Counter-Strike Global Offensive Articles RSS Feed | Counter-Strike Global Offensive RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Dates, Teams, Talent Announced for CS:GO Invitational 2019 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 11:48:51 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Last January, Cloud 9 was the first North American team to ever win a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major. That win was not only a watershed moment for CS:GO as an esport, helping the game garner more than 54.1 million hours watched on Twitch during a single event, but it also cemented the ever-growing relationship between the game and esports broadcaster ELEAGUE. 

Now, one year later, C9, CS:GO, and ELEAGUE are back, bringing viewers what's sure to be another interesting, if not gripping, tournament: CS:GO Invitational 2019. 

In typical ELEAGUE fashion, the stakes are high. Four teams will compete over three days for a prize pool of $150,000. Matches will begin on Friday, January 25 and run through Sunday, January 27; coverage of the tournament will begin at 2 p.m. EDT each day and will be broadcast on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel,, and B/R Live

Team's competing in the double-elimination bracket competition include: 

  • Cloud 9
  • FaZe Clan
  • BIG
  • CompLexity

Aside from the sure-to-be electric competition, there will be a cast of familiar faces and voices reporting on the action from both the ELEAGUE studio floor and from behind the desk.

Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez will be hosting the Invitational, and he will be joined by casters James Bardolph, Daniel "DDK" Kapadia, Jason "Moses" O'Toole, and Sean Gares. Reporting from the floor will be veteran Sue "Smix" Lee. 

As has become tradition with ELEAGUE tournaments, there will also be a TBS episodic series created to recap the tournaments most explosive moments. According to the release provided by ELEAGUE, the series will "include feature content, player interviews, and other behind the scenes access to the teams." 

For fans in the Atlanta area, there will be a limited number of free tickets available for watching the tournament live, in-studio on Saturday and Sunday. Those interested can visit for more information. 

While ELEAGUE's first Invitational of the year isn't as "big" as some of its tournaments from last year, such as the CS:GO Premier, there's no doubt the broadcaster has larger, even more extensive tournaments planned for the year. 

In many ways, it's logical that ELEAGUE will only grow in 2019, considering the monumental success the brand has seen in such a short period of time in not only viewership, but also attracting the attention of influential gaming brands such as Nintendo and Activision. That's not to mention the cache the broadcaster commands by being a branch of Turner Broadcasting. 

As ELEAGUE continues to bridge the gap between gamer and the casual viewer, tournaments such as this upcoming CS:GO Invitational will only become more frequent. 

You can find out more about what ELEAGUE's up to by following them on Twitter and staying tuned to GameSkinny for more updates and coverage. 

CS: GO Gets a Battle Royale Mode, Goes Free-to-Play Thu, 06 Dec 2018 21:36:42 -0500 William R. Parks

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been available for over six years, and, despite the myriad of multiplayer shooters that have come since its release, it is still one of the most popular shooters ever made. That said, it seems that Valve is still looking to get more players into the fray, as the company has just announced that the game is now fully free-to-play and includes a new battle royale mode called Danger Zone.

Danger Zone is a lightning-quick battle royale experience, with a full match lasting around 10 minutes, that is "built on CS:GO's tactical gameplay." It features traits that will be familiar to many fans of the genre, including airdropped equipment, caches to loot, and a shrinking play-area, however, the new game mode has unique aspects that some players may find intriguing.

Specifically, Danger Zone's map contains special missions that can be completed, granting those that participate additional rewards. Throughout the course of a match, players may find themselves escorting hostages to a rescue zone or eliminating a high-value target in service of bettering their load-outs. 

Danger Zone can be played solo or as a duo/trio, with players entering alone joining 16-player matches while those that join as a squad will enter 18-player matches.

Furthermore, anyone that would like to try out Danger Zone can do so at no cost, as CS:GO is now officially free-to-play. This is down from a $15 price tag, and players that paid full retail for the title previously will be given a "commemorative Loyalty Bade they can display on their profile."

Additionally, these paying players will be upgraded to Prime Status, which gives them access to the Souvenir MP5-SD submachine gun as well as the Danger Zone Case, which features "17 community-designed weapon finishes, and the Horizon knives as rare special items." New players can also pay $15 if they wish to be granted Prime Status.

With CS:GO's addition of Danger Zone, the battle royale genre continues to grow ever more ubiquitous. Fortnite shows no signs of slowing down, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 shirked a single-player campaign for its battle royale mode, and even Rockstar is getting in on the act with Red Dead Online.

While it remains to be seen if CS:GO's new game mode will be able to pull any players away from these established titles, its free-to-play status is certainly a valiant attempt.

ELEAGUE: Legitimizing Esports Through Creative Storytelling and Emerging Technology Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:07:40 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Log in to any sports broadcasting network, and there's a strong chance you'll run into a well-polished documentary or feature on a player's life, technique, or claim to fame. To anyone who cares about sports, the games we watch aren't really about the sports themselves but more about the personalities lacing up to take the field or court. We tune in because we want to see those players succeed or fail, and we want to see how they'll do it. 

The end, as they say, isn't as compelling as the journey. 

It's not surprising, then, that story and competition are uniquely linked. From the earliest days of sport, story fashioned from the splendor of victory and the disappointment of defeat has compelled us to watch, perhaps even more than the innate fun of the sports themselves. It's true in analog sports, and it's true in digital sports as well. 

In many ways, esports is the natural progression of competition. Just as analog sports have evolved from their primal roots, so have they evolved from traditional stick and ball sports -- such as baseball, football, and basketball -- to something if not more advanced, more closely tied to the digital age. Of course, traditional sports still entrance and enrapture us, but it's time to come to grips with a simple fact: sports are evolving, and both fans and broadcasters have to evolve with it.  

One of the companies leading the charge into that brave "new" world of broadcast esports is a name that's become synonymous with sports itself: Turner Broadcasting. Well-known for its coverage of the NBA, the MLB, the PGA, NCAA basketball, and more, Turner was one of the major broadcasting companies to quickly realize that esports wasn't just a fad but instead a legitimate cultural zeitgeist. Because of their foresight, their esports network, ELEAGUE, is one of the fastest growing and most renowned esports-centric networks currently showcasing games and tournaments. 

Speaking with Matt Mosteller, Vice President of Content for Turner Sports, who also oversees production for ELEAGUE, the idea of crafting compelling narratives lies at the center of each ELEAGUE production. As a fan-first esports brand, ELEAGUE seeks to bring esports stories to fans in interesting and creative ways -- some they may have never seen before. 

[Esports is] a great digital property, and there are a ton of young fans that are consuming this content and are ferocious when following these sports. For us, being able to create content and bring in a younger audience is always something that's key. It just made sense. 

At Turner, we're always looking for what's next; what are the new, big sporting events and phenomena? We want to be a part of those and help tell stories around those. We pride ourselves in doing premiere events. We looked at esports -- and being able to jump in and help grow some of those games and create some more premiere events -- [as something we were very interested in]. 

One of the ways Turner looks to help grow established esports such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7 is through leveraging its experience in traditional broadcast storytelling. Creating hype around these games in ways both hardcore and casual fans may not have experienced before is an important wrinkle in the company's strategy. 

In many ways, I've seen it work on the "uninitiated" in person. Injecting broadcasts with player profiles, educational segments, and creative features such as this gem featuring ELEAGUE's 2018 Street Fighter V Invitational Champion, Tokido, serve a dual purpose in engaging the hardcore viewer and humanizing the competition for the casual viewer.   

Setting out after that goal, it's the creative work Turner employs outside the game that often sets its broadcasts apart from other esports coverage and analysis. It's crazy polished. It's engaging. It's compelling. The ELEAGUE team uses storytelling to give fans better insight into the every-day lives of these players, showcasing the monumental investment these players put into their training. What's more, it highlights the fact that esports players are just as passionate and skilled as players in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. 

Mosteller says that one of the best ways to ensure all of those boxes get ticked is by giving viewers what they really want, which is access to the players. That one thing is the connective tissue by which the entire organism seems to work.  

The game's the game. There's only so much we can do within the game itself. [But the question is], "What can we do around the game to create this buzz and get people excited and draw in more of an audience?". One of the great things fans love is access. They want to be these players and they want to see them away from the controller ...

One of the things we looked at was, "How can we bring fans closer to the action?", giving them the chance to know these guys. So we've dived into some of the documentary style [content], like the road to the international, the road to the Boston Major this past year for our ELEAGUE Counter-Strike major, and it really gave fans a chance to get to know these teams and see that other side of them, and create that connection and bond that will hopefully bring people back to watching live gameplay. 

That's a tall task when it comes to Joe Public. It's a safe bet that your average sports viewer isn't all that keyed in to esports -- or doesn't hold the niche in very high regard due to general views on gaming. Although studies show that some 250 million people follow esports competitions around the world, that's across all esports properties and tournaments, not a specific event.

In 2017, IEM Katowice brought in 46 million viewers, making it the largest esports event in history. However, that pales to the 2017 Super Bowl, which alone brought in 111 million viewers. This shows that broadcasters have the attention of hardcore gamers, but getting the attention of an ordinary audience requires a bit more finesse. 

In response, broadcasters like Turner have become more flexible.

That adaptability has helped ELEAGUE grow its brand and engage esports fans on both digital streaming channels such as Twitch and BR/Live, as well as TBS. It's been aided by leveraging proprietary and third-party technology. Used in conjunction with more traditional storytelling elements -- features, player profiles, and more -- tools such as eye-tracking technology and Game Command tell story in an engaging, yet more analytical way.  

