The days of betting Counter-Strike skins are numbered

After recent disclosures about potential Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations within the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) community, Valve has come out with a statement about the matter, dismissing their involvement in the gambling sites as well as putting those sites on notice that their usage of the Steam API is against terms and conditions. Valve’s Erik Johnson writes: Since then, a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there’s been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. We’d liek to clarify that we have no business relationship wtih any of these sites. We have…

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What Survivor can teach us about emergent game design

If you were inclined to pare down the reality TV show Survivor (2000-present) to three key terms, they would likely be “tribal council,” “immunity,” and “alliances.” The first two are part of the core Survivor game template. Every three days, there will be a challenge—early on between two tribes and later, after merging, as individuals. The winner is safe at tribal council, where a person must be voted out of the game. “Alliance,” meanwhile, did not come from Survivor’s creators, but the revolutionary machinations of its first winner, Richard Hatch. “Richard Hatch was so far ahead of us in the first…


Dota 2 might be nearing its Moneyball moment

In one of the most famous single season performances in Major League Baseball history, the 2002 Oakland Athletics won a league-topping 105 games on a paltry $33 million budget. Their secret? Sabermetrics—that is, the use of statistical analysis, rather than subjective judgement, to evaluate players’ relative strengths and weaknesses. The value of this kind of analysis is rather self-evident now, but, in 2002, the notion that the right statistics were more reliable than the best scouts was heresy. Even today, some remain wary of teams that use sabermetrics. As the old timers say, they’re not playing baseball; they’re playing moneyball.…

Dota 2

Watch a rare, perfect game of Dota 2

Perfection is a rare and beautiful thing in Dota 2 (2013) no less than any other competition. In terms of prestige, a flawless game in Dota 2—by which I mean a game in which the winning team destroys the opposing team’s ancient without suffering a single death—ranks up there with a hole-in-one on a par five or a perfect nine inning outing in baseball. It’s really, really rare. Entire careers will transpire without ever being involved in one. To wit, elder Dota 2 statsman Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen estimates that perhaps a dozen have occurred in thousands upon thousands of professional matches…


Does Esports Even Need Network TV?

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Broadcasting esports on TV is the latest craze, but the internet-born phenomenon may have already hit its stride live-streaming. Four decades after the first videogame competition, esports finally hit primetime television on May 27 with TBS’s ELeague. Interest in esports is skyrocketing around the world, but the question remains whether the excitement of videogame matchups, which thrill millions of fans via livestreaming on internet sites like Twitch and YouTube, will succeed on a cable television network. “Everybody is waiting with baited breath to see how ELeague is received,” said Matt Hill, senior vice president…

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Videogame guesses your age based on your reaction times

It’s commonly thought that one of the biggest contributors to skill is practice. So, it should follow that plenty of the best competitive videogame champions are older, having had more time to hone their skills. But this isn’t the case at all. Joe Hanson investigates this curiosity in a recent episode of the PBS Digital Studios series It’s Okay To Be Smart, asking “are older gamers at some disadvantage? Are their brains already over the hill?” shortest lag between moving to a different section of a map and action is found at age 24 Hanson explains that in StarCraft 2…

Australian esports

Aussie esports go global with Australian Cyber League

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. A new partnership between the Australian Cyber League and Electronic Sports League gives the country an edge in worldwide competitive gaming. The Australian professional gaming scene has seen a boom in recent years, reaching ever further into the mainstream with the help of the Australian Cyber League’s new partnership. From Andrew Masterson of the Sydney Morning Herald  declaring that, “Your mum was wrong, videogames are not a waste of time, especially if you’re playing League of Legends (2009) for $3 million,” to Leigh Sales of the 7:30 Report stating that “competitive online multiplayer…

Rocket League

Soccer tactics and the evolution of Rocket League

Soccer as we know it has undergone several modifications since its earliest stages. Back in 1529, a soccer-esque sport called ‘Calcio Fiorentino’ was being played between two teams with 27 players each in the Piazza Santa Croce, a famous plaza in front of a basilica in Florence, Italy. The players used this game to solve their political differences in a match full of violence and intensity. These differences were normal back in 16th century Italy, when competition was more a matter of showing superiority and dominance over a rival group—as in matches between aristocratic families and gangs that dominated different…

Vainglory screenshot

Why the future of esports is mobile

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Popular new mobile titles like Vainglory (2014) and Clash Royale show the promise of competitive esports on the go. While esports competitions continue to emphasize PC games like League of Legends (2009), new titles available on mobile devices are shaking things up for players and fans. According to a report released last year by the NPD Group, younger kids are playing games on their phones more than any other device. Game studios have taken note, creating mobile games that appeal to core and casual players alike. “Somebody’s going to create…