Guild Wars 2: Major League Gaming Invitational Tournament

Not to have their international competitions end at PAX Prime 2013, GW2 is now part of MLG and the next tournament begins today.


MLG Guild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament on September 27

Our friends at Major League Gaming are hosting an invitational tournament on September 27, 2013 at 2:00pm PDT. Eight of the top Guild Wars 2 teams will be battling for prizes and fame! For complete details, head over to the MLG tournament page today!

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PAX Prime 2013 Hosts $1+ Million eSports Prizes (GameSpot.com)

Though these prize amounts don’t begin to rival DOTA 2’s nearly $3 million in total cash awards, if Major League Gaming has it’s way, they soon will. Several games, including Guild Wars 2’s PVP tournament, will find either their national or international championship bouts fought at PAX Prime this year. At first glance, it seems PAX is ready to see over $1 million dished out to deserving teams.

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Halo 4, League of Legends Championships lead eSports at PAX

$300,000 on the line for Halo’s first-ever Global Championship, with $200,000 going to the winners.

The Halo 4 Global Championships, League of Legends Season 3 North American Playoffs, World of Tanks International World Finals, MLG Call of Duty Invitational, and Smite North American Invitational will all be held at PAX Prime this weekend.

Several former Major League Gaming Halo champions are competing, including Michael “StrongSide” Cavanaugh, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, and Faisal “Goofy” Khan. A schedule and live stream information can be found on the official official 343 site. An interview with Frank O’Connor, Development Director for the Halo franchise at 343 Industries will be available this weekend.$300,000 is on the line for Halo’s first-ever Global Championship, with $200,000 going to the winners. The tournament will be held at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, the same location Valve used for the Dota 2 International Championships.

Last week at Gamescom, three European teams–Fnatic, Lemondogs, and Gambit Gaming–qualified for the League of Legends World Championships in October.

Now another $100,000 is on the line and four spots for the North American teams to the World Championships. With North America’s win over Europe at the All-Star game, the region gets an additional spot at the Finals.

Teams Cloud 9 and Vulcun wait in the wings, as fan-favorites Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, Curse, and Dignitas battle it out in the opening rounds. A schedule and live stream information can be found on the official Riot eSports site.

Major League Gaming and Turtle Beach are hosting an 8-team $10,000 Call of Duty Invitational featuring Anaheim Champions Complexity, EnvyUs, Impact, Unite, Kaliber, Soar, Faze, and Bad History.

Teams were invited based on their 2013 Call of Duty Championship and MLG Pro Circuit performances and the MLG Pro Points Rankings. The broadcast schedule can be found onMLG’s site, and the stream can be watched on MLG TV.

The world finals of the World of Tanks Open tournament will be on display, with $100,000 up for grabs for the best teams from North America, Russia, Europe, China, South East Asia, and South America. Twitch.tv will be broadcasting the tournament on Sunday, September 1 at Showbox SoDo in Seattle.

Guild Wars 2: PVP Finalists Announced

The past week or so has been a gamer’s paradise!

UMG Atlanta / Arena Gaming League 9 for Black Ops 2. European Gaming League EGL 10 for Black Ops 2. North American StarCraft 2 World Championship League Finals. QuakeCon 2013. SOE Live 2013. Pokemon World Championships. Elder Scrolls Online first gamplay revealed. Dota 2 International. Guild Wars 2 North American and European PVP tournament semi-finals. Black Ops 2 eSniping Tournament. With PAX coming up the end of August, this summer promises to offer the biggest prize money in Major League Gaming history.

As I previously posted, Guild Wars 2 is having their PVP tournament finals in Seattle during PAX. Here’s the info they posted for which teams will be battling it out for $10K international prize.

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North American PVP Results

This past weekend (August 3-4), we hosted our first Regional Qualifying Tournament in North America, where PvP teams from across the continent competed for a spot in the Invitational Tournament. We’re happy to announce that Lack of a Scrim Feature [SYNC] has secured their place in our first ever Guild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament which takes place during PAX Prime weekend (August 31) in Seattle, WA. We’d like to thank all teams for their participation in the tournament.

