Tag Archives: Riot

#401 Where is our eESPN?

Valve’s Dota 2 tournament with a record  is just starting up and even I am excited to tune in and see what all the hubbub is all about. Between that Riot’s weekly seasonal split streams on Twitch I have to ask: where is our eESPN channel or at least a consolidated cable channel dedicated to the competitive side of video games?

I made the eESPN joke a few times before (Be MOP #261, #276, and #356) but now I think of it more as a serious possibility rather than a silly joke based on wordplay.

I talked about the potential of some gaming streams to become full-time sports broadcasters, like how Riot has been positioning themselves for the limelight for the past few seasons with their personal stream filled with community created skits, Question and Answer segments with the professionals, highlight reels, Table talks with the professionals and analysis, and the personalities (Be MOP #276).

While I have not followed Dota 2 streams to know what they are doing for providing entertainment during and between matches but I do know and have seen the immense popularity of the Dota 2 documentary and fundraising for the main prize/jackpot.

I know for a fact that somewhere a bunch of sports marketing people just dropped their jaws when their heard the success of Dota 2’s fundraising project.

I know for a fact that somewhere a bunch of sports marketing people just dropped their jaws when their heard the success of Dota 2’s fundraising project.

 

With Twitch’s constant concurrent viewers numbers and the level of interaction in the Twitch Chat, the games respective forums and ,  it is easy to prove that there is a substantial amount of interested demographic. With the year’s Fifa world cup ESPN has proved that they can get Americans to validate the sport of soccer and still getting them excited to watch a sport tournament where the American team was not expected to win.

It is not like there is not enough content to fill a 24 hours cable station, we have; League of Legends, Dota 2, Infinite Crisis, all of the other A.R.T.S, StarCraft II, both of Pokemon’s virtual and card game matches, Melee and Smash Bros tournaments, Speed Runners, Magic the Gathering (ESPN already has precedent on broadcasting this sport), plus all of the news programs that could be created about the latest news/predictions/gossip about these different esports and upcoming tournaments.

I would wager to say there is more than enough games to showcase for 24hrs content, a constantly updating website, AND a special, consolidated, twitch stream.

Just think of the promotions for Riot, Valve, and Blizzard with other companies, new viewership spillover from one fanbase to another, and the increased credibility with other viewers & non-viewers.

Just think of the promotions for Riot, Valve, and Blizzard with other companies, new viewership spillover from one fanbase to another, and the increased credibility with other viewers & non-viewers.

 

The only problem would be is licensing these games for public viewing, the personalities that are currently paid by these companies, and getting these multibillion dollar, global internet gaming companies (that are all competing with each other) to play nice and fair in order to get this eESPN network to properly blossom.

I think we might have found the reason why  eESPN has not happened yet, but that does not means it should not happen.

 

But I want to bump the question back to you:

What do you think of a consolidated cable channel dedicated to the competitive side of esports? Would you regularly tune in to watch broadcasted tournament on a TV cable network, even if it was not a esport that you regularly follow? Or, and most importantly of all, would you rather stick to each company’s own Twitch channel on your computer?

Leave a comment down below I am interested in what other people think about this idea.

 


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#386 E3 and Going Beyond Videogames for Entertainment

For the past few years a new trend in the videogame world is developing of having videogame companies going above and beyond the consoles or PC to provide entertainment to the players. E3 was one of the first major catalyst for this trend, providing a stage for the big three console companies and all the major developers to announce their big titles and plans for the rest of the year. The rise of Twitch and YouTube, with the ability to broadcasting content and competitions has only helped to nurture this trend. I have talked about Twitch competitions quite a bit when talking about Riot’s choice of turning their LCS tournaments into more of a sports show the atmosphere with not only the shout caster desk but analyses breaking down the last game’s highlights and having professional esports players come on to discuss their predictions on which team would win in the next match (Be MOP #276).

Valve is now releasing documentaries about Indie games and the life of professional Dota 2 players for sale on Steam. Even The reveal of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was more of a multi-media event, with everything these consoles can do on top of playing next generation of games. But the tipping point, and reason I started writing this point was when Blizzard starting a web series called ‘Azeroth Choppers‘ and the news that Nintendo created and invited top competitive Brawl players in a Super Smash Bros Invitational with an early build of the Wii U Smash.

