Golden State Warriors name Hunter Leigh as head of esports

The Golden State Warriors have named Hunter Leigh as their new head of esports.

The Golden State Warriors have named Hunter Leigh as their new head of esports.

This news comes soon after the GSW-owned Golden Guardians announced they had a slot in the new League of Legends NA LCS team. Leigh will be overseeing the Golden Guardians, but also the Warriors’ forthcoming NBA 2K team and any other esports possibilities that might appear.

Leigh was previously the head of esports operations for Yahoo Esports, but has also worked with Riot Games as their NA LCS product head. In his role at Riot, Leigh did a lot of work on the partnership system that brought Golden Guardians to the table. Good work looking after your future, past Leigh.

Leigh brings with him years of experience in the esports industry, having served as head of esports operations for Yahoo Esports. As such he led the creation of events for University League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. He had previously worked at Riot Games, LoL’s publisher, as the NA LCS product lead – essentially paving the way for the new franchise partnership system.

“The Warriors are such a well-respected sports franchise, and I am fortunate that they selected me to help steward their entrance into esports.” said Leigh. “I’m eager to hit the ground running as it relates to player acquisitions and building competitive teams for both League of Legends and the NBA 2K League. The Warriors have a proven model for championship success, and I am looking to bring their player development and analytical approach to the esports space.”

Audi Denmark and Astralis sign shirt sponsorship deal

Audi Denmark and CS:GO outfit Astralis have announced a shirt sponsorship to expand on the pairs partnership last year.

Audi Denmark and CS:GO outfit Astralis have announced a shirt sponsorship to expand on the pairs partnership last year.

The deal will see Audi’s trademark four rings logo appear on Astralis Jersey. The deal is an expansion of a ‘pilot case’ partnership the pair announced in January 2017 that saw Audi on the team’s jerseys for three months. This seems to have been a successful partnership because it’s now a permanent deal.

The deal was enabled by RFRSH Entertainment, and Astralis are planned to be wearing the new Audi shirts at RFRSH’s BLAST Pro Series this weekend, with a fan event taking place on Thursday.

Last time, the team found success with Audi on their jerseys, seizing victory at the Atlanta Major.

Jacob Thiesen, Audi Denmark’s digital manager, said in a statement: “We are extremely pleased to be back on the chest of the Astralis jersey. The valuation of our initial partnership demonstrated some impressive numbers and effects and the co-operation with the team and RFRSH Entertainment was second to none. On this basis, we entered negotiations in the late summer, and we’re glad to finally announce the partnership – again.”

Jordi Roig, CCO of RFRSH Entertainment, added: “Esports is an extremely rewarding field for brands that make an effort to understand the industry. Esport as a passion media is a gateway to a young hard-to-get audience that is getting more and more resistant to traditional media. Old-fashioned one-way communication does not work with this audience and if you want to engage with this target group, you need to mean something to them, you need to be true to who you are and at the same time embrace what they do.”

Riot announce 10 teams that will make up NA franchise league

Riot last night announced the ten winners of slots in their new-look LCS league, with some surprising omissions 

Riot last night announced the ten winners of slots in their new-look LCS league, which is doing away with relegation and promotion and promising franchised teams revenue sharing from 2018.

There were over 100 applicants for the league, but the final 10 teams taking place in the league are: 100 Thieves, Clutch Gaming, Golden Guardians, OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid, Echo Fox, Cloud 9 and Team SoloMid.

This list has a few surprises. The new teams are are 100 Thieves, Clutch Gaming, Golden Guardians and Optic Gaming, all of which have the backing of big American sports teams, 100 Thieves has involvement from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Courtside Ventures and Ludlow ventures, Clutch Gaming has investment from Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta, Golden Guardians is a Warriors team, and OpTic Gaming, the most popular esports brand on social media in the world, has investment from MLB Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman via Infinite Esports & Entertainment.

Teams that didn’t make the cut are Dignitas, Team Envy, Immortals and Phoenix1. Getting the boot from the NA LCS will be a major financial blow, and sources suggest that the four teams will receive a low seven figure payout to sweeten the loss.

The same sources claim that teams will have to pay $10m to buy into the franchise, with newcomers paying $3m on top of this for additional fees.

Immortals and Envy are high-level League of Legends competitors, who have both received large investments. They would appear to be a natural fit, but for Riot it seems they weren’t quite the right fit.

The Spring Split will kick off on January 20. A European franchise league has been suggested for 2019.

