Toornament sponsors the first Biz-Esports Summit

We’re super excited to be the Gold Sponsor of the first Biz-Esports Summit!

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Held over two days in Los Angeles, the Biz-Esports Summit gathers a unique concentation of leading Esport professionals from

  • Activision Blizzard
  • Twitch
  • Amazon
  • ESL
  • WME-IMG
  • Faceit
  • Razer
  • Azubu
  • Newzoo
  • Superdata

And top tier organizations such as

  • Fnatic
  • Cloud 9
  • Team Liquid 
  • Immortals 
  • Counter Logic Gaming

And much more!

Our CEO Matthieu and Marketing Director Michael will be there to give a speech and do some networking.

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Two Esports veterans – and friends: ESL’s Carmac and our CEO Matthieu Dallon

Feel free to come say hi and have a talk between two panels!

eSports digest, week 20

Want to keep up-to-date with the fast moving eSports industry? Here’s your weekly digest of trends, facts and results.

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The hero eSports deserves, but not the one it needs right now

The latest attempt to an eSport Federation, the WESA, is being panned by the community and the media alike. While some members have come to its defense, others are already rumored to abandon ship. Ruling the world is no easy task.

eSport is just like Sport

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Ah, the Twitch Chat. The infamous flood of lolz and memes can also show its worst side at times. That’s what we all saw and read during the Dreamhack, where each Hearthstone player TerrenceM appearance on stream unleashed a smelly wave of racist jokes and insults. Blizzard and Twitch want to change that. Seeing how traditional sports struggle to silent their most racist fans, we wonder how they’ll prevail. Silence spell card, anyone?

It’s in the game

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Popular sports club are diving into eSports. This week, UC Sampdoria (Italia) and West Ham United (UK) signed their first FIFA player. Popular German club Shalke 04 went a step further and bought Element’s LCS spot and some of its players. Big move.

Faker faked its slump

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Let’s remix Gary Lineker famous football quote: “LoL is a simple game. 10 gamers run after each other with spells and at the end, Koreans always win.” That’s what everybody thought while SK Telecom took home yet another trophy, the Mid-Season Invitational. And to think the team was said to be in slump for the past few months…

An epidemic of non-endemic

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The much awaited ELeague from Turner is about to start in a few days. We know the teams (pretty much all the top CS:GO teams) but what about the title sponsors? Here they are :
Arby’s, Credit Karma and Buffalo Wild Wings. Anything special? None of them is related to gaming, which is a great sign of eSports entering the mainstream market.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?

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To the excitement of its 12 million active players, Valve released its Compendium for The International 6, included in a seasonal Battle Pass. Loaded with even more bonuses and eye candy than last year, it is poised to push the money prize to new heights – we’re talking 25 to 30M$ range. But we also hope the publisher will deliver on its promises, as huge delays on rewards delivery plagued the fan experience last year. And again: this year’s Compendium is way more generous than its predecessor.

Is Clash Royale the first real mobile eSport?

Clash Royale latest update brings the game closer to a great eSport, with per-Arena replays, live spectator mode, new clans options, meta balance… Wait a second, are we talking about Clash Royale, the funny, colorful Supercell mobile game as core, competitive game? Definitely.

While the doubters had their fair share of arguments to put the game in the “coffee pause” category, Clash Royale has gained more momentum and more credibility than any other games as the days go by. Millions of players, thousands of “best of” videos, filled tournaments… Are we witnessing the birth of the first and massive mobile eSport? We insist on both “first and massive”, as others have tried before…

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The PC eSport on mobile fantasy

Let’s talk about Vainglory. Hyped as the mobile eSport champion since its announcement two years ago, the Super Evil Megacorp MOBA aims to bring a pure PC genre to mobiles. The game has been a success so far, with an engaged community and emerging pro scene, but remains minor compared to the major PC and consoles eSports out there.

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Most people playing Vainglory praise its top notch execution and the way it deals with the trade-offs from a mouse/keyboard input to a tactile screen. But they also point out that Vainglory remains a chopped-down experience compared to a traditional MOBA. If it’s an excellent mobile game, it still suffers from the comparison with its older brothers.

Chopped-down PC, or Buffed-up Mobile?

