Gaming industry now raking up $110 billion a year in profits

Gaming industry now raking up $110 billion a year in profits

The profit of the gaming industry increased compared to last year and amounted to $109.8 billion — a whopping 11% increase from 2017.

The audience for gaming video content grew by 10% — 850 million viewers for 2018. Analytical agency SuperData published the final report on the gaming industry for 2018.

80% of the profits came from free games — SuperData linked this to the popularity of Fortnite, which brought Epic Games $2.4 billion and topped the rating of free-to-play projects. According to the agency, the success of the battle royale showed the effectiveness of a simplified version of combat passes and limited in-game items sales. Service representatives also noted that $54.3 billion out of $87.7 billion in free games came from Asia.

9-year-old League of Legends still earned more than $1.4 billion this year, even ahead of Tencent’s mega-hit Honour of Kings, which earned $1.3 billion.

The market for paid games grew by 10% and brought $17.8 billion in profit in 2018. Despite the high competition in the genre, PUBG Corp. earned over a billion dollars — 19% more than in 2017. The only project of the studio topped the rating of paid games and bypassed FIFA 18 and 19, GTA V, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Gaming video content brought the main platforms more than $5 billion last year. Of these, 31% earned Twitch — bypassing YouTube in profits but losing by the number of unique users for the year (183 million against 594 million). Together Twitch and Youtube earned 55% of all streaming revenue for the year.

The most popular streamer channel in the world was Tyler “Ninja” Blevins — a popular Fortnite streamer. The top ten most viewed channels included those dedicated to esports as well, like Riot Games, Overwatch League and ELEAGUE.

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The best of its class: Logitech G502

The best of its class: Logitech G502

Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum isn’t a new mouse, but so far it is one of the most popular in its class. In this mouse, Logitech skillfully fused the form along with the filling, getting a very versatile device for almost any task. But how?

Well, it doesn’t weigh a ton, additional buttons do not interfere with playing normally, and the mouse, thanks to the very presence of additional buttons, can be used not only in games and any MOBA errands but also, say, in graphic editors. It is very convenient to preset macros and calmly call them with a flick of a finger.

And all this mouse stores within itself. Created settings – scored in the memory of the mouse – you can easily use it on another PC. What about shooters? And here is a complete order. Additional controls do not interfere under the fingers, and the mouse itself does not weigh so much, so even avid gamer can safely drive into their shooters, without being distracted and without missing the main buttons.

In addition, the mouse has a mass setting for itself, for those who like to feel the mouse in their hand: the weight gain comes in the kit. And, of course, branded thick cable included – everything is in the best traditions of gaming devices. The new mouse called G502 Proteus Spectrum replaced the old man in the face of the G502 Proteus Core, but the differences are quite a bit: a new, softer (but still thick) cable, RGB lighting (instead of static blue), and painting the lid of the weight compartment in black color.

Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum is a fairly large ergonomic mouse for the right hand with a large number of controls. You can’t take it with your left hand, no matter how cool you are — buttons will interfere here or there. In addition to the main buttons and the wheel, the mouse has a sniper button under the thumb, two additional buttons next to the index finger, and two buttons on the back, one of which is responsible for the operating modes of the wheel, and the second for switching dpi or profiles. However, all this, of course, is configured in the proprietary software – Logitech Gaming Software, and since the mouse has internal memory, it is possible to record profiles with any settings into it.

Mouse weight – 121 grams without cable (with cable – 168 grams), dimensions (in mm) – 132 x 75 x 40. Included are 5 additional weights weighing 3.6 grams each (which totals 18 grams) for those who like to feel their mouse. The mouse is equipped with a two-zone RGB-backlit (logo on the back and dpi switching indicator). Pixart optical sensor Pixart PMW3366 is installed in the mouse – one of the best solutions at the moment. Under the main buttons are Omron switches for 20 million clicks, and the wheel is represented by an extremely reliable optical encoder.

