- Twitch Prime leveling up the free games...game
- Ninja proves there are no limits on Twitch
- Competitive Fortnite and a huge celebrity tournament are in the works
- All that and more, plus ICYMI. Get at it!
Expect more free games from Twitch Prime
TL;DR - In a move to compete more directly with Steam and the Humble Store, Twitch Prime members will receive free monthly game bundles starting in March. Each monthly package will be announced in advance, giving would-be prime members a heads up that they may want to take the plunge and sign up. Games will launch through Twitch Desktop, which should add some much needed relevancy to the app.
Facebook continues to level up its streaming and esports game
TL;DR - Guy Cross, Facebook’s director of games partnerships for the Americas, has shared with Gameindustry.biz that the social media platform’s big plan is to be a “video-first company”. This means content creators can expect more to follow up the recent rollout of the Gaming Creator Pilot Program. Cross claims that they’re hearing people feel they can’t grow any more on existing platforms - a scenario Facebook intends to capitalize on. And in a recent deal with esports company Gfinity, Facebook will have exclusive access to the Gfinity Elite Series. This includes matches, highlights, and special guest appearances.
Ninja + Drake (and others) = shattered records
TL;DR - Ninja teamed up with rappers Drake, Travis Scott, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Schuster-Smith, and internet mogul Kim Dotcom to surpass and subsequently obliterate the concurrent viewership record on Twitch. The final number is somewhere around 628k, which Twitch has confirmed as the new standing record. The previous record of just over 300k was held by Dr DisRespect at a time when he and Tyler1 were competing to claim the crown. Safe to say, they’re way off now.
Red Bull public Gaming Sphere coming to London
TL;DR - Red Bull is billing the new venue as a place for gamers to get their fix, for esports events, and for pros to hone their craft. It’s been stocked with 40 consoles, a fleet of ASUS equipped PCs, VR gear, a racing set-up, and joysticks for fighting games among other things. Newegg will be set up inside the Sphere as well in the event someone wants to purchase any of the gear after a test run.
North America may see new esports players’ associations very soon
TL;DR - The Counter-Strike Professional Players Association (CSPPA) could be the first in a string of new North American PAs to pop up in 2018. CSPPA is being headed up by Scott “SirScoots” Smith and Michael Doi, and already has signed intent from about 70 CS:GO pros. Reports are that an Overwatch League association and a League of Legends association are also in the works. No such efforts in the past have yielded any real results, and only time will tell if this go around will be any different.
$10 million esports facility coming to Arlington, TX
TL;DR - The venue is planned as a remodel of the existing Arlington Convention Center, turning it into a 100,000 square-foot stadium capable of hosting up to 2,000 fans. The grand opening is planned for this fall, and the city has aspirations to host about 30 events in the first year alone. Arlington is betting on the new stadium as a way to draw a younger crowd to the city and expose them to other traditional sports native to the city, like baseball and football.
Competitive Fortnite announced along with EPIC plans for E3
TL;DR - Epic Games has confirmed the first season of competitive Fortnite is coming, with more details to follow in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, at E3 in LA, Epic is planning a massive Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am featuring 50 pros playing alongside 50 celebrities in a 100-player competition. The teams are still being arranged, with a final roster expecting this summer in advance of E3.
Activision Blizzard launches new esports division
TL;DR - Heading up the new endeavor are three executives from the likes of the NBA, the New Jersey Devils, and NBCUniversal, all Activision Blizzard recent hires. MLG CEO Pete Vlastelica will oversee the division, which has been tasked with running the OWL and the CoD leagues, as well as exploring new opportunities for the game publisher’s assets. Bringing new teams into the OWL is a major goal, with speculation the company may attempt to mirror that league’s success with a restructure of the CoD league.
The Capcom Pro Tour is headed to Facebook and YouTube
TL;DR - The series kicks off this month in Atlanta and viewers will be able to choose between Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube for livestreams of the event’s matches. Street Fighter continues to dominate the competitive fighting game scene so this move is likely an attempt by Capcom to keep it accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
In case you missed it…
Ok let’s be honest, there’s likely zero chance any of you actually missed the news this week that EA is removing pay-to-win loot crates from Battlefront 2. Loot crates aren’t going away, but they’ll be purely cosmetic, and the crates purchasable for real world currency will not bridge any skill gaps in the game.
EA will have to revamp the progression system in the game as a result of this change, since the loot crates were the source of the skill cards necessary to advance the different classes, heroes, and ships in the game.
The news just broke this week, but there are Reddit posts already popping up of people going out to buy the game now that EA has caved to the community’s demands. It’s incredible what it took to get to this point, and what’s left to come.
As it stands, loot box regulations are being discussed in several states and overseas in other countries. Once they’re given gambling status, laws WILL be passed either banning them or leading to full disclosure of the odds any given item can be won.
This story arc is long from over, and EA giving in on Battlefront 2 is small time given what’s yet to come. Developers are taking note, but loot crates aren’t going anywhere. The cosmetic crate system has been massively successful for games like League of Legends, CS:GO, and countless others. And let’s not forget how huge the tournament prize pools have become as a result (looking at you DotA 2).
But what Battlefront 2 has hopefully shown publishers is that there is definitely a line to be crossed. EA suffered in the court of public opinion, their stock took a hit, and it’s rumored even Disney got involved to right the ship. What will be interesting is to see where EA takes it from here. They still have the Star Wars license and there will be more games to come, short any intervention from Disney. Now that they can’t go back to the old ways, will they explore new game types with the license? Will this ultimately lead to new forms of monetization, just as loot crates were so many years back?
Exciting times indeed, but that’s a discussion for another time. Pardon us while we hit up Hoth and dumpster the Rebellion!
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