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Intel to host IOC-sanctioned esports event in build-up to Tokyo Games – Sport Industry Group

Intel will host a virtual esports tournament in the build-up to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, giving gamers around the world the chance to compete.

The Intel World Open will ‘elevate’ esports for global audiences, according to the technology brand, which is hosting the event as part of its Worldwide TOP Partnership with the IOC. The event was originally announced in September 2019 and set to run as a physical event in Katowice, Poland, a month before the Games, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Intel is the Official Esports Event Partner of the Games, and the event will feature two of the most recognised esports titles – Street Fighter V: Champion Edition and Rocket League in an online regional tournament. 

Online qualifiers for Street Fighter V: Champion Edition and Rocket League start on 1st June, while participants can register to take part from 15th May.

“We are excited to bring the Intel World Open back as a virtual tournament and continue raising the stakes for esports,” said Marcus Kennedy, General Manager – Gaming and Esports Division, Intel.

“The Intel World Open exemplifies Intel’s global leadership in esports and PC gaming while delivering a pinnacle tournament on the world’s biggest sports stage.”

Players at any level will be able to compete in the Intel World Open, which kicks off with online Open Qualifiers, After weeks of open competition the field will be narrowed to top players who will compete in closed qualifiers for their spot in the regional finals.

Esport: Rocket League and Street Fighter V tournaments remain outside of the Olympic Games – Tech Gaming Report

France will have its chances

Competitions will go well by nation. Competing teams and players will represent their countries or regions according to geographic areas and will compete in two qualifying stages (in June) that will send their best representatives to the finals (July 11-14 for Rocket league, from 16 to 21 for Street fighter v).

Unlike 2020, the final will not take place in Japan, but online and therefore will be divided into regions: four from each Rocket league, eleven of Street fighter v. France will be able to count on several serious representatives in both games. In total, $ 250,000 in donations will be shared twice among the best of these gatherings, which will end a few days before the start of the Olympics (July 23 – August 8).

Capturing young audiences

Announced at the end of 2019, they were greeted with great enthusiasm: Nations tournaments are still rare in esports, the proximity to the Olympics made the event exciting and Street fighter v it is an institution in Japan. With no news since the postponement of this Olympiad by Covid-19, except for the Olympic Virtual Series (competitions on sports simulations), everyone thought they had been forgotten.

Despite this adapted format, its maintenance once again demonstrates the IOC’s interest in the discipline, which wants to use it to attract its young audience. In 2018, on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea), a competition in Starcraft ii it had been organized. Esport will also be a medal-winning discipline in the next Asian Games (in China, in 2022). If this is not the case for a long time for the Olympics, e-sport should also be part of the expanded program of the event in Paris, in 2024.

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Intel World Open returns for Rocket League and Street Fighter V events – Dot Esports

When the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed last year, Intel also pushed the Intel World Open back since it will be directly tied to the Olympics in several ways. 

Now, the IWO is back, with new dates lined up for its Rocket League and Street Fighter V competition and support from the International Olympic Committee. With a prize pool of $500,000 prize pool, $250,000 for each game, the IWO will begin in June, though registration for Rocket League and Street Fighter V both open on May 15 and will remain open until May 31. Players from around the world will then compete in regional open qualifiers from June 1 to 13, setting up a closed qualifier later in the month. 

Rocket League’s closed qualifiers will run from June 21 to 27, with SFV following it up from June 29 to July 4.  Each game will then host its finals to decide the IWO Regional Champion, starting with Rocket League from July 11 to 14 and finishing up with SFV from July 16 to 21. 

All players must be over 15 years of age to participate in Rocket League and 16 years of age to participate in SFV. SFV’s qualifiers can be played on PC or PS4, while Rocket League will accept players from all platforms the game is available on, according to ESL, the tournament organizer. 

The SFV portion of the IWO will not be featured as part of the Capcom Pro Tour or Street Fighter League, and there was no mention of the game’s Tournament Mode either although it was originally supposed to debut for the event’s qualifiers.

A new kind of Little League: Madison’s youth esports teams emphasize teamwork and fun –

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Lucas Hewett, 11, has been playing Overwatch for almost five years.

It’s a futuristic first-person shooter video game where players are divided into teams of six, with each player choosing a character, known as “heroes.” The game has humans battling robots in several different settings, or maps. Depending on the map, heroes work together to capture points or try to escort a payload past checkpoints.

Lucas enjoys playing as several different heroes and, with the help of his dad Matthew, a retired Army veteran of 20 years, devises strategies. But his favorite hero is Genji.

