• Players, teams, and organizations struggle with competitive CS:GO arrangements
  • NY Times addresses women in gaming
  • New AoE 2 expansion announced

It’s really no surprise that any young industry will go through growing pains as it matures and establishes itself. And from one week to the next there can be highs and lows. And this week wasn’t especially stellar for the CS:GO community. What’s more important than the drama is how the community and the professional organizations handle everything and, ultimately, where it leaves the players. Without the players the eSports scene is, well, nothing. They’re the talent, the content creators, and the personalities that people pay to see. To come out on the right side of this, the team owners and the organizations involved need to put aside differences and focus on what’s best for the players. A strong foundation ensures everyone, collectively, can level up the industry.

Don’t forget this week’s ICYMI at the end of the roundup. If you’re in to Hearthstone you won’t want to miss it.

PEA / EPL, THE PLAYERS, AND THE OWNERS FACE MASSIVE DISAGREEMENT (CS:GO)

TL;DR: The teams comprising the PEA in NA stated they would no longer be competing in any EPL tournaments. The players disagreed with team owners and issued a statement airing their grievances. This resulted in some players being removed from rosters (TSM), but leaving the path forward...fuzzy at best. There are two sides to every issue and this one’s no different. Both sides are essentially claiming the other is at fault so it’s tough to sort out the details. That and the fact that this is still developing means there’s more to come.

Full story: http://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/18339214/pe...

NEW ESPORTS AGENCY TO REPRESENT GAMING/STREAMING TALENT

TL;DR: Two industry attorneys, including Ryan Morrison the “video game attorney”, have paired up with Dutch company Fanfiber to create Evolved Talent Agency (ETA). Their services will be available to players, streamers and the like.

Full story: http://venturebeat.com/2016/12/21/talent-agency-st...

NY TIMES ARTICLE ON ATTRACTING MORE WOMEN TO ESPORTS

TL;DR: The story covers the efforts of game publishers to draw more women into eSports through specialized tournaments and mentoring programs. It also offers a brief history of similar efforts by Twitch, ESL, and Oxent. These stories are encouraging but there’s a lot of work left to be done.

Full story: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/technology/pe...

ESL TO HOST NEW HEARTHSTONE SERIES WORTH $150K

TL;DR: ESL will launch a new team league in 2017 going by the name “Trinity Series”. Eight teams will participate over seven weeks, starting in January, culminating in a finals match in March. All matches will be live-streamed exclusively on Twitch. Most notably the format of the series will allow for more team communication to allow for the most collaborative and strategic teams to emerge victorious.

Full story: https://www.eslgaming.com/article/esl-host-hearths...

NEW AGE OF EMPIRES 2 EXPANSION RELEASED...YOU READ THAT RIGHT!

TL;DR: 18 year old AoE 2 received a brand new expansion last week, adding four new civilizations, new units, and a ton more. This is one of my all-time favorites and a standalone classic so if you’ve never tried an AoE game, there’s probably no better time than now to do it. Go!

Full story: http://www.shacknews.com/article/98251/age-of-empi...

21 NOTABLE TWITCH STREAMERS TO CHECK OUT

TL;DR: Rolling Stone and Glixel have compiled a list of 21 top Twitch streamers they feel you may want to check out. Now, most of these are very high visibility streamers so you’ve probably heard of most if not all of them, but in case you haven’t it’s worth a quick look.

Full story: http://www.glixel.com/news/lists/21-trailblazing-t...

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

For a “child’s card game” (thanks, Reynad), Hearthstone is big time in esports and with streamers. Boasting over 50 million registered players, it’s also a game that requires a steady stream of fresh content to keep the masses enthralled. I’ll be the first to admit, I used to play a lot of HS but the steady stream of content quickly outpaced my interest in acquiring new cards. Despite that, I recognize the impact the game has had on our industry and how it’s opened up gaming to a wider demographic.

But my waning interest aside, Blizzard has been Johnny-on-the-spot with expansions and new card sets, especially in the last couple of years. Most recently, they dropped the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion (note: not a Hearthstone adventure), adding 132 new cards to the game and tossing the meta into disarray.

Releasing a new expansion in a collectible card game (CCG) is no small feat. All manner of things need to be taken into account: balance, meta (maybe?), lore, future direction, etc. Which is why we were really excited to read ShackNews’s “Making the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan” feature this week.

Even if you’re not a HS player (like me, currently), it’s a very cool read for gamers of all sorts.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays so far, as well as the content we’ve shared with you in 2016. Next year is going to be a big year for StreamKick and we’re thrilled to be a part of this industry. Thanks for your time, and your interest.

Onwards and upwards!