The first thing that just immediately catches the eye — a non-standard appearance of the device, as if all consisting of some abstract and futuristic forms. Externally, the mouse resembles a fancy spacecraft from all sorts of fantastic high-budget films, and therefore, even despite the fame of the mouse, it is still capable of captivating the gaze of its bizarre shapes. Moreover, all these deliberately crafted elements do not affect the ergonomics of the mouse and the convenience of grip, but they make the device visually attractive, capable of impressing even the most experienced gamer.

Materials at the mouse Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum is also the most diverse. The main part of the top is covered with a matte and almost smooth plastic, which to the touch resembles a soft-touch coating. On the sides of the mouse are polyurethane lining with a pattern of triangles. Polyurethane pads are quite tough, and they, unlike the same Logitech G403, do not contact the fingers very well (not least because of their corrugation), and therefore in the wet palm your fingers will slip along these sides.

All additional buttons and part of the front is richly littered with glossy elements. Moreover, gloss is made of grooves that pass through the top of the mouse, and all these details very readily attract dust to themselves, so that the mouse will not survive the factory condition for a long time — you have to keep a rag in place to clean the device from dirt.

The mouse looks big, but in fact it is not so big. It is elongated and rather narrow, besides it does not have humps and high rises. So in size, it looks more like a mid-size mouse, and therefore it will be convenient for the owners to hold almost any palm. But most preferably it will be people with pianist fingers. Moreover, the mouse looks much more like a symmetrical form, to which a special support for the thumb was attached to the left side so that it would not drag along with the mouse over the mouse pad. And this is reflected in the convenience of the mouse grip.

If you just put your hand on the mouse, then in general the form fits very well in the palm, but it turns out to be a little finger outside the comfort zone – it just drags along the carpet, as there is simply no room for it. If you take the mouse at an angle (as I do), the thumb begins to contact the sniper button, and this, in turn, leads to random and unnecessary clicks. Due to the low profile and the absence of noticeable bends in the mouse, it is very convenient to control it with the palm of your hand — nothing gets in the way and does not dig into the hand. However, the full palm grip was not the most convenient because of the small width of the mouse.

The grip of the claw was very convenient, since all the fingers find a place for themselves, and the thumb does not touch the sniper button. And the owners of medium and large palms will be comfortable finger grip – low and narrow mouse perfectly keeps fingers, while there is a place inside the palm for making fine finishing and other precise maneuvers. But it should be borne in mind that playing with this grip would not be very convenient — it is difficult to control such a weighty mouse with only one finger.

However, such fragmentation of the mouse still affected the build quality. The main buttons have noticeable backlash, and when you release the button after pressing, they emit a soft plastic bounce. Of course, you don’t pay attention to this in the work, but in terms of assembly, the mouse lacks solidity. The main buttons are not very tight, moderately elastic, rather short and clearly noticeable pressing. All additional buttons have a light and somewhat cotton click due to the presence of idle. The side buttons (besides the already mentioned sniper) also touch the fingers, and they have a “slide-to-click” performance — when you lift the front or back phalanx of the thumb, it is easy to grope the right side button.

As for the sensor, then everything is standard for high-end optics: excellent sharpness, sensitivity and exceptional accuracy when performing absolutely any action. With such a sensor, you can conquer any games and graphic editors, and there is no limit to perfection, then it’s all about your skill.

But the feeling of the mouse as a whole is rather unusual. And it has several controversial points that do not allow her to become an ideal weapon for shooters. The grip of the mouse in my case turned out to be for the palm — with the full palm of my finger, my little finger invariably struck the pad, which definitely gave me a certain amount of discomfort.

However, this is not the only nuance that I experienced when I fiercely shot opponents heads in the DeathMatch. In addition to the unusual grip, which still needs to adjust, for a while I was distracted by the cable and weight of the device. Certainly, the cable feels good when there are sharp jerks of the mouse — it is by inertia a little dragging down the mouse behind it when I stopped the mouse on the carpet, and not the smallest mass does not allow to control all the same sharp jerks exclusively. So the sensor is good here, but the physical parameters seemed to me somewhat unusual. In any case, this is really not the biggest mouse I have ever experienced, and in my case it showed itself much better in everyday work, since using its elongation and compactness it was easy to work in the system, with graphics and other applications.

