Esports Entertainment Group launches IPO on NASDAQ

Esports Entertainment Group became the first esports betting company to launch an initial public offering (IPO) today.

The company is a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on esports wagering and 18+ gaming. Esports Entertainment offers bet exchange style wagering on esports events in a licensed, regulated and secure platform to the global esports audience at Vie.gg. In addition, Esports Entertainment intends to offer users from around the world the ability to participate in multi-player mobile and PC video game tournaments for cash prizes. Esports Entertainment is led by a team of industry professionals and technical experts from the online gambling and the video game industries, and esports.

Esports Entertainment Group went public on the NASDAQ Capital Market and the company will be trading under the symbol “GMBL”. The uplisting makes GMBL the first iGaming company with its shares publicly traded on a major stock market in the US. EEG announced the pricing of its public offering of 1,980,000 units of shares at a price to the public of $4.25 per unit. Each unit issued in the offering consists of one share of common stock, one Unit A Warrant to purchase one share of common stock and one Unit B Warrant to purchase one share of common stock.

The company behind Vie.gg may be a pioneer, but launching an IPO can potentially set the precedent for other organizations within the esports industry willing to take the plunge. With esports quickly becoming one of the biggest industries in the world, investing in the scene may seem like a no-brainer.

Esports Entertainment Group expects to receive gross proceeds of approximately $8.4 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other estimated offering expenses.

The industry is growing rapidly and this decision to open up shares to the public further cements esports as a titan to rival film, music, sports and other forms of entertainment. The total amount bet on esports competitions is expected to hit $12.9 billion and the esports betting industry is projected to exceed $23 billion in value in 2020.

Even though esports is certainly trending upward, some may be reluctant to invest in the relatively new field, especially considering the turbulent situation in the financial markets.

 

Will VALORANT dethrone other esports titles?

A few weeks ago, my attention was grabbed by the fact that the appearance of VALORANT may bring a new opportunity for people who have been discarded by other games. Most notably, on the Counter-Strike stage, due to bans delivered long ago for different reasons.

The fact that Blizzard’s behavior in the esports field is incomprehensible to many is not to be mentioned — such messages have been appearing for a long time. Currently, the entire Overwatch scene is practically limited to OWL, and the so-called tier 2 in the form of Overwatch Contenders has been left alone and more and more teams are withdrawing from participation at this level due to insufficient support and promotion.

So we come slowly to the place where you are either in the Overwatch League or you play for free, hoping that someone will notice you somewhere. Interestingly, according to Seb “numlocked” Barton, who in the past was associated with Los Angeles Valiant, dissatisfaction is to embrace even players who appear in the highest class. And this is where VALORANT appears, all in shining white.

Many people have quite a lot of hopes for this title — and rightly so, because we’re talking about a game that is supposed to come out of the studio responsible for League of Legends. And although no binding declarations have been made in esports terms, it can be assumed with 99% certainty that the production scene will be created sooner rather than later. After all, Riot employed Kasra Jafroodi, who had been an esports analyst at Blizzard for years, and who is currently working at VALORANT, building a strategy around electronic competition around it.

So it may end up so that people who are unhappy with what is happening in games in which they have competed so far will move somewhere else. And an FPS from the creators of LoL will be very attractive in this respect.

We don’t have to stop at Overwatch anyway. Braxton “swag” Pierce already announced his entry to the stage, who in CS: GO had nothing to look forward to for several years because of the lifelong ban imposed by Valve. A lot in this respect is also happening in Fortnite, which is probably already at the peak of its popularity.

Also in esports, 2020 promises to be poorer than 2019. Therefore, players are looking for a new safe haven for themselves — even Harrison “Psalm” Chang, that is, last year’s runner-up, decided to do so. “My dream is to become the most successful player in gaming history,” said the American. “I thank Fortnite for everything. I was given the chance to achieve what only few have achieved. Now, however, I focus my gaze on VALORANT.”

More importantly he won’t be the only one to do so.

The online shooter from Riot can therefore offer a lot to many. Maybe not necessarily among the leading players associated with Counter-Strik or Rainbow Six: Siege. Above all, smaller scenes should be afraid of not properly shaped esports structure and slightly neglected by their creators. It is from there that the largest influx of dissatisfied may come, who will be looking for a second chance, and thanks to reasonably recognizable names they will have an easier start, because organizations are more likely to look in their direction.

So it remains to be seen — be afraid Overwatch, be afraid Fortnite, be afraid Apex, be afraid PUBG, be afraid Quake. You, CS:GO, don’t have to be afraid. At least for now.

Ranked in VALORANT: all you need to know

It is known that in online games pleasure comes only from winning. Yes, great action or spectacular frag will give us momentary satisfaction, but in the end, it is important that our name is under the inscription “winner”. After all, each victory is more ranking points, thanks to which our rank will grow. Important in all significant esports titles – in Counter-Strike, League of Legends and also in the upcoming VALORANT.