Nintendo as a company is paradoxically an early and late adopter. Early when it comes to game mechanics and features but incredibly late when it comes to the social side of gaming, like Youtube or account bound digital purchases.

Nintendo as a company is paradoxically an early and late adopter. Early when it comes to game mechanics and features but incredibly late when it comes to the social side of gaming, like Youtube Lets Players or account bound digital purchases.

 

As you might suspect I am all for these events because as a player it means more content of my favorite games and with the integration of  chatrooms and social media it provides a great way to connect and make friends with other players around the net and from a marketing point of view it is a new way for a gaming company to interact, build and solidify their install base but also from a

 

BUT…

 

As we saw with the internet’s reaction to Microsoft’s Xbox One ‘watercooler’ sales pitch, when videogame companies decide to put out and advertise non videogame content about videogames they need to remember to stay on point and talk about videogames. If I am going to tune in for the latest gaming company reveal I not want to watch the broadcast for the guest stars, or talking about the gamers, or the past  I want to see people from the company talk about the recent game This is something I hope the companies will remember with this year’s E3 and all future events, and after the Microsoft reveal and feedback I do think the AAA gaming industry will forget this fact for a while but it is nice to remind them once in a while.

 

 I was going to do a Pre-E3 post that served as my wish list for reveals this year but all I could come up with is "legit gameplay" and that's it

I was going to do a Pre-E3 post that served as my wish list for reveals this year but all I could come up with is “legit gameplay” and that’s it. No cinematics, no teaser trailers but honest to goodness real gameplay of the newest games.

 

 


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#356 Finally Finding Free Time to watch Free to Play

This weekend I found some time t0 sit down with popcorn and soda  to watch Valve’s recent documentary of the competitive side of Dota 2, Free to Play.

The few bit I will say about the documentary, coming from someone who is not  a film buff at all, is that it was a good film. As someone who had no experience with following the professional circuit of Dota 2 the filmmakers did it’s job of drawing me into the story, keeping up suspense on what will happen next in the tournament, and getting me emotionally invested in the people towards the end.

I do not know what makes a good documentary, but I can recognize a good film when I see one.

I do not know what makes a good documentary, but I can recognize a good film when I see one.

 

While watching it many thoughts several important things stood out at me while watching the film. First I liked the clever use of the document’s title and how Valve implemented the various DLC packs that features the various professional players the documentary focused on throughout the story.

It was also comforting that see the early history esports, how popular the idea of a professional gamer is in the rest of the world, although I understand that the depiction of how beloved esports are in Asia might a bit bias for the sake of the film.

More importantly it looks like this is another step towards validating the idea of professional videogame players to be considered athletes.

I mentioned before that Riot Games has been doing this with their TV segments by inviting those gamer to the commentary decks to deconstruct the previous match fight by fight and showing the behind the scenes segments of everyone’s favorite teams very similar to what Football and Basketball shows are doing. (Be MOP #276)

Just recently League teams and Tournament Coordinators putting money in their own PR YouTube videos but I wonder if this will become a norm to have these are done just to prove that these tournaments are legitimate sport to the rest of the world.

Either way I am glad that products like these videos had enough support to warrant the cost of production and editing for full length features and promotional shorts and I would not be surprised to see these video aired on proper T.V stations, or possibly seeing the birth of a TV channel all about e-sports.

 

I’m still holding out for the creation of an eESPN sister channel.

 

 


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#311 Where are the Winter games?

Yesterday’s snowstorm following close by today’s cold snap has forced me to face the fact that the winter season is in full swing here in New England. As family tradition states that with the winter season I break out the winter sweaters, festive beverages, and Christmas music for the rest of the month.

The problem is that between the decorations around the house and the holiday events around the town I do not have any games that properly captures the winter season. Fall has the Halloween holiday to define that time of the year and with that there are a slew of horror and zombies to best compliment the season, so much so that Valve had their own Halloween sale offering huge discount with almost every game that had the word zombie in the title.

 

Sure we have the Winter Steam sales but those aren't winter themed games

Sure we have the Winter Steam sales but those aren’t winter themed games

 

I can not think of any games that I know of that capture the spirit of winter.  Off the top of my head the Batman Arkham City because of the entire game takes place in gothic city during the winter time and in a pinch you could argue Paper Please could fit into the winter category if you ever wanted to feel like you were living with your family in a harsh a communist country funded apartment without any free heating.

