Jul 31 2016 - 5:57 pm

Australian politician seeks to classify CS:GO and Dota 2 as gambling

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are at the center of a proposed bill in the Australian parliament, which would define the titles as gambling and could potentially see them banned from sale in the country
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are at the center of a proposed bill in the Australian parliament, which would define the titles as gambling and could potentially see them banned from sale in the country.

Introduced by independent Senator Nick Xenophon, a veteran politician in Australia, he told the Sydney Morning Herald that the bill is looking to curtail what he considers to be “the Wild West of online gambling that is actually targeting kids.”

Skin betting has been the main talking point in esports for the past month, with popular YouTubers h3h3productions shedding light on the fact that big-time streamers secretly owned the sites they gambled on without disclosing it to their young audience. CS:GO and Dota 2’s developer, Valve, eventually responded to the outcry by sending cease and desist letters to 23 of the most prolific third-party gambling sites, asking them to cease operations.

Xenophon argues, however, that the in-game commodities known as “cases” (or “chests” in Dota 2) is gambling in and of itself, due to the differing value of the rewards players receive from them. Should the bill become law, it’s safe to assume that CS:GO’s ACB (Australian Classification Board) rating would see it shifted from its current MA 15+ rating (for persons over 15 years) to R18+, in compliance with the legal age of gambling in the country. This would mean that only adults could purchase the game, excluding younger players from buying the title.

How the Australian government would go about ensuring that minors can’t get a hold of either game could also become an issue. Purchasing a physical copy could naturally be handled by shop staff, but online purchases may be a lot trickier as users can sign up for a Steam account and purchase the title via its store without having to share any personal information, such as their age.

However, there are countries that have found ways to ensure the age of its players, namely China and South Korea. In China’s case, players looking to play League of Legends sign up through instant messaging software QQ, which requires users to share their personal information in order to make an account. South Korea also requires players to sign up with their social security numbers, as part of the “Shutdown law” that was passed in 2011. This law targets players under the age of 16, and automatically disconnects them from online multiplayer games after 6 a.m.

If either game becomes classified as gambling, Valve would find itself in breach of Australian law as only companies registered in the country are allowed to offer gambling services, meaning the games could get pulled from sale in Australia altogether.

Similarly to Germany’s often strenuous rating of video games, in the past Australia has also taken a firm stance against “objectionable content” within the medium. Up until 2011, Australia wouldn’t allow games that had an ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating of 18, blocking the sale of titles such as Genuine Game’s 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand and Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2. Since the introduction of the R18+ rating in 2011, however, games aimed at older audiences have become more prevalent, though certain such as Volition’s Saint’s Row IV are yet to reach Australian shores.

Nick Xenophon’s bill, which if passed could have major impact on CS:GO and Dota 2, will be introduced to the senate next month as Australian Federal Parliament resumes.

Jan 15 2017 - 8:00 pm

FlipSid3 take home DreamHack Leipzig title

The team didn't drop a single map throughout the tournament.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

Flipsid3 Tactics claimed the biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive title in the organization's history, dominating their opponents at DreamHack Leipzig.

Without dropping a single map throughout the event, FlipSid3 emerged as champions of DreamHack Leipzig after a convincing 2-0 victory in the event's grand finals. But despite its impressive record the team, which features CS 1.6 legend Yegor "markeloff" Markelov, did struggle at certain points throughout the final series against crowd favorites BIG.

While the German favorites were able to take eleven rounds in both maps of the series, FlipSid3 were always one step ahead. This was particularly obvious in regards to the team's latest recruit, Denis "electronic" Sharipov. The Russian player dominated in terms of statistics, as he tallied the highest number of kills in the grand final, earning him an ADR (Average Damage per Round) of 102.

While FlipSid3 finally taking home an international LAN is a big story in and of itself, BIG's performance at the event is almost an equally as notable achievement.

Having only assembled the roster on Jan. 2, DreamHack Leipzig was BIG's LAN debut. The roster, which contains names such as in-game leader Faith "gob b" Dayik and recent AWP star Kevin "keev" Bartholomäus impressed throughout the tournament. The team's 0-2 defeat against FlipSid3 was far from one-sided, as BIG were consistently able to impress against the Eastern European team.

BIG had upset Group A winners Heroic in the semifinals, taking a 2-1 victory, while Flipsid3 had swept aside the challenge of French side LDLC.

Flipsid3 will look to carry this momentum into next week's $1 million ELEAGUE Major, where they will face FaZe Clan in their first swiss stage clash.

Despite not being the most competitive event, DreamHack Leipzig brought a considerable amount of excitement and has already set 2017 off to a flying start.

Jan 15 2017 - 5:34 pm

EnVyUs crowned WESG champions

The French CS:GO team's victory earned them an astounding $800,000.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

In the first major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event of 2017, French side EnVyUs picked up a huge win—and an even bigger purse.

The French squad barrelled through surprise finalists Team Kinguin in two extremely one-sided maps. Following their decisive victory, EnVyUs took their place on the podium and will be leaving China $800,000 richer.

However, few spectators could have imagined that Kinguin would be one of the teams competing in the finals of this massive $1.5 million event.

The day started out with an incredible upset, as Polish super-squad Virtus pro were eliminated from the event after a surprise defeat in the semifinals to their countrymen in Kinguin.

The match was over in only two maps, in which Kinguin fought a close game against the favorites on Dust2, and closed the series out with a decisive 16-5 victory on Mirage.

However, not even EnVyUs participation in the grand final was guaranteed, as the French squad fought a three-game series against Turkish representatives Space Soldiers. Known primarily for its 21-year-old star rifle player Can "XANTARES" Dörtkarde, the entire Turkish squad battled the French team across three maps.

EnVyUs escaped elimination narrowly, and took the final map of the series, winning 16-14.

With the ELEAGUE Major just around the corner, EnVyUs will be riding a wave of momentum—while Virtus Pro will have to regroup and refocus.