Without eye-tracking technology, you wouldn't know that many Street Fighter V, CS:GO, and Tekken 7 players move their eyes just as fast, and in some cases even faster, than athletes in almost all traditional stick and ball sports.

That storyline in and of itself not only gives casual fans direct analogues by which to understand esports and overcome some of their initial hurdles, but it also gives hardcore fans the validation they've sought since players started gathering around cabinets in their local arcades decades ago. 

From another angle, ELEAGUE's Game Command gives viewers unprecedented access to professional esports play, specifically CS:GO. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, viewers streaming matches are able to see not only the main feed (which is similar to a typical sports broadcast on cable), but they are also able to see multiple angles of action, similar to a multi-feed that's sometimes provided during traditional sports broadcasts.

But that's not all. There's a unique wrinkle that takes the game to an entirely new level. With Game Command, viewers can watch specific players throughout the match, easily switching between players and viewpoints at their own discretion. It gives viewers unprecedented access and control to the games they love; and in cases of the uninitiated, gives viewers a new way to learn about the game they're watching. 

Mosteller says that's the whole point: to bring viewers and audiences as close to the game as they possibly can. Just like traditional sports, it's important to build a conversation around esports that grows it from a niche market into something bigger and more accepted. 

We always try to push ourselves on the technology side. And the gaming space is a great place to do that. Whether it was the eye-tracking technology or the augmented reality we've done around Street Fighter or the Injustice League, where we brought these great characters these fanbases know and love to life in the studio and during the broadcast. Those are just some things we can do to spice up our coverage and get the fans excited. 

I think if we're going to continue to grow the esports space, that's something that's big for us: bringing in that more casual audience, especially on TBS where people aren't as used to watching esports on that platform. 

If any mainstream broadcasting company can make esports widely popular, Turner is one of the very few that can do it. What makes Turner Broadcasting unique is that it has a wide array of ancillary properties from which it can pull from to further build hype around the scene. It has specific brands that already overlap with the gaming space, such as Cartoon Network, that further facilitate the push to greater esports ubiquity. 

It's that mixture of styles (a firm understanding of traditional media alongside a genuine excitement and interest in emerging technologies) that's helped ELEAGUE become so popular so quickly. Often, there's not a lot of context around esports matches. By crafting traditional and analytical stories around them, Turner looks to help both hardcore fans and casuals better understand what they're watching. By proxy, that understanding will hopefully transform into wider acceptance of esports as an "actual" branch of sports.  

Much like NFL films has done for the league's 32 teams and thousands of players, Turner uses technology and creative storytelling to craft compelling, engaging, and informative content that breaks down barriers.

It's telling stories where it at first doesn't seem stories could or should exist. By humanizing gaming and crafting stories around each of the scenes it represents, Turner is using ELEAGUE to firmly make the argument that competitive gaming isn't just for the initiated.

Just like traditional sports, it's for everyone. 


To see first hand the way ELEAGUE tells stories around esports tournaments, make sure to tune in to the CS:GO Premier 2018, which starts this Saturday, July 21, at 2 p.m. EDT on Twitch, BR/Live, and Game Command

The group action will go through Wednesday, July 25. After the dust has settled, four teams (two from each group) will face off in single-elimination playoffs held Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, for their share of the million-dollar prize pool. 

As always, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on ELEAGUE as it develops.  

ELEAGUE CS: GO Premier Takes Aim at High-Profile Matches Wed, 20 Jun 2018 14:28:39 -0400 Jonathan Moore

CS:GO is one of the most intense competitive shooters to ever hit the eSports scene -- and that intensity is sure to be on full display during the CS:GO ELEAGUE Premier starting July 21. 

That's where the world's Top-8 CS: GO teams will face off in what's sure to be a war of the worlds. All eight teams competed in last year's tournament, with FaZe clan looking to repeat -- and be crowned Premier champion two years in a row.

Here are the teams competing in this year's tournament in order of their HLTV ranking as of May 21 this year: 

  • Astralis 
  • FaZe Clan
  • Natus Vincere
  • mousesports
  • Liquid
  • Cloud9
  • SK Gaming

Each team will compete for a piece of the $1 million prize pool that's up for grabs. The Group Stage of the competition will be held from July 21 to July 25. In this phase of the competition, teams will be split into two groups and vie for supremacy in best-of-three matches.

The double-elimination bracket will then seed two teams from each group to compete in the Premier Playoffs, which will be held July 28-29. 

What's more, some familiar faces will round out the Premier's analysis and commentary team. Returning from last year will be Anders Blume, Daniel Kapadia, James Bardolph, Jason O'Toole, Janko Paunović, and Sue Lee. Seasoned commentator Alex Richardson will be this year's host, bringing his expertise from ECS, ESL, and more. 

Fans can tune in to ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, B/R Live, and ELEAGUE's multi-angle Game Command at 2 p.m. starting July 21 to see the action as it unfolds. 

Make sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on CS:GO and ELEAGUE as it develops. 

How eSports Are Stifling Creativity in Games Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:41:26 -0500 Alberto C.

As games have become more and more accessible over time, their weight in the entertainment industry has grown. Video games not only represent a bigger piece of the pie than ever before, they’re also shaping the way we think in other areas. Talks on including video game competitions in the Olympic Games have been ongoing for a while now, and the vast increase in cash prizes, possible thanks to millions of spectators that watch the tournaments, showcases that gaming competition is here to stay. A caption of the largest prize pools in eSports can be seen below.

But the effects of the rise of skilled gaming competitions appear to be reaching, intentionally or not, much further than most expected. Developers seem to be increasingly focused on developing titles specifically for eSports at the expense of a game or studio's originality. The goal is shifting, for at least some developers, from “what makes this a good game to play” to “what would be a good game to play and watch.” Obviously, if both can be satisfied, well then it’s a win-win, and this article will be forgotten in due time. However, the recent trend suggests that creativity will be the true victim.

Rainbow Six Siege, the latest in the saga that made a mark for its unforgiving combat and highly rewarding tactical approach and planning, now resembles Counter-Strike more than almost any other RS game before it, especially those titles that received the most praise back in the day. Relic's Dawn of War series already took a leap of faith when it morphed from a more traditional base-builder RTS to a more tactical action-RPG in Dawn of War II. The radical change in gameplay disappointed some but was still well received by many who appreciated the blend between RTS and RPG elements that reminded many of some of Warcraft III's best parts. The changes made to the most recent title have been an overall miss, with poorer reception not just from game critics, but staunch negative feedback from the playerbase thanks to its suspicious similarity to Starcraft II and MOBA gameplay.

And it's not only game series that have suffered. Developers and publishers that once tried to distinguish themselves from the competition are now mimicking or altering their own products to give them a spectator-friendly edge. Studios once renowned for the quality of their products and uniqueness within the market now appear to be making copycats of one another the same way many developers tried to copy Call of Duty's successful formula in their own shooters. Whereas Valve has Dota 2 and The Artifact (a Dota 2 card game that is currently in development), Blizzard has Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and Overwatch (another heavily influenced MOBA title). And then there are the cases from other lesser-known but increasingly large developers, such as Hi-Rez Studio's SMITE and Paladins, or arguably the most successful MOBA of all, League of Legends.

The arena of The International 2017 (Dota 2)

From a business perspective, it is easy to understand the logic in sticking to a formula that has a high rate of success. But decision makers at the head of these companies would do well to remember that it was neither business thinking nor a profitable streaming industry alone that got them to managing games that now account for millions of dollars and viewers. MOBA origins can largely be attributed to the creation of a single custom map made back in the days of Starcraft known as Aeon of Strife, made by a mapmaker known only as Aeon64. Likewise, it should go without saying that other incredibly successful titles nowadays, such as MinecraftPlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or Counter-Strike do not have their origins in rooms full of MBA executives, but rather in videogame enthusiasts themselves.

Though too early to say for certain, it appears that some bigger developers have ceased to be concerned with making their own thing and are now aiming for the shareholder-friendly, easily successful formulas. The "problem" with the success of eSports is that it appears to be contributing to this narrowing of the companies' views on the long term. The good news is that this gives indie developers more room to shine than ever. Already easier to get financed thanks to crowdfunding, the smaller studios have a great opportunity to share their own ideas without having to worry about being overshadowed by the bigger kids that are all too concerned with imitating each other.

The 5 Most Stressful Video Game Moments Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:44:54 -0400 Extra Wordinary

Games are a great form of entertainment. They allow us to relieve stress and forget about our daily struggles. In video games, we can be anything from superheroes to superdads. 

But along with making our fantasies come alive, games can also make our worst nightmares come true. In fact, some games are ruthless -- and will put the player under loads of pressure. Here are the five most stressful moments in video games.

Of course, there are spoilers to follow, so continue with caution. 

Annihilating People Using White Phosphorous in 'Spec Ops: The Line'

white phosphorous death

In Call of Duty, you are the hero. In Spec Ops: The Line, you are the monster. And in one of the most memorable scenes that demonstrates this, the player is forced to obliterate the enemy with white phosphorous. 

Without going into too much detail, white phosphorous burns the skin and lungs, while the smoke stings or burns the eyes -- and those aren't the only horrific things it does to the human body. In short, white phosphorous is a terrible weapon of war. 

And as we walk through the fields of fallen enemies in Spec Ops: The Line, not only do we realize the horrors we've committed, but we discover that along with the enemy, we've killed nearly 50 civilians in the process. 