Living in a bedroom with no heating fits pretty well right now

talk about a cold game

I ask this because this is the first winter that I am not subscribed to World of Warcraft, so I can not relay on Blizzard’s Feast of Winter Veil event for my yearly fix for the winter season themed games.

I will miss looting the Stolen Present from the Abominable Greench

I will miss looting the Stolen Present from the Abominable Greench

So I am opening this to everyone, what are some of your go-to games to get into winter seasons when the it starts getting cold outside?


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#309 Valve, Linux, and the Questions about the Future of PC gaming

Earlier this week everyone’s favorite gaming company came back into the news with the announcement that Valve has officially joined the Linux Foundation, an organization that promotes the growth of the open source Linux operating system since 2007.

If you have been paying attention to Valve’s actions since September this another step for the company to secure themselves in the Linux group and prepare themselves for the launch of their own Linux-based operating system, Steam OS, which is planned to released sometime next year.

coming out early 2014....maybe?

coming out early 2014….maybe?

After talking to some friends and few other bloggers about Valve’s project everyone seems to be split on what type of operating system Steam OS will be. I met some people who will claim that this will revolutionize the Desktop market with a free ,open sourced, operating system that will topple Microsoft’s hold on the market within a few short years.

Then I and a few others believes that the Steam OS will only be a trimmed down operating system very similar to the XB1 and PS4’s interface and will be successful for a niche demographic because of the lack of file support and other functions like you see in a Windows and Apple’s systems

We soon realized that how little the public actually knows about what Steam OS can do outside of booting up Steam and playing games more efficiently and these questions are currently preventing us actually predicting the future of this product.

We've seen how the new Steam Controller works by way of Valve's YouTube page, but not on how we can navigate through the OS

We’ve seen how the new Steam Controller works by way of Valve’s YouTube page, but not on how we can navigate through the OS

Even if Steam OS becomes a major hit and becomes as successful as Valve and everyone else who are following the product are hoping it to be it will only raises more questions about the future of other PC gaming companies. Unlike the big three console company’s group effort to push motion controls and multimedia features into the living room, Valve is the only big PC company that is pushing for Linux integration. While Valve was able to get NVIDIA to follow their footsteps we do not know how this will affect other AAA PC game companies, with a special focus on Riot’s League of Legends or any of the big games from Activision Blizzard.

I don't know know Riot could work in a Linux Penguin skin into their champion rooster

I don’t know Riot could work in a Linux Penguin skin into their champion rooster

For this Friday I would like to open these questions to you, Do you think Steam OS will be a fully functioning desktop operating system or will it be more like the other console operating system that limits the capabilities to just playing games?

-and-

no matter what you think the finished product of Steam OS will be, What are your predictions on how other standalone PC companies will react to Valve entering the Linux world for the sake of gaming,. Do you think that in a few years we will read announcements that League of Legends and World of Warcraft will be fully supported by Linux or do you think both companies are happy where they are with being just supporting Windows and Apple computers?’

Leave a comment down below, I would love to see what everyone else’s thoughts on this topic.


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#276 Riot Positioning themselves for the World Stage

If you are currently following the League of Legends scene you know that Riot is holding their 2013 World Championship, a week-long event that pits the best of the best teams from around the world to see who is the best.

You couldn't miss it, it was on the game's default launcher.

You couldn’t miss it, it was on the game’s default launcher.

 

I have also written before, that in my opinion, Action Real Time Strategy games like League of Legends are the games to pave the way for competitive videogame to be viewed as a legitimate sport in the eyes of the general population. (Be MOP #261)

Shortly after that post went live Riot announced that they teamed up with the credit card company, American Express, to offer a new reward program that gives in-game currency as cash back.

An interesting concept and I wonder if other free to play companies could follow through

An interesting concept and I wonder if other free to play companies could follow through

 

Then a few weeks ago I saw Riot posted this video that kicked off their promotional project called Teamwork OP that proposes and reinforces the idea that working together and cooperating with your teammate is more important than just heckling fellow teammates and playing alone. The whole promotional project is Riot’s answer to fix League of Legend’s notoriously bad in-game community.

