Author: harrisonriback

“It’s Still Surreal”: Parent Reacts to High School Son’s Success as Pro eSports Player

Washington Post: “When Christine Yankel learned her son, Ethan, wanted to become a professional in esports, she said it required ‘some negotiations.’ For example, Ethan, then a 16-year-old honor roll student, still had to finish high school. There was also a loose monitoring of the late-night practice sessions with the semi-professional team he joined online. Finally, Christine and her husband needed to learn more about the pro gaming scene Ethan would enter two years later — the one that would allow him to earn a potential six-figure salary before he had a college degree or was old enough to rent a car.”

“It’s still surreal to us,” Christine said. “You hear about people becoming professional esports players and to us, it was one of those far-off dreams, like your kid being a pro soccer player or pro football player. It feels like that.”

“Ethan, now 18, is publicly known by his gamertag ‘Stratus,’ a name he chose to honor his dead cat. It’s a name Christine said she has grown used to, although hearing it applied to her son and not their deceased pet was ‘really odd’ at first. Stratus is now among a handful of elite gamers who have gone pro in Overwatch, a six-on-six, sci-fi, first-person-shooter (FPS) game. He signed last winter with the Washington Justice, one of the 20 teams in the professional Overwatch League (OWL).”

New Hires for Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

ESPN: “Kroenke Sports & Entertainment has tapped former YouTube and Riot Games staffer Alex Rubens and ESPN senior editor Ryan Garfat to help lead esports operations for the Los Angeles Gladiators of the Overwatch League and the Los Angeles Guerrillas of the upcoming Call of Duty League, the group told ESPN on Thursday.”

“Rubens and Garfat are the first hires in the new front office for the Kroenkes’ esports ventures. Both were recruited by executives Josh Kroenke and Michael Neary. In addition to the teams, Rubens and Garfat will be involved operationally with a new 6,000-person venue adjacent to the Rams new home, SoFi Stadium, near Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood.”

Difference in Pro e-Sports vs. Traditional Sports: “Who’s in Charge”

Dan Primack of Axios attended “a party where you just felt you didn’t belong,” namely, the Overwatch League final match at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, “while filming an ‘Axios on HBO‘ segment about professional e-sports.”

Important insight: “The big difference between pro e-sports and traditional sports is who’s in charge. In e-sports, the publisher is king. The commissioner works for the CEO, not for the franchise owners.”

“It’s a model that makes sense for now, kind of like how console-makers once controlled game development. Well, until a group of Atari developers created Activision, in an act of decentralized rebellion that today’s Activision Blizzard would be wise to remember.”

Nerd Street Gamers Raises $12M to Build eSports Facilities

Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat: “Nerd Street Gamers has raised $12 million in funding from Philadelphia discount retailer Five Below (and others) to build esports Localhost facilities that house leagues, training camps, tournaments, and showcases.”

“The deal is one more example of an investment boom for esports. Professional teams, as well as amateur esports players, can use these centers. Amateurs can rent the spaces when needed.”

Dan Primack of Axios explains the BFD: “E-sports has been growing ahead of its physical infrastructure, so back-build is needed to protect existing investments. Both on the professional and amateur side.”

Merch Alert: Walmart Now Selling

Dexerto.com: “Walmart is now hopping on board the esports merchandise train, stocking jerseys and accessories from some of the world’s most recognizable esports brands.”

“The Esports Fan Shop stocks items from the North American League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), the Overwatch League, the ESL Shop, and more. This means fans can pick up jerseys from Cloud 9, Ninjas in Pajamas, the San Francisco Shock, and over 40 more teams.”

‘Huge’ Fortnite Leak?

Forbes reports that a “Leak Of New Named Locations Points To A New Map For Season 11.”

The post from Dave Thier states: “If it turns out to be true, this could be the largest leak we’ve seen in Fortnite yet, bigger than a new season and certainly bigger than a new item. Dataminers found something interesting when pouring through the new files this morning: not one new point of interest, not two, but 13, showing off a massive list of a kind that we haven’t really seen in the game so far. Clearly, 13 new points of interest would constitute a much larger scale map change than anything we’ve seen with any season before, possibly more than the current map could sustain. Which, in my mind, points to a new map.”

Nevada High Schools May Form eSports League

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association are deciding whether, “The popular games may soon be played at the hands of local students on the campuses of Nevada high schools,” reports News3LV.com. 

“By sanctioning Esports, students would be able to play in competitions going head-to-head, or controller-to-controller, vying for standings and trophies.”

One argument for move? Better grades for students.

Said Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Director  Bart Thompson: “Students who participate in sports and activities, graduate at a higher rate. They have higher great point averages, fewer disciplinary problems, fewer attendance problems, all of those types of things.”