Clash Royale Tournament Guide 2019

The popular esport, Clash Royale, has a tournament coming right around the corner. Come have some fun and join a tournament or create your own Clash Royale tournament. It's extremely easy to host your own tournament.

One of the perks of hosting your own tournament is that you get to choose the tournament format and get to have new ways of earning rewards and resources. One of the requirements of making a Clash Royale tournament is having at least a level 8 profile.

If you are interested in creating your own Clash Royale tournament you will need 500 gems. When creating your own tournament you can decide whether to make it private or public.

One of the benefits of creating your own tournament is that you get to oversee the whole tournament. You get to choose the length of the tournament and how long before it ends and rewarding the top players. The length of the tournament can be set between a minimum of 1 hour all the way to a maximum of 3 days. You can also set your own preparation time from 15 minutes to 2 hours.

When hosting your own tournament, you can choose between multiple game modes such as: Normal Battle, Draft Battle, Double Elixir Battle, Sudden Death Battle, Double Elixir Draft, Mirror Battle, Rage Battle, Triple Elixir Battle, Ramp Up Battle, and Classic Decks Battle.

Another perk of hosting your own Clash Royale tournament is that you get to choose the prize you are going to host. You can choose from x30 chest awards all the way to x15,000 chest awards. Of course the higher the chest awards are the more gems you will have to spend. The minimum gems to host a tournament will cost you 500 gems, while the most expensive one will cost you 250,000 gems.

The hosts can also set their own caps for the Crown Towers and cards, ranging from 9 to 13. Other than the tournaments, there are also two Victory Challenges you can also compete in. One of the victory challenge goals, called the Grand Challenge is to win 12 times without losing more than 2 times. The other challenge, called the Classic Challenge, is to win all crowns and battles without considering the losts. There is also a Grand Challenge and a Classic Challenge, with the Grand Challenge costing 100 gems to enter, and the Classic Challenge costing only 10 gems to enter. Completing the Grand Challenge will earn you 22,000 gold and 1,100 cards, while completing the Classic Challenge will earn you 2,000 gold and 100 cards.

If 500 gems is too much to spend, there are also tournaments called Private Tournaments that you can create. Hosting a Private Tournament only costs 10 gems but there will be no prizes.

Supercell is in charge of the game but the hosts are in charge of the events. So that means the host should be responsible for their events and follow all guidelines and rules. As a host, you are responsible for providing the prizes of the tournaments, you can provide prizes such as in-game items. Any types of shady activities are forbidden and can get you banned. As a host, you are responsible to make sure your event is legal and under laws and regulations.

After putting in all the information about the length and prizes of the tournament, you can add your name and description and decide whether you want your tournament to be public or private. After setting up all the information required for your tournament you can start your first match by pressing the "Battle" button.

When you host your own Clash Royale Tournament, you can also compete with other players in that tournament. All the battles played in the tournament will be in the tournament and will not be in your battle log or dashboard. After that the tournament is pretty much the same as a classic Clash Royale battle. The only difference is that the overtime will increase from 1 minute to 3 minutes to avoid draws. The cards are also capped to make sure the games are fair and no player will have an extra advantage.

When you are not battling you can also spectate other players' battles on the leaderboard. After the tournament is over, the winners are declared and you can award the players. If players get pretty high on the global leader board, they also get extra bonuses along with their original rewards. The player who got the highest amount of trophies in the tournament will receive the top reward in the tournament. The second player will receive 2/3 of the top prize. The player in third place will receive half that prize. All the other players with receive prizes in respect to their place on the leaderboard.

If you just want to create a tournament to win prizes, you can create a tournament but only allow a few people in so that the fewer people will get bigger shares of the gems you spent. Other than a few rules you have to follow, creating your own tournament is all up to you. You get to decide the majority of the factors, such as game mode, capping levels, prizes, and length of the tournament.

If you don't have any spare gems to spend on hosting your own Clash Royale Tournament, you can still join in the fun and be allowed to join a tournament for free, without costing you any gems. You also get to have the chance to participate in the event and win top prizes for the competition. However, because of the high demands of players joining the competition and hoping to win massive amounts of rewards and prizes.

Most of the time the tournaments that appear on your dashboard will be full of participants and no room for you to join. However if you are patient enough you might be able to get into a few competitions and win some lucky prizes. If you aren't, fear not, as Clash Royale always host special events, tournaments, and competitions you can be part in to earn that extra gold or gem.


2019 Guide to Becoming a Professional Mobile Esports Player

It's 2019, and the Esports world is becoming just as big as physical sports are nowadays. When we see big tournaments for PC gaming and consoles, it's just a matter of time for this worldwide phenomenon to replicate itself to other media, and gaming is evolving in new and exciting ways that are able to reach a potentially bigger user base in the competitive side of gaming. This opens the door to just about anyone who thinks that wants to be a professional mobile esports professional.

But what about the knowledge of complicated commands and joystick movements that have to be practiced every day? What if you don't have a state-of-the-art computer to play? Do you still have a chance to become an esports athlete? Of course you do! Because Esports are not limited to PC or consoles anymore. Nowadays, with the amazing mobile technology we have available, mobile esports tournaments are more and more common!

With the newer and more powerful mobile devices that mobile companies are releasing day by day, some of the most popular games are being worked on mobile apps just as if you were playing the console or PC version of those games (In some cases, even playing on the same servers), so why not testing your luck into becoming a mobile esports professional athlete? You have the advantage of this genre not being yet overrun by competitors, and there are many ways you can improve your chances to be in esports tournaments if you start right now with these few simple tips:

Pick a game that suits your abilities:

Do you have superb reflexes or you're more of a tactical thinker? All of these questions come into consideration when trying to choose the game you'd like to play professionally. If your thing is making good decisions and resource management, maybe you should focus your efforts on an Auto-Chess type of game (Autochess Origins and Dota Underlords are two options currently for mobile apps) or if you'd like more hands-on action, you could always try for the Battle Royale games that require a lot of good aim and quick reflexes.

