Why Retired esports Stars Turn to Twitch

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Most professional gamers call quits on their careers long before they turn 30, but streaming platforms ensure these players can do what they love without the stress of competing in the big leagues. Imagine falling into fame and fortune at the age of 16, flying around the world to compete in videogame tournaments with prize pools totaling thousands and even millions of dollars. This is the world most esports athletes live in, skyrocketing to success before they’re old enough to drive. Even the brightest esports stars, however, can burnout fast:…


BOTOLO doesn’t want to be like other competitive videogames

Ian Snyder is responsible for making one of my favorite games of 2014: The Floor is Jelly, a side-scrolling platformer that makes jumping more playful than ever. So many game makers try to reinvent the platformer by tweaking the jump—the distance, the speed, or the friction perhaps. But Snyder went another way and changed the world around the jump. It worked wonderfully. For his next game, Snyder has taken this same unique, if simple, approach to exploring a new avenue in an established genre, and applied it to competitive multiplayer games. Called BOTOLO, it’s due out for Windows and Mac on December 15th.…


From Maverick to League of Legends Team Leader

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. As Ming “Clearlove” Kai evolves from an aggressive risk-taker to an eSports team captain, his trusty gaming PC remains a portal to becoming a consistent leader. Kai’s competitive League of Legends (2009) career has kept the eSports community on their toes. Notorious for his unpredictable boldness, the daredevil now seeks to find stability as Edward Gaming’s (EDG) gifted captain. After being named ESPN’s top jungler at this year’s World Championship, empowered by both the support of his teammates and powerful practice rig, hope runs high that Clearlove will lead EDG to…


How Overwatch Whipped Up an eSports Frenzy in South Korea

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Professional and amateur players are shifting their focus to a game that’s breathing new life into competitive eSports in South Korea. Earlier this year, for the first time in nearly four years, League of Legends (2009) was not the most popular game in South Korea’s PC bangs. Inside internet cafes or “PC rooms,” Blizzard’s recently released Overwatch was the competitive online game of choice, edging out LoL by as much as 30 percent in June. It’s almost the equivalent of Wimbledon pulling in more viewers than the Super Bowl. “The…


From small beginnings to Esports stardom

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. After church on Sunday, 13-year-old Christine “Potter” Chi followed her brother and his friends to an amateur Counter-Strike tournament at the Mug and Mouse LAN cafe in Dallas, Texas. While sipping boba tea, Potter and her reluctant friends watched as the teams faced off with nothing but pride on the line. “Once I realized they were going versus each other, it sparked my competitive side,” she said.More than a decade and a half later, Potter has five Counter-Strike world championships under her belt and is a reminder of just…


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…