There are many games like this which put the gamer under a lot of stress through their immersive narratives and gameplay, but nothing makes us feel more troubled than this horrific scene in Spec Ops: The Line.

Being Unable to Find Any Food in '7 Days to Die'

In 7 Days to Die -- and other survival games with hunger mechanics (e.g. Day Z, Project Zomboid, and Don't Starve) -- players are forced to ditch all other priorities and look for food.

In 7 Days to Die, being hungry means you'll die a slow, painful death -- as your health ticks down by the second. It'll force you to do whatever it takes to find that scrap of food that'll keep you going for a little longer. Sometimes, it'll even force you to eat whatever atrocities you can find: old ham sandwiches, moldy bread, zombie meat, or rotten flesh.

Being thirsty is even more stressful. While you'll live longer if you're just hungry, once you reach 0% thirst, you can die at any second. The game won't tell you when you'll die, just that you know it's coming soon and you'll do whatever it takes to prevent it (sometimes even drinking water from toilets).

Those who have been in this situation will know how stressful it is to watch your character's life tick away as you search every cabinet for food or water.

When You are Defusing a Bomb in 'CS:GO' and Hear Footsteps

While no-one knows exactly why the terrorists plant bombs in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (supposedly it's to destroy something important), the player knows that they are tasked with an important mission -- defuse the bomb. And in CS: GO, doing so can be very stressful. Here's why: 

  • It means you can't fire your weapon, making you defenseless
  • It limits your field of view because looking too far away from the bomb will stop the entire process
  • It means you might be blocked into a corner or stuck in a trap since crafty players like to place the bomb in awkward positions

Regardless, there are also several tricks the bomb defuser can do make things bit less stressful, such as pulling the pin of a grenade before starting to defuse the bomb. This allows the player to throw the grenade (usually a flash grenade) while defusing the bomb.

In CS:GO, defusing the bomb only requires holding down the E button and waiting 10 seconds. In other games such as 'Dark RP,' when you try to hack a security lock, a menu pops up (filling the entire screen) and forces you to play logic mini-games. Not only do you have to be worried about your surroundings, but your focus must also be on solving the mini-games.

Startling the Witch in 'Left 4 Dead'

Startling the witch is a lot more stressful than startling a screaming zombie.

The Witch is a special infected in Left 4 Dead that can instantly incapacitate any player who startles her. She runs extremely fast and getting too close or shining a flashlight on her will cause her to startle.

Accidentally startling the witch is a death-sentence -- and even in groups, players tend to avoid her by sneaking past or waiting until she wanders away. If you startle her and you're alone, then you're probably dead meat.

When You Make a Mistake in 'Papers Please'

In Papers, Please, you play as a border-control guard where you must reject or accept immigrants into the state based on a certain criterion (which changes day by day). Each day, you must work against the clock in order to support your family who are starving and freezing. 

The more immigrants you correctly admit or reject, the more money you will make -- but you only have a certain time limit to do so each day. Making even a few errors will almost certainly result in financial problems including: inability to buy medicine for your sick family, not having enough warmth, and not having enough food. Things like these will eventually lead to the death of your son or wife.

Making too many mistakes will also result in you losing your job or being unable to pay your rent. In this game, you are put under a lot of pressure to perform at a high speed with minimal errors. You will certainly feel the stress building up with each mistake you make.


Overall, games have a pretty diverse way of making us experience stress. Whether it be through making us realize the dark side of human nature (as in Spec Ops: The Line) or making us anticipate danger (as in CS:GO), many of these games show that stress is as much a part of video games as it is in daily life.

What have been the most stressful video game moments for you? We'd love to hear your stories! Share them in the comments below!  


How to Get Into Professional CS:GO Mon, 07 Aug 2017 14:36:19 -0400 alex.gamer

Kids these days often dream of becoming professionals in fields that didn't exist just a few years ago, like vlogging, Instagram modeling, or eSports. They see lots of people finding success in these roles, and dream of all the glamour that comes with them -- lots of praise, inboxes and social media filled with admiration, and constant requests for selfies. 

But everyone who dreams of this lifestyle runs into the same issue. How do they get from where they are to where they want to be? This is especially true for passionate gamers who want to get involved in eSports. I see more and more comments under videos and blog posts where people are asking how they can get into professional leagues. 

If you're dreaming about pro tournaments and world fame, there are some practical steps you can take to achieve your goals. And in this article, I'll outline what you can do to come closer to making this dream a reality. Because CS:GO is my wheelhouse, all the advice below will be pointed towards becoming a professional CS:GO player. But these tips can be applied to other eSports-centric games that have professional leagues, as well. 

Tip 1: Start Early

This is a simple and rather obvious piece of advice. If you want to get pro-level good at a game, you have to start playing it early on so you have plenty of time to learn and move up through amateur and mid-level leagues. 

Most of the people who ask me about a pro gaming career range from 13 to 16 years old, which is a great thing for two reasons. First of all, they'll have a lot of time to practice and polish their skills, so eventually they can break the Internet (and the enemy) with their impressive rush matches by age 18-19. Secondly, it's nice to see that today's teenagers are taking a more practical approach toward choosing and chasing their dream careers. 

Though you can start later on and find some success, considering a gaming career and initially pursuing that is ideally done around the age of 13.

Tip 2: Dedicate a Lot of Play Time

If you want to git gud, you have to practice -- that means you'll need to spend a LOT of time playing. Though playing your favorite game may sound like a dream come true, young players rarely understand the pitfalls of pursuing a pro career. 

Let's look at an example -- a day in the life of Hùng Phạm, an eSports blogger and startup enthusiast. When he was playing CS:GO at the professional level, he would start playing with friends around 3 PM, played a few DM sessions, then a few games with random teams afterwards. According to the blogger, tournaments would usually start around 8 PM, and sometimes lasted until 1 AM that morning. This kind of schedule can be quite rough when you still have real life going on and need to be at school, college, or even work around 9 AM the next day.

So before you enthusiastically dive into the world of training and chasing your pro-gamer dreams, make sure you'll be able to withstand the demanding schedule without damaging other areas of your life -- or at least without doing so irreparably. 

Tip 3: Have Talent (And Luck)

Talent isn't something you can decide whether or not to have. Either you're good at delivering headshots with 100 FPS, or you're not. Practice can take you a long way, but having that natural gift for the game you're playing is important (though you'll still need a lot of practice to hone your skills). 

There are some pro players who don't put in as many hours, but earn more achievements than players who practice all day every day. So you need to find out if you have the natural skills suited to CS:GO or any other game before you dive headlong into trying to make it as a pro. 

But in addition to natural talent, you'll also need a bit of luck. Truly succeeding at something requires not only talent and consistent work, but also a few lucky breaks. In CS:GO (or any other eSport, really) you need to get lucky enough to play with the right people, find the right team, hit the right keys at critical moments, and have the right connections in the gaming world to make your own way on the eSports circuit.

Tip 4: Make Sure Your Life is In Order

We've talked about consistent practice, passion for your game of choice, and natural talent. Now let's have a more down-to-earth conversation. Before you decide to invest a chunk of your life into gaming, you need to at least have a basic understanding of the state of eSports in your country -- or even in your local region. 

The eSports scene is not the same from region to region. In some areas, it's a booming industry where players can reach near-celebrity status. In other areas, it's still an up-and-coming scene that's trying to find its place. 

If you're in an area (specifically NA and EU) where CS:GO players are celebrated like rock stars and earn five or six-digit wages, you'll have a much better chance at becoming a part of the professional circuit and making a living. However, if you are from a country where eSports are just starting to develop, it’s better to reconsider your choice or wait a couple of years.

Of course, eSports trends are shifting rapidly -- so keep an eye on how things progress and see if you find any opportunities to put yourself on the forefront of a burgeoning competitive scene. 

All in all, you should always consider your personal circumstances and the state of the world around you before dedicating yourself to an eSports career path. You should make sure that you have other things to fall back on in case your dream doesn't pan out. 

You can make a fair amount of money in the eSports circuit, but you need to ask yourself: "Will I be able to earn a living if I never make it to the pro league?" If you can't support yourself on eSports alone, you'll need to find a way to balance it with a different job.

It sounds rather gloomy, but it will help you avoid the sort of turmoil that other players have found themselves in while pursuing their competitive careers. Professional CS:GO player Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný found himself in some tough times before he made it to a Major. He sank all the money he had into a powerful computer that would let him play the game at the best level possible, then encountered a number of obstacles in smaller tournaments and on other teams before he finally found his way into the higher levels of the pro circuit and made a name for himself. 

Tip 5: Learn Good Communication

CS:GO and other eSports are team games -- which means your overall performance relies heavily on the communication skills of everyone involved. So you need to have reliable and amiable communication skills if you want to work well enough with a team that you might have a shot at pro play. 

If you go into rage fits every time a teammate makes a mistake, or mock someone for failing, you're probably good enough to be an internet meme, but not good enough to be a pro CS:GO player. 

Years of playing and watching competitive CS:GO have shown me that the worst thing you can do in a game like that is feel entitled -- even if your skill level is markedly higher than that of your teammates. Poor communication will irritate even the calmest of players straight away, which won't make your experience any better and won't help you improve as a player. 

So if you want to pursue a professional eSports career, you have to hone your communication skills so that you can make good, clear calls that your entire team understands and is willing to listen to. Otherwise, you'll never make it out of the ranked grind and into the tournament circuit. 