NewBay unites video games group under MCV, Esports Pro to be incorporated into MCV brand

MCV, Develop & Esports Pro to unite under the MCV brand to bring new, 360° coverage of the B2B video games market

NewBay, the publisher of MCV, Develop and Esports Pro, announced today that it will be evolving its UK-based video games brand portfolio into a single website, magazine, and suite of events, under the banner of MCV.

The brand will be led by the current Editor, Seth Barton, who said “MCV is evolving to become one brand for the entire UK games industry. Whether you're an indie searching for the best partner for your next game, an esports tournament provider looking for new sponsors, a retailer wanting to maximise its community reach, a publisher acquiring new capabilities to push engagement, a mobile studio that needs better data analysis, or even a media planner considering AR as part of its next triple-A campaign.

These are all parts of our industry and MCV will reflect every diverse aspect of it, with up to date analysis and insight. It will help everyone make better informed business decisions, and provide an independent and trusted platform for the industry to communicate through.”

From January 2018, MCV, Develop & esports pro will exist as one entity, under the banner of MCV, with one bigger monthly magazine, one mobile optimised, new look website including new jobs platform, and a suite of events tailored for the industry. This structure will better reflect the changing nature of the games industry, while continuing to highlight the latest trends across publishing, development, eSports, and everything in between. 

The Develop Awards, MCV Awards, Future Games Summit, Women in Games and a forthcoming esports focused event will continue to serve the industry with a plethora of high quality opportunities for networking and talent recognition.

Mark Burton, Managing Director of NewBay stated, “NewBay must continually evolve our offerings to keep pace and remain the premier source of information on the UK video games industry. We are committed to promoting this industry as one of the most interesting and vibrant creative businesses out there, and we are excited and confident that these changes will create new opportunities and enable us to provide the best possible service to our clients and readers.”

Moira enters Overwatch alongside tweaks for Mercy, Ana and more

Overwatch’s new support hero Moira is now available on the live server, and her introduction to the game has come with changes to her support colleagues, too

Overwatch’s new support hero Moira is now available on the live server, and her introduction to the game has come with changes to her support colleagues, too.

Moira entered Overwatch’s Private Test Realm on November 6. She’ll be available to all players during the upcoming free weekend which starts today after her release.

Lore details on Moira are thin on the ground, but looking at her kit, it seems Moira is tailor made to cause panic among enemies. Moira uses her left hand to heal allies ahead of her with biotic energy, which she uses her right hand firing a long-range beam that drains the health from enemies while healing her and replenishing her biotic energy.

This means that Moitra has to get into the thick of things, but has a quick teleport that can get her out of trouble if she’s bitten off more than she can chew.

Still, adding a new healer to the game shakes things up a little bit, and with the game’s current meta focusing on Mercy as they primary healer, Moira’s addition to the pool should diversify the field, and if that doesn’t work out, the other healers in the game have been given some tweaks too.

In bullet point form, for your convenience, here are the headline changes to eat healer:

Ana

  • Ana’s Biotic Rifle Damage increased from 60 to 70.

This might seem insubstantial, but it means that Ana can take out most heroes with three shots instead of four. Most heroes in Overwatch have around 200 damage, and this damage boost means that instead of 180 damage over three shots, Ana can now do 210 damage with three rounds means you can fight off an enemy with relative speed if she’s accurate.

Mercy

  • Resurrect cast time is increased from 0 seconds to 1.75 seconds
  • Mercy’s movement speed is reduced by 75 percent while casting Resurrection, and can be interrupted by knockback, stun or hack.
  • Visibility of Mercy’s healing and damage boosting beams has been increased.
  • While Valkyrie is active, Resurrect has no cast time or movement speed reduction

More nerfs to the new and improved Mercy, and it’s Resurrect up on the table this week for adjustments. This cast timer means quick thinking will be able to stop Mercy’s revive, but will it be enough of an adjustment to shake up the meta?

This tweak makes her Valkyrie ability even more viable too, as if you needed further reason to turn into the flying angel of death (and also life).

Winston

  • Barrier Projector now displays a health bar.

This is quality of life change for Winston players that will them know when their barrier is about to break. This makes sense, as Reinhardt and Orisa both have health bars for their shields.

Lúcio

  • Lúcio now has an effect above his head to indicate which song he's playing in spectator mode

This is just an esports change really. This means spectators can tell which specific variety of turning it up Lucio is doing, whether this is a speed boost or healing boost. This makes it easier to parse what is going on and try to discern the flow of the game. 

Dante May Cry: MvC:I patch nerfs Capcom’s demon hunter into the ground

An upcoming update for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is bringing a variety of balance tweaks to the game, with champion Dante getting a serious nerf

An upcoming update for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is bringing a variety of balance tweaks to the game, with champion Dante getting a serious nerf.

