Aug 22 2016 - 5:41 pm

Match-fixing allegations once again hit Dota 2

Match fixing remains a thorn in the side of esports’ claim to legitimacy, and just a few weeks after Valve took a firm stance against skin betting, it appears that yet another throw may have occurred
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports

Match fixing remains a thorn in the side of esports’ claim to legitimacy, and just a few weeks after Valve took a firm stance against skin betting, it appears that yet another throw may have occurred.

Filipino roster S1Lykos, a team with little to no success aside from the occasional single-game upset against teams from around South East Asia, allegedly threw a match today against Arcanys Gaming. Prior to a match earlier in the MSI Dragon Battle, odds on the match shifted heavily in the favor of S1Lyko’s opponents, despite the squad riding a 11-series loss-streak.

In both games of the series, S1Lykos’ Karl “Goodboy” Jayme made several suspicious mistakes, the types of errors few would expect to see at the professional level. Shortly after the series’ conclusion, reddit user Krampus626 made a thread on the Dota 2 subreddit showcasing the suspicious antics and showing that several massive bets were placed just before the series was set to start.

In the thread’s current top comment, the series’ English-speaking commentator PocelainLilly outlines the many strange moments in the game. She also made a YouTube video showing each moment

“I'm hesitant to blame the whole team for throwing, but looking through the replay at things like who was microing that courier in game 1 (when it staggered into the whole enemy team who was pushing, like someone tried to send it back and someone else flew it into them anyway) would give a better idea as to if it was the whole team playing badly or just one player.”

Naturally these allegations carry significant weight, not least due to the fact that one of the biggest cases of match fixing in Dota 2 occurred in the Philippines in 2014. In that instance, the highly touted Arrow Gaming roster receive permanent bans from competing in any Valve event.

S1Lykos have denied the allegations. In a Facebook post team claims that “we are not on our best shape" and then adds cryptically "you'll see in a few days why."

It continues: “My players are not involve in any match fixing issues. I even asked them to forfeit the match even hours before the game.“

The team’s manager, Niel Dar Juan, has subsequently also provided news site Mineski with a statement on the matter, attributing the poor performance to internal struggles and poor playing conditions. 

Jan 19 2017 - 2:30 pm

Indian billionaire and sports club owner set to invest $15 million into esports

He helped to turn Kabaddi into India’s second most watched sport. Now, he's eyeing esports.
Thiemo Brautigam
Dot Esports
Photo via Nicholas Raymond (CC BY 2.0)

Indian self-made billionaire Ronnie Screwvala knows how to transform a fringe sport into a spectator sport. He was vital in turning Kabaddi, an ancient Indian contact sport, into the country’s second most watched sport. Now, he’s looking to do the same thing with esports. Screwvala is set to invest about $15m into the launch of India’s first major esports league, according to reports in multiple national news outlets.

The “UCypher” league will feature 10 teams competing in PC, console, and mobile games. Neither the teams nor the games were revealed, yet. Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA, and Clash of Clans are likely to be the frontrunners for selection, according to Indian sports news Sportskeeda, which spoke with a player familiar with the situation.

The first of two annual seasons is set to start in May. His company, USports, which is running the league, is in talks with TV stations to negotiate broadcast rights.

Screwvala’s media conglomerate UTV, founded in 1990, produced some of Bollywood’s most successful blockbusters and was responsible for starting the careers of many of today’s biggest Bollywood stars.

In 2012, Disney completed the acquisition of UTV in a $454 million deal, a process that began in September 2006 with taking over a 14.9 percent stake. Screwvala left the company in 2013 to focus on private equity investments in ecommerce and philanthropy programs in higher education. 

Screwvala is also owner of U Mumba, a Mumbai-based Kabaddi team participating in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). The league was founded in 2014 but quickly established Kabaddi as India’s second most watched sports after cricket. PKL clubs received popular funding from some of Bollywood biggest movie stars, partially due to Screwvala's efforts and networking.

Esports in India is still small by international measures but has high-potential for growth, attracting the interest of brands like PepsiCo, Flipkart, and BenQ, which all hosted esports events last year. European esports tournament organizer ESL, meanwhile, launched the ESL India Premiership, the country’s first annual tournament series boasting a record prize pool of $64,000.

That figure that easily could be dwarfed thanks to Screwvala’s deep pockets. Assuming he and his peers from USport did their homework, India’s esports scene will witness a heavy boost this year.

After all, for someone who helped transform an ancient sport into a national pastime, taking esports to the mainstream shouldn’t be a big deal.

Today - 12:27 am

University of Toronto students can now apply for an esports scholarship

Who said gaming was a waste of time?
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Image via CC 3.0

Canada's top-rated university will begin taking applications for an esports scholarship to be awarded next year.

University of Toronto alumnus Victor Xin started the scholarship program as a way of providing extra support to students who want to hone their skills in competitive gaming. While this is the first such scholarship to be introduced in Canada, several U.S.-based universities such as University of California, Irvine began offering esports scholarships in 2016.

Xin works at Toronto-based wealth management firm Athena Capital Partners, which also funds the scholarship. He told the university that students that display competitive drive through computer games shouldn't be distracted from trying achieving success in the world of esports.

"There are trailblazers on campus who are rallying a different set of students to build campus organizations focused on an alternative way of learning to lead and succeed in life," Xin told the university. The former student, who graduated in 2008 after studying at its Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, began following StarCraft during his tenure at the institution and also founded the University of Toronto eSports Club. For Xin, the fund is aimed at making sure that students who show drive and leadership through esports won't "fall through the cracks."

Are you thinking of applying for the Victor Xin scholarship? The requirements are: That you're an undergraduate at the university's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, you've got a 3.5 GPA, and participate regularly in gaming-related extra-curricular activities. If it means we get to play League of Legends during school hours, we're totally in.