On the other hand, Clash Royale is based on a pure mobile experience, with less mechanical skills and more decision making, shorter games and no teams. And it then proceeded to build upon these foundations, with advanced strategies, placement skills and competitive features. And it works.

The game has been a massive hit and #1 grossing app worldwide pretty much since its launch. One could say that it rides on the Clash Of Clans wave, but other Supercell (CoC and Clash Royale publisher) games haven’t met such a success.

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The community also answered with an impressive activity on traditional eSport venues like Reddit, Youtube or Kamcord (a mobile-focused Twitch).

By aiming for competitive gaming while retaining all the mobile game design DNA, Clash Royale may have nailed it: an massive mobile eSport that doesn’t necessarly have to replicate the existing ones on PC.

In the end, it’s a great win for mobile eSports, as we’re now enjoying two great games. So, which one do you prefer: Vainglory or Clash Royale?

eSports Pros survey

Since our launch, Toornament grew up from a B2B platform to a media of its own. Our community grew even more, leading to a wide array of profiles.

In order to know you better and focus our efforts on the parts and features that matter to you, we’re launching two surveys: one for the eSports fans and one for the eSports professionals.

Following last week eSports Fans survey, we’re releasing our eSports Pro survey. Your answers will help us a lot and we’ll reward you with a little lottery: one of the survey participants will win a swag bag full of Toornament goodies!

Happy answers and again, thanks you for making Toornament the best eSports platform!

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Why Alibaba’s foray into Esports matters

We all heard the exciting news: giant retailer Alibaba is setting sails on the eSports market through its subsidiary sport division Alisport. Can iconic entrepreneur Jack Ma conquer yet another market?

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CEO of AliSports, Zhang Dazhong, had the following to say post-announcement:

“Sports is a multibillion dollar business in China, with
massive growth potential. That is why Alibaba is investing heavily in this
vertical. Linking sport and technology enhances the quality of life. That is
what we want to do through AliSports.”

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With an initial $15.6M investment poured into a $5.5M international
event followed by 20 eSports Club Competition Centres holding 1200+ tournaments,
the “Chinese Amazon” means business here. And talking about Amazon…

Haven’t seen this before ? Yep, Amazon, the other leading
retailer fished Twitch for $970M back in 2014, beating Youtube at the finish
line. Since then, Twitch has been growing up at a fast pace and is opening to
new types of streamers such as developers, creatives and foodies.

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This trend is the one of gigantic retailers acquiring or
producing content to feed the millions of products they sell. And eSport may be
the best bet yet. It reconnects with the younger generation while being deeply
associated with technology, hi-end gear and sports, all hi-spending markets.

We’ve all read the studies and estimates from the likes of
Newzoo and Superdata, promising a new Gold Rush for both Gaming and Sports
industries. The estimates are cool, but the facts are even better:

  • The last 3 major CS:GO tournament all surpassed
    the million concurrent viewers mark.
  • Clash Royale, Supercell’s take on eSports already brings more than $1.5M per
    day.
  • The International 5 money prize is on par with
    Tennis Major tournament.
  • Merchandising and Broadcasting rights on the rise.
  • 21.3% of Twitch viewers come for eSports.
  • Coca Cola. Yahoo. Verizon. ESPN. Intel.
    Turner. Disney.

All the ingredients seem to mix perfectly for the long
awaited eSports explosion as a mass culture. But we shall not overlook the competition barebone: tournaments.

They come in all sizes and shapes, the few big ones and hundred thousands small ones,
multiplied by a growing number of eSports. There were 2 majors eSports (CS and
Starcraft) and a few notable ones (Quake, FIFA) back in the days, with a few dozens
organizers in key territories for each.

Nowadays, we can count at least 5 major eSports (CS, LoL,
DotA 2, Hearthstone and Call of Duty) and dozens of noticeable ones (Starcraft
II, Heroes Of The Storm, FIFA, World of Tanks, Vainglory, Street Fighter V…),
all operated by thousands of operators and publishers all over the globe!

This massive expansion of the eSports tournaments occurred
without any rules, do’s and don’ts or framework. From the grass root scene to the
big operators, everyone went its way, resulting in highly variable experiences
for everyone.

