Last Week in E-Sports: Teams, tournaments, and licensing issues

Last week in e-sports saw many new tournaments announced and new tournament regulations put into place. We also saw two major tournament organizers lose the licenses for their headlining games. This licensing dance is one of the things that makes the e-sports world so volatile. A game’s parent company can shut down any e-sports scene in an instant if they so choose. Luckily, more than enough major publishers are invested in the long term survival of the e-sports scene.

Twitch Streamer Gets Swatted By Chill Twitch Loving Cop

Let’s start off with a feel good story today. Recently, Minecraft and CS:GO streamer Jeff "TrixxyTrix" Zito was swatted by trolls. Swatting, for those of you who have lived under a Twitch rock for the past few years, is when a particularly angry watcher calls the police on a streamer so that it gets caught on camera.

However, in a refreshing change from the usual violent and disturbing outcome of this unfortunate prank, one of the cops to respond just so happened to be a fan of Twitch and e-sports in general. Trixxy recorded the entire incident, including the discussion where “Twitch Cop” has to explain how Twitch works to the rest of the unit. You can see the whole thing go down on YouTube.

New Gears of War 4 League Announced

The International Gaming League has announced a brand new Gears of War 4 league with a $25,000 prize pool. The league will run from May 9 to June 9 and will feature twelve teams competing for points to get a spot in the finals, which will be held from June 30 to July 2 in Huntington Beach, California. The league will be open to both pro and amateur teams, and open qualifiers are scheduled for March 25, April 8, and April 15.

Gears Pro Circuit Atlantic City Groups Announced

It’s been a busy week in Gears of War e-sports. The four main groups for the upcoming $200,000 Gears Pro Circuit Atlantic City have been announced. They are as follows:

Group A

  • OpTic Gaming
  • Enigma6 Group
  • The Gosu Crew
  • Open Slot

Group B

  • Team EnVyUs
  • Ghost Gaming
  • Splyce
  • Open Slot

Group C

  • eUnited
  • Echo Fox
  • Epsilon Esports
  • Open Slot

Group D

  • Team Allegiance
  • Redemption
  • Force
  • Open Slot

Note that each group includes an open slot for teams that climb out of the open bracket qualifiers. The tournament will begin at the Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Friday March 31 and will run through Sunday April 2.

Norway Defines Skin Betting as Gambling

The ongoing CS:GO skin betting legal saga continues overseas as The Norwegian Gaming Authority has now legally defined skin betting as gambling. This makes Norway the second country to do so after the U.K., whose chief executive notably called skin betting sites “parasites.” Operators offering skin betting services will face prosecution in the future. Norway, unlike the U.K. and other territories, does not issue gambling licenses. The only companies that offer gambling services in Norway are wholly state owned, so unless they decide to get into the e-sports business, skin betting has been effectively shut down completely.

Street Fighter V Might Not Be at EVO Japan

Whatever your personal opinion is toward the game, it’s hard to deny that Street Fighter V is the most popular fighting game currently on the market. So when Shoryuken staff announced that it might not be at EVO Japan – the biggest fighting game tournament in one of the biggest fighting game markets – it’s safe to say that gamers everywhere were surprised. The official explanation given was licensing issues, though specific details about these issues have not been released. If these issues are not sorted out in time, this will be the first EVO in history to not have a Street Fighter title in its lineup.

World Cyber Arena Drops Blizzard Titles in 2017

Chinese tournament organizer World Cyber Arena will not be supporting Blizzard titles this year. Supposedly, the WCA had an issue acquiring tournament licenses from Blizzard for the 2017 tournament year. WCA will be holding a press conference on March 23 about its 2017 plans, and it’s expected that they will have a more thorough explanation of the licensing issues at that time.

Fnatic Signs Agreement With B.O.O.T.

Major EU-based team Fnatic has signed into a partnership with Chinese e-sport agency B.O.O.T. to expand into Asian markets. B.O.O.T. will distribute Fnatic content on social media channels geared toward a Chinese audience, and will assist Fnatic in producing content for Chinese territories. “We are very excited to launch this strategic partnership with B.O.O.T, and we look forward to pushing the global boundaries of esports together,” Fnatic's Chief Gaming Officer Patrik Sattermon said in a press release. “Fnatic and B.O.O.T share the same vision of making esports more global, and this partnership will allow us to bridge the gap and close the distance between Western and Eastern esports.”

IMG Reveals E-Sports Training Platform Boomeo

Sports talent group IMG has just revealed its latest e-sports project, Boomeo, a CS:GO training platform. Boomeo will offer modules covering several different CS:GO skills and match types for players of all ranks. It will also include statistical breakdowns, leaderboards, and specialized training tools for coaches. It will be priced at $9.99 a month.

“The launch of Boomeo speaks to our continued investment in the esports industry and our focus on delivering premium and accessible content to consumers,” said Karen Brodkin, president of business affairs at IMG. “Boomeo is ahead of the curve with its innovative training functionality, and we are excited to develop the platform as a go-to for serious gamers and those looking for an easy entry point to esports.”

First Four Manila Masters Invites Revealed

The $250,000 Manila Masters DOTA2 tournament has just revealed its first four team invites. They are Team Secret, Evil Geniuses, OG, and Newbee. Team Secret managed to qualify, while the rest were directly invited. Four more teams will join this lineup, three via qualifiers and one via direct invite. The event will be hosted in the SM Mall of Asia Arena from May 26 through 28.

The Roster Shuffle

  • French e-sports organization Millennium has bought the entire Call of Duty roster of Team Infused. The new roster will consist of Mark "MarkyB" Bryceland, Tom "Moose" Handley, Nick Nolson, and Adam "Peatie" Peate.
  • iGame has signed the former roster of Team 3G to compete in Call of Duty. The team consists of Ben "Desire" Wright, Shea "QwiKeR" Sweeney, Connor "Weeman" Chilton and Deleo "Zerg" Devitt, and they will competing in the next World League event under the new banner.
  • Team Allegiance will be exiting the competitive Halo scene after taking second in the Halo World Championships. Owner Conner “InStiiNcT” Hall said the Halo scene just didn’t align with the team’s competitive goals anymore.
  • Lui “Peacemaker” Tadeu is leaving CS:GO team OpTic Gaming after their recent mediocre performances at events such as DreamHack and IEM Katowice. “I don’t blame the guys at all and even for me the situation got out of control in a way that I just couldn’t do anything besides wait to see what would happen,” stated Tadeu. “In their eyes, my coaching style doesn’t match with what they’re looking for at the moment, which is completely acceptable, and that’s the reason why we were on a trial period.”
  • NRG has announced its new official Overwatch roster, which will consist of the experimental roster they have recently been practicing with. It will consist of Alex "Ajax" Johnson, Anthony "harbleu" Ballo, Brandon "Seagull" Larned, Tim "Dummy" Olson, André "iddqd" Dahlström, Seb "numlocked" Barton.
  • Hearthstone streamer Jeffrey "Trump" Shih will no longer continue with Team Solo Mid after a breakdown of contract negotiations. Instead, he will be joining up with team Tempo Storm for the foreseeable future.
  • Denial Esports has recently sold its ownership stake to former NFL player Hank Baskett and investor Stephen A. Crystal.