Know your game's in and outs:

For being able to compete in mobile esports tournaments (or any kind of esports tournaments for that matter) you need to know your game left and right, down and center, and this is only achieved through constant study and keeping up to date with all the information you can gather. From the meta generally applied for most winning strategies, to characters tiers, win rates and anything else, you need to keep track of all the resources you need to learn, and make a habit of reading as much as you can ( TIP: Always read ALL the patch notes of your game of choice, changes in balance can be critical for your development if you have strategies based on characters, weapons or specific conditions in-gam)

Take care of your device:

This is just as important as practice and studying. You need to keep your gaming mobile device in a prime state if you want to compete in esport tournaments. I would personally recommend having a separate device just for your mobile esports needs, because if there's anything worse than having problems in the middle of a match, it's to receive a call just before the winning move!

Keep historic records of yourself: One of the last and more important steps, even before thinking about climbing the ranks and divisions of any esports tournaments is to know how much you're improving, and even if games take the time to take your statistics and keep track of them, there's so much more you can do to improve your abilities! Take notes of yourself, save the replays of your matches and watch them frequently! In this way, you can learn from your mistakes and improve either your KDR, your MMR or your W/L Ratio just by adjusting to new strategies and getting closer to mobile esports tournament standards.

Consistency:

Finally, the most important rule of them all to become a Professional Mobile Esports Athlete is the consistency. You have to play a lot of hours, you have to study even more, you need to refine your technique and learn from your mistakes, but most importantly, you need to do this constantly, don't stop, even if you fail, because you always have to remember that every professional has failed more times than the rookie has tried yet.


7 Tips for Navigating Esports Contracts Like A Pro

Introduction

According to analysis by NewZoo, esports is projected to reach USD$1Bn in revenue by the end of 2019 and everyone wants a piece of the pie. More starstruck youth than ever are hoping to be the next Faker or Doublelift and earn worldwide acclaim. 

What’s the downside to esports’ massive growth in popularity and capital? A regulatory void that leaves aspiring players vulnerable to exploitation. Contracts for new pro players remain almost entirely unregulated, leading to exploitative agreements. 

Before digging into how you can negotiate contracts like a pro, you’ll need some background to better understand why bad contracts are so prolific.

Background - Contract Law in Esports

For decades, basketball, football, and other traditional sports have worked through countless legal and contractual issues. Esports, on the other hand, is a relative newbie, with only a few recent years of legal developments.

Low player salaries and poor working conditions have plagued esports since the industry first exploded in the 1990s. Many of these problems have come from a combination of poorly designed and abusive contracts that are common in esports. 

Players and organizations who aren't selective with who writes, reviews and edits their contracts are at risk of losing tens of thousands of dollars, as seemingly small clauses can negatively alter a contract hugely. 

Contract disputes simply haven’t been litigated or arbitrated enough to bring esports up to date. Many contracts in esports, especially at the amateur level, are not even legally enforceable. 

Organizations that don’t shell out the money for an expensive professionally written contract routinely copy poorly written contract templates from the internet. These often contain incorrect clauses and poorly defined provisions that can invalidate the contract entirely. Players and organizations who aren't selective with who writes, reviews and edits their contracts are at risk of losing tens of thousands of dollars, as seemingly small clauses can negatively alter a contract hugely. 

Educating new players on their rights has remained a very low priority for the industry and this poses potentially dire consequences for their careers. If you’re reading this article, you’re already ahead of the competition on signing a contract that works for you, not against you.

With that, here are 7 vital considerations every player should think about before signing a contract:

1. Contract Language

If you’re not talking to a lawyer (Protip: Do talk to a lawyer), you need to know what you’re signing. Do you understand the language the contract is written in?

Adam Melrose of Law in Esports writes that players can become stuck in low paying (or even non-paying) contracts because of terms that disproportionately burden them. Unreputable organizations have been known to exploit players who don’t natively speak their language by using complex legal jargon to get players to sign bad contracts. 

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Non-compete clauses: these restrict you from activities such as joining another team or playing competitively, even after the contract ends. Non-compete clauses can even prevent you from streaming on certain platforms that compete with team sponsors, costing you money and recognition. 

For more information about non-compete clauses, check out this great article by Kelley Warner Law. For some helpful examples of non-compete clauses in contracts, check out this database from LawInsider.

  • Ambiguity/Vagueness: undefined terms or intentionally vague provisions increase your liability or incurred costs when you sign. Get clarity on anything you don’t feel is clear. 

This article by LegalMatch has some more info on ambiguity in contract drafting, so check it out for further reading.

  • Loopholes: some contracts slip in terms that allow the drafting party to violate other sections of a contract under certain circumstances, leading to easy abuse.

Check out this great article by Business News Daily for more info on loopholes and other tricky contract clauses.

Take your time going through the contract and understanding what you’re signing away. Never let yourself get pressured into signing something you don’t understand or else you could end up in a situation you didn't bargain for.

2. Choice of Law and Contract Jurisdiction

The country or state jurisdiction you sign a contract under is key to protecting your rights. While this point may sound boring and unimportant, it’s critical to understand or you could find yourself dealing with significantly higher legal fees, unfair laws, or lacking legal resources. 

