Tag Archive: esports


I appeared as a special guest on the Scott Seidenberg Show on July 8 to talk Overwatch League on NBC Sports Radio.

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Last night, on the eve of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, 2K Sports brought their own basketball finals to a close, naming the first Road to the Finals Champion in NBA 2K16.

Over the past two months, ranked matches in NBA 2K16’s Pro-Am mode saw over 2.3 million games played by over 100,000 different qualifying teams. Looking at the rankings, 2K took the top 16 of those teams and held a single-elimination tournament that culminated in last night’s festivities, which not only crowned a champion, but awarded the winners $250,000. The two teams competing in last night’s final were GFG, a crew of friends who had been playing NBA 2K together since NBA 2K11, and the Drewkerbockers HLZDB, a group that had been together since NBA 2K8, but who had only actually met each other in person for the first time just before the event.

On hand to witness 2K Sports’ first esports championship event in downtown Los Angeles were Lakers greats Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox, former NBA champion Scot Pollard, WWE Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods, and Indiana Pacers all-star and NBA 2K17 cover athlete Paul George.

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GFG came out fast, playing their game by showing power in the paint and slamming a couple of buckets down for a quick 4-2 lead. This would be their only lead of the night, however. Each team showed some jitters early, and it wouldn’t be until a late run in the first that put Drewkerbockers up 17-10 that the offense would really start to click. GFG would answer with a pair of threes, but a bucket at the buzzer gave Drewkerbockers a 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, and momentum that they would ride the entire night.

The second quarter was when the themes of the night would really start to show. GFG got away from their gameplay and often tried to make one too many passes, which led to turnovers or ill-advised shots. Meanwhile, Drewkerbockers took advantage of almost every one of those turnovers by converting them into points. Part of this was because they dominated the offensive glass, which led to crucial second-chance points. In a shocking turn of events, GFG, who were favored by many experts, only scored six points in the entire second quarter. This was in large part because they were so badly out-rebounded, finding themselves down 39-23 at the half.

GFG would regroup in the second half, but the damage had been done. Each team scored 20 in the third, playing evenly and trading buckets back and forth, before both teams came out playing fast and loose in the fourth. With the game set at five-minute quarters, there simply wasn’t enough time for GFG to stage a rally. So, even when Drewkerbockers stopped trying to run up the score and tried instead to just kill the clock—leading to some sloppy turnovers on their end—they were already too far gone. If there were a mercy rule in basketball, it would’ve been used here, as the Drewkerbockers cruised in the fourth to a 73-62 win, becoming the first ever NBA 2K16 Road to the Finals Champions.

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If you remove that abysmal second quarter, this was actually an extremely competitive game for the most part. It’s also in that spirit of competition that I was alerted to what some would see as a small controversy. As soon as the clock had expired in the fourth, the clearly frustrated team members of GFG began complaining about the controllers used in the match. I approached them once the cameras had stopped rolling and found out that the game had been played on PS4, but that GFG were used to playing on Xbox One—the system they rode to the championship. One member in particular, his handle being “DRAKE GRIFFLN”, said that his team was “blindsided” by the system choice and that he and his team “…didn’t find out until we got here about the controllers.”

The controllers he spoke of are third-party HORI “Horipad FPS Plus” controllers (see below), given to GFG as alternates to Xbox One controllers. The Horipad provides a PS4 layout, except the joysticks are situated like an Xbox One controller. After handling the controllers myself, though, I can attest they feel nothing like an Xbox One controller—and if this was indeed a surprise to GFG, it could have factored into their defeat.

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When I asked tournament organizer 2K Sports for comment, Senior PR Manager Ryan Peters gave the following statement on the possibility of GFG not being properly informed about the controllers, or those controllers being of a lesser quality:

“A single platform had to be used in order to make the competition work,” says Peters. “We gave the contestants ample practice time and notice (a week) of what controllers and system would be used. I can also confirm the controllers were in no way sub-standard.”

So, maybe it was simply frustration from GFG over the fact that they were outperformed in a game many expected them to win, or maybe the information was lost in translation between the team and 2K. If it was a controller situation, it does seem odd that GFG’s collapse came in the second quarter and not the first, and that they then bounced back to actually outscore the Drewkerbockers in the second half. If 2K didn’t reach out about the controller/system info, GFG also could’ve reached out on their own to confirm the equipment that would be used in the championship game. At that point, though, it’s still odd GFG was given the Horipads instead of just regular PS4 controllers like Drewkerbockers to make the playing field—at least from a technical standpoint—as even as possible.

