/TEMPO STORM RAISES $3.3M TO DEVELOP THEIR OWN GAME
From esports team to interactive game developer — Tempo Storm plans to blaze that trail with a $3.3M funding round from tech investor Galaxy Interactive via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund for the purpose of developing a brand new deck-building game. Tempo Storm plans to grow beyond the limits of a traditional esports group, with additional plans to develop their popular Game Changers franchise, a live show that lets viewers influence what they see on stream. This funding round is precisely the kind of start Tempo Storm needs to execute this vision.
Tempo Storm was founded in 2014 by Hearthstone player Andrey “reynad” Yanyuk, and quickly became a contender in the Hearthstone scene. The company also became notable for games like Shadowverse, PUBG Mobile, Super Smash Bros., Magic: The Gathering, and Rainbow Six Siege. Regarding the investment by Galaxy and the future it will bring his company, Yanyuk said, “While Tempo is well-known in the competitive gaming world, we’ve always operated more as a media company than a sports team.”
In a release, Sam Englebardt, a managing partner of Galaxy Interactive, said, “What impressed us most about Tempo Storm is their vision beyond the traditional esports organization. Starting with the company’s founder and CEO, Andrey Yanyuk, this group is truly innovating in areas such as interactive productions and game development. Sure, they are successful esports competitors, but they are so much more, and it was an easy decision to invest in them.”
On the topic of interactivity and the Game Changers show, Yanyuk added, “We believe that interactivity is the future of entertainment, and we’re incredibly grateful to be working with investors who share that vision. Our upcoming game and audience-driven shows are blazing the trail in the world of interactive media, and it’s exciting to see that future being realised.”
/”LOWKEY” GAMING LEAGUE STARTED FOR AMATEUR GAMERS
If you’ve ever felt like a fish out of water competing against younger, skilled players, Lowkey.gg is offering you a potential solution. The platform, run by 22-year old CEO and Harvard-grad Jesse Zhang, aims to create a niche that is comfortable for adults gamers who feel like they are “past their prime” when playing in standard competitive tournaments. As their website details, Lowkey.gg is “A lowkey gaming league — high-quality esports for amateurs.”
While skill level varies from game to game, the average age of successful players remains in the teens and early 20s. This can make it stressful for older gamers who are more set in their careers with less time to hone their abilities to remain competitive to play against them in tournament settings. Lowkey.gg structures tournaments for like-minded and similarly-skilled adults to play together without additional stress. There are no prize pools, so that already eliminates a tier of players that would normally play in other online tournaments.
The platform intends to be a social environment as well. “There are a lot of people who can play these games now who are in the workforce, [during] free time after work, but there’s no infrastructure there and no platform to bring people together,” Zhang said to CNN Business in a recent interview. “We’re not so interested in organizing one-off events one after another, rather than providing a more consistent, almost subscription-like experience for the players.”
Y Combinator, one of Silicon Valley’s most notable startup engines, is backing Lowkey’s efforts. This means there are already many Silicon valley organizations aware of what the platform is doing and are using it to play against each other. You can find names like Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn among the tournaments for games like Smash Brothers, Dota 2, CS:GO, and others. Most of these tournaments run for about eight weeks and allow the winners to brag in their friend circles about being the best in the adult gaming sector. How this will develop remains to be seen; maybe we will see Lowkey at live team-building events in the future.
It just might be time to bring your professional connections to the esports world instead of happy hour.
/MLG’S TWITCH CHANNEL BANNED AFTER STREAM HACKING EPISODE
No one is immune to hacking, not even Major League Gaming. This past weekend, the popular tournament and content platform saw their Twitch Channel banned after hackers invaded MLG’s stream channel and broadcasted adult material for over an hour to an audience of at least 1,000 viewers. MLG staff tried to redirect the aberrant stream by switching scenes, but since that didn’t work, Twitch needed to use a channel ban to circumvent the hackers.
Since the attempt involved outside parties and not the organization itself, the ban will be lifted soon. This still isn’t good for business, however, as it temporarily means that viewers cannot access their Twitch page or view past content on it. MLG has been fighting against a changing tide in streaming providers, with YouTube now owning the rights to the new Call of Duty League season content. Past CoD and Overwatch content can still be seen on MLG’s channel, since it is owned by Activision-Blizzard.
Regardless, how MLG plans to relaunch their channel after this embarrassing hack will be interesting, to say the least.
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/TEKKEN WORLD TOUR SEASON FIVE ANNOUNCED
Tekken 7 is one of the biggest fighting game titles in the world currently, and there seems to be no stopping the competitive pro circuit as the fifth season of World Tour has officially been announced. While 2019 was impressive in its own right with 750,000 viewers watching the grand finals, the 2020 season is even bigger in scope — 30 events spread out over four ranks and eight months, culminating at the 2020 Tekken World Tour Finals on Dec. 12 in New Orleans.
The three returning events are classified as Dojo, Challenger, and Master levels. Dojo events are for entry-level participants, and will allow players to receive points on the World Tour Leaderboard. Master events give players more points than either Dojo or Challenger events, and all formats are represented on the World Tour’s schedule.
If you find yourself at events like Combo Breaker, Evo, or CEO this year, you’ll definitely be seeing some Tekken pro-circuit action. If the turnout continues to climb, expect more events to be added in 2021 and beyond.
/A NEW TOP LANE EXPERIENCE COMING SOON TO LEAGUE OF LEGENDS?
The meta has shifted away from top lane impact in recent iterations of League of Legends gameplay, but developers at Riot Games are looking to revamp that experience. In a recent Dev Post, lead gameplay designer Mark “Scruffy” Yetter examined the ways that top lane can change for the better. Yetter said, “With our long term goal of giving top laners higher game impact (ability to carry a game) in high elo, we’re exploring a few different strategies: Carrying through items…early strategic impact..[and] turning leads into victories.”
Improving core top laner items like Black Cleaver, Sunfire, and Hydra seems to be a potential solution, as does giving top laners a “more powerful teleport summoner” and adjusting the value of Rift Herald so the balance is more even in a game that is currently very bot lane oriented.
In a recent Ask Riot thread, another feature of the game that has raised concerns about overall game balance is autofill in ranked matches. To address this, Riot will be experimenting with “autofill parity” in certain regions, which means that both teams will be given an autofilled player only if the need arises. This will mean more skilled players in top lane roles and otherwise, allowing for high-elo players to more naturally adapt to changes and develop a more balanced game.
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