I would say that this mouse, the Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum, is aimed absolutely at any games, but for shooters it is not perfect. In MOBA-games, it will manifest itself in a much better way, since it always requires a large number of buttons. And unlike any dissimilar “calculators” (so I kindly call the mice, who have all the extra buttons en masse on a single sidebar), here it’s easy to blindly find the right mouse and not make a mistake with the decision. And the mass with the cable in these cases is absolutely not important.

Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum is another very thoughtful, organic and high-quality product, where the company applied its best ideas and best practices. I will say that this mouse is more suitable for work and for games, as purely for games there are options and simpler (like the same Logitech G403), and the presence of a large number of additional buttons in combination with not the smallest mass hardly makes the mouse The best option for shooters.

Nevertheless, Logitech G502 is an excellent and generally universal device with rich customization options, so any person who is not only actively interested in the gaming industry, but also prefers comfortable work on a PC using competent peripherals will appreciate it. The price of a mouse, like any other Logitech devices, is extremely affordable, making it just another device from the must have section.

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Biggest names in esports in 2018

Biggest names in esports in 2018

They achieved high results, created competition, changed the industry, surprised by their achievements, and left their mark in the history of esports.

Esports went on a vacation, but not for long. Very soon, teams will gather at bootcamps to begin preparations for the next season and new January tournaments. Some, like The Bucharest Minor, start on January 9th. We would like to note the successes and achievements of those people, without whom it is impossible to imagine 2018 in esports.

Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev

For a whole year there was only talk, who is the best player in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ? Nikolai “device” Reedz from Astralis or Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev from Natus Vincere? Analysts and statistics flooded each other with numbers, fans broke spears in the next battle on the Internet. 

Some may say that the 12 MVP awards from HLTV are the only thing that will allow you to stop any controversy. There are people who say that all this is clowning. In general, half of the Danish team deserves no less attention. And s1mple has an award from the Esports Awards. He was recognized as the best player on the PC. Is that worth anything?

To argue which of them is the best, you can endlessly. Football for 10 years has not figured out who is better: Messi or Ronaldo? I wonder how long these disputes will continue within the CS: GO community. 

Both esports athletes had an outstanding season. But between them, there is a difference. If device drops out of the game, four more people are ready to step up and carry on with the match. S1mple didn’t always had that luxury. Perhaps he therefore stands out among the rest of the participants of Natus Vincere. In 2018 there were a lot of matches, if not for Kostylev, who knows what the “born to win” would achieve.

Na’Vi can not be called a team of one person. But there is a star, “the final boss,” as the casters once called him. And this machine is capable of stably showing a fantastic performance throughout the year. 

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

The idol of the western youth and the richest streamer in the world. $500 thousand – so much Blevins earns every month from Twitch subscriptions alone. When hundreds of thousands of people regularly watch you on Twitch, and YouTube videos collect from 2 to 5 million views, it’s easy to believe in this. And all thanks to Fortnite and one broadcast with rapper Drake. That stream set a new record on personal Twitch channels – 635 thousand people. 

Ninja has grown to the point that he talks about Fornite on NBC’s Jimmy Fallon evening show. New York Times, ESPN, and others are interviewed him. According to Esports Industry Awards, Blevins is both a persona and a 2018 streamer. Very soon, he will arrange a New Year’s party in New York in Times Square. Tyler plans to invite guests and entertain the audience for 12 hours straight.

Love him or hate him, his impact for the whole gaming industry in 2018 cannot be denied.

Sebastian “Ceb” Debs and Johan “n0tail” Sundstein

Whatever happened in the future, the tandem of Debs and Sundstein forever inscribed their names in the history of Dota 2 . Success at The International 8 is largely their merit. One former coach, the other is a born leader and a captain. Perhaps they would have nothing happened if it were not for one important event in his career. 

