Sep 29 2016 - 6:23 pm

Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan increases stake in Immortals

At the rate we’re going, the LCS is going to look more like the NBA than an esports league
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

At the rate we’re going, the LCS is going to look more like the NBA than an esports league.

Yesterday Stephen Kaplan, co-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, increased his stake in esports franchise Immortals and joined the company’s board, VentureBeat reported.

It’s the latest move in what’s become a trend from NBA teams and owners. Earlier this week, the Philadelphia 76ers scooped up two esports teams, Apex and Team Dignitas, and an ownership group headlined by basketball legend Magic Johnson and Ted Leonis, owner of multiple sports franchises, bought one of the planet’s biggest esports franchises, Team Liquid, on Tuesday.

It’s getting hard for the sports industry to ignore esports. As fans increasingly turn online for entertainment, esports is reaching the next generation of sports fans, and the industry can’t ignore the growing industry. In Europe, major soccer teams like Manchester City and West Ham are jumping in.

Immortals was at the forefront of a new wave of venture capital-funded esports franchises founded this year. The team’s CEO, Noah Whinston, leveraged a group of investors including Kaplan, Peter Levin, the president of Lionsgate Interactive, Clinton Foy, Brian Lee, and the venture capital fund of Linkin Park to buy the LCS franchise Team 8 and make some of the biggest free agent acquisitions of the year. 

Immortals put together two of the most impressive regular season LCS performances ever, but fell just short of qualifying for the League of Legends World Championship which begins today. Since their founding, Immortals has expanded to games like Counter-Strike and Overwatch.

Further investment from parties like Kaplan show faith in both the esports industry and the direction of Immortals heading into 2017.

Jan 24 2017 - 11:28 pm

Genesis 4 organizers offer compensation to komorikiri and Dabuz after "0.9" controversy

Both players were eliminated from the event's Super Smash Bros. for WiiU tournament in matches with incorrect settings.
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports
Image credit: Nintendo & Genesis Gaming

A controversial ruling during the Super Smash Bros. for WiiU tournament at Genesis 4 was one of the big stories of this past weekend's event. Now, the event organizers are hoping to make amends.

Organizers of Genesis 4 publicly apologized, and offered compensation, to Samuel "Dabuz" Bubzy and Furukawa "komorikiri" Rei on Tuesday, after both players were eliminated in seventh place under questionable circumstances. The offer was made in a joint statement from Bassem Dahdouh, who served as the lead organizer of the Smash WiiU tournament at the event, and Genesis Gaming co-owner Sheridan Zalewski.

According to the statement, Genesis Gaming will compensate both players' travel expenses to Genesis 4. Additionally, Dahdouh has offered to cover entry costs for each player to attend another major Smash event in 2017.

"No amount of money or favors can undo the players' frustration," wrote Zalewski. "But I hope this demonstrates that we understand they feel we wasted their trip to our event and want to make it up to them as much as we can.

The controversy began when it was discovered that the first two matches of Sunday's top eight session at a 'knockback' setting of 0.9 instead of the default 1.0. Dabuz lost 3-2 to eventual third-place finisher Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios in the session's opening match, then komorikiri fell 3-1 to Zach "CaptainZack" Lauth in the second match.

Knockback controls how far a character flies when they are hit. A lower knockback setting makes it's more difficult to eliminate a character off of the stage since the character doesn't fly as far, resulting in players needing to do more damage than normal to take an opponent's stock. Lower knockback values also allow characters to hit opponents with combos, which are typically not possible in the default setting.

Immediately following his loss, komorikiri informed organizers that he believed the game's 'knockback' level was set incorrectly. Once the game's settings were checked and komorikiri's belief was proven correct, tournament organizers—including both Dahdouh and Zalewski—decided to replay only the game immediately preceding komorikiri's challenge. CaptainZack won the match and the tournament proceeded as normal with the correct settings.

Organizers initially stated that the komorikiri/CaptainZack match was the only set impacted by the settings change. However, fans recreated several moments of the Dabuz/Zero set and determined that their entire set was also played with 0.9 knockback.

Many fans on social media were vocal in their belief that both sets should have been replayed. Zalewski, however, stood by his decision on Tuesday.

"The validity of the 2 sets played under incorrect conditions were permanently and irreversibly compromised and unfair to both players," said Zalewski. "Making people replay matches does not solve the problem in whole or in part."

In a follow-up tweet, Dahdouh offered to cover entry fees for players impacted by a bracketing issue between the first and second stages of pool play.

Players in at least four first-stage pools were advanced to the wrong second-stage pool due to a discrepancy between the event's internal brackets and the publicly-available brackets on smash.gg. Several matches had to be halted while the issue was addressed, and several players had to face different opponents than the ones they were either facing or had already faced at the time of the stoppage.

The controversies marred a tremendous performance from the tournament's champion, 16-year-old Leonardo "MKLeo" Lopez Perez. The win, easily the biggest of his young career, was his first since he was signed by Echo Fox earlier this month.

Jan 24 2017 - 10:07 pm

Riot plans to test out a 15-minute surrender option—here’s why it’s a good idea

The new feature would have been added already if other things hadn’t gotten in the way, the developer says.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

A 15-minute surrender option is being tested for League of Legends, Riot announced last week. And it's about damn time.

Riot originally planned to have the feature in the game by now, according to Andre ‘Meddler’ van Roon, League’s lead gameplay designer. He mentioned that it would have been tested and implemented already if not for high-priority projects like the new client and matchmaking changes getting in the way.

In a post on Nexus, League’s editorial website, Meddler gave a few details on the upcoming potential feature. At first, it will only be available in one region, although we aren’t sure which region will be selected. It will also function differently from the usual surrender—it will be a unanimous vote, meaning that all teammates would have to agree for it to actually go through. Will this replace the current 20-minute surrender altogether, or will it just be an addition? There aren’t enough details to tell right now, but either way, it would be a change for the better.

Why? Well, the traditional 20-minute surrender has been around since the beginning of the game, and frankly, it’s outdated. Over the years, the average length of games has shortened considerably, and it gets even shorter depending on what rank you are.

More than 42 percent of all solo queue players are in Bronze, and over 36 percent are in Silver, according to League of Graphs, a League statistics website. That means almost 80 percent of all solo queue players in League are in either Bronze or Silver. Want to know the average length of game time amongst those players? About thirty minutes. Higher ranked games are even shorter.

That’s right, most games in League only make it about ten minutes past when players are allowed to surrender, meaning most games are close to ending the normal way right around the same time that they’re even given the chance to give up early. Now, I’m a firm believer in the “Never give up! Never surrender!” policy when it comes to ranked. However, sometimes it’s a better choice to type in the ol’ “/ff.”

If someone was toxic and ended up rage-quitting because they weren’t able to steal the jungler’s Krugs while the jungler was trying to take it, for example, your team is now down a man because that player took it very personally (this surely has never happened to me). Or maybe, just maybe, you are down six towers, an inhib, two dragons, and twenty kills when the clock strikes fifteen minutes. It’s also possible that your top laner went Teemo. All I’m saying is sometimes things are looking just bleak enough to make the strongest-willed player want to throw in the towel.

Adding a 15-minute unanimous surrender option gives a team the possibility of finishing up and starting a new game before the slug-fest goes on long enough to crush their spirit completely. A 20-minute surrender is the only option—even when ranked games now rarely go past 30 minutes. It’s ludicrous, and adding a bit of flexibility here is the right way to go.