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Fortnite Celebrity Tournament

Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and electronic music artist Marshmellow pose for photographs after winning the final round of Epic Games’ Fortnite Pro-Am competition.
Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

Last week, 50 celebrities and 50 professional video game players gathered near the north end of a soccer stadium in Los Angeles to play Fortnite for $3 million in prize money and drew more than 1.1 million viewers live on Twitch. The line to get in sprawled across every available stretch of sidewalk around the Banc of California arena.

Despite the star-studded lineup, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was far and away the most sought-after celebrity in attendance. Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

Epic’s next mission is to change Fortnite from a compulsive pastime into a competitive e-sport. The company has pledged $100 million in prize money for the game’s first year of competitive play, and strategically announced its intention to host a Fortnite World Cup in 2019 in the middle of the Pro-Am stream to ensure the news had the maximum impact to its most valuable audience.

Fortnite has enjoyed headlines about obsessed MLB players, basketball pros’ self-described addictions, and its cross-over pop culture appeal. Big names in hip-hop and EDM like Drake and Diplo have participated in record-breaking live streams with Ninja, whose rise to stardom has been more meteoric these past nine months than any other internet celebrity in recent memory.

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NBA player Paul George exchanging phone numbers with Twitch streamer and Fortnite pro Ali “Myth” Kabbani before the tournament started. Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge
Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge
Statt / The Verge
Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OVERWATCH LEAGUE GRAND FINALS IN BROOKLYN NEW YORK

 

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Overwatch League Grand Finals, will be at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday and Saturday, July 27–28.

Visit www.overwatchleague.com/#signup to register to receive information about ticketing for the 2018 Overwatch League Grand Finals and more.

Korean Overwatch Hackers Arrested, Hit With $10,000 Fine

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South Korea’s new law is for those who hack online games in order to cheat at them, which went into effect last June, has hackers in hot water. Earlier this year, 13 Overwatch offenders were arrested, and now two have received their sentences.

According to a post from Blizzard Korea—which worked with the Seoul National Police Agency Cyber Security Department as part of a year-long investigation that began in January 2017—one of the 13 has received two years of probation from the South Korean government, and if he violates it, he’ll see jail time. The other has been fined 10 million won, or around $10,000.

No competitive game is free of cheating, but in 2016 and 2017, Overwatch had an especially nasty hacker problem in South Korea, where the proliferation of PC-focused cafes called “PC bangs” meant that cheaters could cycle between freebie accounts when they got banned. Early in 2017, Blizzard changed the rules around PC bang accounts to crack down on that practice, but there was still a bigger problem: those who created the hacks.

South Korea’s June 2017 law targets those creators—not rando players who decide it might be fun to see through walls for an afternoon. The law specifically mentions the creation of “game hacks” as well as the creation and distribution of private servers. It’s come under fire for perhaps being too broad, . Anyone found guilty can face a maximum fine of nearly $50,000 and a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Racist Trolls Dominating Video Games

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Xbox Live, an online gaming service that allows people to play video games with each other without being in the same room. Since then, it’s amassed 60 million active users, and during that time, it’s become a racist and toxic environment for players of color.

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High School Sports Association To Sanction esports, Shooters are Excluded

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Valve

The National Federation of State High Schools, the United States’ primary leadership organization for high school sports like football and water polo, is getting into esports.

The NFHS, which literally writes the rules for 17 sports played by 7.9 million students in more than 19,500 American high schools, will soon add video games — MOBA, sports and fighting games — to that list. No specific titles have been named, but the shooter category, including popular titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Fortnite, has been specifically excluded from the program. This year, students can compete in official state championship competitions and be recognized by their state athletic associations. That exposure could ultimately lead to recruitment efforts by colleges and universities, some of which are actively seeking out esports talent.

State tournaments will begin next year in between 18 and 20 states, Koski said. Games will be spread out over two four-month seasons, running from October to January and February to May.

 

The Microsoft Store & ESL In Sydney Launches An Esports Academy

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Helping students realize the dream of an esports career, the Microsoft Store’s Esports Academy, focuses on the nitty gritty of playing, but on the elements surrounding esports as a business as well. A wide array of talent from the Aussie esports scene will be on hand to teach attendees the ins-and-outs of  eSports.   Sessions run for three hours at a time and cover a wide array of esports related topics, giving attendees experience shoutcasting, playing as a team using games like League of Legends and Overwatch, and understanding the larger scale aspects of the esports business, with ESL Australia giving away tickets to IEM Sydney to attendees as well. Interested gamers, can register on the Microsoft site.

 

NBA 2K League Announces Season Structure

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The Structure

The NBA 2K League formally announced the structure it will use for the upcoming 2018 season. The season will begin in May and will last until August, a total of 17 weeks. The regular season will last 15 weeks. Within those 15 weeks, teams will play 12 weeks of matchups and three weeks of tournaments. The remaining two weeks will include the playoffs as well as the NBA 2K League Finals.

Matchups will occur on a weekly basis on Fridays and Saturdays with “staggered game windows” in order to cater to viewers around the world.

The Prize

The prize pool across the tournaments and playoffs will add up to $1 million. The “Tip-Off Tournament” will put teams into four different groups competing over five days. The top two teams from each group will advance to the single elimination playoff rounds. The “Tip-Off Tournament” will have a prize pool of $100,000. The following two single elimination tournaments will feature prize pools of $150,000 each. The final tournament also has more on the line, as it will award a playoff spot to the winner. The playoff prize pool will see the bulk of the $1 million prize pool. $600,000 will be distributed during the playoffs.

The Playoffs

The playoffs will start in August and will last two weeks. The top seven teams based on records in the regular season will qualify for the playoffs as well as the winner for the final tournament. In the case that the final tournament winner has one of the league’s top eight records, then the top eight teams will advance to the playoffs. The quarterfinals will begin with single-elimination play and the semifinals as well as the finals will be a best-of-three.

Keep your eyes peeled for the NBA 2K League to tip-off on May 1st, 2018! You won’t want to miss the first time one of the big four (NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL) sports leagues has directly invested into an esports league!

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