Dante was always a strong contender in the franchise's previous entry, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3,a consistent fixture in the game’s meta although never outright dominant. However feedback from MvC:I’s competitive scene seems to be that not only is Dante as strong as he was in UMvC3, he’s actually gotten stronger.

The community has shown a lot of ‘touch of death’ combos with Dante, a touch of death combo meaning a combo that outright kills a character after you’ve hit them with a single attack to kick every off, the referenced touch of death. To illustrate, here’s a video from September of Jonathan ‘Tyrant’ Parkes performing one on character Chun-Li who has slightly lower than average health, but should still show how terrifying this can be to play against.

Still, it seems in the latest patch Capcom have nerfed Dante substantially, with patch notes as long as the rest of the champions put together. This will create a ripple across the game as he was so easy to dominate with that every player from amateur to pro would play him. 

Reacting to the nerf, Parkes took to twitter: watch for language, kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dante’s health has been reduced, damage on several of his moves has been reduced significantly, in addition to meter gain for special moves. It’s going to be a massive change in the competitive scene as Dante will now play like a completely different character. Worse, he's lost a lot of his mix-up stuff, which might actually put him at a disadvantage to several other characters that would have previously been very favourable match-ups. 

Elsewhere, the Reality Stone Infinite Surge has been nerfed significantly, and there are minor tweaks to many of the characters in the game. You can see the full patch notes here.

Meet the Renegades, the grassroots Paladins team that met on Facebook

As the Paladins Premier League Fall Finals kicks off, Renegades are shining success story for Hi-Rez's grassroots efforts 

The Paladins Premier League Fall Finals kicks off today with several of the world’s top teams competing for a chunk of the $50,000 prize pool.

One of these teams is Team Renegades, playing today against G2 Esports. Renegades are unique in the esports scene because they met on Paladin’s Facebook group, an official space run by Hi-Rez Studios that was created due to a huge Facebook presence for the game.

Renegades is a success story for Hi-Rez’s commitment to a grassroots community, a team that formed using their systems to help amateurs compete at a top level, and now are one of the strongest teams in North America. 

Justin ‘Vandy’ Cheung started an amateur team called WildStyle in 2016 and the team competed, without much success, in several smaller tournaments in the scene. The team ground to a halt, although when Cheung heard about the Paladins Global Series he decided to give it another shot and recruited a team of talented amateurs from the game’s Facebook group.

This rookie team emerged from the second phase of the Paladin’s Global Series as victors, but now competing under the Renegades banner.

It’s an interesting route, since many esport fans and young contenders are struggling to find a way to stand out from the crowd. This is a problem that is especially true of games with a niche audience like Paladins, where the best way to get involved in professional play is to get matched against a pro player in the game’s competitive mode and hope you made enough of an impact to get picked up. This method relies on a lot of luck in terms of matchmaking, opponents and your teammates. However, four of the Renegades’ six players were found on Facebook without any competitive experience..

Hi-Rez got involved with Facebook when it saw that a huge chunk of its community was engaging with the game through the social network, with a large community-run scene (one group has over 30,000 users) that was managed, informally by the community, on the service. Hi-Rez stepped in and made an official group for people to use. This group now has regular broadcasts and livestreams from the Paladins Global Series, in addition to an active discussion board where people advertise themselves to potential pro teams, or scout for player for fresh new teams.

The team entered the PGS Facebook group, and then the PGS official Discord, catching the attention of pro organisations with a series of strong performances highlighted on Hi-Rez’s official channels and access to important members of the community through Hi-Rez’s official community Discord. Professional outfits were watching the Discord and Facebook Group for up and coming talent in the game, which meant the roster was quickly picked up as part of Renegades plans for Paladins.

Since the Renegades formed, there’s been a slight personnel change. Vandy, the original Wildstyle founder, now functions as the team’s coach and substitute. His replacement is Zach ‘ShadeeyShades’ Gilbert, an experienced player. The rest of the team, Joshua ‘Stormtroopey’ Veillon, Georges ‘Lokii’ Chalhoub, team captain Dylan ‘Cliku’ Mohne and Loc ‘Ethereall’ Nguyen have no previous competitive experience, but seem to be doing just fine.

“I began gaming at a young age, primarily sticking to console with titles such as Call of Duty and Halo,” said Gilbert. “I made the swap when I was 16 to PC gaming where I played my first competitive FPS Natural Selection 2 (NS2). I played on various teams but never really accomplished much, but participated in some small community tournaments.”

