Tag Archives: esports

Police Investigating More Match Fixing, Organized Crime Links To Australian Overwatch Team

The crackdown on Australian esports has already begun, but a report from the ABC this morning has raised the stakes several notches after questioning the ownership of a local Overwatch Contenders team.

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The report from ABC’s 7.30, which went online early Tuesday morning, touches on the ongoing investigation from Victoria Police that resulted in the arrest of multiple Australian Counter-Strike players. The report includes previously unannounced details, however, including the figure that Victoria Police believe that as much as $30,000 could have been won on the rigged Counter-Strike matches that triggered the first major esports integrity investigation in Australia.

That’s not the only juicy detail, though. Neil Paterson, the assistant commissioner of Victoria Police, told the ABC that he believed more esports corruption cases to emerge. And that was immediately followed by a paragraph suggesting that concerns have been raised around the ownership of an Overwatch contenders team:

[Victoria Police’s] Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit has received reports of match fixing in other Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games, and about organised crime links to the ownership of an Australian-based team that plays the Overwatch Contenders game.

The team isn’t named, although most of the teams in the Australian Overwatch Contenders league also have teams in other games. “We are seeing people encroach on that area that have reputations that [mean they] probably … shouldn’t be involved in this part of esports,” the assistant police commissioner is quoted as saying.

I’ve contacted Blizzard Australia for comment, asking whether they were aware of the investigation, the assistant commissioner’s remarks and what steps they take to ensure the integrity of tournaments in Australia. I’ve also contacted the Esports Integrity Commission, which helped Victoria Police with the original Counter-Strike investigation, for further clarification on the commissioner’s remarks.

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This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.

Source: Kotaku.com

Young Buddhist Monks Win Esports Tournament In Thailand

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

This month, a group of young monks won an esports tournament at Khon Kaen University’s Nong Khai campus in Thailand.

According to World of Buzz, the winners are seniors at Balee Sathit Suksa, a school in Thailand that trains monks. 

“The novices wanted to try entering the competition, so we gave them that opportunity. However, we didn’t expect them to actually win,” said Kokkiad Chaisamchareonlap, the school’s academic coordinator and head monk.

Besides studying Buddhism for twenty hours a week, the students also are exposed to secular education, including the study of computers. It was through a computer class that these students apparently learned about esports and begin to hone their skills at mobile game Speed Drifters during their free time.

Online in Thailand, some criticized the students for wearing their saffron robes, saying it was “inappropriate.”

Kokkiad disagrees, saying it was important for the students to pursue and develop their interests. “We wanted to give the students an opportunity. A lot of them don’t have that coming from poor families or broken homes,” he added.

The school wasn’t the only religious institution to compete in the tournament. But as World of Buzz points out, it was the only one to win. 

Source: Kotaku.com

It’s The End Of A Generation At This Year’s Pokémon World Championships

Image: The Pokémon Company

At the 2019 Pokémon World Championships this weekend, trainers can choose any of the existing 807 known Pokémon to fight by their side. This is the last time they’ll be able to do so, at least in the near future.

Earlier today, the Pokémon Company announced that Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the official games used for competitive play during the 2020 season. While that’s not necessarily a surprising move, it does mean that that the scene will be seeing some major competitive shifts moving forward after the 2019 championships in Pokémon Sun and Moon wrap up.

As revealed at E3, Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the first games in the series’ recent history that won’t allow players to pull in Pokémon from previous games via the Pokémon bank. We don’t know which Pokémon will be left behind in this coming generation. Will Celesteela, who helped North American champ Wolfe Glick clinch the finals in June, end up returning? Whoever makes the cut, the field is in for a major culling, and it seems likely that some current competitive favorites could fall victim to that.

While that’s made some fans angry, it also makes this year’s World Championships extra special. It’s the end of a generation—multiple generations, really—and a perfect opportunity to celebrate the series’ competitive legacy on the 3DS. The Swiss round of matches got underway earlier today, and the action continues on Saturday starting at 8:45 a.m. ET to determine who will make the final cut. Then on Sunday, the video game finals are expected to kick off sometime after noon with the Junior Division. The finals are expected to wrap up by 4:00 p.m. ET that day. All of those matches will be streamed on the Pokémon VGC Twitch channel.