Congratulations, team Lack of a Scrim Feature [SYNC]—we’ll see you in Seattle!

European PVP Results

On July 27 and 28, we watched our European community compete in the first Regional Qualifying Tournament. Through a lot of teamwork and discipline, Team Paradigm  faced off against Car Crash in a fight to secure their place in our first-ever Guild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament during PAX Prime weekend (August 31) in Seattle, WA.

While Team Paradigm won the day, a member of the team was unable to provide proof of residency in an eligible country. This means that Team Paradigm was not fielding a legal team of five players when qualifying. As a result, the second-place team, Car Crash, will be coming to theGuild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament as the representative from the European Qualifying Tournament. We’d like to thank all the teams that participated.

Congratulations, Car Crash – we’ll see you in Seattle!

Learn more about the tournament right here! Special thanks to our partners MMORPG.com and Mist League for organizing both Regional Qualifying Tournaments.

The Rise of eSports in America (IGN.com)

Leah Jackson over at IGN has written an excellent article discussing the past 15 years of eSports history, the influential companies and tournaments over the past decade-and-a-half, and what the current landscape for the professional game looks like. If you have no clue what an eSport is (or why the US Government approved an online game as a “professional sport”), or you’re a rabid enthusiast who can’t wait for the Guild Wars 2 and LOL tournaments this year, the article is definitely worth the read.

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A look at how strategy games, MOBAs, and fighters have become a legitimate sport in America.

Anyone with their fingers even remotely close to the pulse of gaming knows that eSports have blown up in popularity in the United States over the past few years. With thousands of gamers competing and millions watching, the phenomenon has come a long way in a very short period of time. Now more than ever, players are considering pro-gaming as a valid career, especially in the U.S.

Professional gaming isn’t exactly new. Gamers have been making a living off their skills since the late ’90s. But it was when developer Blizzard Entertainment released StarCraft II in 2010 that eSports in America really seemed to blossom in to the wildly successful spectator sport it has become today.

Major League Gaming, or MLG, has become one of the most prestigious eSports organizations in the world, and is one of the true pioneers of eSports in the United States. “When we started MLG in 2002 our goal was to provide those with an appetite for video game competition the ability to both participate and spectate,” explained Sundance DiGiovanni, Co-Founder and CEO of Major League Gaming. “I think we have laid the groundwork for a consistent and stable competitive platform and truly helped eSports in the U.S. become what it is today.”

Over 10 years later, MLG is still thriving, offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes to professional gamers via online and live events. According to MLG, more than 11.7 million unique viewers tuned in to watch the four 2012 MLG Pro Circuit Championship events online, compared to 3.5 million viewers in 2011. An impressive 334% increase.

The rapid rise in viewers is pretty astonishing, but MLG isn’t the only organization getting in on the action. Other large leagues and tournaments have begun popping up stateside as well.

The Evolution Championship Series, or EVO, is the most prominent fighting game tournament in the world. This year the event was put on by Shoryuken.com and was held in the U.S. in Las Vegas, drawing a record-breaking 1.7 million unique online viewers. Professional players from around the world competed at the event, which was attended by thousands.

Not only are large organizations like MLG and EVO putting on these events in America, but the developers of these eSports titles have begun hosting their own massive tournaments and leagues in the states as well.

Blizzard hosts the StarCraft II World Championship Series, or WCS, a $1.6 million series of events spread throughout 13 events. While the tournament does include players from all around the world, this year the Championships are being held in California during BlizzCon.

Riot Games, developer of the massively popular free-to-play MOBA League of Legends, also hosts their own tournament league, The League Championship Series, or LCS. Riot takes particularly good care of the gamers good enough to qualify for the LCS, offering a salary to each team. The salary helps them cover travel and housing, and is meant to help the players alleviate any financial stress so that they can focus on gaming.

Riot Games recently made huge strides for eSports as a whole in the U.S., going through a lengthy process to prove that League of Legends is a legitimate sport to the U.S. government. Thanks to the developer, the United States government now recognizes pro LoL players as professional athletes, and will award them visas to work in the U.S. under that title.