It was the Natural Selection 2 community that told him about Paladins, and got him involved. “Players such as Bitey (Chris Mohn) and Awry (Steve Michalec), who I teamed with for over a year on Team Eager/Denial eSports, were players who came from NS2. I spent a lot of time in Paladins participating in many tournaments and winning some of the online ones under Team Eager. I recently took a break from the game, when I returned I was fortunate to find a spot on Renegades.”

With Renegades’ involvement and the roster change, the team is now a legitimate esports team in every sense of the word, salaried players in Paladin’s growing competitive scene.

“As surprising as it may sound,” Chalhoub says, “I actually had no competitive background in esports before Paladins. I came into this game with the desire to compete, and so I built my play style to be team dependent from the beginning, and this is why I can say I'm probably the kind of DPS that gives his team openings and chances to engage or do otherwise.”

Meanwhile, Vellon came from playing years of Team Fortress 2 as the Heavy, whirring his chaingun and stomping pub players. “One day as a joke I decided to play Paladins and I immediately fell in love with it,” said Vellon. “I found out about a really OP card that no one had really experimented with and became really good with it. That was acrobatics pip. In a matter of 3 weeks I climbed to top 50 in the world with close to zero struggle.”

Vellon was then noticed by several big figures in the Paladin’s community, and soon afterwards he was picked up as a support for Wildstyle.

Mohne meanwhile attends college at Iowa State University, playing alongside his studies. “I had no competitive experience coming into Paladins besides being a pub stomper in other games I played prior. I don't really have a particular play style but what makes me unique is my game sense.”

The final member of the team is Nguyen, who is Vietnamese but has lived in the US for most of his life. He’s another full time student who primarily plays Dirty Bomb and Paladins. Nguyen was browsing Steam’s free-to-play section when he found Paladins for the first time.

“When I started the game, it was mostly just a hobby and a form of entertainment. Gradually, however, I started noticing that I was able to compete at the highest of levels and wanted to push myself into the competitive scene, trying out for various teams and participating in many tournaments.”

Nguyen is Renegades’ tank, and describes his playstyle as reactive, moving from place to place to try and put himself between his team and the bad men with guns.

It’s unusual for a team of relative unknowns to have entered the scene and risen to the very top of it within such a short amount of time, but Paladins’ competitive community is growing at a rapid pace, which means Renegades came in at the right time, with the right amount of talent, to make a real impact.

Whether or not they clutch a victory at the Paladins’ Premier League Fall Finals or not, they’ve shown themselves to be a talented and interesting addition to a scene that’s going to need iconic players as it grows bigger.

Nvidia reveals brand-new screenshots of PUBG’s desert map

PUBG goes spaghetti western

NVIDIA has revealed five new screens of PlayerUnknown Battleground’s forthcoming Desert map, showing a landscape that’s altogether more varied than the now-familiar Erangel.

The screenshots show a city area that has a variety of multi-storey buildings in various states of construction in an area that looks somewhat run-down. There’s also a strip-mall shopping plaza for you to live out your urban combat fantasies.

This is contrasted with desert landscapes with just mild scrubland, offering very little cover to people sniping from scattered oil rigs, ridged canyons and other dusty structures.

It’s pretty desolate, which, considering you’re fighting to the death, is probably reasonable.

Wander your eyes down a little way for that desert. 

The desert map could launch with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds 1.0 release, or it could not. We should find out as the juggernaut lurches closer to 1.0 in December. 

GODSENT bench Dennis and release Znajder as struggles continue for Swedish CS:GO team

Struggling GODSENT have seen yet another roster change for the Swedish outfit that sees Dennis Edman benched and Andreas ‘Znajder’ Lindberg released as a free agent

Struggling GODSENT have seen yet another roster change for the Swedish outfit that sees Dennis Edman benched and Andreas ‘Znajder’ Lindberg released as a free agent.

Lindberg and Edman are, arguably, the two most valuable players on the team’s roster, but either way it’s a blow to the team. Lindberg has been with the company since GODSENT was formed in April 2016, while Edman came into the team in August, and now joins his former Fnatic teammate Markus ‘pronax’ Wallsten on Godsent’s bench.

Wallsten stepped down from his role as in-game leader back in August at the same time Edman joined the roster, and since then GODSENT has struggled to perform.

Dennis Edman was moved to the inactive player roster earlier today, while Andreas "Znajder" Lindberg was released into free agency after being with the organization since it was founded in April 2016. Hampus Poser and Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi will be substituted into the lineup to replace the departing Swedes. Dennis also joins his former Fnatic teammate Markus "pronax" Wallsten on GODSENT's bench.

