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eSports Gaming

A Look At ‘Call of Duty: Vanguard’s’ Real-Time Graphics

November belongs to Call of Duty, and with Call of Duty Vanguard scheduled to release on November 5th, more updates are gradually being announced. Today, COD is revealing a new collaboration that, for the first time, allowed actual war photojournalists inside the game to capture in-game war photographs as though they were embedded within the war missions themselves.

Renowned long-time war photojournalists Alex Potter and Sebastiano Tomada Piccolmini, who have long-term experience shooting in conflict regions, ventured inside the game engine for an exclusive photoshoot held at publisher Activision’s motion capture studios. Potter and Piccolmini’s journeys were then reflected in a trailer that allowed fans to see these photographers’ experiences and reactions in real time.

Vanguard’s incredible graphics and visual experience reflect the latest technological advancements coming when the new game launches next month, including its use of photogrammetry where locations, scenes and objects are recreated in-game to lifelike photoreal quality, all of which will be available to fans upon its release on the 5th.

We checked in with CMO of Activision Fernando Machado recently to discuss how this all came together.

Activision
Call of Duty: Vanguard

ONE37pm: Thanks for speaking with us Fernando! The Call of Duty Vanguard graphics are next level. Actual war journalists were transported inside to capture in-game war photographs. What was that development process like?

Machado: We are constantly thinking about how we can learn more, and how we can make more unique features available in our games. Our mind is always on how we can make things look very realistic. We wanted Vanguard to be a very immersive experience and thought it would be boring if we tried to explain what was going on in writing.

These graphics are so realistic, and we knew the community would love actually seeing this experience in real-time. That’s where we came up with the idea to hire actual war photojournalists that could capture World War II. It tells the story of technology even if you aren’t into playing COD.

ONE37pm: What made you guys want to introduce this component, and what was the real-time experience of filming, documenting, game development, etc.

Machado: We developed this as a team together at our Motion Culture Studio in Los Angeles. I personally wasn’t there because I’m still in the process of moving to L.A., but all of our key team members were personally there. It was a total collaborative effort from our motion capture team all the way down to our marketing and agency development.

ONE37pm: Starting on October 21, limited edition photo prints will be sold at Bleecker Trading with proceeds going to the Call of Duty Endowment. How important is that?

Machado: We are proud of our work with the Call of Duty Endowment Fund. We’re the largest organization that places veterans in high-quality jobs. Next year we will hit the 100,000 milestone in terms of job placement, and it is something we are very passionate about building internally. Look for more to come!

Activision
Call of Duty: Vanguard

It’s not often that you literally get to go inside of a video game, and Alex and Sebastian talked about waiting for the right moments to capture their shots the same way they would on the ground. 

“These were situations that I would normally capture,” said Alex Potter in the film. “I was impressed with how kinetic and immersive it all was,” added Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini. “As photographers, this is what conflict looks like.”

To help get veterans back to work, please visit: www.callofdutyendowment.org/help, or follow on Instagram and Facebook at @CallofDutyEndowment, and Twitter at @CODE4Vets.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is scheduled for release on November 5, 2021. 

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eSports Gaming

A Conversation With Drone Racing League President Rachel Jacobson

The 2021-2022 Drone Racing League World Championship season officially kicked on September 29th, and today we’re taking a closer look at the league that has captured the attention of millions around the world. For those that may be unfamiliar, the Drone Racing League (DRL) is the world’s premier, professional drone racing property, where the best drone pilots in the world fly in the league as millions of fans watch them race on NBC and Twitter. With groundbreaking technology and immersive high-speed races through virtual and live events, the DRL is breaking all kinds of barriers as they create this new era of sports, combining both esports and real-life competition. 

Drone Racing League
DRL President Rachel Jacobson

The DRL continues to elevate with each new season, and this year they are taking things up a notch. The league recently closed a blockbuster sponsorship deal with blockchain partner Algorand for $100MM, in what is set to be a long-term partnership with many exciting updates along the way. With tons of momentum around the league and this upcoming season, we spoke with DRL President Rachel Jacobson—a woman who is leading the charge in a male-dominated industry by the way, about the 21-22 Season, the history of the league, and how her previous experiences as the NBA’s SVP of Global Partnerships prepared her for a role as President of the DRL.