Riot Games obviously intends to implement the rank system in its upcoming FPS, although at the moment we know very little about it. “I think we are not ready yet to reveal details about the ranking system,” the creators assured during the recent Q&A with media representatives. “We know that rank names are available, but otherwise we don’t reveal much.”

“The ranking system is something that we are currently working on (and probably will always be!), So everything that is available in the client can still change. However, we intend to create a ranking system dedicated to VALORANT,” they added. So what does it look like at the moment? 

We get seven ranks, which are to be called the mercenary, soldier, veteran, hero, legend, mythical and immortal. At the moment it is not even certain that the ranking system presented in the beta will last until the official premiere, as mentioned above.

However, it seems that the highest possible rank will be VALORANT, although not everyone probably has the privilege of having it — it is possible that we are dealing here with something like the LoL’s Challenger, available only to the absolute world leaders.

The first thing that catches the eye is a kind of resemblance to the system known from League of Legends, although this is of course not surprising — in both cases, we are dealing with the game of the same manufacturer. Either way, as in LoL, players are to be rewarded for their achievements, although at the moment it is not known how.

“We intend to introduce a rewards system for ranked games, but we haven’t developed it yet,” it was said during the aforementioned Q&A. It is also difficult to clearly determine whether the ranks will reset at the end of the season, or whether they will stay with us for longer, for example, as it is in Counter-Strike. More likely, however, is an option from League of Legends, i.e. split into seasons.

We will be able to test the ranking system on April 7 during the closed beta, as it will be there already. It is worth remembering, however, that what we will develop during tests will not translate into our rank after the premiere, which is scheduled for summer this year — in the full version we will be leveling up again. Then, ladders will be available that will not appear in the test version of the game.

Five F1 drivers join the next virtual Grand Prix

After the inaugural Formula 1 Virtual Series race, there was a lot of dissatisfaction. Not everything went according to the organizers of the whole undertaking — technical problems plagued the event and then total chaos reigned on the track.

Nevertheless, this is a thing of the past, because next Sunday the next installment of virtual competition arrives. This time on the start list we will see definitely more names from the world of F1 — five professional drivers of this series have confirmed their participation.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon and Williams’ George Russell will join Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi for the Sunday’s race. This is very positive information for the fans of the motorsport queen, who in the face of the pandemic and the inability to hold real GPs, certainly would like to see the entire line-up of drivers in action.

However, there is still a long way to go, although it is difficult not to notice significant progress in this matter. Among the participants of the struggle, we will also see, among others Louis Delétraz, a driver who performs in F2 on a regular basis, Christian Lundgaard from F3 and Pietro Fittipaldi, a reserve driver for Haas.

On the coming Sunday, according to the official schedule, the Vietnam Grand Prix was to be held, however, participants of the virtual competition will race at Albert Park in Melbourne. This is due to the fact that the race in Vietnam was to have just made its debut this season, so it is not yet available in last year’s version of the game prepared by Codemasters. Therefore, it was decided to catch up and take the street loop in Australia, which has been opening the racing calendar for many years.

The broadcast of this event will be available on the official F1 channels via YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, as well as on television, including the leading sports network Sky Sports. It is not known whether ESPN or other regular F1 networks will be interested in the event, although due to the lack of virtually no other events, it seems a natural move.

The start of the race is scheduled for April 5 at 21:00 CEST.

Here’s how you can play in the VALORANT closed beta early

For many months, Riot Games quite sparingly gave us new information about VALORANT, the upcoming multiplayer FPS. And although the creators of League of Legends, especially in recent weeks, have finally opened the veil of secrecy, one issue remained — when the beta will start.

But now we know that it will start relatively soon, on April 7 at 14:00 CEST. It is then that the test servers will be opened, on which the lucky group will be able to see for themselves what Riot was preparing for several years.

Importantly, in this version of the game we will be able to progress, but this progress will not be transferred to the full version of the game, once it gets released in Summer of 2020. The situation is different when it comes to VALORANT points, i.e. the internal currency that will be used to shop in the store. We will be able to purchase this right away and then it will remain in our “portfolio” after the premiere, and will even increase by 20% as a bonus.

As it is a closed beta, the number of places in it will be limited, however, most major regions are included in the closed beta test.

How to get access to the VALORANT closed beta? Well, we first need to set up a Riot account, and then link it to Twitch. And then you only need to watch the streamers selected by the developers, hoping that you will be lucky and you will get the closed beta pass.

At the moment, it is not known how long the tests will last and how many players will be able to try their hand at the test servers. For more information about the VALORANTA beta, please visit the developer’s official website. This is where you can also submit your interest to participate in the tests.

Follow further instructions on the site as described above to be one of the first to start playing VALORANT closed beta next week.

VALORANT will be a free game, and the manufacturer ensures that thanks to the appropriate optimization, everyone will be able to enjoy the game, even those whose equipment is not the latest. The premiere of the PC game in most regions of the world is scheduled for summer 2020.