There's a lot more advice I could give you about getting into professional CS:GO, but what I've said above covers the gist of what you really need to keep in mind when you consider this as a career path. I hope it helps you stay inspired about pursuing your passion, while helping you adopt a practical approach to the more mundane tasks you'll have to undertake to get there. 

Have these tips been helpful to you? What other advice do you have for aspiring eSports professionals? Taken any steps yourself to get onto a professional circuit? Leave your thoughts down in the comments! 

Don't be That Guy: Five Tips in Surviving Online Competition Sat, 29 Jul 2017 16:00:02 -0400 Will Dowell

Competitive games have become exceedingly popular on the online front. May it be Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or StarCraft 2, people have been devoting hours of their time to mastering the intricacies of their preferred game. But for all the pros that pull off incredible ults and go on insane kill streaks, gaming communities have had an influx of newcomers struggling in the new, highly-competitive environment.

There are a few ways to make the transition into these highly competitive communities easier. From improving communication to understanding the competitive mindset, players can learn and improve in the face of hardcore competition. These five tips will help you survive online competition -- even in casual matches.

Get a Headset with a Good Microphone

One of the most important pieces of equipment needed for competitive shooters (or any competitive game, for that matter), a microphone is essential for communication and victory. One of the biggest challenges in team-based competition is to get all players to work together. Without a microphone, this becomes nearly impossible as your communication is severely limited. In addition, teammates likely won't take you seriously without a good headset and microphone. That may sound petty, but when immediate communication is essential for victory, the lack of a good mic makes you a hindrance to your team -- not an asset. 

Luckily, you don't need to break the bank to get a microphone. Headsets can be as cheap as $20 and can last you multiple years. If you really want to get into competitive gaming, a microphone is essential. Check out our list of gaming headset reviews and guides to get started. 

Learn the Terms

With that microphone, you'll have the tech to better communicate with your teammates, but you'll also need the vocabulary to facilitate cohesion. Learning the terms and phrases used in each game you're playing will allow you to understand your teammates and explain your thoughts clearly. This can be as simple as understanding the common terms seen in MOBAs to as complex as learning the specific strategies in StarCraft 2.

While you will be able to learn these terms through extensive playtime, checking out websites and YouTube videos can provide a quicker understanding. You don't need to study everything, you just need to know enough to communicate with your team.

Understand Your Mistakes

No one starts out perfect, and you will make plenty of mistakes as you try a new game. Allow yourself to fail and learn from those mistakes. Even if it seems overwhelming, remember you are learning how to play the game. Enjoy each match, even when you're struggling. It takes time to get better. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to win. There's always next game.

However, you do want to learn from your mistakes and to do so, you must be willing to be self-critical. An easy way to analyze your mistakes is to record your gameplay. While some games have the ability to re-watch matches, you should use third-party software (such as OBS or integrated Nvidia recording software) to record your games anyway. This way, you have more control in your recordings, allowing for deep analyzation of your performance. Remember to find solutions for your mistakes, as just watching your mistakes over and over again will drain your confidence.

Don't forget to listen to your teammates, either. While they will criticize you, they also can provide helpful advice that will improve your matches. You can go even a step further and ask your teammates for constructive criticism. This will take a lot humility, but it is important to get advice when you can. They may be harsh, but the feedback you'll get is essential improving your gameplay.

Master That Mute Button

But sometimes people are just jerks. They scream slurs and call you every name under the sun. When you encounter these people, mute them and report them immediately. You don't have to deal with that toxicity. Regardless of what others say, it is not part of the game and is not acceptable. These games are meant to be fun, and you don't have to listen to people actively trying to ruin the game.

This also means that you shouldn't be that jerk, either. While you may get angry at teammates or get frustrated at the game, that is no excuse for being an a**hole to other players. Don't belittle others because they're not as good as you and don't accept that belittlement when it happens to yourself. Mute, report, and block these players because everyone deserves a good time.

Don't be Afraid to Walk Away

Sometimes the game just becomes too much. People are excessively rude and mean, the game becomes frustrating, you're just getting tired of the same routine. Taking breaks is not only healthy, but essential in truly enjoying competitive games. Allow yourself to walk away and don't be afraid to stop playing altogether. If you're not having fun, play something else. Gaming is huge and full of opportunities; don't ignore that potential just because you're playing a game you're not enjoying.


Jumping into a competitive game is challenging. Like anything in life, the first few hours will be rough, but things do get better. If you're truly not having fun, find another game, there's plenty of competitive and non-competitive games to choose from. With the strength of online gaming, a new competition is just around the corner.

A Complete Guide to DreamHack Atlanta: Events, Schedules & Where to Watch Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:43:42 -0400 Lydia M

2016 was the inaugural year for DreamHack in the States, with the first breaking ground in Austin, Texas. And while the American counterpart to the largest digital festival in the world probably won't be as extreme, you're bound to find something you enjoy as DreamHack sets its sights on Atlanta, Georgia this weekend.

Big-name eSports tournaments,  cosplay contests, musical performances, and so much more will be at DreamHack: Atlanta. And below, we've got your full schedule for all major events throughout the weekend.

eSports Tournaments

CS:GO DreamHack Astro Open
  • Prize Pool: $100,000
  • Teams:
    • Team EnvyUs
    • Heroic
    • Hellraisers
    • Misfits
    • NRG
    • Godsent
    • Binary Dragons
    • Renegades

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the CS:GO DreamHack Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows: 

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 12:40 PM EDT - Pre-Show
    • 1:00 PM EDT - First Match (Group Stages)
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Groups Elimination Matches
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Semi-Finals
    • 5:00 PM EDT - Grand Final
H1Z1 Elite Series - Team Event
  • Prize Pool: $150,000
  • Teams: 
    • Counter Logic Gaming
    • Obey Alliance
    • Denial eSports
    • World Best Gaming
    • Luminosity Gaming
    • + 7 teams from onsite qualifiers

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official H1Z1 Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows: 

  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 2:00 PM EDT - Team Qualifiers
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 12:00 PM EDT - Team Tournament Finals
H1Z1 Elite Series - Solo Event
  • Prize Pool: $100,000
  • Players: 
    • Radek
    • Gorany
    • Gasrunner
    • H00Wy
    • Flamehopp
    • Pineaqples
    • Inboxes
    • Splintexify
    • VivaLaBAD
    • Sweetdrear
    • AladdinLTD
    • Avdren
    • Jordyx3
    • Yt2taps
    • Illuos1iion
    • Bom1n
    • Ninja
    • + top 40 players from onsite qualifiers

You'll also be able to watch this tournament on the official H1Z1 Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 2:00 PM EDT - Solo Qualifiers
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 9:30 PM EDT - Solo Tournament
Halo Champions Series Pro League Summer 2017 Finals
  • Prize Pool: $200,000
  • Teams:
    • North America
      • Splyce
      • Optic Gaming
      • Team Liquid
      • Evil Geniuses
      • Luminosity
      • Team EnvyUs
    • Europe
      • Vexed Gaming
      • Supremacy
      • Invictus
      • Team Infused
      • + Six teams from Open Bracket

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official Halo Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows: 

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 12:00 PM EDT - Open Bracket
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Open Bracket + Championship Bracket
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 12:20 PM - Championship Bracket
Dota 2 DreamLeague Season 7 Playoffs
  • Prize Pool: $175,000
  • Teams: 
    • Team Secret
    • Team Liquid
    • Vega Squadron
    • Planet Odd

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official Dreamleague Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows: 

  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 11:00 AM EDT - Upper Bracket
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 12:00 PM EDT - Lower Bracket Final
    • 4:15 PM EDT - Grand Final
Rocket League DreamHack Championship
  • Prize Pool: $50,000
  • Teams: Open registration - 32 teams max

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official DreamHack Rocket League Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows: 

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 12:00 PM EDT - Day 1 Matches
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 12:00 PM EDT - Day 2 Matches
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 11:00 AM EDT - Quarter Finals
    • 4:00 PM EDT - Semi Finals
    • 6:30 PM EDT - Grand Finals

DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix

  • Prize Pool: $26,500
  • Players: Open Registration

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official DreamHack Hearthstone Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 11:00 AM EDT - Rounds Begin
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 11:00 AM EDT - Rounds Continue
    • 5:15 PM EDT - Round of 16
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 11:15 AM EDT - Round of 8
    • 5:15: PM EDT - Grand Final
DreamHack Super Smash Bros for Wii U Tournament
  • Prize Pool: $10,000
  • Players: Open Registration

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official DreamHack Smash Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 2:00 PM EDT - Doubles
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Single Pools
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Top 8, Semi Finals, and Finals
Dreamhack Super Smash Bros Melee Tournament
  • Prize Pool: $10,000
  • Players: Open Registration

You'll be able to watch this tournament on the official DreamHack Smash Twitch channel. The match schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, July 21:
    • 2:00 PM EDT - Doubles
  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Singles Pools
  • Sunday, July 23:
    • 10:00 AM EDT - Top 8, Semi Finals, and Finals

Other professional eSports events will also be running on the fighting game circuit. The schedule of games for fighter fans includes Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, and Injustice 2.

