Aug 15 2016 - 10:40 pm

Street Fighter V star Yukadon signs with YouDeal

One of Street Fighter V's top performers has a new sponsor
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports

One of Street Fighter V's top performers has a new sponsor.

Japanese stream production company YouDeal announced on Monday that the company had signed Street Fighter V player Fujimura "Yukadon" Atsushi to its fighting game roster. Yukadon joins Haitani Tatsuya, who signed with the company last September, under the YouDeal umbrella.

Yukadon has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour season. He finished in second place at Tokyo Button Mashers, his first Pro Tour appearance of the year. He followed that up with a breakout performance at Evo, placing third out of over 5,100 players. He’s currently 12th in the global Pro Tour standings and is widely considered to be among the best Nash players in the world.

This level of success may be new to Yukadon, but he is no flash in the pan. Previously going by the name of Isesuto, Yukadon had built a reputation in Japan as a strong C. Viper player in the Street Fighter IV era.

The signing may give Yukadon more opportunities to play in foreign events and solidify his place in Capcom Cup. He has only entered three Pro Tour events this season, and two of them were held in Tokyo. By contrast, Haitani has competed in 13 Pro Tour events across Asia, North America, and Europe.

The signing, along with last month's pickup of Chris Tatarian by Evilbizz Gaming, further reduces the number of high-profile free agents available to teams looking to add a Street Fighter V player to their roster. Only three players currently in the top 20 of the Pro Tour global standings are without sponsors: Taniguchi "Tokido" Hajime, Hayashi "Mago" Kenryo, and Egami "MOV" Joe. Tokido and Mago were quietly released by Mad Catz in March after five years with the team as the struggling peripheral maker exited the world player sponsorship scene.

Today - 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 eyes 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 - 2:51 am

Lunar New Year Overwatch update confirmed by Blizzard

Its scope is still anyone's guess, though a Mei skin is practically inevitable.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Mei has her red envelopes ready. Do you have yours?

This year, Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch will get an update in celebration of the Lunar New Year. "Good luck and great fortune await," a tweet from Overwatch's official Twitter account reads. The short video reveals the event will go live next week on Jan. 24, but otherwise details are sparse.

In December, Blizzard teased that a new Mei skin would be released early in 2017, sparking speculation that a Lunar New Year event was coming. If the outfit in Overwatch's video is any indication, it's certain to make fans very happy—a stark contrast from the response toward Mei's legendary Winter Wonderland skin that disappointed many. An update from Overwatch's Korean Twitter suggests D.Va is getting a skin for the holiday, too.

Given the proximity to the Winter Wonderland event, which ended earlier in January, it's unclear just how big the Year of the Rooster event will be. It could just be a couple of skins, but we're hoping the event rivals Winter Wonderland and Halloween Terror and gets its own special brawl.

A celebration of the start of the lunisolar Chinese calendar, Lunar New Year begins Jan. 28, ushering in the Year of the Rooster.