If 2K wants to remain in the esports space, maybe this could be a lesson to double-check ahead of time with teams that they know the parameters, and make sure the playing field is completely even from a tech point of view. Either way, congrats to the Drewkerbockers, and hopefully 2K will take what they learned from this experience and build up a bigger and better tournament for next year.

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Sony’s flagship racing franchise, Gran Turismo, has been a staple for video game gearheads for almost two decades now. The series is known for the great lengths it will go to in order to try to deliver the highest-quality racing experiences possible while keeping its finger on the pulse of today’s gaming culture. Because of this, it’s no wonder that the series’ next secondary release, Gran Turismo Sport (due out on November 15 as a PS4 exclusive) will again look to push racing in several ways. Here are the top five things you should be looking forward to in the new Gran Turismo Sport.

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#1: The game will center on eSports and competitive racing

Everyone is trying to get a piece of that eSports pie nowadays, and Gran Turismo looks to take pole position in the racing genre’s competitive scene. Teaming up with FIA—Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body for Formula One and World Rally Championship racing—Gran Turismo Sport looks to usher in the first-ever FIA Gran Turismo Online Championships, with players actually being recognized and licensed by the racing group as they compete for one of two cups. The Manufacturers Cup will see racers represent their favorite car brands over the course of the year, whereas the Nations Cup will have them represent their home country, with the winners honored at FIA’s annual prize-giving ceremony in Paris. There will also be live competition components to each cup season, and various online events and components similar to GT Academy being held on a regular basis.

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#2: Brand new tracks keep the experience fresh

Although the number of tracks is only a fraction of what we see in full GT entries, the 19 tracks and 27 layouts present in Gran Turismo Sport are the most in a secondary title yet. The best part, though, is that Polyphony Digital continues to create new courses and layouts for the series. So, while there are already old real-world favorites in the six tracks revealed thus far like Nurburgring and Willow Springs (each rescanned to capture even the slightest detail on PS4), new tracks include an oval called Northern Isle Speedway (I hope you like left turns), and a high-speed urban track full of narrow corridors called Tokyo Expressway (based on the actual highways of Japan’s capital city).

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#3: Most realistic and detailed car models yet

Even with GT6 serving as somewhat of a swan song for the PS3, the series continued to push the limits on creating the most realistic and detailed car models available at the time. Gran Turismo Sport plans on continuing that tradition both by utilizing the power of the PS4 and by performing brand-new scans of the most powerful cars from every car manufacturer. GT Sport touts 140 fully remodeled cars, and although that number pales in comparison to what is available in the mainline titles of the series, it is by far the most cars from a GT secondary title—not including the PSP Gran Turismo.

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#4: New braking and driving assists are being introduced

Gran Turismo has long had the reputation as the most true-to-life racing game series out there, with minimal assists for players in order to help them better grasp just what it takes to race on the most famous tracks in the world at the fastest speeds possible. In an attempt to help expand its audience and make the game more fun for less-intense racing fans, new driving and braking assist options have been introduced to help you get into a groove before you start trying to see if you have what it takes to truly become a racing legend. While you’ll need to not use these assists if you ever want to have a hope of competing on the world stage of GT Sport, they should help lower the barrier of entry for the franchise like never before.

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#5: Sport is the deepest secondary title in Gran Turismo history

Gran Turismo Sport will feature the deepest suite of modes yet for a secondary title in the series, making an argument for being more of a full standalone title—unlike the GT Prologue games. Sport touts a time trials mode, local races against the AI, and online races with up to 20 drivers at a time. There’s also a fully fleshed-out Campaign for those simulation-loving drivers who prefer playing alone, and a Sports Mode that takes advantage of the competitive racing scene Gran Turismo naturally lends itself to. Gran Turismo Sport will also be fully compatible with the PlayStation VR headset when released, meaning you can truly feel what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a Formula One car (or the like) for the first time ever.

The very first open tournament for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be held November 28-30 in Columbus, Ohio, Major League Gaming announced today.

Featuring 140 of the best Call of Duty eSports teams in the world, the tournament will be streamed live from MLG.tv and will officially kick off the first season of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League.

Call of Duty eSports has become a mainstream phenomenon–there’s nothing else like it,” said MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni in a press statement. “With the introduction of Advanced Warfare, we are positioned for continued growth showcasing the best players in the world on MLG’s premier platform for a global audience of passionate eSports fans. This is just the beginning.”

The winning team will be awarded $25,000, 25,000 MLG Pro Points, and the last four spots in Season One of the Pro League.

If you happen to be in the Columbus area, VIP and spectator passes for the tournament are available for purchase if streaming it just isn’t enough for you.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be available for public consumption on Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360 November 4.