ONE37pm: Congrats on the 2021-2022 season kicking off! Some of our readers are being introduced to drone racing for the first time. Can you give them a brief history of the league?

Jacobson: For anyone that is new to DRL, get ready for your new favorite sport! The Drone Racing League is different from any other mainstream sport where the best pilots in the world compete in front of millions of fans on national broadcasts. Our league is at the intersection of the technology and sports worlds in what is a hybrid of virtual and live events. Going back a little further, our founder Nicholas Horbaczewski created this league in 2015 in what was at the time an underground hobby, and eventually, he decided to invest in the technology, media, and sports ecosystem to turn this hobby into a global, professional sports property.

ONE37pm: You spent 21 years at the NBA as their SVP of Global Partnerships, how did your experiences there prepare you for what you are doing now with DRL?

Jacobson: Well, beyond undergrad, I would say that I achieved all of my other degrees through my two decades at the NBA. I had the pleasure of working with two of the best in the industry David Stern and Adam Silver, and in my time there I learned so much in terms of training, marketing, events, and global partnerships, which in turn have prepared me for what I am doing now in the DRL. Not only was I able to learn from my experiences, but I was also able to gain knowledge from many other people like NBA team owners. At the NBA, you have to constantly be innovating and evolving the brand.

Everybody is constantly fighting for market share, so you have to always be growing. At DRL, innovation is what drives us and we are constantly developing new groundbreaking technology to advance our sport.

ONE37pm: What does it take to be a drone racer? If one of us were to be interested in joining, what kind of training would we need to have, and what do we need to do to eventually advance to the level of these professionals?

Jacobson: I love this question! We want to be inspiring everyone to get involved in drone racing! It is so much fun, and educational. It helps you learn incredible new skills, like drone piloting, engineering, mechanics, etc., and those are the same things that can be applied to careers in film, tech, and entertainment. To compete at the highest level it takes a lot of training. DRL has the twelve best pilots in the world, and they practice more than ten hours a day.

For those looking to get into drone racing for fun, we recommend downloading our official DRL Simulator on PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, or Epic Games. It is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way for you to learn drone racing. You get the opportunity to feel like you are one of our pilots, and we actually recruit pilots through the SIM’s annual esports tournament, the DRL SIM Tryouts. You can be playing for fun one day, and then be a professional the next!

ONE37pm: Ahead of the 2021-2022 season the DRL recently closed a blockchain sponsorship with blockchain partner Algorand. Could you talk a little more about that?

Jacobson: It’s exciting! We have been really focused on scaling the league, as we are determined to be one of the most successful leagues in the world. We look to partner with the most innovative companies and marketers, and Algorand is a team of visionaries, disruptors, and innovators. We’ve been keeping up in the crypto and blockchain world for a while now, as our fans are tech-savvy and into crypto. Our partnership with Algorand is one with amazing chemistry.

Algorand is the most technically advanced organization in blockchain, and they are aligned with our brand. There is a lot that we will do together, like NFTs for ticketing, blockchain-enabled transactions, and prizes, and even building a digital drone racing series in the metaverse!

ONE37pm: Lastly, what can we expect from the season? 

Jacobson: We are running hybrid competitions across esports in our SIM and in-person drone races in Minneapolis, Memphis, and a to-be-announced location for the final race of the season. Due to Covid protocols, we are only having a limited amount of people at these events, but we are hoping to have a packed crowd for the championship!

We have new partnerships and the league is continuing to evolve, and we are disrupting the big five sports. Millions of people are already interested, and we want even more to get involved! The DRL is thrilling and different from other sports, and we have primetime hours on NBC including Christmas Day and lead-ins to the Winter Olympics.

It’s going to be an exciting year for the DRL so make sure you stay tuned. You can check in with the DRL squad every Wednesday night at 8 pm EST on NBCSN and Twitter, and visit the official website for more updates as the season continues.

