Dec 27 2016 - 11:16 pm

Valve to face another civil action lawsuit over the issue of skin gambling

The plaintiffs say Valve promotes “unlawful, unfair [and] deceptive practices.”
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports

Three plaintiffs are seeking monetary restitution from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive publisher Valve after their children allegedly lost thousands of dollars each through betting with skins.

The parents in question believe that Valve has set up an unregulated gambling ecosystem via its own virtual marketplace. Through the purchase of in-game commodities known as skins, players of any age were—and still are, to some extent—able to use the skins for online gambling, as they are fully tradable with anyone who uses Valve’s Steam platform. The skins themselves are valued differently depending on how common they are, meaning exceptionally rare skins could be valued in the thousands, making the industry of skin gambling extremely lucrative.

However, it is currently unclear whether or not the case has any chance of making it inside a courtroom. The suit comes roughly two months after a previous class action lawsuit was filed against Valve and Trevor “TmarTn” Martin, whom the plaintiffs claimed had failed to disclose his affiliation with CSGO Lotto, a skin gambling site Martin was the co-owner of. The case was dismissed by federal judge John C Coughenour, who stated that “gambling losses are not sufficient injury to business or property for RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) standing,” meaning that a person willfully deciding to play a game with a variety of outcomes can’t claim to have been wronged, as they were aware of the risk.

The attorneys representing the plaintiffs consist primarily of the attorneys who worked on the previous class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs are, according to the website Top Class Actions, seeking: “Restitution of all money wrongfully obtained by Valve Corp. through the alleged online gambling and a court order barring Valve Corp. from continuing to engage in the unlawful, unfair or deceptive practices complained of. They also seek awards of damages, court costs and attorneys’ fees, with pre- and post-judgment interest.”

Esports headlines in 2016 have been dominated by the world of unregulated skin gambling, an industry that was believed to be valued at roughly $7.4 billion, according to a report by Narus Advisors and the Esports Betting Report. This estimation was, however, generated prior to Valve sending out a number of cease and desist letters to some of the biggest skin betting sites in the world on Jul. 19.

While 2016 may have been one of the best years in terms of growth for CS:GO—with the expansion and the interest in the title’s esports scene—it is impossible to deny how much of that conversation was centered around skin gambling and its negative consequences.

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.