The Pokémon World Championships are home to more than just matches in the Moon and Sun games. The event also hosts the championships for the Pokémon Trading Card Game, which will be going on simultaneously and streaming here, as well as a Pokkén Tournament DX event that will be streaming here with the finals starting at 3:00 p.m. ET Saturday. Earlier today, the event even hosted a small Pokémon Go invitational. If you want to check out what competitive Pokémon Go looks like, you can find the VOD available here, which one spectator over on ResetEra called “a beautiful showcase of Pokémon GO’s trademark jank.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee Is Back With A Vengeance This Weekend

William ‘Leffen’ Hjelte wins Super Smash Bros. Melee grand finals at Evo 2018.
Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images (Getty Images)

If you were pining for some high-level Super Smash Bros. Melee after organizers cut it from last weekend’s Evo, the biggest fighting game tournament in the world, you can get your fix this weekend.

Super Smash Con’s Melee tournament, going on now in Virginia, is studded with crowd favorites like Justin “Plup” McGrath, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, and William “Leffen” Hjelte, who won last year’s Evo championship. After the Evo 2019 snub, the pros are almost certainly primed for a fight.

Super Smash Con is hosting the second-biggest Melee event so far this year with 850 entrants. The biggest, Genesis 6, attracted over 125,000 viewers during the Super Bowl and over 1,100 entrants.

Super Smash Con is also home to an enormous, 2,700-entrant Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament for those who favor Nintendo’s more modern platform fighter. After Leonardo “Mk Leo” Lopez Perez took down underdog Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey—a Pokémon Trainer player who had lit up the winner’s bracket—for Evo’s number one spot, you know he wants a rematch. You can watch Super Smash Con on VGBootCamp’s Twitch channel all weekend.

In the meantime, the Overwatch League’s Stage 4 games roll on, with four games on Friday and five on Saturday. Notable matchups include the high-powered Hangzhou Spark and New York Excelsior, and the San Francisco Shock and Shanghai Dragons. Remember—the Shanghai Dragons took home the Stage 3 championship after a 0-40 season last year. Yet there may also be some shake-ups as teams get accustomed to Overwatch’s new role-lock rule, which forces teams’ compositions to include two tanks, two damage-dealers, and two supports. All of that’s on the Overwatch League Twitch channel.

As for me, I’ll be switching between the two games while plowing through the first half of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Not a bad way to spend a hot August weekend.

Source: Kotaku.com

ESPN Delays Apex Legends Tournament Highlights ‘Out Of Respect’ Following Mass Shootings

This weekend’s planned airing of the EXP Apex Legends Invitational at X Games tournament on ESPN2 has been postponed by the network, “out of respect for the victims and all those impacted in the immediate aftermath of the shootings.”

The broadcast is meant to show highlights from the Apex Legends tournament that was held at X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on August 2. Originally scheduled to air on ESPN2 this weekend, the show has been postponed for two months.

The news broke overnight when esports reporter Rod Breslau tweeted a news tip from an ABC affiliate station. (ABC and ESPN both being networks owned by Disney.)

While ESPN has not made an official statement, a source with knowledge of the network’s plans has told Kotaku that the broadcast will now air on ESPN2 on Sunday, October 6 at 5 p.m. ET; Tuesday, October 15 at 11 p.m. ET; and Sunday, October 27 at 4 p.m. ET.

The news comes following a similar move by retailer Walmart, which has pulled in-store advertising and displays for games that contain “violent themes or aggressive behavior” following this weekend’s shooting near a store in El Paso, Texas. The stores will still sell guns.

Update: 8/9/2017, 10:21 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include information about the initial reporting of this news.

Source: Kotaku.com

Pokémon Card Requiring Players To Speak Banned To Prevent Linguistic Confusion

The Pokémon Company announced late yesterday that it’s banning one of the Pokémon trading card game’s newest cards at this year’s World Championship. That’s because this card introduces some potential language barrier issues between international players that would, overall, make it a huge pain in the ass if anyone decided to actually try and use it.

Blaine’s Quiz Show is an uncommon supporter card that debuted in the game’s latest expansion earlier this month, and while it’s an incredibly cute and creative card, it’s also easy to see how it could bring an international match to a screeching halt, since it relies on precise communication.

Here’s the full text on the card:

“Put a Pokémon from your hand face down in front of you and tell your opponent the name of an attack it has. Your opponent guesses the name of that Pokémon, and then you reveal it. If your opponent guessed right, they draw 4 cards. If they guessed wrong, you draw 4 cards. Return the Pokemon to your hand.”

While seemingly straightforward, there are a number of scenarios in which things could go awry if the card was being used between two players who speak different languages and are using translated decks. Pro player and former North American champion Stéphane Ivanoff explained the potential confusion that might ensue in a Twitter thread from late July (via the fan site Pokébeach).

