/DENDI STARTING HIS OWN ORGANIZATION
One of the most-recognized players of Dota 2, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin has recently revealed information regarding his new esports organization. As one of the best Ukrainian players and formerly “Na’vi poster boy” for nearly a decade, he’s now moved on to greener pastures.
Watching the teaser: This news came in the form of a short movie (i.e., teaser), directed by famed cinematographer Moritz Zimmermann (MooseWD). It begins with an older Dendi sitting with his grandson as they fish, recounting his time spent with Na’vi, and then going on to say how things were forever changed after The International 2013. He then turns to his grandson and says “It’s never too late for a comeback.” Then rolls the logo for the new organization (B8), followed by the hashtag “#b8d.”
A refresher on Dendi: For those of you unfamiliar with this chap, Dendi is well-known for his solo mid skills and is viewed as one of the most creative players due to his unorthodox play style and unconventional item builds. The Ukrainian player got his start in gaming with DotA in 2006. In 2010, a new sports organization ventured into the Dota 2 realm and picked up a group of young players, one of them Dendi. This marked the start of a truly amazing run. After only a few months, the team managed to seize the first-ever TI championship title. They then took second place at TI2 and TI3, placing players like Vincere and Dendi at the top of the esports world… until they weren’t.
Disappointment follows: After a sub-par season leading up to a poor attendance at TI8, Na’vi reformed its roster with a gaping hole. Dendi was no longer part of the organization’s active roster. Though he was still under contract, he dabbled with stacks, answered the call to help friends and former teammates in need of stand-ins. He went over to the SEA region to play with the Tigers, though this was short-lived as the team wasn’t able to accomplish much noteworthy.
But now things may yet change for this living legend as this organization demonstrates.
/ATARI ANNOUNCES VIDEO GAME THEMED HOTELS
Atari announced a deal with GSD Group, a leading innovation and strategy agency, to acquire rights to build video-game-themed Atari hotels in the United States. The first location is expected to break ground later this year in Phoenix, Arizona.
The concept: Atari is trying to pioneer an exciting new concept, namely unique lodging experience combining the brand with video-game-themed destinations. The hotel experience will be fully immersive for every age and gaming ability, including VR and AR systems. Select hotels will feature venues and studios to even accommodate esports events.
The opportunity: More than 2.5 billion gamers across the world spent more than $152 billion on games in 2019 alone, an increase of nearly 10% over 2018. One of the trends in gaming is gamers gravitating toward “recognizable intellectual property.” Atari Hotels will offer exactly that, bringing together gaming with the future of the industry into a fun and unique travel destination.
Let’s just hope they don’t charge you by the minute to use any gaming devices in your room.
/BILL TO ALLOW ESPORTS BETTING INTRODUCED
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo has introduced legislation that would expand the state’s current betting market to include skill-based competitions, such as esports. Said Caputo, “Esports is the next big thing when it comes to sporting events.”
The demographics: According to data provider Newzoo, there were nearly 450 million esports viewers in 2019 and gaming competitions generated more than $1 billion in revenue from various streams. Additionally, Atlantic City has hosted several esports tournaments in recent years, which makes it particularly appealing as an opportunity to regularly wager money on in-state events.
Exceptions were made: In 2019, state gaming regulators at the Division of Gaming Enforcement permitted legalized esports wagers for the League of Legends World Championship. The DGE offered this on a one-time basis and imposed conditions, such as a $1,000 maximum bet and no in-game wagers.
/HOW VIDEO GAMES ARE TAKING OVER ENTERTAINMENT
It seems like only yesterday when the first-ever video game competition took place at Stanford, the competitors facing off over the game Spacewar!, a video game created in the ’60s. The documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters illustrates how video game competitions are far from new. This particular documentary featured Steve Wiebe’s quest to break the point record in Donkey Kong, an undertaking that took years to accomplish.
How gaming has evolved: Video games have always been built with multiplayer in mind. Online streaming took the experience to new heights, allowing players to connect via the internet to remote locations. Thus competitions were able to reach a larger audience in Korea, Brazil, the US, and Russia. This capability alone resulted in an explosion of multiplayer gaming, such as Halo, Call of Duty, Fortnite, and even Warcraft III.
Rapid growth: Since 2012, esports has grown from a less-than $200 million per year revenue opportunity to more than $1 billion this last year. By 2022, this number is expected to surpass $1.75 billion. In 2014, some 40,000 fans gathered in a stadium in Seoul to watch the world championship for League of Legends. This number is dwarfed by the millions more that tuned in remotely to watch the event.
While it may be some time before esports surpasses traditional sports in popularity, it cannot be denied that esports is obviously a huge market. But then again, you already knew that.
YouTube is the exclusive streaming home for the Call of Duty and Overwatch Leagues (Washington Post) — Activision Blizzard surprised the esports world on Friday afternoon, announcing that the publisher had come to terms with Google’s YouTube to serve as its exclusive streaming partner for Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Hearthstone esports. While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the agreement follows the expiration of a two-year deal between Activision’s Overwatch League and Twitch (reportedly worth $90 million over two years). In case it wasn’t already clear, Google and YouTube are making a *massive* push into esports and game streaming, highlighting the value of gaming’s young, affluent audience.
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/FORTNITE BANNED FROM HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITIONS
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) has just announced that it’s banning the popular video game Fortnite from all of its high school esports competitions. This came as an email sent to school officials on Sunday, delivered by KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett.
The reason for it: Wrote Tackett, “There is no place for shooter games in our schools.” The KHSAA is strongly against the game and is trying to have the recent decision by PlayVS to introduce Fortnite to high school competitions. Tackett also indicated, “This announcement was particularly troubling in that it came on the anniversary of one of Kentucky’s darkest days, the Marshall County incident.” The incident in question was a deadly shooting at Marshall County High School, in which two students were killed.
Disappointed kids: Perry County Central High’s esports couch Nathan Lyttle disagrees with the decision. “I’ll say that I’ve got a lot of disappointed kids,” said Lyttle. While the game does have cartoon violence, he countered that there is no blood or gore. The game is rated “T” for teen and encourages problem solving skills.
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