Both Edman and Lindberg have issued statements via Twitlonger. Edman was brutal in his analysis of the situation: “After 2-3 months of playing together we had a few good wins and some very bad losses to teams i never thought i would struggle against.”

“The way we play in GODSENT is not the way i want to play, there’s no structure, discipline or teamplay. Mostly just individually good plays to win the round, sure individual plays works if you’re FaZe or SK but we don’t have those individuals. I just got more and more tired because i know i can do so much more as a player and with a more structured team/game plan behind me.That’s pretty much it, i like everyone in the team IRL but ingame we just don’t click and it was a long shot to even think this was possible.”

Lindberg was more even-handed, in a longer and more thoughtful statement: “In the end it was very clear that basically everyone wanted the same role in-game and that made us clash however we tried to work around it, and that left most of us very unmotivated and frustrated not getting to play the role everyone has shined in before in every other team. Me personally went out of my comfort-zone a thousand times and in the end it just makes you overthink stuff that you usually never failed at before.”

“All this made me extremely unmotivated day by day for the last 8 months, the only time i could turn up the heat was at LAN tournaments and show a good level of play, but online it's just been pure dogshit, i've just been wondering what my next step should be as i felt misplaced for a long time just filling gaps, feeling that need of a fresh start somewhere else around people with the same mindset as me how to play as a team and build a team."

The roster now consists of Simon ‘twist’ Eliasson, Joakim ‘disco doplan’ Gidetun, and Fredrik ‘freddieb’ Buo. Edman and  Wallsten wait on GODSENT’s bench to see if any other team is interested enough in the players, both two-time CS:GO Major winners, to take the plunge and buy out their contracts.

Here’s what’s coming in Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris expansion

Want to know what players will be getting in Destiny 2's Curse of Osiris expansion? Here we are. 

Yesterday, Bungie took to Twitch to reveal details about Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris reveal, revealing details about new story, characters, destinations and even the expansion’s opening cinematic.

Here’s what we’re getting, in handy bullet point form. Let's preface this by saying there isn't much new content planned for a competitive audience, but I watched the whole stream anyway, so here's some information. The opening cinematic is below. 

New Content:

Story Content:

  • Players will find out more about who Osiris and the character’s backstory. The players will also find out about The Vex’s mystery master plan. Spooky.
  • The story will be set a few months after the Red War that occurred at the heart of Destiny 2’s story content. Reawakening the Traveler has caused problems, as a wave of light has spread out across the solar system and reawakened a gateway that the Vex are using to assemble on Mercury from across time. That’s where the player comes in.
  • During the new content and the expansion, players will be able to level up to Level 25 and the Power Level will let players make it to 335.

Key Characters (these are all copy pasted from Bungie’s press release, because I’m bad at the Destiny lore):

  • OSIRIS: “With Curse of Osiris, Bungie wanted to put the character of Osiris front and center, as ‘The greatest Warlock that ever lived’. You will discover who he is, what he’s doing on Mercury, and what he took with him when he was exiled.”  
  • SAGIRA: “Sagira, voiced by Morena Baccarin, is our first female ghost. She has an outspoken personality and thinks that the Guardians take themselves too seriously.”
  • IKORA: “Ikora makes a return to the story. She is starting to explore what she needs to be to become a stronger leader, as well as who she is as a human.”
  • BROTHER VANCE: “Brother Vance has returned to the lighthouse to guide the player, joined by other disciples who are eager to herald the return of Osiris.”

New Places:

  • Mercury: This is a whole new location that offers story content, public events, chests to find and lost sectors. The public event has been described as “bespoke” meaning it’ll likely be a whole new task.
  • The Infinite Forest: The Forest offers players a highly replayable mission as the landscape and enemies will be placed in different configurations each time you play. It’s not yet known how deep this randomisation goes, but there are pillars in the forest known as trees that will allow players to jump back and forth through time and different realities.
  • Lighthouse: The lighthouse is a hub area for players on Mercury, a new social space that anyone can access.
  • A new multiplayer map, although no details were revealed on the stream. 

The New Raid:

  • Instead of a full raid, this Destiny 2 expansion has introduced the confusingly named Raid Lair. This is a brand new activity that takes place on Leviathan - ‘Eater of Worlds’, the location of the standard raid.
  • The new Raid Lair will offer you new areas to explore, new encounters, new rewards and even a brand new boss. This is great as Calus has been beating me for several hours once a week since the raid unlocked.
  • Raid Lairs are activities designed to take less time to complete, giving you a faster option to raid when you don’t want to sacrifice an entire evening to the loot gods.
  • The next Destiny 2 Expansion will also have a Raid Lair that will take you to different places on Calus’s ship
  • You do not need to complete Leviathan to play any Raid Lairs
  • If you win, you get new guns, armor, and cosmetic rewards in each Raid Lair, moving forwards. There's no mention of if this will include a shiny new raid shader, but let's assume that's the case. 