Finally, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the gameplay presented today, which comes from the alpha version of the game.

The most chaotic F1 race in history

The front wings were flying, penalties for irregular driving were pouring and the race leader changed several times. Like the virtual Bahrain Grand Prix, it had everything that fans of the motorsport would like, but it is difficult to say that this form of competition in any way reflects the emotions associated with real racing. The potential of the whole enterprise was not used to the maximum, and again, unfortunately, problems of a technical nature made themselves felt.

The idea of ​​replacing canceled or postponed Formula 1 races with struggles in the game from the beginning gained my approval. Gaming, however bad this may sound, is after all the beneficiary of the current situation prevailing in the world, and the temporary replacement of real struggles with those virtual, primarily in the form of fun, is of course a natural movement, perfectly matching the slogan #stayhome.

Of course, in the case of F1 everything was wanted to be organized from a thick tube — racing followed the studio, celebrities came to fight on the track in Sakhir, and even sports TV channels got interested in the action.

Up to a point, it seemed that the whole initiative would be a hit. However, the first problems appeared when the players checked in to the server to start the 18-minute qualification. However, not everyone finally got the opportunity to unscrew the measuring wheel, because three drivers were kicked from the game out of the session. One of them was Lando Norris, a professional F1 driver, whom many treated as the main favorite of the struggle. After all, except for performances on the real track, the driver from McLaren often sat at the controls of the car in the comfort of home. The British driver, moreover, fired up a stream on Twitch, which gathered over 100,000 concurrent spectators at peak times. Fans of the 20-year-old talent, however, must have felt disappointed, because due to game problems he was only granted 19th place on the grid and in the race he was to break through from the last lane.

Well — he had, but finally it did not appear at the start, because the game showed its unpleasant side and during the formation lap it happened again.

F1 fans following the online competition demanded a session restart, but this did not happen. Anyway, we had to wait longer than planned for the GP start — the race didn’t start until around 10:00 PM, even though the red lights were supposed to go out half an hour earlier. In addition, instead of 50% of the real distance, drivers were only allowed to race through 14 laps, which is 25% of the real race.

Unfortunately, the bizarre situation was not over yet. Those who chose the broadcast even at Sky Sports only after a few laps learned that Norris was not in the session. The consternation was so great that Lando stuck in the racing classification, but it was only after some time that information arrived that his car was driven by … a bot.

It was also chaotic on the track. One of the drivers, Johnny Herbert, decided to cut the first corner through the grass, advancing from the back of the grid straight to the position of GP leader. The game punished the 55-year-old for this incident by a penalty of 10 seconds added at the end of the race. Of course, it goes without saying that the British quickly lost his position, but his maneuver will definitely go into the F1 esports history.

Behind him were miracles: most of the drivers went to the side of the Bahrain track, and lost parts of the vehicle forced them to visit their mechanics at the pit. The situation changed as in a kaleidoscope, and the ubiquitous chaos unfortunately did not intensify emotions, on the contrary — it made it difficult to understand all events, which hindered the reception of virtual GP.

Enough to complain, because not everything was so bad. It must be said that the initiative itself was quite well thought out. Online races are to take place every weekend, which was originally scheduled for one of the rounds of this year’s World Cup. Given yesterday’s announcement about the postponement of the Azerbaijan GP, the inauguration of the 2020 season will not take place before June 14. So far, fans have to settle for racing in the game, and this is of course a great opportunity to promote the production of Codemasters and convince esports to those who still do not accept the competition online. The world of electronic sports can only benefit from it.

Interest in this form of competition is confirmed by the number of viewers of the broadcast on the Internet. The stream from the competition on three platforms was watched by as many as 395,000 viewers during its peak. To this, of course, add the fans gathered on the streamer channels, who presented the race from their perspective. Sky Sports did not provide the data yet, but I am convinced that the popular TV channel added at the very least tens of thousands of viewers to the overall result.

For a fun race, these are definitely impressive numbers. Perhaps a large part of the viewers came into contact with the production of Codemasters for the first time in their lives. Perhaps some percent of them will fire Steam and buy the game. Perhaps, thanks to the actions of the F1 leadership, the esports series will be more popular.

But for the idea of ​​playing virtual races to have far-reaching effects, organizers must make a number of changes. Of course, the whole project has the form of fun but can not take it at the expense of competition. In addition to funny situations, we also want to watch the fight round in and round out from the first to the last lap.

It would be nice if the willingness to participate in this venture proved to be a greater representation of professional drivers, not just individuals. Celebrities like Liam Payne probably increase the media value of such an event, but I am convinced that every F1 fan would prefer to see Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel or Max Verstappen in action.

It’s time for an optimistic ending — Formula 1 officials now have two weeks to refine their project. The next racing Sunday I would like to see that someone actually took the community’s attention to heart and polished the imperfections of this event. There is still a big niche to be developed, but the idea is certainly on the right track.