“They say that he’s probably the hardest character in Overwatch,” he said. “I really don’t see that because, I mean, I’ve played as him since I started.”

After Matthew and Lucas saw some advertisements for the XP League, a national competitive video game (or “esports”) league for kids aged 7 to 15, they decided it might be fun to compete at a higher level.

“I said, ‘You can go try it. Let’s go try out!’” Hewett said.

Lucas was accepted and started playing for the Madison Marvels, competing at the beginning level, or “Silver.” The Marvels are sponsored by Code Ninjas, a Sun Prairie program that teaches kids computer programming skills, including video game development. After improving their skills and learning how to play as a team, players move up to the Gold level, which is more competitive and is typically made up of older middle school or high school kids.

“They liked his playing style, his techniques and his knowledge of the game,” Hewett said. “So this year, they had him go on both the Gold and Silver teams.”

Across North America, children have taken the hobby of video gaming, often derided by critics (and many parents) as an anti-social activity, out of their basement rec rooms and onto teams that compete for real trophies.

Competitive esports include elementary school kids learning the values of teamwork and clean competition all the way up to well-compensated professionals performing on ESPN. Between prizes and sponsorships, pro gamers can pull in millions.

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Mason “Luigi” Biksacky, 13, and Lucas “Ghost” Hewett, 11, play Overwatch during a practice at Code Ninjas in Sun Prairie.

Meet the Marvels

More than 50 esports players with the Madison Marvels compete on teams that play Overwatch, Fortnite, Rocket League and, starting this summer, Valorant. They gather for practices and competitions at the Code Ninjas office in Sun Prairie, while other Madison-area teams play out of BB Jacks in Cottage Grove and at Edgewood College.

“Our XP League starts at elementary school and we do more games scaled at the youth level. So, it’s all team-based games,” said JD Uhler, owner of Code Ninjas.

The kids play against the other Madison teams along with hundreds from across the United States and Canada.

“We don’t really discriminate between age, but we do skills assessments when they come in,” Uhler said. “Most of the kids have been playing hours and hours at home during COVID-19 and have gotten really good individually at these games. So they come in and we have criteria that we assess them with and we put them in a Silver or Gold group.”

While he had fun playing with the Silver team, Lucas seemed to enjoy his role as the youngest member on the Gold team and sat with the older kids for a season-ending awards ceremony on a recent Wednesday afternoon at Code Ninjas. He was named the winner of the Apex Award for being a “triple impact competitor.”

Codey Severance, head coach of both the Silver and Gold teams, was a ball of energy during the ceremony, making a point of speaking directly to each kid about all the positive things they had contributed during the season.

Each player was wearing a team jersey with their gamer handle on the back, just like a little league baseball team would have.

“That’s why we do all these awards and everything, to commemorate this awesome time that they have,” Severance said. “I think the jerseys were just kind of the plan from the very beginning, that’s the XP League. We have the jerseys, we have the medallions, we have tournaments, we have prizes at the end of everything.”

Lilly Schulz, 11, wore a jersey with “Lunar-eclipse” on the back. Despite being relatively new to competitive gaming — she’s been on the team for six months — Schulz won an award for her leadership.

“I kinda knew I was gonna get that award because I do most of the planning for the team and some game strategies,” she said.

What drew her to the Madison Marvels?

“It was very fun and interesting because I never really played much video games before I got in this league and it was just really cool that I got to work with and play with people,” she said.

XP League 042830 12-04282021212651

Liam “Xpliam” Matthews (10) plays Valorant during a practice meeting of local XP League esports team, Madison Marvels, at Code Ninja in Sun Prairie, Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2021.

Investment attracted by growth

According to a report from Newzoo, which monitors and analyzes data from the gaming industry, esports are expected to top the $1 billion revenue mark in 2021, which is up approximately 14% from the $947.1 million they generated in 2020.

Much of that revenue comes from sponsorships and advertising. A report from Deloitte showed that the amount of money invested in esports by private equity firms and other companies rose from $490 million in 2017 to $4.5 billion in 2018, a growth of 837%.

Those investments are the result of a growing esports viewing audience that is expected to hit 728.8 million viewers by the end of this year thanks to live streaming on platforms like Twitch and YouTube.

For example, the League of Legends World Championships, which took place in Shanghai in October 2020, drew a live audience of over 6,000 and an online audience of 23 million viewers.

The healthy financial state and popularity of professional esports is trickling down to youth levels.

