New Year, new eSports news! Let’s dive in and see what’s been happening in this ever-evolving world of tournaments, leagues and alliances.
Independiente to launch eSports team with Puma
Atletico Independiente have launched its first official eSports team, set to feature in FIFA tournaments and the e-Superliga Argentina. If the venture is a success, the club could also venture into other gaming series, such as League of Legends and Fortnite.
The team, featuring two of the top eSports players in Argentina, has also partnered with two strategic sponsors. Sportswear manufacturer Puma is set to become the team’s technical supplier, while the foreign-trade consultancy firm Portas has signed a deal to become the main shirt sponsor.
Independiente are the latest of several professional football teams to invest in eSports players. All of England's Premier League clubs are seeking gamers ahead of an inaugural ePremier League tournament, which is set to launch in January.
Five eSports titles for 2019 SEA Games announced
The Philippine Southeast Games Organizing Committee and Razer have officially announced five of the six shortlisted games for the inaugural eSports tournament at the Southeast Asian Games2019. The games announced so far include Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Tekken 7, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor. The sixth and final title is set to be revealed in the coming weeks.
According to the announcement, the key criterion for the selection of the shortlisted games was the diversity of the titles, as well as the strategy and teamwork demanded. The games also take into account the physical and mental intensity needed to persevere through long marathon matches. It was announced that all of the games are gender inclusive, meaning teams of both men and women will participate.
Including eSports in the 2019 SEA Games marks the first time the sport will be included as a medal event in a multi-sport undertaking of this caliber, and is a big step forward towards legitimising eSports as a world-class sporting event.
The 2019 SEA Games will be held from Saturday 30 November to Wednesday 11 December 2019 at several locations in the Philippines, including Manila, Clark, Subic, Batangas, La Union and Tagaytay.
eSports veterans launching new tech company
eSports industry veteran Alexander Garfield, CEO of Evil Geniuses, is teaming up with some of the top players in the industry to launch Popdog, a brand new eSports technology and services company. Other members taking part in the initiative are Andreas Thorstensson, a former Counter-Strike world champion and co-founder of SK Gaming; Niles Heron, a consultant who was part of the development of TechStars, Gener8tor and Detroit’s TechTown; and Colin DeShong. The company is aiming to develop solutions to optimise live streaming for tournaments and has already received $9 million in funding, led by Makers Fund and Korea Investment Partners.
Alexander Garfield has won the International tournament twice and is best known for his role in helping to build pro-gaming organisations Evil Geniuses and Alliance into eSports heavyweights. In 2014, Garfield sold the teams’ parent company GoodGame to streaming site Twitch.