Contracts should always specify the jurisdiction they fall under, as that defines which set of laws the contract operates under. If your contract doesn’t have a choice of law, it will get extremely expensive to challenge or litigate any part of it in court once you’ve signed off. 

This is even more important when signing a contract with an organization outside of your country because contract law changes from place to place.

3. Compensation

Contracts should be upfront about salary amount, tournament winnings, sponsorship revenue, payment schedule, and how much of that you take home. Don’t end up like Fortnite streamer Tfue who become locked in a contract with Faze Clan where Faze took an astounding 80% cut of all sponsorship deals they introduced. 

Additionally, keep in mind what expenses you’ll be expected to pay for during things like tournament travel; assume you must cover the costs of anything your contract doesn’t clearly specify.

4. IP and Branding

Your intellectual property and media rights are extremely important, so get the full picture of what brand and IP rights you’re signing away. These include your appearance in advertisements, your video game streaming profile, social media, image, and other important sources of revenue.  

Be careful of contracts that transfer your IP rights to the organization, especially the use of language like “lifetime” or “exclusive”. Some of the most popular streamers pull in millions of dollars in extra revenue from their IP, so push to keep as much of your brand as possible.

5. Performance Metrics

Your contract should clearly state what you need to do to stay on the team’s active roster. This includes how much you’ll need to practice and in-game performance metrics like a minimum average Kill/Death/Assist ratio to maintain. 

Many contracts also include behavioral standards you must follow and a basic level of professionalism to maintain on things like social media, so make sure that you can meet these. Counter-Strike pro player Smooya was unexpectedly benched, with a reduction in salary, after joining Epsilon Gaming because he didn’t speak Swedish.  

Push for clarity on these points or risk becoming the benchwarmer.

6. Employment Classification

Like the choice of law provisions point above, you need to know whether you’re an employee or an independent contractor under the local law. This affects things such as sick days, health insurance, and health-based exemptions from play and practice. 

Employees and contractors have different legal rights, so do your best to understand the basic rules and regulations for either classification and/or talk to a legal professional. 

7. Termination 

Similarly to the standards of being benched, know under what circumstances your contract could be terminated and how you can get out of your contract. Take note of exceptions that will terminate your contract early as a result of a breach of contract, misconduct, or through a mutual agreement such as a buyout from another team. 

Contracts commonly list buyouts twice or even three times as high as the contract value, so be careful signing any contract that would be difficult to buy out. As a young player, you don’t want to lose the best years of your career in a contract that doesn’t fit your needs. 

Conclusion and Going Forward

These 7 points are merely a starting point for any player joining a team who wants to exercise caution before signing a contract. This article is not a replacement for hiring a legal professional; any player who has the means to do so should contact a legal representative.It may be expensive now, but it could save you time, stress, and most notably money in the future. 

As esports grows, so will standardization. The process is slow, so take all precautions and educate yourself now when dealing with the risks and high-stakes of team contracts.

For further reading and information on contract law in esports, we’ve added several links below to check out:

 


How To Become A Professional Esports Player

Gaming has come a long way from only being limited to local arcades, to a whole community of people globally. It has evolved so much that there is an entire industry based around. The professional version of it is known as Electronic Sports, Esports for short.

There are many career options available such as game developer, host, player, referee, and agents. In this article, we look at how you can become a professional player. Below are the basics to get you started in this ever-growing and lucrative industry which is Esports:

1. Choose a platform

Games are now available on three platforms, namely PC, Console, and Mobile, each offering online capability. For you to become a professional, you need to choose which platform best suits you and stick to it. Mobile is the most recent and is rapidly growing as more people now own smartphones. This growth has resulted in the development of a new sub-industry known as mobile esports.

2. Invest in the hardware

Once you identify which platform you are going to pursue, it is necessary to invest in the correct equipment. Different games require specific hardware for them to work seamlessly. You have to make sure that the device you have is capable of handling the hardware requirements for the game. If you opt for mobile, make sure it has sufficient ram, proper display size, and resolution. You can also have a dedicated device only for gaming.

3. Choose a genre

Games come in different genres that cater to individual tastes. You have simulation games, arcade games, sports and so on. For you to become a professional, you need to choose a genre that is suitable for you and does not have a steep learning curve. You can always look at past esports tournaments to see which type has the most following. For mobile, it is much simpler as you can choose between Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or Multiplayer Massive Online.

4. Practice regularly

Every professional regardless of the career choice can only become good at it with regular practice. Dedicate appropriate time to improve your skills and technique in the game. You can start by hosting games online for you and your close friends and challenge each other in the game. Another way to develop your gaming skills is to enroll yourself on an esports tournament platform. Here you will find vast amounts of information on gameplay, techniques, and tutorials on how to approach different aspects of the game. You can also watch videos on YouTube that feature elite players demonstrating various ways in how they tackle challenging areas of the game.

5. Get known

As you continue gaming, it is advisable to let people know your existence. You can do this by reaching out to other pros in the game of your choice and interact with them regularly. Another great way to increase your exposure is by joining a team or creating one. Here you will be able to increase your profile and grow your brand. Every professional gamer has a personal brand and a team to match. The advantage of this is that you can get valuable experience from other players, as well as support on all matters of gaming. You can share resources and even widen your exposure in the gaming community through each other's networks.

6. Enter your first competition

Now that you have garnered experience, it is time for you to put your skills to the test. You can start with your local tournament and see how you stack up amongst other players. For PC and Console there exist games whereby you can compete as an individual such as sports games and fighting games. Most of the games that people play in mobile esports tournaments require team participation. So always make sure that you have a team at your disposal, to be able to compete against others.