In Wisconsin, high schools have formed the Wisconsin High School Esports Association, which had 29 founding members including area schools such as Edgewood, Fort Atkinson and Baraboo.

Rocket League, a very popular game, is played at the varsity level across Wisconsin. Edgewood, Johnson Creek, Columbus, Marshall, McFarland, Monroe, Fort Atkinson and Baraboo high schools have both varsity and JV teams for Rocket League.

Nationally, more than 170 colleges and universities participate in esports.

XP League 042830 27-04302021100724

Lilly “Lunareclipse” Schulz, 11, won a leadership award in her first season with the Madison Marvels.

Teamwork and coaching

The Madison Marvels moved quickly from the awards ceremony into practice using gaming stations outfitted with laptops and headsets, which they use to communicate with one another. Lucas said interplay with teammates is the biggest difference between competition at the Silver and Gold levels.

“Sometimes Gold can be serious or laughable and you can make jokes and stuff at the beginning and you can get hyped up,” he said. “On Silver it was like ‘okay, so let’s get into the game, let’s plan forward’ and stuff like that.”

As he spoke with a reporter, Lucas never took his eyes off the computer screen, where he and his teammates were deep in the throes of an Overwatch match. To a casual observer, the players’ teamwork was poetry in motion. They asked each other for help, offered encouragement and shouted out hints and tactics. The benefits of their regular practice sessions was clear.

About an hour into practice, Matthew Hewett, Lucas’ father, arrived. Hewett, who works at the Madison VA Hospital, is one of the coaches for both the Silver and Gold Overwatch teams. When he recently retired from the Army, he started looking for something that he could do with Lucas, a born gamer.

Not long after Lucas joined the Marvels, Hewett put his military recon skills to use by scouting the team’s upcoming opponents by watching their games online. He did such a good job preparing the players and encouraging positive play that he was brought on as an assistant coach for the Silver and Gold Overwatch teams.

He said the improvement from one season to the next for the Gold team in particular was significant.

“Last season they didn’t even win a single match,” Hewett said. “This season they made it to the championship game and finished in second place. It was such a turnaround.”

Hewett said the players who carried over from one season to the next practiced hard and greatly improved their skills, and an influx of really good new players helped account for the difference. And he tries to help them develop strategy.

“I’d say the background I bring is a little bit more of the tactical ideal,” he said “I help our teammates think of strategies of how to maneuver or use the environment to their advantage as far as natural shields or good flanking positions, high positions, stuff like that.”

Hewett laughed when asked what it’s like having Lucas on a team he’s helping coach.

“I think I’m more excited for the win than he is,” he said. “Seeing him develop, he just has a lot of commitment to it. He has a very good background as far as his knowledge of each of the characters. It’s very reassuring when people that are older than him — they’re like 14 or 15 — and he’s giving suggestions as far as characters or heroes to use or which way we should move … and seeing him be taken in by other players that are older than him. They respect him, they trust him, especially this year.”

XP League 042830 02-04282021212651

Matthew Hewett, an assistant coach with the Madison Marvels, watches over the shoulder of his son, Lucas “Ghost” Hewett, 11, as he plays Overwatch during practice.

The first esports generation

One of the things that parents appreciate about the XP League is its commitment to fair play and eliminating the toxicity, bullying and abusive behavior that permeated earlier generations of competitive online gaming, especially associated with Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.

Hewett said the competitions and practices are safe spaces.

“We’re trying to develop the more responsible players that make the esport environment more inviting and not being so mean,” Hewett said. “Because there are some really mean players out there and we’re trying to start young and eventually those bad players will get weeded out and the entire environment will develop into something really, really nice.”

Hewett said he has not witnessed a single toxic or abusive player while on the XP League circuit.

“Everybody is very generous and they’re great. After every match everyone gets on messenger and tells everybody else ‘great game’ or ‘great round.’ As far as outside the realm of XP League, my son dealt with one gamer bully. And we did the right things. We blocked him and we reported him through the Playstation network and all that stuff. … There are some really toxic gamers out there.

“I like the route the XP League is going in developing young players so that the future gamers aren’t like the ones that, unfortunately, are probably my age or my generation.”

Gaming culture, within the broader internet culture, struggles with its reputation for social isolation, toxic trash talk and even straight-up harassment. That can make it off-limits for many parents.

Uhler addressed those issues by saying the kids on his teams come from a variety of backgrounds, although he laughed while detailing the stereotypical types of parents he meets, starting with the “gamer dad,” who are as enthusiastic about playing — or more so — as their kids.