You can watch the entire livestream here

Starcraft II launches free-to-play edition, takes a pop at loot boxes

Starcraft 2 is free to play now, opening up the competitive ranked scene to anyone with an internet connection and reasonable PC

The free-to-play future of Starcraft 2 promises on-stage at Blizzcon has arrived, with players now able to get their hands on the Wings of Liberty campaign and multiplayer for the low low price of nothing.

Players can get their hands on the Wings of Liberty campaign for free, and will have access to all of the game’s multiplayer and skirmish options including the Ranked ladder, although the ladder only opens up after ten wins to keep the experience enjoyable.

But wait, there’s more. If you’ve already bought Wings of Liberty, you have a free copy of Heart of the Swarm waiting for you on Battlenet. Go claim it now.

Starcraft has celebrated by subtweeting Star Wars Battlefront II and recent discourse about loot boxes on Twitter, which is a bold marketing strategy, but nowhere near as harsh as many of the insults currently being thrown at Battlefront II by entitled and furious fans.

 

 

It's probably a bit mean but then again, free Starcraft 2! 

MCV kicks off MCV Awards 2018 nominations

Our sister site, MCV, is gearing up for the 2018 MCV Awards and the nominations are open now. More info inside 

Our sister site, MCV, is gearing up for the 2018 MCV Awards and the nominations are open now. From MCV’s beloved premiere Seth Barton, comes this missive:

“It's that time of year again. Yes, we know that your biggest releases are only just out the door, if that, but it's time to start thinking about the 16th MCV Awards, to take place in early March next year.

The video games industry in the UK remains one of the most exciting and innovative markets in the world. And the MCV Awards are the UK’s only industry awards that recognise games publishing, retail, distribution, marketing, PR, events and media – all of which are essential to putting a huge range of brilliant products into the hands (or onto the hard drives) of consumers”

There’s a brand new entry process, and sweeping changes across the board. Check out MCV’s post for more details, won’t you?

Tencent’s Q3 revenues are $9.8bn

Tencent has reported revenues of $9.8bn in it’s Q3 2017 financials, an increase of 61 per cent year-on-year

Tencent has reported revenues of $9.8bn in it’s Q3 2017 financials, an increase of 61 per cent year-on-year.

Tencent is the world’s biggest games company, and made $2.7bn in profit over the last quarter, a rise of 69 per cent year-on-year. Nice.

The two figures combined are the company’s strongest growth numbers since 2010, driven by mobile hit Honour of Kings and Riot Game’s League of Legends, scoring growth for PC and mobile sectors.

Tencent is a juggernaut. While Tencent is the biggest games company in the world with revenue comparable to EA and Activision Blizzard’s turnover combined, it also has a chat program, payment platform and also owns China’s most watched streaming video service. While most of the company’s growth has come from gaming, Tencent has a nearly infinite array of pie-stained fingers.

“During the third quarter of 2017, we recorded strong business and revenue growth across multiple business lines including games, digital content, online advertising and payment related services. In particular, our video platform gained audience and revenue market share, we believe it has become China’s top online video platform in terms of mobile daily active users and subscriptions,” said chairman and CEO Ma Huateng. .

“We believe this success reflects our increasing investment in self-commissioned video content, our improved selection of licensed video content, and our scheduling and audience management initiatives. The listing of our online literature platform, China Literature, in November also reflects the value of our years of investment in the business. We believe our multi-faceted digital content businesses are synergistic with each other, and allow us to deliver unique content to our users.”

Stanislaw reveals that arguments led to him being benched from Team Liquid

After being replaced by Lucas 'Steel' Lopes, Peter 'Stanislaw' Jarguz has come forward on Twitter to talk about what happened during his time with the team. 

Shortly after it was announced that Lucas ‘Steel’ Lopes would be replacing Peter ‘Stanislaw’ Jarguz in Team Liquid’s active roster, Jarguz took to Twitter to share his side of the story.

Jarguz posted his account on Twitlonger, starting: “I was brought into Team Liquid to bring success with my leadership capabilities, but I leave the team in a disappointing manner after playing some of the worst CS I have ever played throughout the past few months.”

Jarguz’s view on the situation is illuminating as a look at what went on behind a surprising roster change for the Counter-Strike scene. He paints a picture of a serious personality clash between himself and coach Wilton ‘zews’ Prado, marked with constant disagreements and a poor working relationship.