Collegiate AVGL eSports Matches

In addition to professional eSports, DreamHack will be hosting some tournaments at the collegiate level, courtesy of the American Video Game League (AVGL). Several universities will be facing off against each other in big-name games like League of Legends and Overwatch

All collegiate matches will be broadcast on the main DreamHack Twitch Channel. The tournaments are as follows:

League of Legends
  • Friday, July 21
    • 10:30 AM EDT - University of Georgia v. Georgia Tech
    • 1:00 PM EDT - Georgia Southern v. Georgia State
    • 3:00 PM EDT - University of Mississippi v. Clemson
  • Saturday, July 22
    • 10:30 AM EDT: University of Mississippi v. Clemson
    • 12:30 PM EDT: UNCC v. NC State
    • 2:30 PM EDT: Georgia State v. University of Georgia

Other DreamHack Events

Despite mostly being known for the holding the biggest eSports tournaments in the world, DreamHack will also be home to the biggest PC LAN party ever, cosplay contests, a dedicated tabletop area, virtual reality, and so much more. There will also be an expo filled with exhibitors like Astro Gaming, Meta Threads, Hyper X, Intel, Oculus Rift, and so much more.

Cosplay Contest

There are three "tiers" of contests with different skill levels. Each have cash and trophy prizes for the top three participants. The schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, July 22:
    • 12:00 - 3:00 PM EDT -- Pre-Judging
    • 6:00 - 7:45 PM EDT -- Main Show
    • 7:45 - 8:00 PM EDT -- Awards
Live Music

Rapper Waka Flocka Flame will also be making an appearance to put on a concert for DreamHack attendees on Friday, July 21 at 10:30 PM EDT.

Whether you're there for the eSports tournaments, cosplay contests, shopping for the latest in gamer gear, or all of the above, you're certain to find your niche at DreamHack Atlanta. As DreamHack has successfully extended to three American states this year, there's a good chance it will continue to expand in the coming years.

It's not too late to attend! Tickets are still available for as low as $20 on the DreamHack website.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for eSports coverage and cosplay roundups from the show as it runs over the weekend. Comment below if you'll be at the show yourself!

YouTuber Interview: Counter-Strike Content Creator the WarOwl Mon, 10 Jul 2017 09:25:51 -0400 Will Dowell

Counter-Strike is one of the most played games in the world. With over 10 million active players, the CS:GO community is booming. This includes the YouTube sphere, which is filled with content creators giving potential players humor, information, and excitement.

One of the more famous content creators, the WarOwl, is the go-to guy for all things Counter-Strike. Whether offering guidance on how to rise through the ranks, or seeing his experience playing the game, WarOwl is one of the premier Counter-Strike YouTubers.

Every content creator has a different story with unique challenges and successes. And we got to sit down for a chat with WarOwl to get his personal story, a look at his brand, and a preview of his goals for the future. 

William Dowell (WD): What inspired you to create your YouTube Channel?

WarOwl (WO): I originally created my YouTube Channel just for fun. I was playing games with my friends back in the day, and they kind of came up with the idea of this, saying “Hey you really got the voice of this. You should post some of these videos.” So I started doing it on the side as a hobby when I was in college and that was a pretty long time ago.

WD: When you started creating videos both as a hobby and full time, what were some of the challenges?

WO: So I started to do this full time about two and a half years ago. Obviously some of the biggest challenges to doing something like this full time is financial right off the bat, because I had to quit my job in order to devote the time I needed to achieve my passion, trying to build it. Beyond that, it’s just any normal challenges you’d face in anything you do. With what I do in particular, YouTube is highly competitive, so I mean there’s challenges that go along with that.

WD:  Since YouTube has changed a lot in the last few years, how do you think the market for creating content has changed for you?

WO: So, with something like new media, that is sort of a changing market and has been for a number of years; it’s constantly changing all the time. The people who will be around for awhile have to learn how to adapt, and I’ve noticed that a lot of channels seem to burn very bright and quick, and then they’re done. A lot of people can’t figure out how to adapt to the changing market. It’s true that what people are interested in watching even has changed dramatically over the years.


WD: With the current YouTube climate are there any issues on YouTube or Google’s side that is hindering content creators from fully creating their videos?

WO: Not that I’m aware of. I guess one of the biggest issues that has plagued a lot of people are copyright issues. A lot of companies do DMCA requests and they also have automated copyright systems which can be a thorn in the side of creators. On the other hand it can also protect creators by being overly aggressive [and] preventing a nasty lawsuit.

WD: As you said it takes a lot of time to create this video content. How do you manage a work-life balance?

WO: So, my work has become my life in that sense. When I used to work at the office. I would go to work in the morning, work, come home, and then it’s bed time. Now, I’m always at work. I wake up and I’m at work. Before I go to sleep, I’m at work. Managing that time is a major challenge for people who work at home and who start their own business and are entrepreneurs. There’s a lot that goes into managing time well and for me trying to find out what works the best and modifying my behavior and schedule around that. This job takes way more time than anything else I’ve ever done and this is the most difficult job that I’ve ever done. At the same time, it’s also the most rewarding.

WD: With creating this content, how do try to maintain your originality and productivity while your working?

WO: Originality is incredibly important with what we do on YouTube, because people are always looking for the next thing. If you get too stale, you’re not getting any new viewers and your numbers are going to wane over time, so that is a challenge. I guess a lot of that just comes from research. It comes from exposing myself to other mediums and sort of seeing what’s out there, learning from it as well.

 WD: You mentioned the failing to adapt with up and coming YouTubers are there any mistakes that other YouTubers seem to make and how can new content creators avoid them?

WO: I’ve seen a lot of YouTube channels that have done very well and made decisions, and other ones that made similar decisions that don’t do as well. So I think a lot of that is unknown and a lot of people are trying to figure that out. Obviously a lot of creators make mistakes, but I don’t think I’m the one to call them out and point it out ‘because again, there’s so much unknown. It’s a completely new type of thing. Nobody really knows how something goes viral, nobody knows how something becomes successful.

WD: For you, what do you think is your biggest struggle or weakness when creating videos?

WO: That’s a good question. I guess the thing that’s tough is finding the motivation and passion to be self-motivated.

WD: One of your major focuses is Counter-Strike, which while large, is a niche market. What do you think is essential for creating for a market that is that small and dedicated?

WO: I never really had that as a concern when I started doing Counter-Strike content. It was just content that I enjoyed doing, and the market for Counter-Strike has grown considerably over the years. When I started making content on Counter-Strike, I was one of the only people who actually played the game. I was one of the first people to get my hands on the beta for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you’re talking specifically on targeting your content for a niche audience, there are both benefits and negatives to it. Some of the benefits being that there is going to be a little bit less competition there. It’s easier to get your name out there. When I started doing stuff with Counter-StrikeGlobal Offensive in particular, there really wasn’t anyone else doing the kind of content that I do. There are fewer people there, whereas if you have a more mainstream channel, you’re competing with the top guys.

 WD: Are you still passionate for Counter-Strike or is the constant focus and videos about it starting to decrease interest?

WO: It comes and goes, I’ve been playing Counter-Strike in some form or another for about seventeen years, so most of my life has been playing Counter-Strike. It’s one of those things, one of those games that has such an addictive quality to it. Not in a bad way, but in a way that strives to improve yourself, and that’s always there. There’s always that “one more round” mentality, where you’re always trying to get better each and every game. So while yes, my interest in Counter-Strike has gone up and down because I create content, I’m doing a good job that nobody notices that. I’m doing a good job so people can still come and enjoy the content even if I’m not a hundred percent into it.

WD: With your branching out content such as your Overwatch or Half-Life videos, are you expanding the scope of your channel or still primarily focusing on Counter-Strike?

WO: I think it’s a very good idea for me and my brand to branch out. I’m not sure about Overwatch though in particular. My audience hasn’t really responded well to it and I’m always trying to make sure that my audience and people are enjoying the videos and still enjoy the content that are coming out there. I’m looking around, trying to find ways to expand my content so that it’s not just a hundred percent Counter-Strike all the time, both for my sanity and I think for the long run. Who knows where Counter-Strike will be in five years from now and honestly I’d like to be doing this for as long as I can.

WD: Is there any series or video style that you have started to get bored of, but are continuing because of audience demand?

WO: No, normally I just drop them and don’t do them any more when that happens.

 WD: When dealing audience and creating PR, what are some of the biggest mistakes new YouTubers tend to make?

WO: Well I don’t think I would be the one to answer that question since I can’t really look at what somebody else does and call it a mistake. For example, I used to have the mindset that it’s a good idea not to get involved, and I still do for myself personally and my brand, but getting involved in that drama stuff or being controversial or anything like that. It doesn’t work for my brand but I always thought it would be a bad idea for somebody, but as we’ve seen, even when people do things very scummy, it seems that their audience tends to forgive them surprisingly. That’s definitely unjustly forgive for some of the stuff they’ve done. I always thought that would be the it for somebody to do something morally repugnant, but it seems like people are still going.

WD: Speaking of the refusing to do anything controversial, what will you and your brand not do?

WO: So one thing that I’m very vocal about, and I only became vocal about it but it was something I’ve always done but not something I was vocal about until some scandals came up. I don’t get involved in gambling and that’s a big thing unfortunately in the Counter-Strike community. I think it’s really bad considering that a lot of young people are consuming this content and it could potentially get them into a really bad behavior or bad addiction. The way that I see it, the promotion of gambling as a content creator is sort-of exploiting your viewers. You’re pretty much taking money from them.

Gambling is designed as a losing game. You’re not supposed to win it and it’s something that adults and responsible people can do for fun, with the understanding in that you’re not supposed to win it. I think that unfortunately people are getting the wrong impression. It’s being forced onto young people and I think it’s having a negative reaction. So no, I avoid taking any sponsorships like that.

WD: What do you think is the relationship between the content creator and the audience?

WO: I guess a vague question requires a vague answer, so I’ll say the audience supports the creators they like and the creator creates something the audience wants.

