Mirage…

Our integration with AdminBot will bring even more stats in the future, and we’ll share the trends with you on a regular basis.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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