There are also the parents of “sports kids.”

“We had a lot of kids who couldn’t play baseball and basketball during COVID-19 who found this and this was a great substitute,” Uhler said.

These parents might not be into gaming, but the kids spend a lot of time playing Fortnite already, and the league is an outlet for their competitive energy.

“My favorite type is the kid who likes to play and the mom is like ‘OMG, not another video game!’” Uhler said. But he’s often able to convince them that these games are social and now their son or daughter isn’t going to be sitting in the basement playing by themselves.

According to Uhler, the simple act of seeing their kids enjoying themselves in a social environment wins over many parents, especially if a certain game or interaction brings out a previously hidden competitive spirit.

“There’s a lot of kids who were maybe not cut out for the athletic sports,” he said. “A lot have tried out and it’s hard to find the right one for them. This is for a new group of kids who never could find the right team.”

Esports increasingly resemble the structure and experience of traditional athletic sports, but are unshackled by the constraints of having to find a field, court or rink to play.

Several kids participating on the Overwatch teams said they would like to continue participating in organized esports for as long as they can. That means going up against the very best in college. Many colleges and universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have esports programs.

“It’s just like in any other sport. You need discipline, fitness, mental health, balance,” Uhler said. “When basketball players get to college, they’ve been through years of organized sports. So we’re creating the same type of thing with esports. We’re creating the first organized esports generation.”

Edgewood College esports 1 (copy)

Edgewood College hired Luis Puesan to lead its esports program last year. There have been no competitions during the COVID-19 pandemics, but Puesan is looking forward to gearing up this fall.

Competing in college

Some colleges are offering esports scholarships to promising youth players. Madison’s Edgewood College has scholarships that range from $1,500 to $2,000 for its new esports program.

Over the past few years, as esports grew in popularity, Edgewood students pushed the school administration for greater investment in an esports program. Their requests resulted in the college hiring Luis Puesan, who moved to Madison from Florida last year. Much of his work has been done during the pandemic.

“We’re still in the early stages of the program that hasn’t even been around for ten months since I came here from Florida,” Puesan said. “So currently we have rosters, but they’re not full rosters, so we aren’t competing at this time.The expectation is for this fall of 2021 to be competing with the incoming new students, and especially for spring 2022, which is generally when the major games like League of Legends or Rocket League have their official collegiate tournament.”

Puesan said his goal is to help improve the skill level of his players and also to give them life tools that will help them in their overall studies and careers.

“Currently, the students I’m working with I spend one-on-one time coaching them and improving their gameplay and ranking in their respective games and we’re just gonna go from there,” Puesan said. “It’s been cool to see them grow and put them on the right track. So, one of my players, I feel like he is extremely good at League of Legends. He skyrocketed his rank and I think that’s what was really exciting was when I first got here. I helped my students to grow from like top 20-30% of players up to like top 7%, which is really exciting.”

Puesan sounds a lot like the head coach of any college sports team. He wants his players in shape, putting studies first, and implores them to practice. He also wants to see Madison to become a hub for esports. Edgewood is a partner in the XP League, which holds some competitions on campus.

“I can see from the development of some of these kids that some of them will eventually end up being professional players, or at least getting full rides for college,” Puesan said. “So it’s just going to be really fascinating to see what the development of the space is going to be like. I just don’t see esports slowing down anytime in the future.”

It’s definitely not slowing down among the kids in the XP League either. Because they’re not dependent on the weather or having to allow athletes time to recuperate stressed muscles, the esports offseason is compressed.

The Madison Marvels Silver and Gold Overwatch teams held their season ending ceremony on April 28. The new season started May 1.

“The seasons end,” Lucas Hewett said. “And then the next season just starts.”

More from the Capital Times

BLAST Rising 2021 Superior System Bet Predictions and Odds – News

BLAST Rising 2021 is just around the corner and it offers us a legit chance to make money while betting on CSGO markets. This is why we decided to provide you with a 10 match accumulator and our reasoning behind these picks. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it.