Competitions are a great way to judge the level of skill that you have. The experience will help you in identifying where you need to improve. Always remember the first tournament is a learning experience. The results do not matter at this point. They are a benchmark to push you further in your quest to become a pro. Keep on participating regularly, and you will soon find yourself among the elite.

Esports is open to everyone. It does not matter how old you are. So long as you have the right equipment and passion, you can excel in becoming a professional gamer.


Virtual reality, augmented reality and the growth of esports

Our world is constantly being re-shaped by advancements in technology – from PCs to the internet, to mobiles, to tablets. With every new technological transformation, our lives have become a little bit easier and the world has become a lot more accessible. Today, all eyes are on the new-yet-not-so-new kids on the block: augmented reality and virtual reality.

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality refers to an immersive digital world completely cut off from the physical one. It is built on ideas that go as far back as the 1800s, but the term was first used in the 1930s by Jaron Lanier. Today, after nearly a century, it has gained massive traction, with people scrambling to get a taste of the complete immersive VR experience. Leading the way is the gaming industry, which has proven to be the first-adopter of all things visual and tech, and has already created products that leverage the potential of AR and VR technology. Additionally, as an industry, it is not satisfied with just the basic offering, and is striving to push the envelope to achieve richer, more immersive, personal experiences.

According to statista.com,

The VR industry is growing at a fast pace, with the market size of virtual reality hardware and software projected to increase from 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to more than 19 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Another forecast projects revenues from the global virtual reality market to reach 21.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.”

Currently, competitive gamers have an average PC spend of USD 1500 – 50% more than users who do not game. Keeping this in mind, a full gaming rig with premium VR, estimated at around USD 800, with VR headset and games, is well within the budgets of competitive gamers. Cost of hardware is predicted to fall further. The cost of an Oculus Rift is now USD 399, while the new Oculus Go is even more affordable, with a USD 199 retail price having launched in May 2018. In fact, 200 million+ consumer VR head-mounted displays are expected to be sold worldwide by 2020, implying that more and more people will be turning to these technologies and making them a staple for entertainment, be it esports, films, or music.

 

 

Augmented Reality

Unlike virtual reality, which is completely cut off from the real world, augmented reality blends the virtual and physical worlds. Due to its easy accessibility (via mobile or tablet), AR has caught on faster than VR amongst the masses. Augmented reality has been growing in popularity amongst the developer community since 2006. However, it was only in 2017 that the industry received a significant boost, when AR exploded into the mainstream with the release of Pokemon Go and AR development kits by Apple and Google.

Pokémon Go was the first memorable instance of mass AR consumption. A location-based AR game, it had more than 100 million downloads in its first month of launch, reportedly earning $10m per day at the height of its popularity. Due to its mass appeal, it attracted more attention and investment. But why did it work? First, it brought our favourite Pokemon to the real world, in a sense; secondly, it promoted a sense of community by bringing people together. Most of the break-through technologies have done much the same.

The best part about AR games is that they introduce elements in our otherwise ordinary world. In Pokemon GO, a pokemon could be hiding behind a chair or a dustbin on a street that you pass daily. It gives us an opportunity to build a new world on the foundations of our current one.

According to insightssuccess, “With the new advancements in AR, players can scan a room with their devices and create a 3D map of the walls and furniture. Gamers can place their virtual characters and objects on real tables and shelves, while other players can view the scene and join via their own devices.”

The proof of the popularity is in the numbers. There are approximately 200 million AR-compatible devices on the market, with this number expected to increase 10-fold, to 2 billion, by end-2019. In addition, billion-dollar investments in wearable technology firms such as Mirror Labs and Magic Leap are forecast to bolster the size of the AR addressable market, in addition to taking immersion to the next level. Add to that the Hololens initiative from Microsoft coupled with Apple’s acquisition of Vrvana (a VR/AR eye-tracking “crossover” company) and Akonia Holographics (which develops lenses for AR glasses), and the future of augmented reality looks exceptionally bright.

Advertisers are already engaging with AR to disrupt traditional digital marketing with immersive, interactive AR content. A case in point is the Jaguar Land Rover AR experience that created a simulated driver cockpit experience for potential customers.

Needless to say, AR has significant potential to serve not only as a vital acquisition funnel for VR game technology and content, but also as a brand new stream of views and revenue for game streamers who are struggling to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

 

The market for both realities

Augmented reality and virtual reality will be most widely used in the gaming industry and, with the increase in number of both casual and professional gamers, their future seems to have an abundance of lucrative opportunities. The two technologies add a fantastical element to gaming, making it seem both ethereal and personal. VR and AR provide opportunities for people who are both gamers and athletes. A case in point is HADO, a Japanese firm that has been hosting an annual VR/AR competition for the past few years. In 2017, it expanded into other SEA countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Its second official international tournament, the HADO World Cup, saw 12 teams from three different countries competing for the championship title. You can check the promo here.

 

Thus, undeniably, the convergence of these two technologies will help make the future of esports brighter than it already is.

 


Esports and its impact on existing careers

The establishment of new industries, like esports, helps diversify common careers by creating specializations for the upcoming industry. Esports has much the same requirements as traditional sports. There are, however a few differences. Esports has ample options for gamers and for people in technology, and in creative fields like animation, design, writing or storytelling, none of which are required in the traditional sports industry. But does it have room to help other career categories expand? Let’s look at some of the roles that are essential to the world of esports today. These do not include the core categories already mentioned above.

 

  • Agents: Like most celebrities, professional gamers need agents to help them get brand deals and sponsorships. In the case of up-and-coming gamers, they might need agents to get noticed on a larger scale.

