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YouTube Live could be relaunched as an eSports and game streaming platform

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YouTube Live could be relaunched as an eSports and game streaming platform

While YouTube hosts countless gaming channels and more Let’s Play videos than anyone could possibly know what to do with, when people want to watch streamed content and eSports, chances are they’ll be watching it on Twitch. Google even tried, and failed, to buy Twitch in an effort to get more than a piece of that streaming pie.

Not content to admit defeat, YouTube now might be poised to relaunch YouTube live, its streaming platform, this time with a focus on gaming and eSports. 

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NetEase and Blizzard launch new StarCraft 2 league, Gold Series Pro League, to replace WCS Challenger

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NetEase and Blizzard launch new StarCraft 2 league, Gold Series Pro League, to replace WCS Challenger

For a dead game, StarCraft 2 leagues sure are multiplying in Asia. Chinese internet conglomerate NetEase just announced that they will be operating their own WCS-style tournament, the Gold Series Pro League (GPL) later this year as a part of the WCS system. This will give Chinese players a high-profile domestic tournament of their own that will seed into WCS.

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Nvidia are holding a Hearthstone tournament. Sign up for a chance to nab some of the $25,000 prize pool

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Nvidia are holding a Hearthstone tournament. Sign up for a chance to nab some of the $25,000 prize pool

Nvidia have announced that they they are holding a Hearthstone eSports contest. The Pro/AM Tournament will be host to game played by professional and amateur players who will be looking to grab a share of the $25,000 prize pool, as well as qualification points for the Hearthstone World Championship. 

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ESL increases prize pool for ESL One Dota 2 series to a million dollars

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ESL increases prize pool for ESL One Dota 2 series to a million dollars

The eSports producers at ESL, having brought their Dota series, ESL One, to major sports arenas around the world, have just announced plans to increase the prize pool for each of the ESL One events in the future. That brings the total prize pool for the ESL One 2015-16 season to a million dollars, starting with a $250,000 pool for the upcoming ESL One Frankfurt this June. 

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The Score sports website releases the first eSports mobile app

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The Score sports website releases the first eSports mobile app

One of the things I’ve always complained about in eSports was that keeping track of them is basically a nightmare. You’re either into the scene enough that you hang out on all the forums and wikis and figure out what events are happening and where you can watch them, or you’re missing a ton of important stuff.

Enter Canadian sports website The Score, a mobile-focused sports website. They just released a mobile eSports app that will provide eSports news, track scores, and even live event coverage.

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More allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting activity in pro StarCraft

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More allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting activity in pro StarCraft

A couple weeks ago, betting site Pinnacle Sports voided all bets on a Proleague match based on what they deemed suspicious betting patterns that made them think some bettors had some foreknowledge of the match’s results. Now, over this past weekend, Axiom eSports manager Olivia Wong vented on Twitter that match-fixing has become endemic in the Korean StarCraft 2 scene.

She implicated several tournaments in her comments, and suggested that some pro players were even working with bettors to fix match-results.

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S.K.I.L.L. increases eSports commitment; offering at least €56,000 in prize money

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S.K.I.L.L. increases eSports commitment; offering at least €56,000 in prize money

Gameforge have announced plans to expand on their eSport events, starting with their first person tactical shooter: S.K.I.L.L. – Special Forces 2. Teaming up with the ESL, Gameforge is pouring at least €30,000 euros into the top tier ESL S.K.I.L.L. Pro League, spread across two seasons. The Pro League will also be broadcasted on Twitch.tv via ESL TV.

Counting other ESL leagues and cups, the total prize money up for grabs totals at least €56,000 euros.

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Valve confirms CS:GO match-fixing allegations, issues bans to seven players

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Valve confirms CS:GO match-fixing allegations, issues bans to seven players

A little-noticed upset in competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive last year has been confirmed as a fixed match involving numerous pro-players and thousands of dollars in wagered money. Now Valve has taken action, placing bans against seven people involved in the scandal and directing that partner organizations bar them from participating in any CS:GO events that Valve has sponsored.

It’s another in a growing list of incidents in CS:GO and eSports that highlight problematic standards of behavior and the increasing stakes involved in eSports wagering.

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Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

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Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

A sports betting site has thrown some serious match-fixing allegations at Korean progamer Kang "San" Cho Won in the wake of his defeat in Proleague early on Tuesday. Claiming that “the bet placement pattern clearly indicates that the match was not played on a fair basis," Pinnacle Sports voided all bets.

It’s an ugly accusation for a Korean StarCraft community that is finally on the rebound, and an unwanted reminder of the darkest chapter in the sport’s history.

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NA LCS Expansion tournament concludes this weekend

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NA LCS Expansion tournament concludes this weekend

For the last four teams hoping to join the North American division of the League of Legends Championship Series, this weekend represents the moment of truth. A mix of eSports hopefuls and veteran League of Legends players are fighting for two spots in the 2015 spring split.

For some of them, it would be a dream come true. For others, it would be a last chance to get it right.

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The 2015 WCS StarCraft 2 season begins, but is it too much of a good thing?

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The 2015 WCS StarCraft 2 season begins, but is it too much of a good thing?

Following eSports sometimes feels like going to Hell’s Ironic Punishment Division, where you’re force-fed your favorite things until you go mad. “You like eSports, Homer? Have all the eSports in the world!" This weekend, with three major StarCraft tournaments concluding on the same day, is one of those times.