“Throughout my whole time on Liquid, I felt like I was really the only one who disagreed with Zews on his ideas and the way he wanted to run things,” Jarguz said in his post.

“I feel that I was setup to fail from the very start. I was brought into Team Liquid to be a leader, but I believe that they already had a leader in Zews.”

This is written from Jarguz’s perspective, and he said that the atmosphere in the team was worsening significantly throughout his tenure, with the arguments worsening between himself and Prado.

Jarguz joined the team in February, and his post on Twitlonger seems to indicate he doesn’t expect to be returning from Team Liquid’s bench into active play.

“I should have worked things out with Zews before they got this bad, but I allowed it to continue and ruin the atmosphere in the team. I'm disappointed to be leaving but I am also happy to be able to start fresh and move on,” Jarguz said.

Vaulting and ballistics update comes to PUBG test servers - does it make the game better for players and viewers?

We head into PUBG's test server to see if vaulting and the new changes really shake up Battlegrounds meta 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a victim of its own prosperity.

The game’s meteoric success has seen it set the highest all-time player peak on Steam (2.6m) and seen it bought by over 20m people since it was released onto Steam’s Early Access program in March.

Unfortunately, the massive stacks of cash that it has earnt developers Bluehole — enough that they’ve created a new company, PUBGCorp, to manage the game — have encouraged a wave of imitations. Perhaps the best known of these is Fortnite Battle Royale, created by Epic, which managed to beat PUBG to release on consoles and is gaining quite a playerbase of its own.

I’ve talked enthusiastically about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds plenty before, but there’s a sense of palpable excitement around this iteration of the test server, which sees the addition of vaulting to the game,a rework of the ballistic system and a bunch of other small fixes.

The test patch is the closest thing we’ll get to a preview of the game’s 1.0 release, and there’s a palpable sense of excitement around the testing sessions, to see whether the long-promised changes and the addition of vaulting have changed the game significantly. You can see footage and hear my smooth voice below. Bear in mind that this is an unstable test build of the game, so occasional framerate hitches and other wonkiness is part of the experience.  

It’s hard to overstate the impact vaulting has on the game, both playing and spectating.

It was possible to jump over smaller walls with a popular exploit that allowed players to bind the jump and crouch buttons to a single button combination but this was patched out several weeks ago, making small fences and half-built walls some of the most difficult enemies to face in PUBG.

The addition of vaulting means that traversal is as simple as holding the jump button and clambering over the object you’re next to, and the speed you vault is related to the speed you’re moving when you hit the object, so if you hit it at a sprint, you’ll go over it quickly.

This means that built up areas, previously deathtraps full of dead ends and amateurish parkour, are now a breeze to navigate, which speeds up looting but also gives you a lot more options when a firefight in a town goes sideways. Vaulting makes the entire game feel more mobile, and also balances the playing field as those that can utilise crouch jumping are no longer the super-agile commandos they appear to be on the live servers, as while crouch jumping still has its place, everyone can move over the same objects now, even if the methodology is a little different. The extra movement, which allows you to jump through even the small windows in houses to assault the occupants, should make the game feel more dynamic to play but also more dynamic to watch, even if pros are going to have to totally reassess the game when vaulting hits the live servers.

Also, moving through windows (which you can do by crouch jumping or vaulting) now breaks the window too, which was one of the big complaints people had about the game as it stands. Enter or exit a window into a building now, and a telltale crash will alert others in the area to your intrusion (or exfiltration)

The other big change is ballistics. This is harder to see in the video but is detailed in the patch notes. In short guns are a little less accurate after 300 metres and  bullets are now affected by air drag, meaning more bullet drop and a harder time engaging at long range. This helps one of the biggest problems with battle royale titles, a holdover from their origins in  survive-’em-up DayZ: occasionally someone will just shoot you in the head at long range without any warning.

From a competitive standpoint, this isn’t actually fun to watch, as your chosen player gets eliminated with a 7.62 round to the noggin at 500 metres. Making those longer range fights a bit more difficult could go some way to making them more enjoyable because then if a player is taken out from afar with a single shot, he’s probably pulled off a remarkable shot.

Elsewhere, there are optimisation changes, and a substantial list of tweaks to the way guns handle and deal damage, that you can check out directly 

PUBG still has a bit of a way to go to make a positive experience for spectators and players but for a game that’s been catching flak from its community over the recently slow updates and the perceived problems with spectating the game. 1.0 is on the way, and with vaulting, PUBG has shown there’s still plenty to be excited about when it comes to Battlegrounds, and it’s still the battle royale game to watch.