  • Business Managers: These might be the same as agents, with additional responsibilities. Gaming assets appreciate and depreciate over time. Trading is a part of the gaming world and who better to manage this than a business manager? This leaves the players more time to practice. Gamers need to make informed decisions to grow their revenue and their brand. Business managers can help gamers understand the pros and cons of going with different teams, endorsing certain brands, making certain trades etc.

 

 

  • Lawyers: The legal world of esports, with respect to gamers’ rights and contracts, is quite unorganized. There is still no standard contract to which the legalese-challenged gamer can refer. With the growth of esports, lawyers specializing in the industry will be more in demand, overseeing player acquisitions and trading, gamer rights, breaches of contract, and more. They would have to be well-versed with the industry and how the esports world works to help with in-game or tournament disputes as well. This website gives an idea of what to expect in esports contracts.

  • Accountants: Esports gamers don’t just own common currency, they also own game tokens or game currencies that need to be accounted for. This may not be relevant now but it shows promise in the near future, especially with the advent of blockchain, upon which esports platforms are being built. They would also be key in recommending financial actions to be taken to fill the gamer’s coffers.

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Virtual reality on esports tournaments spectatorship

The football players enter the field. There are loud cheers. Someone next to you accidentally spills some of their drink on you. But you don’t care. You’re too busy cheering for the team, adding to the already thunderous applause and hooting that has engulfed the stadium. At this moment, until the next 90 minutes or so, you are part of a movement, alongside strangers who feel like family.

Watching sports in a stadium is different from watching it on one’s laptop, alone. Typing to connect with friends while the game is on could result in you missing some action. Talking to friends is much easier. This is why, when going on-ground to see a match is not possible, people have viewing parties. Sports spectating is essentially about coming together and enjoying the game. Unfortunately, esports, which has around 500 million fans with ⅔ being spectators, doesn't essentially provide a stadium-style experience and friends aren’t always free to travel.

Virtual reality helps bring the feeling of camaraderie and oneness back in not just esports, but any game. It enables us to experience “stadium-style” viewing from the comfort of wherever-we-are. As we don our VR headsets or glasses, we are transported into a world full of action and fellow fans, seated across us, next to us, behind us. We can turn to them and talk without missing the game. We can see our players in action just a few feet away. Our cheers become part of the crowd again.

However, VR brings more than just stadium-style spectating to our homes. It enables us to switch between multiple stadiums. Since games are being viewed on a platform we control, we can easily “switch the channel”, without losing out on the viewing experience. Another interesting capability of this technology is allowing us to experience the game from the athlete’s point of view. Virtual reality heightens the immersive spectating experience by letting us see what a player sees at any given point of time in the game.

Lastly, since it brings ‘stadium-style’ viewing back, it also helps us make new, genuine friends. How do we know they’re the friends we want? Mostly, because you can see exactly how they behave during the game.

Data

Esports spectating in VR is a treasure-trove of psycho-graphic data. Since VR mirrors our real-life actions, researchers or gaming studios can see exactly when people start losing interest, the number of times they get distracted, their fidgeting habits, their preferred ‘look’, the angle of their most-held gaze, their body movements and so on.

The above, peppered with the spectator’s involuntary verbal cues, gives researchers valuable insights into an individual’s as well as a community’s behavioral and linguistic patterns.

 

Monetisation

The presence of rich psycho-graphic data provides earning opportunities for spectators and game creators. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytical scandal has raised awareness regarding privacy breaches. People want to know where their data goes. In a VR world, spectators can allow brands to document their experiences in a given game or situation, for a certain time, at a certain cost. The game takes a cut of the spectator’s earnings, but the spectator keeps a bulk of the revenue. This way, people have direct control over which brands have what information and are able to benefit financially in the process.

While spectators get paid for data, gaming or esports stadiums get paid for targeted ad distribution. Think of an on-ground, physical stadium. There will always be a few (sponsoring) brands that stand out because of their logo placement along the base of the stands. Brands in stadiums have greater recall value for the spectators because their ads are not constantly moving and there is no scope of ‘scrolling’ through them or dismissing them. This is primarily due to the static nature of the ads and the fact that they appear to be non-intrusive, while simultaneously making an impression on the spectator’s mind. Ad distribution or display is further enhanced with the help of psycho-graphic targeting. Since the game already has its own set of psycho-graphic data, it can show different ads to different people at the same time, in the same spot. For example: A gadget-loving person who is sitting across Hoarding A might see an ad for the latest mobile, while a person sitting right next to him/her might see an ad for a new item in a different game because they just earned a massive amount in that game. The ad on the hoardings can also change based on the mood of the individual spectator.

Virtual reality, undeniably, opens doors for rich, immersive spectating. The question is – how good can we make this experience?


Esports: Is it worthy of being a career?

Nearly 300 million spectators. 500 million fans. A future valued at more than a billion dollars in 2020. Esports may have started out as an additional means of making some extra pocket money back in the ‘70s but, by the 2000s, professional gamers had made their mark. Increase in spectatorship re-affirmed the undeniably bright future of esports.

Present Professionals

Today, there are instances of professional gamers making millions from tournaments. The richest player, Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, DotA player and part of Team Liquid, has made $3,549,039.35 over a decade. The team is known for its “silent and deadly” gameplay. Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora has raked in $2,953,956.27 and is ranked #3 worldwide, #1 in the US. He has already won $168,000 this year from 2 tournaments. Sumail Hassan moved to the US to further his DotA 2 career at the age of 15. Featured in Time Magazine 2016 as one of the most influential teenagers, Sumail is the youngest player to have earned $1,000,000 gaming. His total earnings to date are $2,676,991.94. Sasha Hostyn, with $200,693.82, is the highest earning female esports player in the world.