But eSports scheduling clashes are nothing new. What’s surprising this time around is that these tournaments all have championship implications for 2015. Less than a month after StarCraft crowned its world champion, the 2015 campaign has already begun.

I’m not sure I like it.

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Why pro StarCraft 2 has rejected the classic maps

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Why pro StarCraft 2 has rejected the classic maps

If you tune into any StarCraft tournament this month or next, you’ll note that everyone is playing on the same map pool we’ve had since midsummer. In fact, just last week, the DreamHack Open Twitter account reassured viewers that DreamHack winter would be decided using the Season 3 WCS map pool.

What’s striking about all this is that every single tournament organizer has rejected Blizzard’s Season 4 ladder map pool, which was compiled via fan vote from a list of StarCraft 2’s oldest and best-known competitive maps. While fans might wax nostalgic about the days of Daybreak and Ohana, the pro scene seems to be saying that the past is best left to memory.

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David Kim and the impossible balancing act of StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void

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David Kim and the impossible balancing act of StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void

Blizzard designer David Kim is “the balance guy" for StarCraft 2. His name is at once a curse and an incantation, the Godot of StarCraft. If something is broken — and something always is — it is Kim’s fault. But Kim will fix it. Kim will make it worse.

It’s easy to parody Kim. His role is one of inherent conservatism. He’s constantly dealing with the physics of avalanches. His goal is to try and ensure that each race can beat every other race roughly 50% of the time, all other things being equal. But then he must also look at how those games are being won and lost, and ask whether StarCraft remains an entertaining and rewarding game to play and watch.

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Smite's European teams duke it out this weekend for a spot in the World Championships

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Smite's European teams duke it out this weekend for a spot in the World Championships

Smite’s still building up to the MOBA’s World Championship event in January next year, and this week will see European teams clash in Cologne, Germany. It’s the final hurdle for the Europeans, and the top two teams will secure a spot in the World Championships.

The European Championships kicks off on November 15th, at 5pm CET. 

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Radical changes for WCS StarCraft in 2015 — the full rundown

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Radical changes for WCS StarCraft in 2015 — the full rundown

Speaking of StarCraft’s Global Finals, Blizzard have just announced some fairly comprehensive changes to the way the WCS is going to work in 2015. Gone are WCS Europe and America and in their place is a single league for non-Korean players. Meanwhile, Korea is rolling out a brand new individual league alongside the storied GSL.

But as with any and every change to competitive StarCraft, the real question is whether these changes reflect a dying game and community, or the dawn of an exciting new era for the venerable RTS? The answer, of course, is yes.

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WCS StarCraft 2 Global Finals round of 16 starting now

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WCS StarCraft 2 Global Finals round of 16 starting now

StarCraft’s 2014 WCS series is in its closing stages, and the Global Finals are kicking off right now as the sixteen top-ranked players in the world compete for a $100,000 grand prize. Today’s round of 16 is just getting under way, and features some absolutely fantastic matchups. Those who survive today’s best-of-five matches will move on to the quarterfinals at BlizzCon next weekend.

It’s a very long day of StarCraft, however, and not everyone will want to buckle in for 12 hours of play. So here are the must-see matches of the round of 16.

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Business of eSports panel: eSports big brains drop knowledge tonight

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Business of eSports panel: eSports big brains drop knowledge tonight

It’s a bit mind-blowing to consider the rapid growth of competitive eSports. It really wasn’t all that long ago that the scene was made up almost entirely of amateurs setting up LAN matches in caves, but now pro players and international competitions bring in audience sizes that rival traditional sports. Like any sport, though, making a career out of it is not a walk in the park. You’re sitting down for a lot of it. 

With the Red Bull Battle Grounds Grand Finale impending - it kicks off this weekend - Georgetown University is hosting a Business of ESports panel, starting shortly. Panelists from Twitch, ESL and eSports journalism are joined by Sean “Day[9]" Plott to discuss and offer advice on how to navigate the waters of eSports, making a career out of competitive video gaming. 

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A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

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A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

The five game final in the North American playoffs between Team SoloMid and Cloud9 was all about pride, and getting the best possible seed at 2014 Worlds. But while TSM won by the skin of their teeth, both teams’ reputations were secure. They remain the clear masters of the North American LCS division, and their real test is yet to come.

But for Counter-Logic Gaming and Curse, the playoff season was one of heartbreak and disappointment. Despite the two teams’ tremendous efforts to change their fortunes this season, and surprisingly strong showings from both of them over the course of the 2014 campaign, the bitter end of the season crushed both teams’ high hopes.

It also showed that, for these once-proud American teams, the road back to the top of competitive League of Legends is a lot longer than one season.

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Esportsify wants to make the business of eSports easier

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Esportsify wants to make the business of eSports easier

This year’s Dota 2 International saw over 2 million concurrent online viewers drinking in the competitive spectacle, while teams from across the world fought for a prize pool of $11 million. It was even broadcast on ESPN, with the network saying they were “delighted" with their own undisclosed figures. 

During Gamescom, at ESL One Cologne, 856 years of Counter-Strike: GO was consumed by nearly half a million people. The tournament broke viewing records for the game by 160 percent. ESL One Frankfurt had over 12,500 people filling up the arena each day, while millions watched the streams. 

As the success and popularity of eSports reaches new heights, greater levels of professionalism and organisation are called for. Communities need to be managed, brands need to be developed and funding - for those trips all over the world - has to be found. This was the impetus for Esportsify, an eSports community platform developed by Xfire’s Gavin Weeks.  

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