Tricked vs Galaxy Racer Tricked to win @ 1.55
Skade vs Spirit Academy Skade to win @ 1.20
MAD Lions vs ALTERNATE aTTaX ALTERNATE aTTaX to win @ 2.40
Copenhagen Flames vs Nexus Nexus to win @ 3.80
Apeks vs OFFSET Total Rounds Played(Over 25.5) @ 1.65
Sinners vs Budapest Five Sinners to win @ 1.25
DBL Pony vs NAVI Junior DBL Poney to win @ 1.35
Nordavind vs GORILLAZ GORILLAZ to win @ 2.70
Young Ninjas vs Finest Young Ninjas to win @ 1.75
Accumulator or System 8/9 1.11$ per combination / 10$ for accumulator 145,92

As you can see from the betting slip above, we lined up all of the upcoming matches with different kind of esports bets that have a legit chance of hitting. However, since we placed a bet on a few underdogs, we would also advise you to get a system bet (8/9) in place where you can still land in profit if you miss one of the matches.

Why is this BLAST Rising 2021 bet slip good?

First and foremost, BLAST Rising 2021 is a qualifying tournament that sees a lot of tier 2 and tier 3 teams crashing against each other. We favored a lot of the big favorites, as there is a big gap between some of these teams hence why we consider this as an odds booster for our other selections.

Since there are three underdog bets on our betting slip, I want to elaborate more on these matches. First and foremost, MAD Lions are in shambles right now and they are playing really badly. Constant roster changes are not helping their cause, and the latest roster (signed March) is yet to start delivering. Even though we believe that MAD Lions are a better team pound-for-pound, they are simply nowhere to be found right now, and ALTERNATE aTTaX has a legit chance of sweeping the Danish-based organization.

Nexus will face off against Copenhagen Flames in another high odds match. Now that you know how high odds on Nexus are, it is important to mention that Copenhagen Flames did not record a win in their last 7 matches. To make things even better, Nexus has already beaten Copenhagen Flames not even a month ago, and they did it quite comfortably.

Last but not least, we all know that Nordavind is a team filled with players who never made it to the top and all of these players are on a decline. On the other hand, GORILLAZ is not even an organization, this is rather a mix of players who gathered around to compete. However, once you spot that GORILLAZ are based around sergej, suNNy, EspiranTo, flusha, and, NaToSaphiX, you can get a point why we fancy a bet on this team. Even though they do not have any strategy added to their game, individual skill and experience should be more than enough for GORILLAZ to get a win over Nordavind.

The rest of the selections or pretty straightforward odds favorites. Apeks and OFFSET get a round played selection since both teams have a tendency to play long drawn out matches, regardless of opponent strength.

Overall, you are looking at solid betslip as both an accumulator or system bet. Check with our CSGO betting sites to see which one is a fit for you.

Rocket League Update 1.96 Patch Notes – Attack of the Fanboy


Update 1.96 has arrived for Rocket League, and here’s the full list of changes and fixes added with this patch.

The biggest purpose for this new Rocket League update is to give support for the upcoming NASCAR and Formula 1 DLC that will be out very soon. The update should now be available on all platforms as we speak.

Aside from supporting the new content, the update also has your usual general bug fixes and adjustments. It’s not the biggest patch the game has been released, but it’s mandatory to download if you want to continue playing the game online.

You can read the full patch notes posted down below.

Rocket League Update 1.96 Patch Notes


  • This update prepares Rocket League for upcoming NASCAR and Formula 1 content


Arena Rotation Adjustments

  • Salty Shores (Night) added to the rotation in all Playlists
  • Reduced frequency of some arenas in the rotation (Wasteland, Farmstead)
  • Neon Fields and Forbidden Temple (Day) have been removed from rotation until additional revisions can be made


  • Made it clearer which items cannot be traded to other players while on the Trade In page


  • Fixed an EOS cloud sync error that was preventing some players from accessing item inventory
  • Fixed a bug causing players to join the incorrect Private Match
  • Fixed the “Add Players” pop-up that was appearing far more frequently than intended
  • Fixed appearance of Anispray Rocket Boost
  • Friends List appearance will now scale correctly with the rest of the user interface

For more on this update, you can check out details via the official website. Rocket League is out now for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Mac platforms.

– This article was updated on:May 4th, 2021

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Patch Notes V1.96

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Level Next Rocket League Spring Showcase adds $125,000 to collegiate esports – Esportz Network

Collegiate esports peaks again as Learfield IMG College announces a partnership with Psyonix to create a $125 thousand Rocket League tournament, Level Next Spring Showcase.

Level Next Spring Showcase

The tournament pits the best college students against each other as they compete for the top. Working with collegiate esports platform Level Next, this event allows players from all four-year accredited colleges to attend. But more importantly, participating in the Level Next Rocket League Spring Showcase is completely free. This tournament begins registration today but starts on May 10.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Psyonix to incorporate such a popular, endemic game title like Rocket League into our Level Next events and broadcasts,” Learfield IMG College EVP/Managing Director – Media and Partnerships Group Rick Barakat said. “We have an exciting Spring Showcase planned for college students across the country, and we appreciate the support of Unilever as this is an exceptional platform to elevate their important give-back initiatives on college campuses nationwide.”