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eSports Gaming

Everything You Need To Know about BLVKHVND

BLVKHVND is a new approach to gaming. If you pay attention to the esports landscape, then you may be wondering who and what BLVKHVND is. Here is everything we know so far about the talented team that plans on taking gaming and esports to the next level. Centered around building a Decentralized Gaming Community, the company started during the pandemic in 2020 originally consisting of three members: Blvk0ut, Rolvel, and ATM, and together, the trio worked to build BLVKHVND as a way to pass time and compete as an esports team. 

Like any growing business or organization, BLVKHVND experienced some growing pains when they realized they all had different systems, equipment, internet speeds, and access to games. They also had very different gaming interests in terms of what they liked to play, and how they wanted to play it.

The crew added on a fourth member, SIRSU, and began building the first iteration of BLVKHVND. According to the team, that first iteration was critical to them learning about the culture of streaming, building support around individual playstyles, and the importance of creating a unique branding. 

BLVKHVND officially launched this past May with Discord and Twitch accounts and has quickly become Twitch affiliates with a small community of supporters, and their ultimate goal is to become a formative gaming organization that is powered by a community of gamers, creatives, and fans that are willing to have fun, learn and build together. 

On August 23rd, BLVKHVND announced a crowdfunding campaign via Twitter, which they hope will be the first step of being able to fully execute their vision and plans for the company. The team also plans to expand design roles and budgets to further gain community support and participation. With a goal of a 100ETH raise, the funds will help support BLVKHVND’s core team and will help with future opportunities for growth and expansion.

You can find more information about BLVKHVND’s crowdfund here, and you can also learn additional information about the members on their website.

As they say, “The Future of BLVKHVND is now.”

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eSports Gaming

Pavan Lakhat Goes ‘Inside The Screen’ With Aaron “Don” Dukes

This week’s Inside The Screen, hosted by Aaron “Don” Dukes and his new co-hosts Mikey Caloca and Elton Jones, features special guest Pavan Lakhat. Lakhat is a young Madden NFL prodigy that has earned the distinction of becoming the 2019 NFL Madden Club Series Champion. As a representative of the Las Vegas Raiders, Lakhat is destined for bigger opportunities on the Madden NFL esports circuit.

Lakhat has already made great strides as a pro-Madden NFL player at such a young age. Besides his major 2019 accomplishment, he’s already racked up $260,000+ in career earnings and is recognized as the first person in MCS (Madden Club Championship) history to win four consecutive Club Championships with the same team (Raiders). Besides his time spent as a professional Madden NFL esports player, Lakhat also expands his online presence through his YouTube and Twitch channels. When asked about his decision to choose Madden NFL as his game of choice, Lakhat provided an interesting backstory: 

“Ever since high school, I’ve been playing all types of games. I was actually heavily into Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. And I would play the ‘League Play’ system and feel like I was decent. I actually stopped playing that. I’m heavily into sports – baseball, basketball, football. Football is obviously the main sport I love. In high school, there’s this game called Madden [NFL] Mobile. I was kinda bored one day in class and decided to download it. And you know I was having a little bit of fun playing Madden [NFL] Mobile, getting those coins, earning those players, and just playing with my friends in school. It kinda became a wave, like I set a trend in the school. Next thing you know, everyone is on it. It kinda died down a bit and then I went ‘lemme just get on the normal Madden.’ I just got a PS4 and my parents blessed me for Christmas. I ended up getting Madden [NFL] 15 during the second half of the season.”

While Lakhat’s early games saw him losing often, he eventually went to YouTube to study all the game-winning tips needed to improve. He also spent a lot of time on Twitch watching the early pros showcase their gameplay, which led to Lakhat upping his game and taking his talents to offline tournaments. It took a while for his parents to come around to the idea of their son making a career out of playing video games, however. His mother even hid his console and controllers in order to get him to focus on his studies. After grinding extra hard for a tournament and telling his parents about it, Lakhat’s father accompanied him to the event in Orlando, Florida. After witnessing what his son was a part of first-hand, Lakhat’s father became a believer in what he was doing:

“My Pops was there at the venue and the venue is insane! It was inside the NBA Bubble. All the mascots were there and it was such a great time. My dad and a few other people were there rooting for me. I was a little overwhelmed. But once I settled in, I was cool. I actually ended up losing that game by three points. I shed a couple tears, man. After this loss, I’m doing it for my family and doing it for myself. I’ma become a savage next year. And then the next year, I won the championship. Once they [Lakhan’s parents] saw me on Twitch, they were like ‘you got this now.’ That support helped me out so much. And having that burden off my back allowed me to have more time on Madden.”

