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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Esports digest: Week #25

Our weekly digest is back! In the torrent of Esports news, here are the ones which clearly stand out.

Do you recognize me?


The IeSF is alive and kicking. The Federation main goal remains the same: bring Esports in the Olympics. Their latest goal? Establish an Athlete’s Commission.

Following France, Russia, Italy and Denmark recognized Esports. 21 nations around the globe have now officially embraced Esports. It’s still less than the 45 IeSF members, but it’s growing.

That’s a lot of gems


Chinese giant Tencent just bought Finnish wunderkid Supercell. Big numbers ahead. Paying 8.6 billion dollars for 84.3% shares stake values the Clash of Clans / Royale at a staggering 10,2 billion dollars valuation.

But this is a strategic investment, as online games accounts for more than 50% of Tencent’s $15 billion revenue last year ($8.5B). Tencent also own League of Legends maker Riot and has parts in Activision Blizzard, Crossfire and Epic Games. Yes, we’re looking at the biggest Esports player here.

It’s in the game


Tencent doesn’t own EA parts, tho. But the American publisher is clearly late to the Esports party and finally unveiled its strategy. From industry veteran Peter Moore’s own mouth, the key word is “Engagement”. Which means leagues and cash prize. Best-seller Madden 17 will thus get its CS:GO-like circuit with a mix of Majors and independant tournaments. But only offers $1M global prize, when a single CS:GO Major offers the same – plus the stickers revenue. Not in the big league yet EA, not yet.

Live in the Arena


The Xbox has been the Esports console for years with games such as Halo, CoD and Street Fighter. Now that Sony has secured CoD and Street Fighter for its PS4, we were wondering how Microsoft would re-establish itself as the place to be for console Esports.

The answer is named Arena, a platform integrated into the Xbox Live allowing developers and organizer to tap into a common API. We’ve been very excited by this move and followed it closely, as Microsoft platform and ours have clear synergies. Can’t wait to see Toornament being embed into your favorite game!

eSport digest: week 24

Small fact, big trends, trivia… Here’s what happened this week in Esport

If you can’t beat, be it


The “Sports vs Esports” rivalry is slowly dying, as numerous traditional sports households are simply getting into Esports.

After West Ham, Sampdoria, Besiktas and Shalke, the Valencia Football Club just announced and introduced its Esport team. All these clubs came at the right time: Esports are both big enough to invest in and small enough to invest moderately.

Back at it again, Russia


Without any announcement, Russia has officially recognized Esports. To be more specific, Russia recognized again Esports. The country did it already in 2000 but then retracted in 2006.

Sixteen years later, it changed its mind again and hope it’ll stay this way. Virtus.Pro, Russia’s biggest Esport organization, will be able to spend its millions dollars with a lighthearted mind.

Killing the Fatality killer


That’s a first: a team forbid its Mortal Kombat player Scar from performing to displaying on stream any Fatality, these gory finishing move that made Mortal Kombat so (in)famous.

Facing the expected community backlash, team Panda Global U-turned and killed the clause. We’ll never know how they killed it, tho. More seriously, this little drama shows one the ongoing Esport debates about on-screen violence and the will to go mainstream. As the ESL always claims, “It’s a family show, guys”. But do we really want it ?

Play (of) the Game


Another player went into trouble. Talented but unstable LoL player Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou was just benched by his club Origen. The team cited “motivation issues” in its official statement. The player cited “Overwatch” on its Facebook post.

If this isn’t the definitive sign the latest Blizzard shooter is on its way to become a huge Esport… You won’t escape the hype, even on Facebook.

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eSports Digest – Week 22

This week is all about success and failures.


Revolution will (not) be televised


And the question is still open for the ELeague. The much-hyped Turner/WME-IMG $2.4M CS:GO league started last week and the numbers are in. With 0.21 rate, estimates are around 250,000 spectators on TV, with a additional 60,000 average viewers on stream.

Now, all the eSport “experts” have been trying to draw a comparison: Reruns of the popular TV show “The Big Bang Theory” brought 3 times more people. MLS, which yearly broadcast rights alone cost $75M, is 50% lower. CGS, the first attempt at bringing CS on television, wouldn’t even reach a few thousands.

It’s still hard to measure Eleague’s impact and we’d better wait for the end of the first season before drawing conclusions.

The cavalry’s here


Talk about a successful launch. The first Blizzard FPS and its first new IP since 18 years has already enroled 7M players in 10 days. CoD aside, it might be the biggest FPS launch ever.

Other indicators hint at a great response from the competitive community, like the Twitch scores, or the number of A-List teams and tournaments organizers already involved. Our favorite? The game has taken 2nd spot in South Korean PC Bangs, the battleground that make or brake new eSports.

The leading eSport country had moved away from Blizzard to Riot since the Starcraft II debacle and FPS were never the most popular genre.We’ll definitely follow Overwatch – we play the game everyday at the office anyway.

Battleborn … dead?


Where there’s a winner, there’s a loser. The MOBA-inspired FPS and TPS have been all the talk for the past few years: Paladins, Paragon, Law Breakers, Gigantic, Overwatch… Everybody wants to rule this new eldorado.

2K’s Battleborn was among the favorites, being produced by the guys behind Borderlands. Sadly, the game was met with average ratings and couldn’t survive the Overwatch’s hype. Battleborn was launched 3 weeks before, but its servers are already half-empty and its price tag has been slashed by 40%…

HoTS or Not


Talking about struggles and Blizzard games… What about Heroes of the Storm? The Blizzard MOBA is losing its casual bet in an over-crowded market. HoTS hasn’t been able to poach enough players from LoL and Dota 2 communities. It even feels like it acted as a great way to discover MOBAs… before moving to the big leagues.

As Blizzard is celebrating its game’s first anniversary, the publisher won’t share any numbers to the media. Not a good sign at all, and a call for a wave of articles, analysis and progamers posts claiming the game is doomed. Let’s never forget that Blizzard met with Dota’s creators… and ultimately rejected them.


Brazil’s got talent


And everybody wants them. This week Best Drama Award goes to SK Gaming and Luminosity. SK, running after its glorious past, tried to poach the Luminosity players from their Brazilian organization, a dirty yet accepted practice in the industry.

But when the players finally decided to stick up with their original team after signing with SK, things got ugly: lawyers, threats, tweet clashes… Until both parties sort all this mess, SK Gaming and WESA are everyone’s favorite bad guys.

Things got better for Immortals. One of the most impressive NA League of Legends team just added a CS:GO roster, buying the Tempo Storm squad. The deal came with no scandals and we can’t wait to see how these Brazilian imports, “raised” by Luminosity’s Fallen will perform. In the meantime, SK should definitely send a scout in Rio’s gaming centers.


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…


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.


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.


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?