Collegiate Rocket League Esports

Though there isn’t enough focus on the collegiate esports scene, attention is coming back to it. The 2021 Collegiate Rocket League season was announced in February and organizations are out to match that level of attention. Level Next created an entry-level tournament with Psyonix to show off the best college students. And since cost is a common issue for college students, this event makes a big difference for accessibility. Of the total prize pool, $75 thousand goes to the tournament while the other $50 thousand is reserved for a Twitter competition.

The four-week tournament all starts next week, Monday, May 6. Right now, an expected 1,500 college students will participate in the Level Next Rocket League Spring Showcase collegiate esports event. Fans can catch the action on Level Next’s Twitch channel.

Written by Justin Amin

If you’re interested in seeing more of Esportz Network, follow our social media at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We have daily podcasts at the Esports Minute and weekly interviews at the Esportz Network Podcast. Anyone can also join our community on Discord and chat about your favorite games, esports, and more!

Epic Games v. Apple Fortnite Trial Timeline: What We’ve Learned So Far – Dot Esports

Monday, May 3 marked the start of the Epic Games v. Apple trial in Oakland, California, with the two companies facing off over the iOS developer’s August removal of Fortnite from the App Store and the policies that led up to that point.

So far, the trial has featured a two-day deposition of Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, an outspoken critic of Apple and the man responsible for suing the phone maker. Lawyers from Epic and Apple both cross-examined Sweeney throughout May 3 and 4, with questions ranging from basic video game topics to complex ones around Fortnite cross-wallet transactions and cross-platform play between devices, as well as Epic’s desire to break open the App Store policies through a legal, marketing, and public relations campaign.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Sweeney emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2015 suggesting iOS be open

Apple and Epic’s contentious 2020 summer negotiations weren’t the first time Epic campaigned for an open iOS.

In a new document submitted to the court, Sweeney emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook in June 2015 suggesting that Apple separate its compliance review for iOS apps from the App Store. Cook, confused who Sweeney was, forwarded the email to two of his executives, Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue, asking if Sweeney was “the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?”—referring to Apple’s WWDC 2015 conference. That year, Epic presented the Unreal Editor and a very early version of Fortnite on Mac to attendees of the conference.

In the email, Sweeney argued the separation of iOS app compliance checks and the App Store submission process would allow iOS to remain secure while allowing for a free market via sideloading. Sweeney said it’d be a positive look for Apple and predicted that Apple would face “political, regulatory, moral, and competitive forces” in the future. Apple is now under fire not just from Epic for its App Store policies, but also from antitrust regulators in the U.S. and European Union.

Epic pushed Xbox to make multiplayer free before Apple dispute

Coming into the trial, one email unearthed in discovery served as a punchline: “you’ll enjoy the upcoming fireworks show.”

Sweeney sent that email in early August 2020, about a week before it provoked Apple to kick Fortnite off the App Store, to Xbox executive Phil Spencer.

But more emails surfaced in trial on May 4, showing a back-and-forth discussion between the two game executives centering around Xbox’s requirement for users to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold to play online games. Sweeney was effusive in his support for Spencer and Microsoft in those emails, saying “while I can’t share details with any third party at this point, I give you Epic’s assurance that our efforts will be positive and supportive of Microsoft, Xbox and Windows.” Spencer agreed they’d work together to figure out a solution for the removal of the Gold requirement.

Microsoft ultimately did open the floodgates, removing the Gold requirement from multiplayer free-to-play games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone in April. It also made an important policy change announcement in late April, just days before the Epic v. Apple trial began, in what seemed to be an apparent vow of support to Apple. Microsoft announced on April 29 that for PC games sold on the Microsoft Store, it’d only take a 12 percent commission from the developer, down from 30 percent, beginning in August.

Walmart planned to launch cloud gaming service in 2019

Photo via JJBers / Flickr

Retail chain Walmart was developing a cloud gaming service with a targeted beta launch in July 2019, according to confidential documents revealed during the trial.

In an internal email released into evidence, Epic co-founder Mark Rein said he tested the service in April 2019 and spoke to Walmart about its plans to launch a clip for “something like $2” that’d let users attach a controller to their phone. Rein said he played Fortnite on Walmart’s internal demo and that “the experience felt like playing on PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS.”