WD: With your brand of content has there ever been a major mistake or action that you have regretted making?

WO: Yeah of course. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I started this when I was young too. I’m always trying to improve on though. If I make a mistake, I try and learn about what I did wrong and apply that to my actions going forward, but not dwelling on that failure. That is something I always try to teach when they’re learning how to play Counter-Strike.

WD: Speaking of the attitude of Counter-Strike. How do you view the Counter-Strike community as a whole?

WO: When you have any sort of large online community, and the Counter-Strike community is very large, there are over 10 million monthly unique players using the game, there are a lot of different people involved in it. I think it would be inappropriate to stereotype an entire community in that way, because I’ve met a lot of really great people who play Counter-Strike, some really awesome people, but I’ve also met a lot of numbskulls, so it could go either way.

WD: Regarding Valve’s response to inappropriate behavior and gambling, do you think they have been reactive, or do they need to take a step further?

WO: Valve conducts themselves in a very hands-off way compared to a lot of other developers, so it seems like they don’t really want to get involved in too many things in that regard. I think from what I’ve observed they try to have as little direct involvement and allow that to grow organically. In terms of gambling, there was a certain point that they had to step in and shut it down as it was both giving the game a bad reputation in even some medias and also I think, I’m not a hundred percent, you have to be careful about talking about this certain stuff, but I think there was some legal stuff going on with gambling as well.

WD: In a broad sense, how do you see your channel improving or growing?

WO: That’s something that I ask everyday and I’m trying to find the answer to it. So my channel is continuing to grow and I’d like to keep going in that trajectory. I’m just always trying to create content that people enjoy.


The WarOwl is a strong content creator and we thank him for taking the time for this interview. For more WarOwl content, check out his YouTube Channel.

Professional Video Gaming - Is It a Real Sport? Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Karthik Krishnan

While there’s no formal education offered to become a pro gamer, many people have honed their skills in the various categories of games to make sustaining careers out of them.

For the longest time video games were viewed as massive time-wasters that encouraged laziness and anti-human interaction. In many movies, the stuck-up anti-social teenager who could not talk to girls was only good at video gaming. This may not necessarily be the case as gamers are normal human beings with the exception that they have a special interest for computer games, just like a fashion enthusiast would love to wear glow necklaces. Esports may be unconventional but it’s here to stay.

Here are some of the features that make professional gaming worthy of being called a real sport:

It takes skill and practice

esports, gamer, gamergirls

In the same manner in which baseball requires constant hitting and missing, so does video gaming demand long man-hours of practice. To be a professional player one has to put time aside to understand the dynamics of the game, the characters, the scoring and the rules of play.

A professional gamer can practice with robots or artificial intelligence just to get a feel of the controls and the game user interface. Afterward, he/she can advance to playing with friends for a more social setup and to learn the aspect of teamwork.

Tournaments and training organized

esports, arena, stage

Just like soccer, baseball, and rugby, pro gaming has attracted a lot of attention from both players and fans across the world. In 2015 alone the global esports audience was estimated to be 226 million people. This rapid growth of interest in video games led to the creation of online tournaments starting 2000. As the sport became more competitive a global championship was put in place where a 16-team participates for a month. As many as 40,000 fans filled the Seoul World Cup stadium in 2014 to watch a live League of Legends game. Some of the major tournament names are the World Cyber Games,  North American Major League Gaming league, Electronic Sports World Cup, and the World e-Sports Games hosted in China.

Video gaming requires intense private/home practice but this may not be enough to prepare one for a competition. It is in this regard that various institutions made by game developers have come up to offer professional training on a list of games. An example is the Team We Training center in China.

Pro gaming pays

dota 2, character, selection

Shooting hextech gunblades from behind a computer may seem like a lazy way of passing an afternoon but it pays the bills for thousands of people out there. By 2016 Dota 2 had awarded a total of 86 million dollars to different players over 632 tournaments organized. Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-Hyeok is one such player who bagged a cool 1 million dollars after winning a League of Legends game. Gaming companies also create employment opportunities, therefore, paying salaries for a huge population of people.

Wrap up

By definition, sports is an activity that calls for skill and/or physical exertion whereby one person or a team compete against an opponent for the sake of entertainment. If you ask me, video games check all the boxes in this regard. Not only does it need top notch skills it's rather entertaining as well and pays well too.

Video gaming as a ‘real’ sport may be controversial but it has a lot of perks that earn it the title -- not to mention esports competitors are treated as athletes for the sake of travel.

Escaping Silver Hell: How to Rank Up in CS:GO Sun, 19 Feb 2017 23:35:13 -0500 Will Dowell

Ranking up in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is not easy. The sheer amount of ranked players makes climbing the skill ladder an arduous task that not everyone can do. At the bottom of the ranking tier lie the Silver ranks, primarily reserved for those who are new to the game or just want to play around. Because of this, many Counter-Strike players like to make fun of players in this tier. However, there is nothing wrong with being in the Silver ranks. It is much more important to enjoy the game than to be at any certain rank.

But for those who do want to rank up, you must keep in mind that it will take some time to escape the hell that is Silver ranks. Not only must your skills improve, but each game can be radically different, especially at the Silver level. Players can be unpredictable and surprise you by implementing unconventional strategies.

Luckily, this guide wil give you important tips on how to win matches and rank up faster. Here is how to escape Silver Hell.

Different ranks in CS:GO

Before You Play Silver Ranks in CS:GO

The biggest tip that will improve your performance is to play with friends. It is not only more fun, but it also makes teamwork and strategy much easier. If you don't have friends who play CS:GO, find nice players and queue with them. Solo queuing makes winning matches much harder, as you are dealing with random people. Always play with friends if you can.

Optimizing your settings will likely be the quickest way to improve your individual play. Make sure your sensitivity is low enough to make micro-adjustments, as headshots are essential for quick kills. You will also want to pick a custom crosshair because the standard crosshair is unhelpful at best. 

Key bindings can also be changed if you need easier access to certain commands, such as using the mic. All of these settings changes should be made to improve your playstyle, so do not change your settings unnecessarily. The WarOwl,CS:GO YouTube channel, has a more in-depth tutorial on mouse settings.

Play to Carry in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

When going into matches, you should be playing in a way that pushes your team to victory. This is known as carrying, and it is not about getting kills. To carry, you must play to win rounds. It doesn't matter how many kills you get as long as you are winning rounds. You must be a team player to carry.

To actually carry your team, you must customize your playstyle around the needs of the team. If your team cannot take bomb sites, for example, you must take those sites by yourself. Most people who claim they are carrying get unneeded kills and don't actually win the round. You may not get a lot of kills when taking a bomb site, but you are winning rounds for your teammates.

 a typical screenshot from a game of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The only time kills truly matter is when you are clutching, which is when you are going against multiple opponents, usually as the last player alive. This can be incredibly important in winning rounds that otherwise would be lost. These situations are really difficult and you may not always win them.

To properly clutch, you must divide the enemy and engage in 1v1's. Since you are in the Silver ranks, players will not be as coordinated, making it easier to divide them. Use smoke grenades, flash bangs, and other utilities to divide players and control the situation. You will need to control your engagements, as you are at the disadvantage, but never fight a fair fight. Take whatever advantage you have and use it to win. This is true for all combat engagements, but especially true for clutching.

a CS:GO map with an old Soviet hammer and sickle

Specialize in a Few Maps in CS:GO

For an easier time carrying and clutching, specialize in a few maps and learn them well. Dust 2 and Cache are both great maps for new players, as they have simple layouts. When learning these maps, learn important smokes needed to take and hold bomb sites. On Dust 2 for example, a Mid smoke is essential for taking Catwalk. If you have these smokes learned, taking sites will become much easier.

As you specialize, learn what positions you like to play. When carrying, you want to play in a spot in which you can aid your team the most. For Cache, playing Mid allows you to maintain Mid control while being able to rotate quickly around the map. Even if a bombsite is weak, you can move to defend or retake it.

Map knowledge will also allow you to navigate individual engagements much more easily. When people talk about good crosshair placement, they are talking about putting aiming where an enemy's head might be. With knowledge of how the map is played, you can aim at common angles to get an easy kill.

Aiming at an enemy across the map in Counter Strike Global Offensive

Fight Well in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Individual combat is fast and challenging in CS:GO. Movement greatly decreases accuracy, and it is very easy to get killed. To carry, you must have the ability to actually get kills. Again, you must never fight a fair fight. While there are many individual aspects to fighting in CS:GO, there are a few key aspects essential for victory.

First of all, you should not move while shooting, as it makes you incredibly inaccurate. The exceptions to this are when firing pistols and SMGs, which rely on running and gunning. When shooting rifles, you should always stop before taking a shot, as this will make your shots much more accurate. Note that shooting while jumping or while on ladders has the same effect. To properly shoot, make sure you aren't moving.

Positioning also comes into major play, especially if your point-and-click aim is poor. A good practice to stand by is to never stand out in the open. Always use cover to make yourself harder to hit. Also, try to only be visible to the one you are shooting at. If the enemy can have multiple players fight you at the same time, you're dead. This tip will keep you alive and able to carry.

side profile of a CS:GO player holding a rifle with pink highlights

Playing as a Counter Terrorist

On the Counter Terrorist (CT) side, you focus on defending the bomb sites. These next few tips will focus on playing specifically for the CT side and its challenges.