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We can observe this issue with scenes such as the FGC (Fighting Games
Community), which sees all of its organizers use different in-house or third
parties platform to handle their tournament and share their results, leading to
a lively but nearly impossible to track eSport scene. That’s why we created
Toornament.

Providing a powerful, free, unified platform for every
eSport professional is the motto driving Toornament. With a smooth experience
and advanced features, free, web-standardized API, we aim to unify the way
people run and follow eSports tournaments.

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The Alisport announcement deeply resonates with us:  its ambitious plans encompass most of the
current eSport spectrum: one top tier event combined with hundreds of local
competitions all year long in dedicated eSports centers. And they may run into
the issue we talked about: how to build such different tournaments and provide content the
most efficient and consistent way possible?

We believe in eSports and have been working in the industry
for more than 15 years, with both local associations and Fortune500 publishers.
We believe their eSports projects start from a common ground: building great
tournaments and share them the best possible way. We believe Toornament is
shaping to be THE answer to this crucial challenge, whether you’re a local association or Alibaba.

Here come new challengers: Super Senso and Street Fighter V

As we continuously add new games in our supported disciplines pool, some stand out more than others, like this week’s two latest additions: Super Senso and Street Fighter V.

Super Senso

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Poised to be one of the stars in mobile competitive gaming this year, Super Senso mixes the beloved Advance War flavor with lovely low-poly graphics aiming to bring the established turned-based strategy genre to the mobile and eSport era.

The team behind Super Senso seems to follow Vainglory’s eSport-focused footpath and we’re confident in the fact that it’ll also become a popular discipline on Toornament.

The “Senso Brawl”, the first competition with popular streamers, is already being held this week and you can check all the action tonight at 7PM EST.

 

Street Fighter V

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We’ve talked at length about Street Fighter V and the fighting hype is finally upon us as the game is now available. Boasting a unique PC / PS4 crossplay feature and ditching the “Super Turbo Arcade Edition” outdated business model, SFV looks like it’s equipped for the task of bringing Fighting Games to the next eSport level.

While the big tournaments are coming over the next weeks (Stunfest, Kumite, Canada Cup, EVO…) we’re already seeing SFV tournaments hours after the game has been released.

From sleepless night double brackets to monthly leagues at the office, we have you covered with every kind of Street Fighter brawl you’d like to set up. Can’t wait to see more V-Trigger action!

 

Give us your feedback

“We’re listening!”

This is one of our mottos. Toornament is an ever-evolving platform fueled by both our passionated team and our community. We’re
constantly adding new features, ironing out bugs and tweaking
performances.

We recently got great feedback from our community, be it local organizers, power users or video game developers. Here are some examples of requests we get and how we respond to them:

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Tweaks

Let’s update, upgrade on an existing feature. Example: resend the acceptation mail for participants who didn’t respond yet. We’re also boosting our tournaments’ capacity from 128 to 256 participants.

Minor features

Some features are easy for us to implement and commit. Don’t hesitate to ask for them! Example: getting the AM/PM time format alongside the 24 hours format displayed in the widget.

UI/UX

Are there areas where you think we could improve the way you interact with the dashboard, from new arrangement to ? Example: We were proposed (with a nice drawing) a new visualization grid for the admin rights panel.

Long term projects

Yes, we’re working on new major features and these take time. Don’t be shy to ask for big things. We’ll always discuss them and see how they could fit in our roadmap… Or maybe, maybe we’re already working on them? Example: Free For All format, Participants score reporting.

Impossible stuff

Just kidding, nothing’s impossible! Some projects are sometimes simply out of our reach. For example, getting advanced statistics for all supported games like we have for Dota 2, LoL or Blood Bowl 2 doesn’t only depend on us. The games themselves have to allow some access to their own data, through APIs or match IDs. Ask your favorite game developer!

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Of course, we can’t answer all the requests and some take much more time than they seem to take. Plus, we already have a packed roadmap ahead.

But we’re always thrilled when some of your feedback open our eyes and influence our work.

So next time you have feedback and requests, fire us an email at support@toornament.com! We’re also very reactive on our Twitter account, @toornament.

eSport Watching Guide, week 3

As we cover more and more eSports tournaments around the globe, we thought it’d be a nice thing show you all the current and live events you can follow on a weekly basis.