May 2018. Captain and co-owner of the team Tal “Fly” Isaic team leaves OG. And with him one of the smartest players in the world – Gustav “s4” Magnusson. Drama, intrigue, recriminations in the press. They were replaced by the young and inexperienced Tobias “Topson” Taavitsainen and the dusty Anatam “Anat” Fam. The Aussie was generally on a protracted vacation. Before the Dota 2 World Championship all analysts put OG on the last line. No one could believe tha, half-dead and battered, they could even leave the group.

And in the end came out strong and lifted the trophy high over their heads.

The grand final — OG vs PSG.LGD — match of the year. January 15, Valve will release a documentary about this confrontation. So impactful was this match for the scene. A special show will be held in one of the Copenhagen cinemas.

Joona “Serral” Sotala

The first player who is not from South Korea, who endured a whole year of big-name rivals in the biggest StarCraft 2 competitions. Nobody knows how to stop Serral. Sotala took five trophies in WCS tournaments. He first interrupted a series of 34 victories at the world championships. Joona is so strong that he is expected to repeat success next year. Ukrainian Starcraft legend Alexander “Bly” Svisyuk put it best in a recent interview:

“He showed that it doesn’t matter where you live. The main thing is how you approach the process, and Serral approaches the process of training very painstakingly. He did a great job on himself psychologically. So much to train, to sharpen a lot of things to do everything perfectly — it is necessary to break everything in yourself and build in such a way as to become the number one of the world. Serral could do it and I think that he would be the best in any game. He is one of those people who can.” 

Jack Etienne

2018 is the year of Cloud9. The American esports organization achieved the highest results in all possible disciplines. They won the CS: GO major in Boston, won the first season of the Overwatch League, performed a crazy comeback at NA LCS during the season and won the top 4 at the World Championships. And this is in addition to the achievements in the Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG and Rocket League. 

In addition to this, it turned out that Jack Etienne is able not only to assemble teams and build relationships inside but also to knock out investments and sponsorship contracts. A truly unique person that is helping the future growth of esports by leaps.

Dominic “SonicFox” McLean

Dominic McLean is best known in the fighting community. But his impact reaches far more than that, far enough to earn him an award at The Game Awards 2018, where he was recognized as the best esports athlete of the year.

McLean is a workaholic. He dropped out. But not because it is boring. Dominic wanted to develop his own games. Learning this at the Faculty of Computer Science was simply impossible. Therefore, he began to play seriously himself. 

In 2018, SonicFox was marked by two important victories. The first in the world championship in fighting – Evolution Championship Series 2018 in the discipline of Dragon Ball FighterZ. The second – at the World Cup in Injustice 2. And each time he prepared the heroes that were deemed to be weak. He came to the tournament and put all their feet forward. Such a success in fighting games is a miracle. 

By age 20, McLean had become the most successful player in the community. He occupies the first line in earned prize money too — $525 thousand. And this is far from the end.

Danny “zonic” Sorensen

In esports, they still cannot decide what role the coach plays, what he does, what responsibilities fall on his shoulders. Does he manage the process at all or does he carry water? In a big sport, such questions simply do not arise. There, the authority of a coach has long been clear to everyone.

Astralis’ newest member Emil “Magisk” Rafe had this to say after he joined the Danish team:

“This is a good question, I like to talk about zonic, because he is very good. Before this tournament, he told us the following: ‘Guys, this is the last championship of the year. I know that you are tired and exhausted, but we need to take the [BLAST Pro Series Lisbon 2018] cup home. Get victory, dedicate yourself 100%, and then we can go on vacation.’ He always pushes us forward. ”

The main merit of zonic is 10 victories at major tournaments, including the major ones. The gap in the HLTV ranking between Astralis and any other team is more than 500 points. No matter if they laughed at him, no matter what they say about him, Sorensen led the team to success. He managed to turn five amazing but struggling players into cold-blooded killers. Each of them is ready to work not on statistics, but on the result. And in this indicator, Astralis has no equal.