There are so many more intriguing details to soak up from Lakhat’s description of his pro-Madden NFL career and everyday life, so be sure to check them all out in the full interview above.

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eSports Gaming

MicawaveTV Goes ‘Inside The Screen’ With Aaron “Don” Dukes

This week’s Inside The Screen hosted by Aaron “Don” Dukes features special guest MicawaveTV, a New York Native Twitch partner, hooper, content creator for Team Diverge, and entrepreneur. A young multi-hyphenate prodigy determined to be the greatest gamer of his generation, MicawaveTV has already managed to build a dedicated community and fanbase with his lively interactive streams, vibrant personality, and reliability.

While the young streamer (he’s only two years into this content creation thing) has accomplished quite a bit thus far, he makes it clear that this is “only the beginning” of what he plans to be a very successful career full of longevity. Joining Don for an hour-long conversation, the two kick it off with MicaWave giving a quick background into his early beginnings in the world of gaming content.

“I stress this a lot; I spend a lot of time on myself and a lot of time evaluating my situation,” he tells Don before diving into the importance of personal happiness and self-care while pursuing what you love. “I like to stress that being happy should be your number one priority. A lot of people only think about the money part of it, and I need to be in this place or that place. The bottom line is you have to be happy.

Growing up, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I played basketball and stuff like that, but it wasn’t until I spent time with myself and thought about what I liked that I realized I always loved gaming, entertaining, and making people laugh. Content creating and streaming on Twitch is the perfect combination for that, and I set goals for myself, did my research, and used money from the part-time job that I had to fund my occupation.”

Agreeing with everything Micawave said, Don points out the notion that many people believe you have to wait until everything is perfect in your life to fully go after your dreams. While everybody’s path is different, Micawave’s journey shows that you can indeed go against the grain. “At the end of the day you’ve got to do what you love,” says Micawave as he and Don start playing Fortnite. “If you wake up every day and don’t feel like doing your occupation, then it’s probably not for you.” 

As the two begin their Fortnite match, Don asks the content master what drew him specifically to playing Fortnite, and what the game itself means to him. “I was playing Fortnite before I started creating content. A lot of people were skeptical about the game before it blew up because it looked so “childish,” and that was the same thing I was thinking. My friends would be playing Fortnite having fun while I would be on Call of Duty. I kept thinking “Nah I’m not doing that!”

I decided to give it a try one day during Season 3. I actually had a good time and started watching people who were growing the game like Ninja. A few months later I got all of the stuff needed to start doing streams like the Elgato HD60, things with just enough specs to start up a stream and handle the game capture. I set that up and started doing my thing!”

There’s plenty more to Don and Micawave TV’s conversation, and you can check out the full interview above. 

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eSports Gaming

Inside The Screen With XSET Vrax

This week’s edition of Inside The Screen hosted by Aaron “Don” Dukes was another special show that featured guest XSET Vrax. Vrax is a sixteen-year-old content creator for XSET, with a whopping 2.8 million followers across TikTok and Twitch. Joining Don for a game of Minecraft, the two had an hour-long conversation that covered a variety of topics including: Vrax’s gaming journey, his passions outside of gaming, and what he has been up to lately. The two kick start their conversation building a house on Minecraft, which Vrax playfully admits isn’t his strong suit. As they build, Don asks the content dynamo how his summer has been.

“Things are good! It’s summer so we’re having a good time,” he tells Don before they dive into Vrax’s early gaming days. “I’m sixteen, but when I started content creation I had just turned thirteen. I was streaming, doing content, and things started to take off when I started TikTok right after turning sixteen. Don then asks Vrax who and what inspired him to become a content creator.

“For me, it was about seeing content in general. I have a twin brother, and we are big on creating content. That is one thing that we have always been able to bond over, and that is probably why it sat so well with me. I never really saw myself actually doing content to be honest. I thought that this was an exclusive thing, and it was only for those who were already in. Obviously I was wrong!”