The service, Walmart pitched, would include functionality to play games featured on Steam, Origin, Uplay, Epic Games Store,, and the Bethesda Launcher. Its technology originated from LiquidSky, a cloud gaming company that Walmart acquired in 2018.

USGamer first reported on the development of the Walmart platform in March 2019, with The Verge reporting that several developers, including Epic, signed on to produce and host games on the service. The project was halted at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, according to The Verge. Fortnite later launched on Nvidia GeForce Now, its cloud gaming service, in November 2020.

Sony and Epic were at odds around Fortnite cross-platform play

The end of Monday’s hearing moved into a 30-minute sealed portion of the proceedings. But that didn’t stop documents that were meant to remain confidential from accidentally leaking to members of the press. Among those files were contentious emails between Epic and Sony top brass around the launch of Fortnite cross-platform play on PlayStation 4 in 2018.

Because Fortnite was the most-played game on PlayStation 4 at that time, Epic felt it had significant leverage to push Sony to open up cross-platform play, new emails revealed. But Sony thought otherwise, with senior director of developer relations Gio Corsi saying, “many companies are exploring this idea and not a single one can explain how cross-console play improves the PlayStation business.”

Ultimately, Sony opened up Fortnite and other titles on PlayStation to allow crossplay, but curiously, with some financial kickbacks. A new document from August 2019 outlines a royalty structure for PlayStation if a certain number of a game’s users come from the platform.

Sweeney confirmed during his testimony that Epic agreed and then later paid additional fees to Sony to keep Fortnite cross-platform play compatible. He also said Sony is the only company, of the ones Fortnite is distributed on, to require such a royalty compensation. “In certain circumstances Epic will have to pay additional revenue to Sony,” Sweeney said.

Epic Games Store is not profitable

Epic’s own marketplace, the Epic Games Store, is not a profitable venture for the company, Sweeney said during his testimony on May 3.

In fact, Sweeney said the store loses the company hundreds of millions of dollars each year, with costs ranging from server hosting for download bandwidth, developer agreements to allow for free games each month, and others. The Epic Games Store cost the company $359 million in investment in 2018 to 2019. Sweeney said he anticipates the store will be profitable “within three or four years.”

Epic launched its marketplace platform in December 2018, about 18 months after Fortnite released. The Epic Games Store offered innovative revenue split models to developers, focusing on a 88-12 model, with Epic only taking 12 percent commission on sales. Epic also offers to cover its Unreal Engine royalty fees for any games published on the Epic Games Store—both policies a big boon for indie game developers.

New “next-gen” relaunch of Rocket League, including mobile apps, coming in 2021

In a slideshow dated June 2020 and presented as evidence for the court, Epic outlined some of its plans for Rocket League, which it acquired as a part of Psyonix in May 2019. The slides—while labeled “old slides” in the document—feature already executed plans for the vehicular soccer game, such as a 2D version that became Rocket League Sideswipe.

But curiously, one slide outlines Rocket League “Next,” a new client refresh for all platforms, including mobile, and cross-platform play and game progress between PC, console, and mobile. In the slide, Epic says it estimates a release for mobile in Q2 of 2021 before the refresh launches on other platforms. Epic has not confirmed if those timelines from the slideshow are correct since the document was submitted into court on May 3.

Epic “overestimated” revenues it could generate from esports by $154 million in 2019

One document cited an underperformance in expected revenues in 2019 for Epic, with a key point being that it overestimated that it’d make $154 million more than it did from esports.

Fortnite esports had a big year in 2019, culminating in the Fortnite World Cup, a four-stage stadium event that occurred over three days at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. The event featured a solo, duo, and Creative competition, as well as a Pro-Am featuring high-profile celebrities, such as pro athletes, actors, and musicians paired with famous Fortnite influencers.

The World Cup garnered a ton of attention for its $30 million prize pool, with the solo winner, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, winning $3 million for his first-place prize. Bugha later appeared on late-night network TV shows and in a 2020 Super Bowl commercial, and even landed his own endorsement deals with retailers like Five Below. Epic, however, did not brand the World Cup with any sponsors or commercialize any other part of the process.

Photo via Sergey Galyonkin / Flickr

PlayStation 4 users purchased more V-Bucks than on any other platform

Epic presented the court a document outlining the commissions each platform has taken from the sale of Fortnite goods since its release in the summer of 2017. The document compared fees charged by Sony for PlayStation, Microsoft for Xbox, Nintendo for Switch, Apple for the App Store, Google for the Play Store, and Samsung for the Galaxy Store. All of those platforms charge 30 percent commissions on the sale of goods, except Samsung, which charges 12 percent, the same as Epic does to others on its own store.