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Bly: “I think I can count on at least TOP-8 at the WESG finals”

Bly: “I think I can count on at least TOP-8 at the WESG finals”

After winning in the Ukraine WESG qualifier, Aleksandr “Bly” Svysiuk packs his bags for the World Finals in Chongqing next year.

The 29-year-old Ukrainian had a rough 2018, changing teams several times. He transferred from team expert, where he spent two years, to Tollenz Lions. Lions dropped their Starcraft, FIFA, and PUBG teams last week, leaving Bly teamless.

He didn’t have to stay a free agent for long. Right before the WESG Ukraine finals he joined his fellow countrymen DIMAGA in Team Blacer.

This weekend Bly successfully qualified for WESG World Finals, where he will compete for $240,000 USD in prize money.

Following his victory against Kas, Bly spoke about his expectations for WESG, Serral, the next year and the future of Starcraft.

You have won the Ukrainian WESG for the third consecutive year, how difficult was it for you to win this time? 

Given the format, given that I did not have the advantage of the Winners, I was afraid that it would be difficult. The organizers made it so that in the grand final it was necessary to play the match BO7 and there was no advantage for Winner. In principle, I knew that I played the best of all the others. I was sure that if I played at least more or less, I should win, even in close 4-2 or 4-3 games, but I understood that I could play very well and then I’ll generally be.

Has Kas surprised you in the final? How difficult was it to play the final?

It is always difficult with him. He surprised me by playing very well today, usually, he plays worse in online tournaments. Sometimes the game was so naughty that only intelligence could understand what was going on. Then I ran in – I killed SCV, then he killed drones, we did not have time to control, multi-front, etc. 

It was difficult, it was very difficult. He pleasantly surprised me with how well he played. According to my feelings, I did not play well in terms of the brain. His hands worked fine, but not always what happens in the game, it turned out to analyze — how many troops he has, what mix, etc. In general, I played more on intuition.

Did you assume that it is with Kas that you will meet in the final?

I thought I would play with HellRaiser. The Protoss in principle is now imba and I thought that the Protoss would crush Terran, but Kas arranged such a strong-willed victory, the commentators there just yelled, it was very cool. Kas deserved this victory and outplayed the young player. The old guard, that’s what it is. 

In TOP-4, there are three players in this tournament who have been playing for so many years. Are you surprised that new players do not appear? Why is this happening, why is this your old skill so invincible?

Yes, we are very old. I’m with Kas from Warcraft, Dimaga from the first Starcraft. 12 years already we are engaged as pro-gamers, therefore we are very old school. Most likely, there are no young talents because we have not very developed Starcraft scene in CIS and we have all young people going to Dota or to CS because there is good money, there are a lot of spectators and a huge community. 

If it’s not a secret, how much can a progamer of your level earn on Starcraft in the CIS or Europe? Does it even make sense to break into Starcraft Professional right now?

If you play well, you can earn a prize of 20-30 thousand dollars a year. WCS pays good money. It takes a lot of stops and even for 16th place gives $ 2,750. Last year there was a tournament, where they gave $ 6,500 for eighth place, with only 16 players. I just went there and already received $ 3000 for the trip. 

Money in Starcraft is there and it’s good. If you look at WESG, you can win $ 150,000 for first place. Of course, there you need to fight with the Koreans and Serral, but if you play not bad, then you can try. There are still teams’ salaries. In Ukraine, in general, you can live perfectly, of course, Dota 2 players can live perfectly anywhere, however.

How do you comment on the sensational domination and victory of Serral at the World Championships this year. What did this give Starcraft 2?

He showed that it doesn’t matter where you live. The main thing is how you approach the process, and Serral approaches the process of training very painstakingly. He did a great job on himself psychologically. So much to train, to sharpen a lot of things to do everything perfectly — it is necessary to break everything in yourself and build in such a way as to become the number one of the world. Serral could do it and I think that he would be the best in any game. He is one of those people who can. 