Noting that a lot of people think gaming and creating content is “easy,” Don mentions the amount of time gamers have to put into being successful at their craft, a point Vrax definitely co-signs. “It’s definitely far from easy, especially having an audience. My story of growing my audience is a lot different than others. I would have my demotivating days, and days where I felt like nothing was going to come out of this. After three years, my Twitch was still sitting around 4,000 followers from just streaming for fun. Obviously things picked up for me after TikTok finally happened, and that was a huge factor. I learned very quickly that this wasn’t a joking matter, and if content was something that I wanted to pursue, there would be a lot of time, energy, and effort going into it.”

Continuing to build his house, Vrax elaborates on his point of just how much work a content creation career takes. “You don’t just wake up one day with everything. It’s weird when I say that now because that is kind of what happened when I started TikTok, but for the most part whenever somebody starts off they have to start from zero. Even the people we look up to now all came from zero as well. Nobody ever realizes that because they are famous, but that’s not true! When you look back on content creation from a couple years ago, you’ll realize that a lot of these guys had nothing back then.”

Don and Vrax had a great conversation, and you can catch the rest above. Be sure to follow them both on Instagram. 

 

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eSports Gaming

‘Fortnite’ World Champion Bugha Gets His Own Icon Series Skin

Fortnite’s wide assortment of character skins is spread out across all forms of media.

Players can catch W’s and eliminate the competition while adorned in the sorts of costumes that make them look like their favorite characters from Marvel, DC, blockbuster films, sports, etc. The Fortnite Icon Series is responsible for putting forth all of those recognizable skins and has even introduced ones based on popular streamers such as Ninja. Now another noteworthy streamer/content creator has joined that collective and he’s most known for winning the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. Of course, we’re talking about the young legend that is Bugha. And his inclusion makes all the sense in the world since he was recognized as the Best Esports Athlete at The Game Awards in 2019 and has several strong placements across numerous Fortnite tournaments. Bugha’s credentials certainly speak for themselves.

Today (July 19), it was revealed that Bugha will become the latest member of the Fortnite Icon Series. Starting on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, at 8 PM ET, Bugha’s Icon Series Set will become available in the Fortnite Item Shop. This set comes with the following goodies – the Bugha Outfit, the Zoey Trophy Back Bling that comes with the Fortnite World Cup trophy & Bugha’s pug placed inside of it, dual Bugha Blades Pickaxe, and the Bring It Around Emote. The Bugha outfit doesn’t just offer its default style – it also comes with the electrified Bugha Elite Style and the World Champion Bugha Style, which is reminiscent of his post-World Cup Solo Finals victory fit.

Before that skin set arrives, everyone can compete in a special LTM (Limited Time Mode) one-day, cash prize tourney called Bugha’s Late Game. An Epic Games blog piece released some details about this incoming Arena mode event – “Running from July 20 until July 28, Bugha’s Late Game Arena puts players right in the middle of competitive Fortnite. With your Trio, you’ll drop on the Island while the Storm’s already closing in. We’ve collaborated with Bugha to curate nine starting inventories grouped into three team loadouts. Each Trio will be assigned one of these team loadouts at random. As you play Bugha’s Late Game Arena, you’ll be able to earn Hype that’s unique to this mode. The players who earn at least 1500 Hype before Bugha’s Late Game Tournament on July 28 will be eligible to participate in the tournament. In this version of Bugha’s Late Game, qualified players will compete against others in their region for a share of $100,000!”

Now Bugha’s in-game likeness will join the likes of Travis Scott, Loserfruit, and Ninja. It’s pretty awesome to see the young Fortnite pro stand proudly among such top-tier company.

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eSports Gaming

Subnation and Seiler Team Up to Educate NFL Players on esports

Today’s pro athletes know there’s more to life than just making insane amounts of money and spending it all on frivolous things. The young sports greats we constantly cheer for are smarter with their income and usually make worthwhile investments that benefit more than just them. In the case of pro-NFL personalities, the growing trend of notable players dipping their toes into the esports arena is an intriguing one.

Tennessee Titans guard Rodger Saffold birthed his own esports business venture RISE Nation. Jay Ajayi, a former running back for the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, signed on with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union organization to become a member of their eMLS League Series One esports team. And NFL legends Steve Young and Jerry Rice have made a concerted effort to open learning centers that teach the youth living in underserved communities all about esports and so much more. It’s clear that esports efforts such as those point to NFL players’ continued interest in all things pro gaming.