These gamers and their stories have inspired a whole generation to look at esports as a viable career option. It is – if you’re willing to put in the work and effort required.

Current Landscape

Like any career, professional gaming requires persistence and dedication. Currently, the hurdles to enter the industry as a gamer are a little higher, with people vying for the same top titles, as seen in the graph below – League of Legends (which averages around a 100 million players), Starcraft II (with 2.4M players competing), DotA 2 and so on. This doesn’t allow newcomers to make their mark as easily as the early professionals of the early 2000s. To add to their woes, the world of esports is largely unstructured.

Fortunately, with blockchain-based esports entities cropping up, there are now more opportunities for new gamers and small studios to compete and showcase games, respectively, with greater security. Additionally, with technology becoming cheaper and more accessible, the number of professional gamers and esports tournaments is set to increase. Perhaps the most telling change, however, is the blurring of lines between esports and traditional gaming. The adoption of esports by traditional sports organisations has been one of the main reasons for the spike in competitive gaming popularity.

 

Traditional Organisations x Esports

Marcus “ExpectSporting” Jorgensen was signed by Manchester City to represent the club in FIFA in PlayStation 4 competitions; Google has added a livescore feature for esports; the States’ Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets are backing 3 of 10 top teams competing in the North American League Championship series this year.

Even Disney has acquired 21st Century Fox, owns 75% stake in BAMTech, and chose 3 esports-centric entities for its Accelerator programme - aXiomatic, an esports ownership group and Epic Games, developer/publisher of Gears of War and Fortnite. This is of some import primarily due to the massive size of Disney and its existing, loyal audience - in Gen Y and Gen Z. Collaborating with or owning esports entities gives Disney the opportunity to expand its already popular products (films, entertainment, merchandise) into an up-and-coming, potentially viral medium. For esports, this translates into a definitive vote of confidence, securing its present and reinforcing its future potential.

The International Market

China, having gained more than US $37,945M (data below) in esports revenue, as of June 2018, has towns that are building stadiums specifically for esports tournaments. This provides increased opportunities for esports aspirants to enter the market in Asia. However, with increase in access, competition is also bound to increase. Asia, particularly China, is driving the thriving esports market. According to article in Forbes:

“...there are 100 million eSports fans in China now. They watch professional competitions, either live or online, on many video sites that are China's answer to Twitch...ESPN and Tencent, the largest online games company in China, and one of the largest Internet companies in the world by market cap, have recently teamed up to cover sports in China.”

 

Esports: Here to stay

Esports has expanded to the extent that it now has subsets, the most common being real-time strategy (RTS), fighting, first-person shooter (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). There is some debate regarding MOBA’s status as a stand-alone genre.

The increasing number of opportunities, the support of major players in traditional industries, and the ever-expanding nature of esports has established competitive video gaming as a phenomenon that is here to stay.

All said and done, is esports a worthy career option?

The simple answer is ‘Yes’. However, the world of esports isn’t just for competitive gamers, of course. It has created inexhaustible opportunities for writers, developers, media managers, coaches, designers – art and fashion, player psychologists, and commentators. If you want a piece of the action but can’t game, you can always consider the aforementioned subsets of a career in gaming. Alternatively, you could don the cap of a spectator and cheer your favourite players on during tournaments.

So, what do you think? Planning on dipping your professional toes in esports waters?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Virtual Reality: A closer, more understanding world

The PC brought the digital world to our homes, the advent of the internet made a wealth of information accessible, while the mobile made it portable and promoted connectivity.  The next wave of transformation comes in the form of Virtual Reality or, as it is fondly and lazily known, VR.

VR: A quick introduction

Virtual Reality, undoubtedly, makes it easier to traverse the world without moving from our spot. We can be on the hills of the Himalayas or walking beside lions in sub-Saharan Africa; we can visit our parents at home while working in a completely different continent; we can scour the southernmost tip of the world without fear and without training; we can be at a stadium, high-fiving a fan next to us, without leaving our couch; we can float in space without becoming astronauts.

Most importantly, virtual reality brings us closer. It takes us into the world of another, helps us open up to them, and helps form intimate bonds despite the lack of physical connection.

Of media and empathy

Many industries, particularly the news and media, have utilized VR to give people a sense of the devastation and emotional distress during natural and man-made disasters in other parts of the world. BBC UK, additionally, has created a few VR experiences in the form of stories to help people experience the life of a migrant and the mind of a rebel. This encourages empathy in people. For most of us, a disaster happening half the world away is a mere distraction. VR puts us front and centre in the lives of another person. Interaction becomes easier because the suddenness of familiarity is balanced by the knowledge that this is happening “online”. People feel safer talking to a new person. They also tend to let their guard down and become more open.

“…empathy doesn’t go quite far enough and VR’s true magic is the ability to induce intimacy between people.” Peter Rubin, author -  Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy and the Limits of Ordinary Life.

While we are essentially not present physically, our mannerisms are replicated in the VR world in real time. Hence, interactions become more real. The line between VR and reality is also slightly blurred by our brain and it is possible to completely immerse oneself in this digitized reality.

Of safety and health

As VR brings impact of disasters closer home, it also has potential to ease the process of help. VR simulations are already used in training armies for all possible scenarios. If extended to more people, it can create an easily-accessible and educated group of first responders, aware of how to interact with people in need of aid.

In addition, seeking therapy becomes easier. In times of distress, particularly depression, people do want to ask for help, but appointments are difficult to make. In other cases, they cannot bring themselves to move and act. Access to therapists on a VR platform would help the patient as well as the therapist, who will be able to see the patient’s reactions and hear their words as though in the physical world. Alternatively, they would be able to reach out to others like them or just other friends via VR. While there is nothing like a warm hug to calm the nerves for most, a conversation and just “going out” to meet people can do wonders. Virtual reality encourages that without forcing the person to muster enough energy, something that might take days to happen without help.