Beginning the half will be the pistol round. This is considered one of the most important rounds, as it sets the economic status of the next few rounds. You will want to maintain distance, as both starting pistols are incredibly accurate and can one-shot kill to the head. The Terrorist Glocks are inaccurate, leading to them trying to close the distance when fighting.

If you win the pistol round, play carefully with SMGs and rifles, and continue to hold positions. Do not push, as the Terrorists will be on an Eco round in which they don't have money to buy weapons. They will want to take your gun and use it against your teammates. Do not let that happen.

Two players working as a team in CS:GO

If you lose the pistol round, try to save your money for the fourth round, where you can buy real guns. You can buy pistols, but only if you have the expendable money. Try to surprise the Terrorists and take their guns. If you can save a few guns on an Eco round, that is considered a win and will make the gun rounds much easier.

Soon, you will end up in gun rounds where both sides have the money to buy rifles. AKs are the default Terrorist rifles and offer a one-shot kill to the head, regardless of whether or not the target has a helmet. If you can, take any AK you find because it will make combat much easier. Again, your goal will be to hold bombsites and retake them when necessary. Be careful, as playing recklessly will cost you the round.

screen showing player loadouts and economies in CS:GO

Playing as a Terrorist

Now you are on the offensive. You must plant the bomb on the bomb site and defend it until it explodes. Combat is much more aggressive, but you must remain careful. You will focus primarily on dividing the CTs and taking a bomb site. When doing anything, protect the bomb. If you lose bomb control, that round has become nearly twice as difficult.

On pistol round, you will need to close the distance and overwhelm the CTs. Try to go as a group and avoid long-distance engagements. When taking a site, clear as the bomb carrier plants the bomb. While defending against retakes, either take a CT's pistol or hold close angles that take advantage of your abundance of ammo.

reloading a pistol in CS:GO

If you win the pistol round, you must be careful. Take sites carefully, as CTs like to hide and surprise the enemy when they think they're safe. Also, be aware of a push in which CTs get aggressive. Maintain distance, and clear the sites methodically and carefully.

If you lose, you will want to try to get a bomb plant in order to gain money. To get kills or a plant, you will need to surprise or overwhelm the CTs. Again, close the distance, as the Tec-9 is really dangerous in a rush.

On gun rounds, use your AK-47 and carefully take engagements. Punish CTs who are overly aggressive by killing them and taking the map control they had. Divide the CTs through smokes or combat, then take a bomb site. As you carry, you will likely have to get the first kill when taking a bomb site. Try to get those 1v1's and catch players unaware. Take the bombsite and win the round.

two players climb a large wooden crate while the other two keep watch in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Working With Other People

CS:GO is a team-based game and requires communication. Get and use a microphone. You will need to be able to communicate where the enemy is located. Always work as a team and be friendly to all you play with. Some people will be jerks, but you have to work with them. If you are helpful to the team, most people will work with you.

Specifically in regards to using your mic, only use it to call enemy positions or suggest a strategy. Do not critique or comment on a player's ability. People are not going to kindly take criticism from someone they don't even know. Mic spamming will just lead to you being muted -- and you won't be able to communicate with players. Teamwork is essential to winning in CS:GO.


These tips and guidelines should help you rank up much faster in CS:GO. Remember that this game is supposed to be fun, and if it's not, stop playing it. Your time is more valuable than a rank in a video game. Good luck, and have fun ranking up in your future Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches!

Note: Images unless otherwise stated are from Steam

Will VR Ever Make the Jump to eSports? Sun, 20 Nov 2016 08:00:01 -0500 Lydia M

Virtual reality has really blown up in the past year. Nowadays, with cell phone technology you can even create a cardboard headset, making it simpler than ever to immerse yourself into a VR experience. As quickly as the technology develops, the uses of virtual reality expand.

VR really stepped into gaming with the Oculus Rift around 2014, which was then bought by Facebook. After that, other major companies followed suit, developing their own VR rigs to adapt to gamers. With that, the potential of virtual reality eSports has started to stir. But can VR succeed in the rapidly evolving community of eSports?

It most certainly will try.

Virtuix has already created their own virtual reality system, known as ‘Omni’, going beyond just the headset and including an actual motion platform the player can walk on, which reflects the in-game environments.

They displayed their active VR experience at Consumer Electronics Show 2016 in Las Vegas and even held an FPS tournament.

The Omni is such a huge setup and while they’re available for pre-order, you would be lucky to snag one yourself.

This brings up one of the major conflicts with virtual reality and eSports: cost. As they are starting to become more and more popular, the price of the headsets or full setups are still a bit too steep for casual consumption

If VR rigs are going to be used in eSports, players need to be able to practice with them right? Dropping huge amounts of money for the VR rig alone is unlikely for a casual gamer to pick up and try competitively.

Right now, virtual reality headsets for gamers are more of a parlor trick, like the Kinect or PlayStation Eye. They’re cool to have for a few games, but not really in high demand for gamers. You’ll probably still start seeing them in every other living room (especially in the holiday season), but it’s doubtful that there will be enough buy-in by gamers that would consider VR in eSport tournaments.

While it’s not really practical that VR could be used for eSports players anytime soon, there is a good chance companies will focus more on using the technology to give fans an immersive experience during tournaments and events.

Back in the summer, Valve introduced the Dota VR Hub for users to watch live matches, replays and streams in their VR Theater from the comfort of their own home. This gave viewers a completely new experience for watching professional Dota 2. The feature is still available and can be used through your Steam account, as long as you already own a VR headset. 

This weekend, ESL and provided a similar feature at Intel Extreme Masters: Oakland for CS:GO and League of Legends. Fans were able to watch both competitions with a 360-degree view, as well as player and bird's eye perspectives. Viewers were even able to see in-game stats as they watched. The service was free and fans were able to watch it on their smartphone, or VR headset through’s platform.

This specific feature for IEM was good, in theory, but the execution was less than stellar. The quality was fairly low on the website version, and overlaying the first-person view over the bird’s eye view was less than appealing. Viewers were also unable to select anything other than your 360-view, as the map location changed based on where players were located.

Overall, it’s more likely virtual reality in eSports will excel further in relation to fans more than the players. There are already big companies behind the technology and as eSports grows, so will the technology with it. 

Top 5 Best Counter Strike: Global Offensive Plays -- Ever Mon, 14 Nov 2016 16:36:22 -0500 Timothy J. Ralston (TehMadCatter)




The ESL Grand Finale was one of the most intense games anyone had ever seen. Where people thought was going to win, NAVI fought hard and ended up demolishing, along with Snax, getting one of the most incredible aces ever seen.


2. CS:GO - MY FIRST ACE! - TmarTn2


With more than 2 million subscribers on his channel, TmarTn2 seems to be quite the CS:GO player. But one thing that really showed his skill was his first ace. Destroying a whole team by first picking off the sniper and returning his AWP, and picking off player by player, getting his very first ace for CS:GO.


3. CS:GO | AWP Ace! - Cyanide


Cyanide (A Twitch Streamer who plays with SovietWomble), is one of the best players on SovietWomble’s stream, and he usually brags about it time from time. But with this clip, he shows he really does have skill. Wiping out an entire team with just an AWP, Cyanide gives his team the win, that really brought attention to Cyanide and helped elevate his career.


4. Condensed Match - Fnatic vs



Fnatic and are possibly two of the best competitive teams to play against each other. With players like KRiMZ and JW (Former) against the likes of TaZ and pasha, you know that matches will be either close calls or demolitions. With Fnatic getting close in the beginning of the game, fought back harder -- and ended up winning both matches.


5. It’s High Noon -- MySQ


Usually, when you hear “It’s High Noon” in Overwatch, you know that the best thing to do is to hide and wait for all of the chaos to end.


Sadly, these players didn’t learn that on CS:GO. With a smoke thrown over to cover MySQ’s position, he hides and waits for the other team to come out from the smoke. MySQ takes out three enemies with his revolver, causing his team to win the match.


Counter Strike was one of the most popular multiplayer Steam games for its time, sporting competitive gameplay, fantastic multiplayer and unbelievably fast paced action. It wasn't until 2012 rolled by when Valve released a remake/new Counter Strike game, titled Counter Strike: Global Offensive.


Streamers and competitive gamers jumped on this game, making it one of the most played multiplayer games on Steam. And while some complain today because of “hackers” and “cheaters”, Valve did make some changes to the game to make it harder to cheat. And if caught cheating, you get banned. Simplistic at its best.


And while competitive gaming has been around for awhile, it was only until recently that Counter Strike: Global Offensive came to television with TBS' eLeague. Putting the best names in eSports against each other each season to compete for the finals.


And while some teams don’t make it to eLeague, some deserve credit for being a fantastic player. Which is why we are looking at the top five best plays in Counter Strike: Global Offensive!

Creator Spotlight: GamingJewelry Wed, 02 Nov 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Glitchieetv

This week's creator spotlight goes to GamingJewelry, which specializes in creating sterling silver pendants based off of video game weapons. Sterling silver has always been a staple when it comes to jewelry. Add in the aspect that the items are handmade and can be custom ordered and you have GamingJewelry.

They feature a variety of weapons from a variety of games such as League of Legends, CS: GOand DotA 2. Check out some of the products below and visit their Etsy store to request a custom piece.

The Eye Pendant - DotA 2 Inspired
Karambit Pendant - Counter-strike Inspired
Leona's Sword Pendant - League of Legends Inspired
Glaive Pendant - Warcraft Inspired

What's your favorite item of theirs?

