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Activision buys MLG; hopes of expanding eSports appeal

Major League Gaming is one of the most popular and well known eSports organizations in existence and Activision is hoping it gets even bigger — acquiring it for $46 million over the weekend.

The deal gives Activision “substantially all of the Company’s liabilities” according to the The growth of eSports is one of the safest bets of the progression of gaming and Activision and its investors clearly see that with this purchase. MLG is well constructed, branded, and has excellent opportunity to flourish with an even greater cash cow behind it.

MLG will grow exponentially more with Activision at the helm.

eSports currently have an estimated 100 million viewers worldwide with countries like South Korea and China already showcasing gaming on TV. (Even the U.S. has had some minor exposure on ESPN 3.) Activision is predicting that number to increase massively over the next two years — estimating over 300 million viewers by 2017.

CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, looks forward to what they will now be able to do for eSports — most notably to create the “ESPN” of eSports.

“Our acquisition of Major League Gaming’s business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of esports. MLG’s ability to create premium content and its proven broadcast technology platform – including its live streaming capabilities – strengthens our strategic position in competitive gaming.

One of the most important notes from the press release is the increase gamers and MLG fans should expect to see in the quality and variety of sponsorships and advertisements. Higher quality bidders on ad screen time will be perhaps the biggest aid to helping MLG reach higher profits.

“With over 100 million unique viewers, the esports audience is estimated to be bigger than audiences for many professional sports leagues. Creating premium content for these audiences will provide significant opportunities in ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, licensing and merchandising.”

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project M development ceases

In what is being seen as a shock to much of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl competitive gamers, Project M — a fan-made mod looking to incorporate aspects of previous games into the Nintendo Wii Brawl release — has ceased development with no further work on the project. Those part of the voluntary development team will be disbanding.

“Again, it’s been an excruciating call to make, but it’s been made a bit easier by our satisfaction with the previous and final release, v3.6. We’ve spent six years polishing Project M, and rather than let it drag on through another several years of dwindling development and change-fatigue in the competitive circle, we’re going to consider our work complete.” – Project M last post

The devs are hoping to on to other projects and will soon reveal what the next steps for them will exactly entail, but the news of Project M’s end is disappointing for its fans who had seen no sign that a shutdown would be incoming.

Nintendo has always been stingy with protecting their trademarks and aggressively pursuing those who infringe on their content, but had allowed Project M to continue being used at a multitude of Super Smash Bros. tournaments.

Game attorney and business consultant Ryan Morrison has confirmed that the news of the shutdown is not related to any action by Nintendo.

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eSports match fixing scandal leads to 12 arrests

eSports is a section of the videogame industry that has been growing at an exponential pace over the last five years, and with that growth comes a lot of money invested into eSports organizations.

Anytime something grows this fast it’s reasonable to expect the proliferation of match fixing, scandals, or other aspects of the game that may be in some way rigged. One of the most prominent games in the eSports world is Starcraft 2 — which gets major attention in China and Korea being followed almost to the same level as typical physical sports like football, American Football, hockey, or basketball in western countries.

Earlier Monday a Korean Investigation yielded 12 arrests as it discovered multiple games in the Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) were fixed for monetary gain. First announced by eSports community site Team Liquid, the investigation puts Park Wae-Sik — a KeSPA head coach — in hot water among others.

“…twelve individuals in connection with match-fixing and illegal betting in StarCraft 2, including PRIME head coach (Z)Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik) and progamers (T)YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon) and (Z)BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-Hyuk).” – Team Liquid report

YoDa was one of the main offenders explicitely losing two games for a 30,000,000 KRW, or $26,000 return in conjunction with certain brokers involved with the league.

Matches that are known to have been fixed:

2015 Proleague
• 06-09 match against HerO

2015 Season 1 GSL
• 02-13 – Code S Ro16 vs Life OR TY (Gerrard named as middleman)

2015 Season 2 GSL:
• 04-01 – Code A Ro48 vs DRG
• 05-13 – Code S Ro32 vs Bbyong (Gerrard named as middleman)

2015 Proleague:
• 01-20 match against Flash (Gerrard named as middleman)