Is there more persistence and perseverance, or is he just a uniquely talented esports athlete? 

He is a unique talented athlete with perseverance and more perseverance. Without this set, TOP-1 WCS does not shine, especially in such a complex game like Starcraft, where the smallest nuances are solved and the slightest mistake leads to loss.

Do you think he will last a long time at the top? 

I think next year he will win everything in principle. I am familiar with him and as far as I know him, he is as focused and minimally emotional as possible, and he will continue to live with God for a very, very long time. 

What does Starcraft has in the future?

I hope that Starcraft will be at a good level for another five years, as it is now in terms of the number of viewers and the community. The community in the old man is now really big and it is not falling, but growing, so I believe that, perhaps, Starcraft will live for a very long time.

Would you like a new version of Starcraft or for example a new Warcraft? 

I’ll be very old by then. Another 2-3 years, and I will, like Dimaga, come to the tournaments and comment, because cognitively suffers, and in Starcraft, if you do not have 450 apm, when you need it, then move on. 

They used to say that after 25 you need to leave esports, now they say that after 30. Maybe everything is not so bad and they will soon start saying that you can play even before 40, there are no examples just yet. Now, in Warcraft III, Moon, who has been playing for a hundred years, destroys everyone, in Quake 30+ players dominate, in Starcraft in Ukraine, 30+ players are in the top. What do you say to that? 

In Starcraft reactions are key. In Warcraft, the reaction decides less. Now Maru won WCS and Serral or, for example, Raynor – and how old are they? They are very young and, playing with them, I understand that I do not have time. Looking at Raynor’s game, I’d seem to understand everything he does, but there are times when he managed to evaluate and react, but I haven’t yet managed to evaluate. I can replay with brains, I can replay with experience, but in cognitively, I lag behind the young and begin to fall behind even more. I felt it especially strongly about two years ago, and every year I feel it more and more.

How do you evaluate your chances in the final, which will be held in China? 

This year I set myself the task of making a breakthrough, because already age, etc. I will train more than ever and I already do it. I train a lot. If I could play the qualifiers, as I play on the ladder, then all the scores would be 3-0, but even with such an experience as mine, my nerves decide very much. I still sometimes can not turn on the brain during the game and play on intuition. All this nerves, they interfere. But if I keep this pace, then I think I can count on at least the TOP-8.

What is more important for players now – to win the WESG or win the WCS?

WCS much more important than WESG, because it gives you points that allow you to pass the next season, you are invited to tournaments, you are higher in the sowing rating, etc. This is a whole system, because WCS is much more important.

What do you have now with sponsors, do you represent some kind of team?

Today I went to the stage wearing a Team Blacer T-shirt. We are signing a contract. This organization is tied to cryptocurrency and they have a good idea. If it develops, it will capture this market. I looked at the project and decided – why not join? In principle, the team already consists of Ukrainians including Dimaga and Avers – it will be more fun. At the award ceremony, I was already in a team shirt.

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149 million dollars in prize money awarded in 2018

149 million dollars in prize money awarded in 2018

In 2018 almost $149 million dollars were paid in esports tournaments. We take a look at the biggest esports tournaments this year.

For the fourth year running, leadership in the most rewarding tournaments is held by The International for Dota 2. If in 2014 the prize fund was $11,000,000, in 2018 $25,500,000 were played in the main tournament of the year (although the prize fund compared to 2017 increased only by 1 million).

Following DOTA 2 is the League of Legends world finals with $6,450,000 in prize money. At the WESG 2017 finals in Dota 2 and CS: GO, a total of $ 3,000,000 was awarded.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had a total of $22,000,000 awarded in prize money this year.

In 2018, Denmark’s Astralis dominated the pro scene. The Danish five for the year won the seventh and eighth season of the ESL Pro League, the fifth and sixth season of the Esports Championship Series, ELEAGUE CS: GO Premier, FaceIT Major London 2018 and took one million dollars in the Intel Grand Slam. Each player has earned approximately $730,000 (prize money only) in the tournament year.