Making education accessible

Schools too would benefit. Student exchange programmes would become more accessible as students experience classrooms abroad without leaving their homes. This enables those unable to fund travel or those with linguistic barriers to get the same opportunities as their more financially privileged counterparts. In the physical world, a foreign exchange student without knowledge of the host country language will not be able to understand the course material or fully appreciate the culture. With virtual reality, courses and conversations can be translated in real time, breaking linguistic barriers. Underprivileged students and families are also able to travel the world without paying for airline tickets, visa, and more.

A closer world

Virtual reality gives us the opportunity to befriend the 7 billion+ people out there faster and more intimately, without compromising security and without having to travel. This takes the stories of billions of people to each other, creating a world that is closer, more understanding and, perhaps in the future, more trusting.

Virtual reality doesn’t just help one connect with others. It has great potential to help us understand ourselves. The better we know ourselves, the better we understand the world. Isolating ourselves in a crowd to get some space or just introspect becomes easy with VR. Acting different scenarios out and experimenting with all our dreams becomes possible and helps us understand what we really want, without putting our future in jeopardy. Virtual reality, interestingly, has massive potential to record and store our actions, acting as a means of storing our memories (Black Mirror, anyone?). Interestingly enough, it is, as of now, the closest we have come to a symbiotic blend of technology and people.

 

The obstacles and the hope

The VR industry does, of course, have a few hurdles to overcome, the most hindering being the size of the wearable technology and the cost of a device. However, cost of hardware is predicted to fall and that will, in all probability, encourage more people to adopt this exciting platform. Additionally, there will always be detractors of anything new, but if the past is any indication, technology only brings the world closer. And VR will be no exception.

Advancement in technology has always worked towards the benefit of the human race. All we have to do is remember not to abuse it. So, embrace VR for it is definitely a step in the right direction, but don’t forget your immediate surroundings while exploring the environs miles and, maybe, even light years away.


Why Esports Tournaments needs Blockchain

From outdoor games to arcade games to games on PCs and consoles to mobile game, gaming ‘platforms’ have come a long way. With each new platform comes a new style and visual of gaming. However, one thing remains the same – the competition. Be it the group of students who first competed in Spacewar! at Stanford University in 1972 or the teams facing off against each other at esports tournaments worldwide today, all of them are in it for two reasons – the love of gaming and the prize.

Esports today: A lucrative opportunity?

Esports, essentially, means video gaming competitions. Today, it comprises competitive gaming, spectating, gambling or wagers, and entertainment. It has grown into a multi-million-dollar business, poised to reach a revenue of a $1.5 billion in 2020.  It accounts for 500 million fans worldwide, out of which 300 are spectators. Its popularity is such that some believe it might make it as an Olympic sport. As per an article by Steve Menary,

“Esports will be a demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, then a medal event four years later in China, leading to discussions over its admission at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.”

Great! The future looks bright. But how does one become a competitive gamer? The answer is not as simple as one would like it to be. First, it requires hours and hours of practice – not 3 or 4, but 7 to 8 hours, daily. Players have to find a balance between taking care of their health and training for the game. Young people passionate about reaching the top tend to forget about their health – mental and physical. This is true of any career-centric or skill-centric pursuit. Next, every aspiring gamer needs to have a backup plan until they have at “least some indication that they can make money and support themselves with gaming.” Then there’s the research. It is absolutely essential to understand the methods and tactics of those who came before you – and succeeded. In addition, playing against those better than you can help improve your skill. Lastly, you need to be able to lose gracefully. Even the best players lose 30-50% of their games.

Okay, so now you’ve won a few tournaments, your health is fine, you’ve been reading up on your predecessors, and you’re a pretty humble competitor. It’s an easy in to the highest rung of esports gaming now, right?

Expectedly, the answer is: wrong.

You shall not pass: The barriers

The world of esports is greatly unstructured. It is heavily influenced by popularity and availability of the necessary finances. It is only a handful of games like DOTA, League of Legends, Starcraft, and Fortnite that attract most professional players and spectators. Lack of knowledge amongst gamers, regarding other titles, greatly reduces their chances to get a foot in the door. The games mentioned above account for some of the most coveted titles in esports.

To add to gamers’ woes, pro-gaming requires investment in specialized hardware – it’s going to be very difficult to win on a standard PC. Let’s draw a parallel with another sport dependent on machines – F1 Racing. According to Michael Schumacher,

“I hate to take compromises with a racing car. The more standard a car is, the more compromises you have to take.”

You don’t have to have the best machine out there, but it needs to be above average to help complement your skills. Esports is dependent on two things: the machine and the (wo)man.

Next, the industry has been unable to effectively protect gamers against fraudulent activities like scamming or smurfing. There are also innumerable cases regarding pending payments and identity theft. Says Diarmuid Thoma, Director of Fraud at TransUnion:

“What happens when they (hackers/scammers) gain access to your account? One of the things I have learned about gaming specifically is, it’s not all about the credit card. The account itself is worth money”.

Needless to say, things look bleak for new gamers looking to go pro – there are competition scams, unfulfilled payments, phishing, identity theft, increased cost, and lack of adequate knowledge. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that gaming is still not considered a prospective career by society. So, good luck fighting your family.

