Aug 17 2016 - 9:31 pm

Entire MVP Phoenix squad in contract negotiations

Three days after the conclusion of Valve’s $20
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports

Three days after the conclusion of Valve’s $20.9 million event, teams are already shuffling their rosters.

In an interview with South Korean commentator Aqua Heart, MVP Phoenix offlaner Lee “Forev” Sang-don confirmed that the entire roster is currently involved in contract negotiations, as contracts in Dota 2 tend to run out with the conclusion of the International.

Initially it was reported that the offlaner had left the team, as the player wrote in a since deleted Tweet that his journey with the team had come to an end, leading fans to believe that the best South Korean roster in Dota 2 history was splitting up.

This was cleared up, however in the interview with Aqua Heart. Forev explained that he wanted to make potential organizations aware of the squad’s contract situation.

“We are getting offers, and I made that tweet about the contract ending to notify more teams about it,” Forev said. “We may stay under MVP with better terms or move to different organization, nothing is set for now.”

In the interview, Forev also emphasized that the current roster will be sticking together unless either of them receives a major individual offer.

“The team agreed that the best option would be all five of us staying together, but if some of us get really good offers individually we would let them go.”

The tale of MVP Phoenix’s international success through 2016 is one of the most unique storylines in Dota 2. After a lackluster launch in South Korea, which is often credited for adding the first semblance of professionalism to the esports industry, Valve’s MOBA title fell short of its main rival, League of Legends, in the South East Asian nation. Despite regional game retailer Nexon investing heavily into domestic competition, the game never took hold. In December 2015, Valve elected to shut down the game’s South Korean server, a move many onlookers viewed as the final nail in the coffin for South Korean Dota 2.

Even with all of these setbacks, the MVP Phoenix roster succeeded in winning two international LAN titles as well as placing top four at the Shanghai Major and top six at both the Manila Major and the International 6. Those performances that have earned the squad a total of $1.6 million in 2016 alone.

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 18 2017 - 8:14 pm

You’ll be able to watch DreamHack and ESL in virtual reality this year

A total of 14 events are set to be broadcast through the rapidly evolving technology.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Image via Valve

Two of the world's largest esports tournament organizers will broadcast in virtual reality in 2017.

ESL and DreamHack will air a total of 14 events through Sliver.TV, a virtual reality platform that allows viewers to immerse themselves fully in a 360-degree rendition of live tournament matches. This can be done on computers and mobile devices via the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard.

The platform was field-tested last year at ESL One New York and IEM Oakland, with the Oakland event attracting 130,000 unique viewers to its VR broadcasts. A result that appears to have convinced ESL and DreamHack that the demand for virtual reality in esports is growing in tandem with the increasing popularity of the technology itself, which is predicted to generate $30 billion in revenue by 2021.

The partnership between Sliver, ESL, and DreamHack will provide "360 virtual reality, live replays and stats technology to millions of esports fans worldwide," according to Sliver CEO and founder Mitch Liu. He added, rather ambitiously, that the company's vision is "to forever transform the esports spectating experience by providing new perspectives and insights into live esports streams."

The events that will feature broadcasting through Sliver's platform are:

  • DreamHack Masters Las Vegas - Feb 15-19
  • Unnanounced DreamHack Masters stop
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Austin - Apr 28-30
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Atlanta - Jul 21-23
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Montreal - Sep 8-10
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Denver - Oct 20-22
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Winter - Nov 30-Dec 2
  • Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, Poland - Feb 25-Mar 5
  • 3 Addtl IEM Global events
  • ESL One Cologne - Jul 3-8
  • ESL One New York - Sep 1-15
  • Unnanounced ESL One event

While virtual reality may still be in its infancy, the billion-dollar industry looks to continue growing in the coming years, and it will be interesting to see its potential influence on esports.