“Lillipup (BLW 81) and Gliscor (UNB 99) have the same attack Collect,” he wrote. “In French, Lillipup’s Collect was translated to ‘Collectionner,’ and Gliscor’s Collect was translated to ‘Collecte.’ If I play against a French-speaking player and announce ‘Collectionner,’ they know it can be Lillipup and not Herdier. If I play against an English-speaking player and announce ‘Collect,’ it can be both. This means that doing the exact same game action has different results depending on the language used.”

Ivanoff noted that while translators could be kept on hand to help players get around these issues, it could potentially slow things down. And even if the odds of these particular scenarios arising is unlikely, banning the Blaine’s Quiz Show card is, at least in Ivanoff’s opinion, a small price to pay for reducing that probability to zero. Of course, why the ability “collect,” which lets a player draw a card, was translated into a French verb in one instance (collectionner) and a noun in the other (collecte), remains a mystery best left to Pokémon language detectives.

In any event: sorry, Blaine’s Quiz Show. The card was a cool idea, at least, and maybe someone will now be inspired to concoct a competitively viable deck based around you. The Pokémon World Championship takes place from August 16 to August 18. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Smash Bros. Takes Center Stage At The Biggest Fighting Game Event Of The Year

For the first time since it was released in 2016, Street Fighter V won’t be the final headlining event that concludes the Evolution Championship Series this weekend. Instead, that honor goes to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This is the first time in the history of the series that it’s ever received top-billing at the event.

When the organizers of Evo first announced this year’s prospective line-up of game tournaments that would be featured on the main stage, some were outraged that Smash Bros. Melee hadn’t made the cut. The game may be old, but year after year, its top players still have managed to put on a great show. While some perceived Melee getting replaced by Ultimate as a slight, it was also a credit to the success of Smash Ultimate in bringing new players into the fold while also capturing the interest of veterans from throughout the series’ past. Enough, at least, to convince Evo to make it this year’s finale.

The move is also surprising given the deeply entrenched sentiment among some corners of the fighting game community that Smash Bros. isn’t an authentic fighting game series in the same way as, say, Street Fighter, which has traditionally been the cornerstone of every Evo. But the registration numbers for Ultimate tell a different story. 3,492 people are competing in this year’s Smash Ultimate tournament, as compared to 1,929 competing in Street Fighter V, which is down just over 20 percent from the year prior. Kids these days wanna Smash.

Of course, Evo is about more than just the headliners. Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat 11, Soulcalibur VI, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st], Dragon Ball FighterZ, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, and Samurai Shodown are also being featured, the last of which I’m particularly excited to see unfold, given how veteran players from other games like Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez and Justin “JWong” Wong have been tearing it up in the relatively nascent scene.

Evo 2019 gets underway today, August 2, at 1:00 p.m. ET with competitive pools across every game. The big finale for the event’s first day is the Soul Calibur VI finals tonight at 11:00 p.m. Here’s the complete schedule for the rest of the weekend:

Saturday, August 3

1:00 p.m. – Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st]

4:00 p.m. – Dragon Ball FighterZ

7:00 p.m. – Samurai Shodown

11:00 p.m. – Mortal Kombat 11

Sunday, August 4

12:00 p.m. – BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

3:00 p.m. – Street Fighter V

6:30 p.m. – Tekken 7

10:00 p.m. – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

All of the finals matches will stream live on Evo’s main Twitch channel, with pools play available on additional channels, a full guide to which you can find here.

There are also a ton of side tournaments at the event, including not just well-known games like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Smash Bros. Melee, but also a bunch of smaller competitive ones, including a Puyo Puyo Champions tournament that begins today at 3:00 p.m. ET over on pxmacaiah’s Twitch channel. Also, at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, a small Catherine tournament will be hosted on the same channel. These side events are all being organized under the banner of Anime Evo, which has a full schedule and list of corresponding streams over here

Source: Kotaku.com

Former StarCraft 2 Pro, Commentator Geoff ‘iNcontroL’ Robinson Dies At 33

Former StarCraft 2 pro Geoff Robinson, aka iNcontroL, died on Saturday “due to sudden illness.”

A statement released via Robinson’s official social media accounts announced his passing earlier today:

Robinson was a former StarCraft 2 pro with clan Evil Geniuses before later moving into a broader esports career as a commentator, host, and streamer. He is being remembered as a prominent and beloved member of the game’s community.

As the statement requests, anyone wishing to offer support can make a donation to Southern California Bulldog Rescue, an organization which Robinson supported.

Source: Kotaku.com

Last Year’s Underdogs Now Have A Shot At This Year’s Call Of Duty Championship

Image: Activision (Call of Duty: Black Ops 4)

Colt “Havok” McLendon watched the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship from home. This year, his team could go all the way to the finals.