In total, Epic’s paid billions of dollars in commissions for Fortnite sales. The highest earner, per that document, was PlayStation, who’s led the charge for sales of V-Bucks in Fortnite since September 2017. Behind Sony was Xbox, which has consistently been a high driver of revenues for Fortnite. Apple and iOS held the third position consistently until February 2019, when Fortnite purchases on the Nintendo Switch took over as the third-highest revenue driver for the game.

Epic made $15 billion in three years, the majority from Fortnite

Between 2018 to 2020, Epic generated $15 billion in revenue, with most of those revenues coming from Fortnite in 2018 and 2019, according to a new financial document entered into evidence during the trial.

That document showed that the developer made 97 percent of its 2018 revenues from Fortnite. That year saw the game burst into mainstream culture, from Ninja’s March stream with rappers Travis Scott and Drake and NFL wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to the star-laden Pro-Am at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles at E3 2018. Fortnite quickly became a staple of mainstream media coverage around gaming, from morning TV shows to many stories around the influencers, like Ninja, who made their name and wealth off creating content around the game. In total, Epic made $5.7 billion in 2018.

In 2019, 88 percent of Epic’s revenues came from Fortnite. Its total revenue that year amounted $4.2 billion for 2019, about $390 million less than it predicted in beginning-of-the-year estimates. The documents cited the esports overestimation as part of the reason it did not achieve its $4.59 billion estimate for 2019.

Epic considers Fortnite not a game, but a universe

Throughout Epic’s opening arguments and Sweeney’s deposition on May 3, the game developer attempted to show the court that it considers Fortnite less a game and more of a platform. It pointed to its wide reach and the Party Royale mode in Fortnite, which focuses more on social gatherings and less on the traditional battle royale play that first made the game famous.

In a series of documents, Epic highlighted its collaborations with celebrities—including Scott, who hosted a concert inside of Fortnite last year, and soccer star Neymar—and partnerships with companies like Marvel and DC Comics to include some of their characters in the game. It also revealed a number of never-before-seen planned releases, including a collaboration with NBA stars LeBron James and Zion Williamson, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and fictional characters Master Chief from Halo, Kratos from God of War, and Samus Aran from Metroid.

Epic also pointed to non-gaming apps available for download on its Epic Games Store, such as Spotify and others, to prove that this is not a game-specific issue, as Apple’s attorneys seek to frame it. Epic hopes to make this case about all developers who incur Apple’s 30 percent commission on their app sales and have called on witnesses from other app developers, such as popular yoga app Down Dog, who will testify throughout the trial.

Rocket League NASCAR 2021 Fan Pack to Release This Month – Sirus Gaming

Game studio Psyonix recently announced its collaboration with NASCAR for popular video game Rocket League with its new fan pack.

rocket league nascarrocket league nascar

The NASCAR 2021 Fan Pack will be released starting this Thursday, May 6 on all platforms.

This fan pack will be available in the item Shop and will feature three cars (NASCAR Ford Mustang, NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro, and NASCAR Toyota Camry), nine NASCAR team Decals and Player Banners, a NASCAR x RL Decal for each car, and Goodyear Racing Wheels. There are nine NASCAR teams that will be featured in the pack with their Decals:

  • Roush Fenway Racing #6 (NASCAR Ford Mustang Decal)
  • Stewart-Haas Racing #10 (NASCAR Ford Mustang Decal)
  • Team Penske #22 (NASCAR Ford Mustang Decal)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing #1 (NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro Decal)
  • Richard Childress Racing #3 (NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro Decal)
  • Hendrick Motorsports #9 (NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro Decal)
  • Richard Petty Motorsports #43 (NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro Decal)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing #18 (NASCAR Toyota Camry Decal)
  • 23XI Racing #23 (NASCAR Toyota Camry Decal) 

The NASCAR 2021 Fan Pack will be available for 2000 Credits from May 6 until May 12. In addition, a NASCAR Trail will be available for free beginning May 6. The pack marks the start of a multi-year collaboration between Psyonix and NASCAR and will be available ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway taking place on May 9. The NASCAR 2021 Fan Pack will return throughout the year around future NASCAR events.

Rocket League is now available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Epic Games Store.

Source: Press Release

See also

Here’s the trailer:

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