Here are all the widgets you can check and share and of course, you can get all these scores and streams straight from your mobile with our free app Toornament eSports iOSAndroid). Happy watching!

2016 LCK Spring Split

Share the LCK 2016 Spring Split widget

2016 NA LCS Spring Split

Share the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split widget

2016 EU LCS Spring Split

Share the 2016 EU LCS Spring Split widget

2016 LPL Spring Split

Share the LPL 2016 Spring Split widget

2016 LMS Spring Split

Share the LMS 2016 Spring Split widget

2016 CWL Australia

Share the 2016 CWL Australia widget

2016 CWL Europe

Share the 2016 CWL Europe widget

2016 CWL North America

Share the 2016 CWL North America widget

Gold Series Heroes League 2015

Share the Gold Series Heroes League 2015 widget

2016 StarCraft II StarLeague Season 1 : Main Event

Share the 2016 StarCraft II StarLeague Season 1 : Main Event widget

2016 DreamHack Open Leipzig

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Dreamhack Leipzig 2016

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6 eSports trends for 2016

We can all agree on how crazy 2015 has been for eSports. More games, more money, more audience, more recognition, spectacular announcements and acquisitions… It’s been one hell of a ride. Well, guess what: 2016 is already poised to be even crazier. Here 6 (of many) points to prove it:

1. Publishers are the rulers

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The heavy move the whole eSports industry was expecting is happening: video game publishers are taking control of their IPs. Following Riot’s steps, Activision-Blizzard has been continuously taking control back from the independant organizers hands. The recent MLG is the latest, most spectacular step in this way.

Valve, known for its more hands-off strategy, is also starting to weight in the way its eSports are handled. The Dota 2 and CS:GO major circuits and qualifiers do not prevent independant organizers from running their own events with their own rule, but they cast a huge shadow over everyone else, as they attract the top teams, the largest audience and loudest hype.

2. Players and teams Unions

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On the other hand, players and teams are the other major force to reckon with. The idea of a union has been rampant for years, and even tried by the main CS 1.6 at the time even tho it didn’t work. The latest attempt was a leaked requirements list CS:GO teams intended to sent to from the tournament organizers.
Despite failed projects and short-lived announcement, 2016 might be the year we see major clubs and organizations come up together with norms and ethics codes. We hope they start small and simple, to federate as much people as possible.

3. Here’s Television showing up late to the party

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Ah, TV. For years, eSports has been dreaming of the days it would be featured on national networks. It never really happened (sorry, CGS) in western countries. But for the last months, we’ve seen strong signs of television finally playing catch-up with eSports. ESPN and BBC started to air eSport tournaments (on their secondary channels, tho). Turner will launch a huge CS:GO league this year. Great news, but are they still needed?

Since a few years, eSports grew up outside of the TV screen and found its own way to viewers, with streaming. Twitch and Douyu wild success changed the game, as both eSports fans and professionals understood that they didn’t need Television any longer, they just built their own media. We’re thus very curious how traditional TV moguls will bring to eSports in order to challenge streaming platforms. When the hunted becomes the hunter.

4. MOBAs are plateauing

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Gone are the golden days of MOBAs? Not quite of course, as the genre remains the most popular in eSports by a large margin. But their spectacular rise seems to have to come to a stop in 2015. DotA 2 saw its numbers decrease a bit in September, even thos we can tie them to the release of the less-stable, more buggy “Reborn” client.

Last but not least, “Heroes Of The Storm” seems to struggle. Despite the heavy promotion from its publisher Blizzard, the brawler-styled MOBA doesn’t seem to eat at LoL and Dota’s cake and convert enough new players. The fact that none metrics have been released since the official launch is a strong indicator.
2016 might be the most critical year for MOBA. Will the genre fade like Starcraft, or prevail like Counter Strike?

5. FPS on the (re)rise

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2016 is poised to be the biggest CS year in history, with a record number of major tournaments, more players than ever (the 10M active mark has just been reached).

The FPS genre will also rise with the much awaited Overwatch from Blizzard and new milestones from the new Unreal Tournament open Alpha.
On consoles, competitive Call Of Duty may get a boost, with a popular iteration (Black Ops III) and the new in-house World League. Halo 5 is also working hard to get its community back together and reclaim its console-FPS throne.
After years of reloading, the shooting genre is back, all guns blazing.