It’s not just gamers who are affected. Cost of marketing inhibits up-and-coming game studios from getting any air-time for their games, further inhibiting gamers’ knowledge of available titles. It also impacts their capabilities to create good storylines & gameplay, and to invest in spectatorship services. As you will recall, spectators account for 2/3 of esports fans.

Knight in shining armour: Blockchain

The advent of blockchain technology brought with it an opportunity. Blockchain technology has gained ground because of its decentralised approach, increased transparency, increased security, and the popularity of Bitcoin. A blockchain is, in layman’s terms, a public ledger of information that cannot be fundamentally tampered with. So, how does it play into esports?

Security and transparency: Creating a profile on the blockchain helps protect gamers from identity theft as their information, including the tokens and titles earned, is stored in a multi-branched public ledger. If we look at blockchain as a string of blocks, each block has the same information as the previous one plus new data. Hence, to edit the profile, any person would have to change the data in each and every block. This is difficult because no single person has control over a single blockchain. The threat of identity theft is thus alleviated. Security is further enhanced with a cryptographic set of keys.

The presence of a gamer’s profile on the blockchain would help scouts discover potential esports athletes faster. It also ensures that the information shared is accurate, thus benefiting both scout and gamer.

Smart Contracts: Additionally, smart contract templates can help gamers easily navigate the legalese of the esports world. As of now, there are no standard contracts in the world of gaming.

Monetisation: Increased esports spectator ship is a reality. Amazon’s Twitch has redefined the esports space by allowing streaming and recording of game play. This has enabled gamers to reach our homes and offices – any place that has any device. Additionally, this creates increased income opportunities for gamers as well. For example, Singapore’s Bountie, a blockchain-based esports initiative, features seasonal weekly tournaments for professional gamers, allowing them to earn coins or tokens, thus monetizing the space. There is also scope to bring about in-app purchases during spectating.

Decentralization and speed: Gamers are not new to the technology of blockchain, nor are they unfamiliar with the use of digital tokens that define most of the blockchain transactions. Some might argue that digital currency first became popular with digital games. The problem gamers face here is pending payments. Sometimes, they are not paid at all. At other times, the payment takes three to six months to come through. Blockchain expedites this process to a matter of seconds or, worst case scenario, in minutes. The transactions are verified by the decentralised (peer-to-peer) blockchain system and are irreversible.

Mass awareness: Any given blockchain also provides opportunities to gaming studios to build on top of the main chain. These respective studios can then have their own DApps, keeping the token of the main chain as the primary token. This increases the visibility of their games, which was a problem earlier, and helps reduce transaction costs due to the absence of a middleman on blockchains.

The VR/AR factor: Immersive gaming is fast becoming the preferred means of playing and spectating. AR/VR has already made inroads into the blockchain world with Decentraland. As VR/AR hardware becomes more affordable, more people will have access to it. According to statista.com, “In 2022, the augmented and virtual reality market is expected to reach a market size of 209.2 billion U.S. dollars.”

Gaming fans have always been early adopters and the existence of VR/AR on blockchain will help bring immersive technology to the masses faster and more efficiently. This in turn will give a sense of “stadium-style” viewing where spectators would be able to see who is sitting next to them and tickets could also be sold to monetise on the experience.

Healthcare: With blockchain, players can keep count of the number of hours they have been playing, injuries sustained, and amount spent on healthcare. Additionally, a player’s profile with the above statistics and his/her popularity will help healthcare professionals tailor advice to the individual. It also makes it difficult for players to lie to doctors - something that everyone is guilty of doing. Gamers will also be able to assess their skills at different points in time - pre-meal, post meal, after sleep, during stress or anxiety, during exuberance and so on.

Early Adopters

Unsurprisingly, some have already hopped aboard the esports-blockchain train. Bountie ensures quick payments to players and weekly tournaments; DreamTeam is paving the way for efficient use of smart contract by players, in addition to opening esports up to sponsors and advertisers; and Unikrn offers “team ownership, skill and spectator betting applications, a casino group and multimedia content for esports fans.”

A Quick Recap

Undoubtedly, blockchain technology has much to offer to the expanding realm of esports. It makes it easier for newcomers to enter the competitive arena, sans fraudsters, scams, and pending payments; game studios building their apps or games on top of any main chain benefit in terms of reach; gamers are exposed to more than just the popular titles in tournaments, expanding their scope of winnings and competition; ease of entry and access provides more opportunities for all stakeholders - gamers, studios, advertisers - to monetise; lastly, the decentralized approach ensures quicker, cheaper transactions, greater efficiency, smart contracts, and increased transparency.

Thus, sustainable and engaging esports content and opportunities, coupled with the countless economic and structural benefits of blockchain, ensure that the world of esports becomes a way of life and not just a trend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewrossow/2018/05/15/its-time-to-wake-up-the-esports-space-with-blockchain/#27198bbb4ff9
  2. https://medium.com/trivial-co/blockchain-and-ar-vr-a-match-made-in-virtual-heaven-26e54782be56
  3. https://www.igvita.com/2014/05/05/minimum-viable-block-chain/
  4. https://medium.com/@athirahsyamimi/the-fast-growing-esports-market-and-blockchain-1d918fc4b7b2
  5. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/how-to-prevent-video-game-credit-card-fraud.php
  6. https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/story?id=5382302&page=1
  7. https://medium.com/@BountieGaming/the-history-and-evolution-of-esports-8ab6c1cf3257
  8. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4047/the_history_of_spacewar_the_best_.php?print=1
  9. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/404233/the-start-of-computer-games/
  10. http://www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2017/0416_the-rise-of-esports-and-the-challenges-that-lie-ahead/
  11. https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/03/30/the-10-steps-to-becoming-a-pro-gamer/#686cb4ce7839