“Before this year started, I told myself, ‘I’m going to do competitive all or nothing, or I’m going to be a streamer,” McLendon, a member of the team Gen.G Esports, told Dot Esports in an interview earlier this week. “I’m not going to try to do both again.’ Now, my only goal is to win an event. And I guess it’s the secret formula because it’s been a lot better.”

The release of Call of Duty: WWII turned out to be the kiss of death for the pro player, whose 2017-2018 season ended in disaster, including not even qualifying for the championship. His fortunes have rebounded in the era of Black Ops 4, starting with a respectable 7th-place finish at the Las Vegas Open last December before managing to qualify for the 2019 Pro League with his ragtag team of unknowns, Team Space, in January.

The team, which was immediately signed by Gen.G, has only continued to build up steam, finishing 7th at CWL Fort Worth in March, 5th at CWL London in May, and 2nd at CWL Anaheim in June. Earlier this month, Gen.G finished the Pro League 2019 season in 3rd.

Now they have a chance to become world champions, and potentially rake in millions between the Pro League Championship’s $1,250,000 prize pool this weekend and the World Championship’s $2,000,000 prize pool in August. It’s the kind of money that could make it all worth it for the team of six whose future remains uncertain, especially as the esport heads into 2020 with not only a new game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but also an Overwatch-like franchise system.

Play-ins for the remaining two spots in this weekend’s Pro League playoffs take place throughout Friday afternoon, with the bracket stage beginning on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET. Play continues on Sunday at the same time, with the grand finals slated to get underway sometime later that day. You can watch the entire tournament streaming on the Call of Duty Twitch Channel.

Outside of esports, the European Speedrunner Assembly will be kicking off its 2019 marathon on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. ET with an Any% run of Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. Though not as well known as Summer Games Done Quick, at least on this continent, the weeklong event features plenty of talented speedrunners showcasing playthroughs in a wide range of games.

Some other runs to watch out for include Wario Land: Shake It! at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Catherine Classic at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on Thursday at 3:51. The entire event will wrap up next Saturday at 6:00 a.m. with a playthrough of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance.

And of course it’s all for a good cause, with donations from viewers going toward the Swedish Alzheimer’s Foundation. You can watch all of the speedruns on the ESA Marathon Twitch channel

Source: Kotaku.com

Role-Locking Is Coming To Overwatch, According To Leaked Video

Today, a pre-recorded Overwatch League video leaked sharing news that Blizzard is apparently implementing role-locking in Overwatch and the Overwatch League. It is currently unclear how role-locking will manifest in the game itself.

Starting soon, all team compositions in the Overwatch League will consist of two damage-dealers, two supports, and two tanks, explained league staffers in the leaked video. The decision was made because “the more that we can do to keep the pro experience in Overwatch League consistent with the live game experience of Overwatch players, the better from the Overwatch League perspective,” explained Overwatch senior product director Jonathan Spector.

The dramatic shift may not come as a surprise to lots of fans; hints have been dropped for months. Before quitting the league, former pro Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek apparently confirmed it. The esports site Upcomer did, too, in a report where they spoke with several internal sources. And before announcing tonight’s Overwatch League broadcast, where the news was apparently slated to air, three Overwatch league casters each threw up a peace sign—2-2-2.

What might rattle even the most tuned-in fans was Spector’s comment that “2-2-2 is coming to the game soon” in what he describes as the “biggest change that’s happened in Overwatch since they added the one-hero limit.” Without more details, it seems like the rule will be implemented in the game, meaning regular players will be asked to follow the pros’ lead and specialize in a certain class map-by-map. It’s unclear whether this will be across the board or simply in the game’s competitive mode. On the Overwatch subreddit, players are expressing cautious optimism.

Role-locking will come as a welcome change for Overwatch league fans who are sick of the dominant “GOATS” meta, an unflashy playstyle of three tanks and three supports. Without Widowmaker’s hype headshots or Tracer’s zippy time-turning, players became bored of tuning in to the same old compositions over and over for months. Those opposed to role-locking’s implementation would argue that GOATS was already on its way out. Damage-dealing heroes like Sombra and Pharah were insinuating themselves more and more into the meta; who’s to say that Tracer might not come back, too?

In the leaked video, Spector says that the Overwatch League team let pro players vote on implementing role-locking. “An overwhelming majority of the teams supported the approach that we’re taking here,” he says.

For fans tired of playing support when four players insta-lock DPS, or fans excited to play tank knowing they’ll have two supports behind them, role-locking will unlock a version of the game they believe best represents its core. Others who prefer a more molten and chaotic meta might find Blizzard’s unilateral decision stifling. For my part, I can’t wait to see Saebyeolbe back in action.

Source: Kotaku.com