Why is Counter Strike Always in the Top 3 Games on Twitch? Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:00:02 -0400 Caio Sampaio

In the late nineties, video games were still maturing as a medium and players gathered on local networks to play their favorite games. Counter Strike was one of them. A fan favorite back then, the franchise continued to evolve and grow along with the industry.

Valve released the latest entry in the series on August 12th, 2012, but times have changed. Players continue to get together, in order to admire their favorite series, but now in a different environment, as they gather to watch others play on Twitch.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is consistently on the top 3 list of most watched games on Twitch. This fact brings a question: what makes this production a compelling experience to watch? We analyzed its game design to find out.

A contemporary product

It has been 17 years since the first entry of the franchise became available, but since then, its core mechanics have not changed. The most popular game mode is the bomb scenario, in which a team of terrorists must plant a bomb in a specific location, while a squad of Counter-Terrorists must either eliminate the enemies or defuse the explosive.

Most matches will not last longer than five minutes. It feels as if developers in 1999 anticipated the needs of people in 2016. We live in the digital era and the attention span of its citizens continues to dwindle. People, in general, now want short bursts of entertainment, rather than consuming long pieces.

Unlike other First Person Shooters, in which rounds can take more than an hour, Counter Strike: Global Offensive provides viewers on Twitch with a short and intense experience, thus meeting the needs of people of the digital era.

It is worth mentioning that the experience of watching a match of Counter Strike: Global Offensive is also friendly to the viewer. No matter which mode the streamer may be playing, the objective is always simple, defusing a bomb, rescuing a hostage or simply killing enemies. The means to achieve these goals are simple as well, creating an experience where even those who have never played the game can understand what is happening.

Brevity, intensity and universality are key reasons as to why Counter Strike: Global Offensive is constantly on the top 3 list of most watched games on Twitch, but there are other factors that come into play as well.

Keeping viewers on the edge of their seats

In the game’s most popular mode, there is no respawn. If players die, they need to wait until the start of a new round, in order to rejoin the action and a death can occur instantly with a single well-placed shot, fired from an enemy rifle.

Anything can happen at any time. This adds intensity to the experience, not only to those who play it, but to those who watch it. The game creates a sense of urgency in its audience, as viewers keep their eyes glued to the screen, afraid that if they look away for an instant, they might miss something important.

The fact that players cannot respawn also adds meaning to each time the player dies, considering the penalty players suffer after each death. In others First Person Shooters, death becomes less significant, considering that players can respawn and rejoin the action few seconds later, as if nothing has happened.


One of the reasons why people watch games online, in general, is the streamer; the person playing the game. Due to the frantic nature of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, players can never truly know what to expect around the next corner.

This unpredictability makes it difficult for streamers to force, or even fake, a reaction, thus allowing the audience to get a more sincere performance from the streamer.

Taking the game to a higher level

The Counter Strike franchise offers players a core gameplay that is simple, but difficult to master. This is; therefore, an easy game for you to get started in, but after few rounds, you will realize that learning how to use its mechanics to their fullest takes time and effort.

People often watch this game on Twitch, in order to learn from those who have achieved mastery over the gameplay, or simply watch it for the pleasure of seeing a professional player push the game to a next level.

This is the same principle behind watching sports in real life. Think of football, for instance. You could play it with your friends and yet, most people prefer watching an NFL game on television. The act of watching someone else performing an activity you could be doing yourself is compelling, because we want to watch the best athletes taking the sport to its limit and this something you will not get by playing with your peers.

The same holds true to eSports.


Counter Strike is one of the most successful franchises in the gaming industry, to the point that even those who do not play video games are aware of its existence. The series survived through the test of time and still thrives to this day.

With this said, people are aware of the importance this game holds to this industry and once they have the opportunity to watch it, they do, because they know they are in the presence of greatness.

The community

The history of this game leads to the creation of its following. With more than half a million users playing each day, these people share a passion in common: this game. This is reflected in the chat during streams on Twitch, where users interact, share tips and stories regarding their favorite franchise.

The sense of community enhances all of those factors mentioned herein. This game would not even be alive if it were not for it, after all.


While games are experiences design to be played, platforms as Twitch and YouTube allowed gamers to create a new segment, that turns gaming into a passive activity.

This may seem counterintuitive, given that this industry craves for interactivity, but as Counter Strike: Global Offensive has shown us, an audience can enjoy a good product, even if it is not being consumed in the way it was designed to be.

Through the topics above we explained the appeal of watching a match of Counter Strike: Global Offensive on Twitch. Share in the comments your opinion as to why you like to watch the game you love to play.

ESL One New York Sets Digital Engagement Record Fri, 07 Oct 2016 08:23:03 -0400 Glitchieetv

ESL, the world's largest eSports organization, brought a record-setting event to New York's Barclays Center. Featuring live music, virtual reality, and top-tier competitive Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Street Fighter V matches, the event on October 1st and 2nd generated a record-breaking amount of digital engagement. 

Kicking things off with 8,500 fans attending each day of ESL One New York in person, the event generated 20 million unique online viewers. 80,000 Twitter accounts joined the conversation, generating over 182,000 tweets. Between Facebook and Twitter, 122 million impressions were generated by seven million fans. Most of the content itself came from ESL, including backstage coverage and highlights. These numbers all equal to ESL One New York being the most talked about ESL event ever.

What made the event so discussion worthy?

This was the first eSports to utilize VR technology and stream it around the world. used its LiveVRCast to broadcast what Wonderland VR captured at the Barclays Center. Not only that, but the live music featured Krewella and an apperance by Ice-T.

All this, combined with ESL's dedication to offering highly skilled competitive games with top-of-the-line event experiences, made it the most talked about ESL event in history.

eSports Delve into VR via Thu, 25 Aug 2016 01:13:32 -0400 H3nleY

If you've ever wanted to watch eSports in 360 VR mode, you're in luck. A group of investors just invested $6.2 million into a new platform named

The self-proclaimed virtual reality platform is designed specifically for spectating eSports competitions in games like Counter-Strike, League of Legends,and Dota 2. The company isn't alone in believing VR is the next step in eSports, as investors from a wide range of funds seem to agree, and Valve have added VR to Dota 2 spectating already. offers a live look at the inside of video game competition by providing a unique floating camera with completely 360 degree view angles. They began their beta test today by offering 360 degree views into a variety of highlights in a variety of games, with an algorithm capable of automatically adding new content and highlights just one day after the action.

The founder and CEO of, Mitch Liu, said in an interview with VentureBeat:

“We’re focused on the intersection between today’s 250 million eSports viewers and the emerging VR market, we recognized early on that the existing eSports viewing approach from the player’s point-of-view is not necessarily the best perspective for the audience. Our vision is to transform the eSports spectator experience forever.”

The company’s virtual reality products themselves aren’t ready, though they plan to launch on Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, and the HTC Vive in the future. Their current offerings are available on Android, iOS, and Google Cardboard.

While virtual reality may seem like a gimmick at the moment, investors believe eSports will prove that it is the inevitable future of media through companies like

Headline image courtesy of UploadVR

CSGO Lounge Ceases Gambling Operations Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:46:37 -0400 H3nleY

The largest CS:GO skin betting site has announced yesterday that they will be ceasing their betting operations on upcoming matches. CSGO Lounge is, however, aiming to relaunch as “an eSports entertainment and information platform." Whether that will be like Twitch and Liquipedia combined remains to be seen.

This news comes roughly a month after Valve handed CSGO Lounge, as well as 21 other skin gambling websites, their cease and desist letter claiming that the sites violated Steam’s terms of service agreement.

The cease and desist letter was sent shortly after several people filed a class-action lawsuit against Valve, as the plaintiff argued that skin-betting is the same thing as real life gambling but is less regulated, and therefore illegal, in terms of CS:GO and CSGO Lounge. In the wake of receiving the cease and desist letter, CSGO Lounge began limiting betting functionality on the site, prohibiting users from placing bets on any further matches. The site was also looking to acquire a gambling license.

News also arised Monday that ESForce Holding, a sub-company of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who has invested heavily into the Eastern European eSports industry, owned the majority of CSGO Lounge. The relationship between the two was never made public, prompting discussion about whether the ownership posed any ethical concerns, much like the TmarTn and ProSyndicate Gambling fiasco earlier this year.

Header image courtesy of MoreLuna

The British Gambling Commission issues Paper on eSports Betting Fri, 12 Aug 2016 05:01:48 -0400 H3nleY

The British Gambling Commission, the authority responsible for regulating lotteries and commercial gambling, has published their own official discussion paper talking about their concerns regarding unlicensed gambling using virtual game goods with real-money value, especially on eSports. 

Bloomberg estimated that as much as $2.3 billion was wagered via CS:GO skin betting last year at websites, such as CSGOLounge and CSGODiamonds, where users can bet in-game skins with real-money value on the outcome of competitive CS:GO matches and various casino games.

Image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson/ESL Flickr

Shortly after the recent TmarTn and ProSyndicate gambling scandals, Valve issued cease-and-desist letters to at least 23 CS: GO and Dota 2 gambling sites. Some of those sites targeted by Valve, particularly CSGOLounge, have said they will attempt to bring their operations in line with gambling regulations and apply for regular gambling licenses.

Gambling Commission General Counsel Neil McArthur stated in a press release that:

"Like any other market, we expect operators offering markets on eSports to manage the risks – including the significant risk that children and young people may try to bet on such events given the growing popularity of eSports with those who are too young to gamble."

The Commission is seeking feedback on their comments up until the end of September, and they plan to issue a more definitive "position paper" on the subject before the end of the year.