The second place was occupied by the Swedes from fnatic (250 – 280 thousand dollars), who did not have their best year, but won World Electronic Sports Games 2017 and Intel Extreme Masters XII.

Following them are Stewie2k and tarik (273 and 250 thousand), who, as part of Cloud9, won a major in Boston, and then won several prizes for mibr. However, in the near future, players plan to leave the Brazilian organization. Stewie2k plans to join Team Liquid, and Tarik will be sent to the transfer market.

The top also got players from Natus Vincere. Electronic earned about $262,000, and other players of the Ukrainian organization about $235,000. The reason for this was his third place at the WESG 2017 in the Russian team. The Ukrainian national team, not for the first, but not the last time, refused the finals, although it won the European qualifier.

Dota 2 saw a record $41.2 million awarded this year.

The breakthrough of the year from European Union OG (Ana, Topson, 7ckingMad, Notail, jerAx) at The International 2018 put the players in first place in terms of earnings. Each player has earned $2,290,000 this year.

JerAx and Topson will give approximately 60% of the prize money from the main tournament of the year as taxes. This is how the system works in Finland, but the quality of life there is at the level. It is also worth noting that both players attended a reception in honor of Independence Day in Finland, to which they received an invitation from the President of the country. In November, Ana left OG, and his place was taken by former Natus Vincere player Pajkatt.

China’s PSG.LGD finalists also earned a million dollars each. The Chinese squad showed good results throughout the year, including a victory in EPICENTER XL and MDL Changsha Major.

The top three also included players of Russian Federation representing Virtus.pro. The roster went through the majors in 2018 (Katowice, Birmingham, Bucharest, Kuala Lumpur and second place at Chinese Dota2 Supermajor).

Unfortunately, at The International 2018 Virtus.pro took only 5-6th place, losing in the losers’ grid to the Evil Geniuses team. On average, players earned $ 840,000 in prize money, not counting the Mercedes for MVP on the majors. Ukrainian Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko earned less than other players in the line-up, as the Russian team won the 2017 WESG final against Brazilians from paiN Gaming.

Fortnite came in third with $ 20 million in prizes up for grabs in 2018. Not left behind and the most popular game of the year. The developers of Epic Games conducted a series of tournaments with huge prize pools.

The top seven positions in earnings in the Battle Royale took the residents of the United States (Tfue, Cloak, Bizzle, NateHill, Poach, 72hrs). Players earned from 250 to 450 thousand dollars each. The developers do not plan to stop sponsoring new tournaments with millions in prize pools.

However, the most famous streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blave, receives invitations to the most popular show in the US, streams with rapper Drake, and also plans to hold a New Year’s stream marathon in Times Square.

The top also included such games as League of Legends, PUBG, Overwatch, HoTS, Hearthstone, CoD and Starcraft II. Unfortunately, in 2019, Blizzard decided to abandon the esports series HGC and other supported tournaments.

Serral dominated StarCraft II on the professional scene. The Finnish player won about seven WCS tournaments, and most importantly, the WCS world finals. In this case, the player bypassed six Korean players, and earnings in 2018 amounted to $479,000 — not far off the biggest esports titles.

With esports booming, the next year should bring even larger prize pools and even more tournaments. Within the current projections, we could see upwards of $200 million dollars given in prize money in 2019 alone.

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Justing: “Blizzard said they would make us Superstars”

Justing: “Blizzard said they would make us Superstars”

Less than a week ago Blizzard announced they would be closing down Heroes of the Storm Global Championship and pulling all esports funding for the game effective immediately.  

With no prior warning to the teams, players, or even the staff, Blizzard shut down all their efforts to further promote Heroes of the Storm (HotS) competitive scene. The next season, that was supposed to come in less than a month from now will not happen. Leaving dozens of players, support, staff and anyone else involved with the league, jobless. 

