eSports Report for April 9, 2012
LI Joe Sponsored by Brazzers
The most interesting eSports development lately didn’t happen in a game. Long Island Joe — commonly shortened to LI Joe — is now sponsored by Internet porn site Brazzers.
Is this good? Is this bad? There are a few interesting angles to look at this from. First and foremost, props to LI Joe for getting a sponsor. Making a go of it as a pro player is tough as shit and more power to anyone that can get some secure backing.
It’s brilliant for Brazzers to get into this space, because let’s face it, that’s their core demo right there in one room. However, I have a feeling that future events will become very interesting for LI Joe. It’s not a question of morality but sponsorship association. Will existing sponsors want their logos next to Brazzers? More than that, will potential sponsors turn away from the scene if they think it won’t be good for their brand?
My concerns are substantiated by EVO co-founder Tom Cannon, who said the following:
Keep things in perspective please. This is one player’s decision about a personal endorsement. Period. To be super clear, there will never be a reference to this particular sponsor at Evo, in any way, shape, or form.
I’m concerned that as the fighting game crowd grows, they might have the potential to attract some really dynamite sponsorships (Pepsi, Scion, AT&T), but the prospect of being in the same event as an adult entertainment website will look like a poisoned well.
So what will happen then? Either LI Joe will be told that he can’t wear his sponsor’s brand at a competition, or turned away from attending at all. At that point, why would Brazzers back a competitor that can’t represent them?
Of course it’s just as likely that Brazzers will get into this space in a bigger way, perhaps even hosting their own tournaments and sponsoring an entire team. At that point, who cares if bigger sponsors are turned away as long as everyone gets paid? Either way, the next few months will be interesting.
First off, watch the final matches for both the GSTL Season 1 and IPL 4. Tons of drama, emotion, and amazing games.
Second, the lack of LAN popped up again during tournament play, and it couldn’t have been worse PR for Blizzard. During the most intense fight in a GSTL finals match, MarineKingPrime’s connection went dead and was summarily disconnected from the match. For the unfamiliar – StarCraft II has no LAN / offline functionality. Every game, even tournament matches, must connect to Battle.net and maintain active connections for the duration of the match.
The technical difficulty resulted in audience chants of “WE WANT LAN” and outcries across Team Liquid, Reddit, and nearly every other social hub for StarCraft II. The problem even resulted in a 20 minute delay of the tournament while judges discussed how to handle the situation, which eventually ended in a rematch between the two competitors.
IGN eSports General Manager David Ting claimed that the technical difficulty occurred in the competition’s local network, and that having a LAN client wouldn’t have helped regardless. Some more combative and investigative fellows have disputed this claim, but whether it’s true or not, this isn’t the first time Internet connectivity has been an issue at tournaments (MLG Dallas, anyone).
Unfortunately, I don’t think Blizzard has any intention of compromising on Internet connectivity. The sad truth is that it’s the only way to keep cheating and piracy completely locked out. If they developed a LAN client, it’d be cracked and on the Internet in under a week, and may even allow enterprising young hackers to reverse-engineer the Battle.net authentication. So yeah, it sucks, but Blizzard’s extremely unlikely to cave on that regard.
Still, those finals. Holy shit.
Here’s a little PSA – registration for EVO is open. Click all over this link if you feel like your game is hot enough to hold up at EVO. Registering as a competitor involves a $50 cover charge, adn additional $10 to enter per game, while the Street Fighter X Tekken 2v2 tourney costs $20 for a pair of participants. Spectating is free though, so rent an econoline van and get you and your bros down to Vegas.
Thanks to @ohnoquickduck for tipping me off to this, but the EGL 5 happened this past weekend featuring Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3. I’ve yet to see pro-level play for Gears but I’ve thought the game had competitive potential since it came out. Props to the EGL crew for running a successful tournament and you can check out all the VODs on their Twitch.tv page right here.
COMING UP THIS WEEK:
Brackets for the NASL Season 3 start up this Tuesday, April 11. They’re doing a pre-sell on season tickets for $16, which will jump back to $20 once the season starts, so make sure to jump on that if you’re looking forward to the games. You’ll still be able to watch the 480p live stream for free, but it will be ad-supported and VOD access is gated behind the ticket as well.
Another Road to EVO tourney is hitting this weekend, and hopefully the streams will be easier to find than they were for the Texas Showdown. Hosted by Arcade Legacy in Cincinnati OH, PowerUp 2012 will feature tournies in the usual slew of fighters: Street Fighter IV AE, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, King of Fighters XIII, Mortal Kombat 9, Vampire Savior (Darkstalkers), Tekken 6, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, SoulCalibur V, and Street Fighter X Tekken. You can catch the stream over on Team Sp00ky.
Our Modern Warfare 3 tournament has been running silent for a few weeks, but the finals are happening this weekend and will be live-streamed from down the hall in the Game HQ here at Machinima. Tune in this Saturday at machinimalive.com for some party times and mad crazy casting from everyone’s favorite live stream boss Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt alongside Mike “Hastro” Rufail and Scott “APL” Fisher.
One last mention – ranbats for Southtown Arcade Season 4 are also starting this Saturday night. The Saturday Night Snapback will feature Super Street Fighter IV, 2v2s in Street Fighter X Tekken, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Real Honest Sunday follows with King of Fighters XIII and Capcom vs SNK 2. You can catch those matches over at IPlayWinner’s Twitch channel.