Gaming and esports media holding company Subnation and financial wellness firm Seiler Financial Education Consultants have clearly taken heed of this growing trend, which is why they’re looking to help even more NFL players gain a better understanding of the esports realm. Both companies are doing so by holding the first annual Players Symposium, which will take place over the course of three days and emanate from the new Resorts World Las Vegas I property. From July 6th to the 9th, 100 current NFL pros will converge upon this invite-only conference to attain the know-how needed to better one’s business acumen. The Players Symposium won’t just be about getting schooled, however – everyone will get to participate in a 16-team esports tournament and compete for $50,000. So along with learning about marketing, cryptocurrency, finance, and esports, that huge lineup of NFL athletes will also get to unwind and compete on the sticks.

Some of the players in attendance include LA Chargers Running Back Austin Ekeler and Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Plus Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be on hand to be one of the Players Symposium’s many speakers – his inclusion comes as no surprise since he launched his own esports team and lifestyle brand, Trench Made Gaming. Los Angeles Chargers Running Back and Gridiron Gaming Group Founder Austin Ekeler will also be in attendance to offer some words of wisdom regarding the thriving world of esports and gaming culture as a whole.

Doug Scott, Co-Founder and Chief Managing Director of Subnation, spoke on the widening knowledge of today’s sports athletes when it comes to amassing different streams of income. “Whether it be requesting their salaries in cryptocurrency, launching esports teams or participating in health and wellness start ups, professional athletes are expanding their purview and getting involved with innovative business ventures off the field,” said Doug. “We created the Players Symposium to educate athletes on what’s new and next, while exposing them to the companies and entrepreneurs that are disrupting the tech, media and entertainment world.”

In the case of sponsors for the Players Symposium, Alienware, The Ben Moss Group, Dreamseat, Eleve Health, and Voyager have signed on to show their support. Stephen Ehrlich, Voyager’s Co-founder and CEO, commented on his company’s excitement in regards to getting behind this beneficial endeavor. “Voyager is proud to support the first Players Symposium to help educate these outstanding pro athletes about one of today’s most extraordinary wealth-building vehicles, cryptocurrency,” Stephen said. “Voyager is the ideal digital asset platform to help these athletes meet and exceed part of their long-term financial goals with crypto. With over 60 digital assets, interest offerings as high as 10%, and an easy-to-use app, Voyager is the crypto platform for champions!”

The first installment of the Players Symposium has all the makings of an annual event that could create a new array of NFL players that will dive headfirst into esports and help it continue to prosper.

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eSports Gaming

Esports Organization TSM Changes Its Name for $210 Million

Team SoloMid (TSM) first hit the esports scene in 2009. And since then, they’ve morphed into one of the top-ranking teams in League of Legends and have signed partnership deals with a laundry list of reputable companies. With additional teams across other hotly contested multiplayer games, such as Fortnite, Hearthstone, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, TSM has earned itself the right to be recognized as a force within the thriving world of esports.

Last Friday (June 4), TSM let the world know of a blockbuster deal that may just increase their global scale and notoriety in the coming years. The esports organization announced a $210 million, multi-year partnership with FTX that has resulted in the cryptocurrency exchange company securing exclusive naming rights for TSM. That surprising bit of news has now resulted in a name change for TSM – now you can all say hello to TSM FTX. With that shift to a new moniker and a massive influx of income, TSM FTX now has the funds needed to further its expansion efforts and dish out cryptocurrency to its players and organizational employees. Another plus when it comes to TSM and FTX’s new deal is TSM going ahead and purchasing $1 million in FTT, which happens to be FTX’s native cryptocurrency token.