It was not just this video I've heard the announcers quote this phrase a few times in the Worlds stream but Riot, if you are reading this I your definite answer right here (Be MOP #217)

It was not just this video I’ve heard the announcers quote this phrase a few times in the Worlds stream but Riot, if you are reading this I your definite answer right here (Be MOP #217)

 

Between that and the new segment, Analysis Desk, where member of Riot and other professional players predicts the outcome of the next major game by discussing in length the team’s strategy, history and individual player’s personal preference and stats.

just like those what football announcers do before a Sunday night game.

just like those what football announcers do before a Sunday night game.

 

Between reaching out to new sponsors, trying to rally their base and creating more content it looks like Riot is setting themselves for something big. I have seen this behavior pattern in politicians who want to seriously run in the next US Senate or Presidential election.

Interested politicians start by improving their own image by attending the right political events or proving that what they are selling have some depth to them (see Riot’s Analysis Desk). Then they start rallying or improving their established base supports (Teamwork OP) and finally the politicians starts to make waves outside their normal demographic to appeal to a wider audience (American Express’s cross promotion).

I could have used another example like an actor or singer trying to get back into the spotlight, but where I currently live (in the wonderful state of New Hampshire) I end up seeing more politicians act this way a lot more than any other type of public performer

Besides what else am I going to use this Political Science degree on? A Job? Ha!

Besides what else am I going to use this Political Science degree on? A Job? Ha!

 

Now the bigger question is, “What is Riot planning?” They already have a biggest name in competitive gaming and they host their tournaments in packed stadiums with cheering fans. What more could they want?

I half-joked in a previous post that Riot is going to team up with ESPN to create a eESPN sport channel for exclusively for competitive videogames but the more I think about it, a television slot might be exactly what Riot is currently eyeing.

But what do you think, Is Riot planning on doing something to advance their current comfort zone or am I just reading too much into this three, possibly isolated, events.


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#266 League of Legends, Iran, and the Power Vacuum

Hey everybody, do you know what I haven’t talked too much about on this blog lately? politics in videogames. And do you know where the best place to talk about politics in videogames? Iran.

Specifically their recent announcement to ban all female League of Legends champions, except for the child champion Annie, from competitive play.  (The source can be found on the WCG official rule book which can be found here, the entire document is Persian so you might want to consult Google Translate)

In the past Riot has always tried to comply to each region’s cultural differences, in China for example all of Karthus’s skins has his cowl’s shadow mask his skeletal face because the Chinese culture have great respect for the dead and they frown on the idea of zombies or raising the dead. 

Fun fact it was also the reason why Blizzard's Wrath of the Lich King took so long to release in China

Fun fact it was also the reason why Blizzard’s Wrath of the Lich King took so long to release in China

 

But today, as some of you might be glad to hear, I am not going to be talking about the policy itself or the historical/political background that lead up to the decision to change their tournament rule book.

It's a bit to new and messy to write a proper post about within the first day.

It’s a bit to new and messy to write a proper post about within the first day.

Instead I want to focus on the impact it will cause with for future professional WCG League of Legends matches with a most of the female champions banned from playing. In my travels on the internet I stumbled upon a very nice article by Noah Kantrowitz that breaks down the gender ratio in the current roster of League of Legends champion.

pie

The post goes into more detail about the breakdown of champion’s genders in each class role.

That means that about 34% of the player pool is gone and in a game that puts a lot of emphasis on champion picks, counter-picks, and banning other player’s favorite champions this could be disastrous to the Iranian League of Legends end/metagame. Imagine if out of the blue, and in mid-season no less, a region of the world banned 6 out of the 18(33.33%) Pokemon types from all of their tournaments or they removed more than a fifth of the colors cards from the Magic the Gathering card game, it would completely skew all future games for everyone 

In the competitive games I just mentioned, game developers takes great strides to make sure that everything in their games interacts with everything else in the way as it is intended, especially when there are legions of players theroycrafting the best possible way to get a competitive edge over the enemy team. To create a sudden widespread power vacuum in the game could prove dangerous for the state of league of leagues in the nation of Iran and internationally if any of these Iranian e-athletes face off against other professional players outside of Iran.


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