Sep 24 2015 - 12:02 am

Turner set to unveil televised esports league featuring CS:GO

Media giant Turner Broadcasting is planning an esports league featuring Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Richard Lewis
Dot Esports

Media giant Turner Broadcasting is planning an esports league featuring Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Launched in partnership with talent agency WME | IMG, the league will bring in the top Counter-Strike teams from across the globe to participate in two 10-week seasons annually. No dates have been set yet, but the league will start in 2016.

The network has also committed to ancillary programming that will include profiles on players and teams, pieces documenting the rich history of the game, and digital content including the use of Turner’s top-rated Bleacher Report app.

The still-unnamed league will be televised on TBS, home to premium live events such as the Major League Baseball postseason and March Madness. On TBS, the CS:GO event will broadcast alongside a variety of shows such as American Dad and Conan, the late night show featuring Conan O’Brien. Turner Sports is also known for its coverage of the NBA on TNT.  

“Esports is one of the fastest growing entertainment genres among young adults around the world,” Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports, said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to creating a tremendous live event atmosphere, leveraging the infrastructure and expertise within Turner Studios, and presenting the competitions in an innovative way throughout our portfolio of leading brands.”

Tobias Sherman, head of WME | IMG’s eSports division, added: “WME | IMG is constantly seeking new ways to help fans enjoy the eSports they love and attract more fans to the sport. This venture is a great example of our commitment to growing the eSports industry, and Turner is the perfect partner to make this a reality. We’ve so enjoyed working with Valve and the teams through this endeavor, and we’re excited for the future.”

This move represents a huge leap forward for esports broadcasting, especially in the case of Counter-Strike, which has often been seen as problematic to broadcast. Previous attempts, such as the Championship Gaming Series in 2007, tried to satisfy both mainstream viewers and hardcore faithful, but failed at both. The new approach—overseen by some of the biggest names in broadcasting—bodes well for the future of the game as a spectator experience.

“We are proud to establish a leadership position in this rapidly growing arena, which I see as a tent pole for the next chapter of TBS,” said Kevin Reilly, president of TBS and TNT, chief creative officer for Turner. “The level of rabid fandom and engagement that we see in this world is extraordinary and we aim to up the experience for both the players and fans alike and provide a cutting-edge live experience on both linear and digital TBS platforms.”

The dates for the event, and the teams set to compete, have yet to be finalized. Sources at Turner say the network will not seek to lock players or teams into exclusivity contracts, and will look to work in conjunction with Valve and other industry organizations to ensure the competition conveniently slots into the existing esports landscape.

Image via Valve

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Jan 18 2017 - 10:32 pm

OpTic, Cloud9 join line-up for IEM Katowice

With only half of the CS:GO teams in place, the event is already looking stacked.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

Less than two weeks after the first Valve Major of the year, some of the strongest teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be making their way to Katowice for a shot at yet another impressive $250,000 prize pool.

North American elite squads OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 will be joining the previously invited teams at IEM Katowice from March 1-5, ESL announced today. The two North American teams will make an already-stacked event all the more competitive, as reigning Valve Major champions SK Gaming—alongside Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis, and Virtus Pro—have already been invited to attend.

OpTic and Cloud9 shocked the world towards the end of 2016, each taking home one international LAN tournament each. Cloud9's performance was particularly impressive. Their victory at the ESL Pro League Season 4 finals last October was the first international LAN victory for the North American region in nearly 11 years.

While these teams alone make the event stacked, they are only half of the teams that will be competing at IEM Katowice, as 12 teams in total will be fighting for the title. Two more teams are still slated to be invited, while an additional three teams from Europe and one more North American team secure their participation at the event through online qualifiers.

CS:GO is off to a hot start in 2017, and with more skilled teams around than ever before IEM Katowice is looking to become one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Jan 17 2017 - 4:42 pm

Ambitious CS:GO mod aims to capture the spirit of the Wild West

Did someone say Classic Offensive?
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Screengrab via JarroRus/YouTube

Two ambitious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players want to take the game in a whole new direction.

Going by the names Jarro and CTX, this successful modding duo (who have released popular custom maps in the past), are looking at developing a fully functional and expansive add-on centered around the Wild West. This will be based on the foundation of Valve's extremely popular first-person shooter title CS:GO. Complete with brand new features such as combat on horseback as well as larger maps, the two developers have taken to crowdfunding in order to guarantee that CS:GO Western Add-on, as they have dubbed the mod, will be released within the next 6-8 weeks.

While the team's crowdfunding campaign is set at $1,000, Jarre and CTX have also set two other campaign goals at $400 and $700. The first two goals are centered primarily around necessary features such as dedicated servers for constant game testing, and introducing more unique assets and expansive maps to the mod.

If the two developers reach their crowdfunding goals, the mod will be completely free of charge and distributed via the Steam Workshop. Valve encourages enthusiasts and modders to produce their own custom games based off of the company's intellectual property. The most notable example being Counter-Strike itself, which started out as a mod of Valve's inaugural title in the Half-Life franchise.

For the time being, the mod is looking to feature three separate game modes: A standard player vs. player mode, team-based hostage scenarios, and finally a linear game play map featuring cut scenes and co-op game play.

If the wait for Red Dead Redemption 2 and the second season of Westworld is killing you, the Western Add-on should keep you occupied until then.