This year, the LCS Championship is also being held in the United States. Players from around the world will travel to the Staples Center in Los Angeles to compete for millions in prizes.

Valve, the developer of the hugely successful free-to-play MOBA, Dota 2, is also hosting a tournament in the states this year, The International 3. The International 3 already touts the largest prize pool in eSports history, coming in at around $2.6 million. The event will take place in Seattle, Washington and will host players from all around the world.

While these developer tournaments are generally held near the developer’s headquarters, it’s still important that they’re in the United States at all. Other countries have been hosting these large events for years, and it’s nice to see that instead of all the action being held overseas, more people get to see what the states have to offer too.

Aside from tournaments, there are a few other factors that have played important roles in the growth of eSports in the United States as well. Probably the most important being the rise of Twitch.TV. Twitch.TV, which is based in the U.S., is a free live streaming platform that launched in 2011. Nowadays, over 35 million viewers watch gaming-related content broadcasted over Twitch.TV every month. And most, if not all, of the large tournaments mentioned in this article are broadcasted on Twitch.

There’s also been a rise of eSports commentators, or casters, in the U.S. thanks to Twitch.TV. These people, much like professional sports broadcasters, are filled with deep knowledge about particular eSports titles, and they guide viewers through games and offer in-depth analysis. Some of the more popular broadcasters can bring in thousands of people to their Twitch.TV stream every time they turn it on. Since Twitch is free and easy to use, professional players, casters, and anyone else who wants to give streaming a try can do so. Twitch even offers broadcasters who bring in enough viewers the chance to earn some money by signing up for their Partner Program.

Another big factor that’s helping eSports grow in the U.S. is the recent Team House trend. Team Houses, which are already very popular in South Korea, have started sprouting up in the U.S., offering professional teams a place to use as their own personal training facilities.

According to Cody “Evoli” Conners, General Manager of Team Evil Geniuses, his players benefit from their Team House by having other talented players around to bounce ideas off of and practice with. Not only is the practice environment great, but it’s really beneficial to have all of his players in one place. “If a sponsor reaches out to us and wants something filmed or some content created, we have the benefit of having ten of our star players in the same house.”

He also explains why Team Houses are important for the growing popularity of eSports in the United States. “I think it would be difficult to argue that any organization that has had a house is worse off for their efforts,” he said. “It shows that they’re taking eSports seriously and I think it helps the fans realize that.”

The eSports community in general has also played an extremely significant role in the growth of professional gaming in the U.S. In addition to the countless websites dedicated to all sorts of eSports, a few devoted fans have even started an organization that could potentially become the most important factor in growing eSports in the U.S. in the future.

The eSports Association, or TeSPA, (formerly the Texas eSports Association) is a network of gaming-community organizers at college campuses. They work together to promote competitive gaming by building communities, hosting events, and developing themselves into the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. Their goal is to see the continual growth of eSports, and what better way to do so than by establishing a baseline of different freshmen every year? It wasn’t too long ago that American football made its debut on college campuses, so it’s not that far-fetched that we could be seeing an emergence of pro-gamers at various U.S. colleges in the future.

Yet even though professional gaming in the U.S. has come a long way and has the potential to be a valid profession for some Americans, other countries, like Sweden and South Korea, are already broadcasting eSports events on national television. The 2012 Dreamhack Winter tournament was even televised on Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public service station. Luckily for those in the U.S., MLG’s Sundance DiGiovanni has been in touch with CBS Interactive and is now making a case to get live eSports games on television here in the U.S.

At the end of the day, eSports has taken off so rapidly in America because of the growing popularity of competitive games and the desire that gamers have to watch competition at its highest level. While it may sound like a dream profession to some, professional gaming is a fiercely competitive business to get into. Players must spend countless hours perfecting strategies, communication, and teamwork to merely have a chance at competing with the best.

Whether you’re a player or caster (or even a journalist covering eSports), you have to work very hard and stay on top of everything. You have to live and breathe your game, and only the very best will ever make a name for themselves, in America or anywhere else. It takes drive, determination, and some very thick skin to make it as a pro gamer or caster, but if you can work your way into the club, it’s a fun ride that isn’t stopping anytime soon.

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