Fortnite’s 1.9 update adds jump pads, shallow-water building and bigger ammo stacks

Fortnite’s Battle Royale 1.9 update is currently being rolled out worldwide, and it’s adding several changes to differentiate the growing battle royale title

Fortnite’s Battle Royale 1.9 update is currently being rolled out worldwide, and it’s adding several changes to differentiate the growing battle royale title.

The update adds launch pads to the game, a trap that throws players high into the air, giving them a vantage point on the nearby area and letting them redeploy their glider for repositioning themselves. There were already jump pad traps in the game, but this seems to be a much more powerful variant.

So far, it’s unknown whether these launch pads are permanent fixtures to the map or they can be crafted, but it’s a real boost to mobility in the game.

Players can also build in shallow water, and several areas that players were currently experiencing some inconsistency with build areas, with some players talking about issues with building in spaces they should be able to. This takes care of it, and also now you can make a floating fortress, so that’s nice.

The biggest change however, is that the amount of ammo found in a stack will now be easier to share out: medium ammo was always found in stacks of 10, but this update increases the size of stacks depending on what mode you’re playing on. If you play in duos mode the stack will increase in size to 14, while in the larger squad mode the size will increase again, to 18.

Medium ammo is fired by the game’s rifles, making it by far the most valuable ammo. Larger stacks make it easier to share out the the spoils.

The patch will be downloadable soon.

Start your engines: Rocket League releases on the Nintendo Switch, with crossplay to PC and Xbox One

Rocket League releases on Nintendo's Switch handheld, letting players score death-defying car goals on the move

Vehicular kickabout Rocket League releases on the Nintendo Switch today, opening up a whole new audience to the esports success story.

Nintendo revealed Rocket League for their handheld console during their E3 presentation in June this year, showing that players would soon be able to score flawless goals on the move, with Psyonix delivering the full package of content, features and upgrades that the developer have added to Rocket League since it’s 2015 release.

There are Mario, Luigi and Samus themed cars that players can unlock, but players will have to unlock them. Don’t get out your pitchforks just yet though, the items are rewards for completed matches, and they are totally free.

This weekend saw the Rocket League Championship Finals (RLCS), with Gale Force Esports pocketing the lion’s share of the $150,000 prize pool.

The Switch version is a massive boon for the game’s competitive scene as Rocket League’s cross platform play, until this point only for PC and Xbox One players, is now extended to the Nintendo Switch. This means esports players can practice on the move but also, as above, that the Switch’s audience is now Rocket League’s audience too.

You can pick the game up on the Nintendo eShop for $19.99. or your regional equivalent.

Lucas ‘Steel’ Lopes joins Team Liquid, will compete at IEM Oakland

Lucas ‘Steel’ Lopes is joining Team Liquid, a surprise move that will see him replace Peter ‘stanislaw’ Jarguz on the roster.

Lucas ‘Steel’ Lopes is joining Team Liquid, a surprise move that will see him replace Peter ‘stanislaw’ Jarguz on the roster.

It’s a surprising move that sees Lopes leaving the Immortals roster, which was regarded as the second best team in Brazil until they imploded at Dreamhack Montreal back in September. Lopes was the last member of that roster, and now he’s left Immortals are fielding a whole new team.

The pre-Montreal Immortals squad had Legend status, giving them access to future Major’s without going through qualification, but Major status is attached to the players, and if three players leave the team, the organisation loses their status. After Vito ‘kNg’ Giuseppe, Lucas ‘LUCAS1’ Teles and his twin brother Henrique ‘HEN1’ Teles left the team after allegations the trio spent all night party at Dreamhack Montreal, they took the team’s legend status.

Lopes will be competing with the team at IEM Oakland this weekend, but after he failed to qualify in the open qualifiers for the Boston Major with Immortals, he won’t be able to play for Team Liquid at the event.

The team will field Wilton ‘zews’ Prado, the team’s coach, for the Boston Major. In the announcement, Prado said “Steel is the most professional player I know. His positive attitude and skillset fit our needs perfectly and we are excited with what's ahead of us.”

It’s not sure how Steel will fit into the team, currently lead by shot-caller Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella. We’ll no doubt see the man in action this weekend and get a better sense for how the team operates. Liquid’s roster now consists of Lopes, Cannella, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, Josh “jdm” Marzano, and Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken.

Riot to bring LCK production in-house, from new $28m Seoul studio

Riot Games is bringing the League of Legends top-flight Korean competition in-house, with the LCK to be held at a dedicated studio