Founder and CEO of TSM Andy Dinh explained his excitement over this new deal in a lengthy press release statement: “When I met Sam Bankman-Fried, I immediately knew we had to work together. Not only did TSM FTX fit perfectly as a brand, Sam is an innovative CEO that is in every way ahead of his time. Against all odds as a young ambitious entrepreneur, he has been able to disrupt markets by making smart decisions and by surrounding himself with smart people. He has proven that you can build a multi-billion-dollar business that can grow incredibly fast at scale – all while charging a fraction of what other platforms charge, and creating a culture of community and focus on social impact. This deal is extremely important to the future of our organization, but it was equally as important for me personally to partner with such a visionary leader. Just as a shared passion of gaming connects people around the world across ages, continents, and language barriers, Sam built a company that connects the world around a shared value of currency. I am extremely proud he chose to work with TSM.”

Founder and CEO of both FTX.com and FTX.US Sam Bankman-Fried responded in kind with some glowing comments about this newfound partnership: “We’re really excited to work with TSM. Their team has gone above and beyond both in-game and out, and rightfully established itself as the premier team in esports. We’ve also been really impressed working with them: they have the drive, creativity, communication, and generosity that we find combined in very few places.  In the end our partnerships will only be as strong as we make them, and we think that TSM will be able to help massively expand the presence of digital assets outside the traditional landscape. We’re also proud to work with them to give back to the world.”

While this deal yields a whole lot of positive news, there’s one major negative that has come from it. TSM FTX has been barred from using their new name or sport that name on jerseys during livestream broadcasts of Riot Games’ League of Legends and Valorant. This rule has been put in place due to Riot Games’ strict guidelines around outside partnerships with cryptocurrency exchange companies. In a statement to Dot Esports, Riot head of esports for North America and Oceania and interim LCS commissioner Chris Greeley spoke on the new ruling: “The TSM and FTX sponsorship deal does not break any LCS sponsorship rules, but crypto exchanges fall under a category of sponsorship that carries activation restrictions. As a result, TSM’s new naming convention and FTX brand placement on TSM jerseys will not apply to the LCS or other Riot Games esports in North America.”

In a Reddit post comment labeled under League of Legends, Andy Dinh responded to Riot Games’ decision: “The deal carves out name on broadcast and jersey logo on both league and Valorant. But FTX will still be sponsoring our league and Valorant players in content, social, live-streaming and in person events. Which has more visibility than Riot’s broadcast. Hope this clears things up.” That “more visibility” obviously has a hint of big boy talk in it that speaks to the larger scope and reach of TSM FTX. It’ll be interesting to see how TSM FTX’s teams will look on-screen with their new jerseys in other games without those same restrictions put in place. Watching the world of esports and crypto combine in such a manner paints a promising picture of more organizations going the same route in the future.

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eSports Gaming

Why ‘Rocket League’ Will be a Tier 1 Esport

Since Epic Games recently acquired Rocket League, the franchise has unlimited potential, especially in the world of esports.

Epic Games definitely learned a lot from their work on Fortnite, which has propelled the game publishing/development studio to make Rocket League a free-to-play experience and even bigger on the esports scene. We all know Tencent owns Riot Games and Epic Games. The differences I see between the two is Riot is dominant in esports with League of Legends and Valorant, while Epic Games dominate gaming more—that company has now allowed more devices to play their games, making more of a presence on consoles and mobile devices. Epic Games really understands that mobile gamers are a huge audience and are taking advantage of that.

Now you can play Rocket League on your phone via Side Swipe, which I think will help the game’s marketing and help it reach the masses even more. When you look at sports sims like Madden, 2K, and FIFA, those games have a massive outreach. However, I think Rocket League can beat all of those games’ reach and take over as an esports entity compared to those three.

Rocket League is definitely going to be major this year or in early 2022. I feel that way because you have big esports organizations looking to prosper within the game’s official league. For instance, Spacestation Gaming, G2 Esports, and FaZe Clan (who recently acquired a fresh, young team called The Peeps) are some of the teams that fall into that category.

Rocket League is also the most accessible esports to the average viewer. Whereas games like League Of Legends aren’t all that friendly to a casual watcher since they’ll have to be invested in the game to understand certain mechanics and characters. Rocket League is practically soccer with cars—what pro players are capable of doing with that unique mashup takes years of practice in order to be worthy enough to play at a top-level.

Anyone who hasn’t played Rocket League can watch how expert players perform and say to themselves, “Well, I can do something like that, too,” until they try the free-to-play title and quickly realize it takes a lot of practice to get to their level.