Justin “Justing” Gapp, team captain for North America’s top HotS team Simplicity, opened up about their struggles with the dying game, big promises from Blizzard that never delivered, and the abrupt ending to it all.

In retrospect, he figures, the signs where there all along. “The overall quality of the second summit was SIGNIFICANTLY lower in general down to every single detail. The first year we each got backpacks with HGC “Swag” — Hat, Thermos water bottle, Even a pin. We each got a box of limited edition “Ragnar’os” cereal with Rag and the skin code and jackets with our names on them. The next year we got a plastic water bottle that leaks if you put any liquid in it, a fake varsity style jacket and one player from each team got a big metal thing for an HGC banner because they didn’t want the viewers to see we were all living in our parent’s house.”

“The first year they had a party with an open bar, the second year we went to an expensive bar and had to buy our own drinks. Basically, every aspect of the summit was worse, I even had to pay 25$ at the airport to check my bag, apparently this year that wasn’t in the budget.”

The budget cuts weren’t that unexpected. Every player could see the viewership couldn’t compete with the likes of League of Legends or DOTA 2. Blizzard, however, disagreed and claimed the viewership for the game was “owning”. “They told us we did amazing, our numbers were through the roof and above all we were OWNING on Disney XD where we were getting supposedly hundreds of thousands of viewers. Not only that but they said 2018 would be even better, we would have loads of opportunities to make more money and Blizzard would make us “Superstars”. We assumed they would promote HOTS pros in the launcher but they only did that for content creators and Tempo Storm.”

As it turned out later it wasn’t just the outside world that wasn’t watching the HotS Global Championship. Some Blizzard employees had trouble identifying what it was too. “We did a tour of the Blizzard campus with everyone wearing their HGC 2018 shirts, Overwatch employees saw us and literally asked “Who are you guys” and “What is the HGC”. Before ducking out into a top secret OW area. “

“They expected us to be full time players with the 20k salary while making it very clear we were not Blizzard employees (i.e. no benefits). But with the promise of promoting our brands/streams and making us “super stars“. It has been painfully obvious they purposefully promoted a specific handful of players/teams,” Justing added. It was no secret that Blizzard promoted Tempo Storm almost exclusively, leaving every other team out in the cold. 

“Cloud 9 saw the danger and left the scene immediately after 2016, a smart move that took foresight and I’d expect inside information,” the player speculates. “Last year Blizzard/Twitch/Organizations split the revenue from bits 33/33/33, why multi billion dollar corporation Blizzard needed to take a cut in bits and advertise it as “support the players, support the teams” is misleading at best. “

It is no surprise, that the best event most HotS players had to attend wasn’t even organized by Blizzard, which was heavily cutting costs. “Gold Club was the best tournament I was ever a part of. Words cannot describe how great it was, it was the one event where you felt what it was like to be a professional gamer in a serious esport. This was the one event hosted by NetEase in China. Unfortunately, halfway through the tournament, we were told that Blizzard had released a major content patch so we had to play a different game halfway through the three-week tournament. “

What was even more shocking (or maybe expected, after all?) was the radio silence in the past few months. Blizzard adamantly refused to share any information with any involved parties. Until the very last moment they were kept in the dark. And when all the players and teams found out they would be losing their jobs was at the same time as everyone else — after reading a press release, innocently titled “Thank you, HGC fans”.

“As a team owner, I have asked Blizzard for information regarding HGC since September, as well as more recently asking for information on November 18th. I was told I would be given an update within two weeks. I wasn’t. I received my update at the same time as the public and we negotiated our contracts with Simplicity with 0 information for 2019 while we were under the impression organizations had signed NDA’s. “

But Gapp insists it wasn’t all bad. “Overall I had a good experience as a pro player as it was always my dream. I am however not surprised for these reasons and more that it came to such an abrupt end.”

Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm Global Championship is second developer league to be shut down in 2018, following Daybreak’s H1Z1 Pro League. What will it mean for the future of these games is yet to be seen.

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