Blizzard profiles World of Warcraft e-sports notables in new video series

Blizzard is not going to stop trying to make World of Warcraft e-sports a thing, gang, so we may as well have some fun with it, yeah? In fact, this week Blizzard released the first episode of its new e-sports program for the game, Gladiator’s Summit. Hosts Elliott “Venruki” Venczel and Jackson “Bajheera” Bliton trade formal ties for bushy beards to profile some of the teams and individual players aiming for fortune and glory at Gamescom on the road to BlizzCon.

Bonus, the YouTube comments immediately devolve into complaining about the game’s classes, PvP, and… actually no it’s pretty much just classes and PvP. Enjoy!

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Breakaway shows off its competitive side in a new trailer

Why will you be playing Breakaway? The latest trailer for the game is all about how you’ll be playing the game to win and to smash the heck out of your opposition. And you’ll be doing it quickly. And streaming it for the adulation of adoring fans. And then, possibly, doing a double backflip on a BMX bike before jumping on to a skateboard that is inexplicably perched on an entire stack of fidget spinners.

Are bikes still a thing? We’re not sure. The point is that it’s a trailer about the competitive side and about making big explosions and getting noticed. You can check out the trailer just below if that sounds like your jam, or if you’re just hoping that it does actually feature that aforementioned backflip on a bike.

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John Smedley talks about the game industry but is mum about his studio’s project

It has now been seven months since John Smedley shut down Pixelmage Games and took his team over to Amazon Game Studios to set up shop in San Diego. We’ve been greatly curious about what game he’s been heading — and if it is an MMO — but until recently Smed has stayed out of the spotlight to get work done.

This is why we’ve perked up to see him sit down with VentureBeat for an extended interview about his new employer and his take on the direction that the industry is heading. He has a lot of opinions on just about everything, ranging from virtual reality to Twitch integration to the rise of e-sports.

If you’re hoping that the notoriously chatty Smedley was going to reveal what game his studio is making, you’re in for disappointment. He indicates that he’s very excited about the project but is tight-lipped about specifics.

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The MOP Up: Black Desert shows pet love (August 20, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from NeverwinterElder Scrolls LegendsElite DangerousSWTORMapleStoryHyper UniverseSMITETravian OnlineDiablo IIIFigureheadsPokemon GoHeroes and GeneralsRappelzUltima OnlineSoulworker OnlineBlack Desert, and Gigantic, all waiting for you after the break!

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Overwatch League expands again with teams from London and LA

Blizzard continues raking in the big bucks for its fledgling Overwatch League, adding two new teams to its roster: a London team purchased by Cloud9 founder Jack Etienne and a Los Angeles team picked up by Stan and Josh Kroenke, well-known to sports fans here in the US for having their fingers in multiple meatpies, and by meatpies I mean actual sports teams like the LA Rams. Etienne and the Kroenkes will join venture capitalists including reps and owners of the New England Patriots, New York Mets, Immortals, Misfits Gaming, NRG Esports, Netease, and Kabam, which superficially secures the Leagues’ future on three continents.

We’ve previously reported on the structure of the League and its absurd $20M ante, which at least one gaming industry analyst firm has deemed unlikely to achieve much success, given its assessment that Overwatch is difficult to watch, unapproachable, expensive, in competition with Amazon’s Twitch, and on a collision course with antitrust law. Whee. Major League Baseball is also disputing Blizzard’s right to OWL logo.


Paris Olympic committee considers e-sports for 2024

The AP is reporting that the leaders of the Olympic Games are at least considering bringing video gaming on board for the 2024 program in Paris.

The co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee, Tony Estanguet, told the AP, “We have to look at [e-sports] because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics.’ […] The youth, yes they are interested in esport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges. […] I don’t want to say ‘no’ from the beginning. I think it’s interesting to interact with the IOC, with them, the esports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”

This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock; the 2022 Asian Games have already announced e-sports as a medal event, citing the inclusion of e-sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, though as we reported last month, multiple countries had bailed out of this year’s AIMAG e-sports events, citing health concerns, poor regulation, and “governance concerns.”

Source: AP via Destructoid. Thank you, Sally!


Activision-Blizzard Q2 2017 financials: Destiny 2 outperforms Destiny, WoW ‘time spent’ improves over 2016

We could practically copypasta last quarter’s Activision-Blizzard report to this one and nobody would notice. That’s because once again, it’s the Blizzard segment of the company driving the revenue flow; Blizz’s incomes rose 4% year-over-year to account for 42% of the revenue (with King and Activision itself trailing behind).