6. Amateur tournaments level up their game

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As the top players in eSports are bringing our young industry to a new level, let’s always keep in mind that it’s strengh will always lie in the community and grass root tournaments around the world. And this is where we’ll weigh in as much as possible, bringing a solid backbone for both eSports professional and amateurs.

Tournament format analysis: How Riot and ESL deal with the Random factor

As tournament formats and structures are our little hobby, we started analysing the major Esport events and the reasons behind their choices.

After The International 5, here we are, breaking down the LCS Finals and the recent ESL One Cologne 2015.

We hope you’ll find good inspiration or cautionary tales for your own tournaments!

LCS Finals 2015

  • Group Stage

The Group stage follows a “Round Robin”, “Home – Away” Best-of-1 format. It looks like a Best-of-2, but the each participants won’t play their opponent twice in a row.

We like this approach, as it provides more variety in each day’s match-ups and allows some time for the “revenge hype” to build up.

  • Knockout Stage

Following the Group Stage, eight teams  advance to the Knockout Stage (formerly known as the Bracket Stage) and matchups transition to Best-of-5s. The Knockout Stage is comprised of Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals.

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The main change this year comes from a draw phase between the Group stage and the Knockout stage.

Riot wanted to give more transparency and avoid “throws”, where a team loses a game on purpose to avoid another team in the knockout bracket. The bracket draw will be broadcasted Live after all the Group stage matches are played, so that no one is be able to predict its future opponent.

Randomness is used here as a firewall against deceptive performances which hurt teams’ credibility and cast a shadow over the rest of the tournament.

ESL One Cologne 2015

After the unique format used at IEM Gamescom, ESL continues to explore alternatives to the classic “group-to-bracket” format. For this Summer ESL One, the German organization has come up with yet another twist in their structure. Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:

“We start the event with 4 groups of 4 teams each. Each group contains 2 legendary teams and 2 challenger teams. The teams will fight it out in a double elimination best-of-1 format per group with a small twist. The top 2 of each group will qualify for the playoffs.

The twist comes at the end of the first day of matches:

On the first day, all 4 groups will be played out up to and including the winners match, with the elimination match and deciding match still to be played out. This means that 4 teams will have qualified for the quarter finals and everyone else still has a chance to make it that far.

At the end of day 1, we will redraw the groups and seed the quarterfinals ensuring that a team cannot face off against a team that they have faced off against before until they reach the grand finals. After this swap, the teams will continue their run through the groups against their new opponents and try to reach a spot in the quarter finals.”

In a nutshell:

1. Groupstage is a Double Elimination brackets with 4 teams.

2. Semi finals are played, Winners Finals are played. The winner of this match qualifies for the Knockout Stage.

3. The three remaining teams from each group are shuffled with teams from other groups, but keep their current position.

4. In the new groups, Losers match is played, then Losers finals are played. The winner qualifies of this match qualifies for the Knockout Stage.

The main motivation behind this move is to prevent a team from being beaten twice by the same opponent. Still, it doesn’t look like it’s a fairer solution, as the original groups are supposed to be balanced from the start, with top seed teams and two low seed teams.

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But our main concern on this option is the audience: Bracket Groups are already quite peculiar – although very interesting, but stacking a redraw right in the middle might be excessive.

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Instead of playing games in a group of 4, we’ll play the 3 first games in a group of 4, then shuffle, then play the 3 remaining matches in a new group of 3. Still with us?

We then think about the participants. ESL CS tournaments are already criticized for using a Best-of-1 match format in the group stage, considered by many as not suitable for Counter-Strike. This FPS metagame is heavily influenced by the different maps and its ban/draft system.

Adding the group redraw hurts the relevance of the results, as naysayers will always have room to complain and post many “what if…” post-tournament articles and tweets.

The ESL One Cologne 2015 tournament format ultimately received mixed feedbacks for its Best-of-1 Match format in the group stage and GSL Groups redrawn. The next major tournament for ESL will be held in Dubai for the ESEA Invitational and we wonder which format they’ll come up with.