- Overwatch World Cup qualifiers revamped
- eSports up for an Emmy?
- Collegiate esports on the rise
This week Twitch announced it will be gradually rolling out new stream quality options, something both streamers and their viewers have been clamoring about for many months. Blizzard made some big changes to the Overwatch World Cup qualifiers for 2017, presumably to bring some order to the growing global popularity of their hottest new title. And on the esports front, Turner gets big recognition from the establishment while Hollywood makes a non-movie investment in the industry. Thank God.
In this week’s ICYMI we take a look at burgeoning collegiate esports scene and what that means long-term for the community. Don’t miss it!
CHANGES UNVEILED FOR OVERWATCH WORLD CUP 2017
TL;DR - For it’s second World Cup, Blizzard’s Overwatch will be getting a revamp to its qualifiers. The skill rating (SR) for the top 100 players from each country will be monitored, with the top 32 countries in terms of average SR being invited to the World Cup. Then, each country will create a National Committee to create a roster for their team. These 32 teams will compete in qualifiers with the top two going to the World Cup finals.
1080P STREAMING NOW AVAILABLE ON TWITCH
TL;DR - In a recent update, Twitch has enabled higher bitrates for streamers, along with more transcode options to give viewers more options for how they view their favorite streams. This is being gradually rolled out so not all streamers will have it available to them immediately.
TURNER’S ELEAGUE GETS EMMY NOD FOR STUDIO DESIGN
TL;DR - Joining the likes of the 31st Olympics, the Mike & Mike show, and Super Bowl LI, Turner’s ELEAGUE has received an Emmy nomination in the category of “Outstanding Studio Design and Art Direction”. Have a look if you haven’t seen it already. It’s pretty dang nice.
ESPORTS COMING TO HOLLYWOOD’S CHINESE THEATRE
TL;DR - Aiming to open later this summer, the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood has announced it will be opening a new esports venue. It will feature the new MX4D Motion EFX cinema seats for “full emersion”. These seats can simulate environmental effects like hot and cold, and water and wind among other things.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
If you caught last week’s ICYMI you’ve seen that esports, not just gaming, is becoming accessible to a younger and younger demographic. This is largely thanks to parents who’ve grown up gaming that now see opportunities for their kids to get involved at an entirely new level.
That story basically addressed children coming of age, going into high school. It pretty much stopped there. This week our focus is on collegiate level esports and what it takes to make the transition from filthy casual to pro gamer.
Personally I think the big push for universities and colleges to stake their esports claim is coming primarily from schools that don’t have access to 3, 4, and 5-star traditional athletes either because they are lacking the facilities or the funding. Those schools know the ramp-up to compete at the NCAA Division I level is both time consuming and, unfortunately, unlikely.
Instead, they’re seeing an opportunity to compete in an area that most major universities will probably ignore for the time being to focus on big money, big audience athletics. It’s a really remarkable time to see a new era of athletics emerging, and which schools will come out to be the leaders like we see in Div I basketball, football, and baseball.
There are loads of options for schools interested to choose from. Riot has it’s own ULoL league, where you can find the Big Ten (Power 5 conference) competing. The Big Ten is a bit of an anomaly in terms of esports, but it’s encouraging to see big name schools also taking note of esports. Aside from Riot’s league, you also have the National Collegiate esports Association (NCESPA), which covers LoL and CS:GO. Then there’s TESPA, which boasts over 200 chapters across the US and has partnered with the likes of Twitch and ESPN. And rounding it out you have the Collegiate Star League (CSL), which includes a wide variety of games, prizes, and scholarship money for its members.
So it’s essentially in the hands of the universities, colleges, and their students to make it happen. There’s adequate infrastructure already in place and only the desire and foresight to get started that’s lacking.
At the same time, it’s still a bit wild out there. Students and their teams must remember they’re representing their universities. And just like bullshit isn’t tolerated at traditional athletic events, that same standard of conduct must be maintained within esports. If players aren’t competing in an observed venue, event operators and faculty leave open the opportunity for cheating. eSports may not be recognized at the same level as other sports (yet), but that doesn’t mean unethical behavior doesn’t reflect on the university. There need to be major consequences if this is going to be taken seriously. Revoking scholarships, athletic suspensions, it should all be on the table.
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