“Blizzard had the biggest quarterly online player community in its history with a record 46 million MAUsB, up 38% year-over-year. The Overwatch community continued to grow more than a year after launch, setting another all-time MAUB record with the release of two seasonal events in the quarter. Hearthstone MAUsB grew year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter to an all-time record, driven by its expansion, Journey to Un’Goro.”

Blizz is also talking up its “time spent” metric and claiming that it’s increased in World of Warcraft year-over-year, which should shock absolutely no one given Legion:

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Australia will play host to awful League of Legends e-sports reality show

Tear your eyes away from the wackadoodle reality show we’re all living in right now: Riot Games has apparently sanctified a reality show for League of Legends to keep you amused. Are you not entertained?! As Eurogamer reports, the show is called The Next Gamer.

“Are you Australia’s next esports star? We’re on the lookout for League of Legends guns. One lucky player will win $10,000 and a contract with one of Australia’s biggest Esports teams. 40 contestants battle it out online over 5 action packed 5 days [sic] to win a spot in The Next Gamer house. 10 successful contestands will join the house in Sydney. Daily challenges and tournaments will test mental fortitude, physical fitness, and teamwork.”

This horror will go on for a week, at which time half the house will be eliminated and the remaining five will be completely destroyed by “Oceania’s top gaming teams,” culminating in a live finale event at which a single winner will be handed $10,000 and a half-year contract with “one of Australia’s best League of legends teams,” and how could that possibly go wrong?

Thanks, Australia.


The BBC is broadcasting live e-sports tonight

The BBC is following ESPN’s example and diving headfirst into e-sports live broadcasting. “In the first deal of its kind for the BBC (we like to be first), we’ve signed up the Gfinity Elite League Series One,” says the venerable UK company.

“One hundred and sixty pro gamers duking it out every week in front of a baying West London crowd for fame and fortune (£225,000 of fortune to be exact). Each competitor wears the livery of one of eight established eSports organisations and specialises in one of three games, representing a rough cross-section of the current competitive gaming landscape: a shooter [CSGO], a fighter [Street Fighter V] and… well, Rocket League. After 10 intense weeks of clutch AWP plays, critical arts, and satisfying ‘doinks’, an overall franchise winner will be crowned along with three individual game champions.”

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You are an Overwatch League free agent, starting now

Here’s some news that should make you feel special. As of right now, as long as you’re over 18 years old and play Overwatch, Blizzard considers you a “free agent” who can be signed on to the developing Overwatch League and its teams. And why wouldn’t someone want you? You’ve got mad skills, or so we hear from our street sources.

An official signing window is about to open between August 1st and October 30th for teams to scout and sign players to contracts. This will only happen for the first season, as the league will be established in the future and will go through a different process.

If you are signed on to a team (and we’re rooting for you, chum), you’ll be agreeing to a one-year contract with a minimum salary of $50,000, health insurance, a retirement plan, and a percentage of team performance bonuses. Overwatch League teams will be made up of between six and 12 players from any region who must be housed and offered training facilities by the team owner.

Source: Blizzard


The MOP Up: SamuTale’s massive new world (July 23, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from AstroneerHearthstoneOverwatchClosers OnlineDragon’s Dogma OnlineMu LegendRagnarok OnlineSoulworker OnlineOrbusVRSkyforgeAge of WushuSamuTale, and Crossout, all waiting for you after the break!

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Multiple countries will boycott the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games over e-sports concerns

Back in April, we wrote about how the Olympic Council of Asia and Alisports of China was aiming to bring e-sports to the Asian Games, reportedly the second-largest sporting event in the world, right behind The Olympics itself. In support of the move, the council cited the addition of e-sports to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in September as a “demonstration” sport featuring multiple games, including Dota 2, Starcraft II, and Hearthstone.

That may be in jeopardy now, however. SuperData reported this week that multiple countries have now backed out of the e-sports section of the AIMAG competitions. South Korea’s e-sports division quit the event in May, followed by Australia in June and Thailand earlier in July. Thailand, we should note, blocked participation in part over health concerns and “fears related to gaming addiction,” but South Korea and Australia raised objections over the exit of the well-recognized International Esport Federation and the formation of a relatively unregulated Asian Esports Federation in its place, as well as objections over the recruitment process for teams, which appears to blur national lines.

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NetEase and Kabam join Blizzard’s star-studded global Overwatch League

The ESPN report earlier this week suggesting that Blizzard has several agreements from big-name sports-affiliated venture capitalists to host Overwatch League teams across the US and East Asia has now been confirmed and embellished by Blizzard itself, with the addition of NetEase, Kabam, and Misfits Gaming. Here’s the whole list:

Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
NetEase (Shanghai)
Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul)

We’ve previously reported on the structure of the League and its $20M ante.

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