Esports

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Newbee is a powerhouse when it comes to Chinese esports, especially Dota 2. The organisation already has a youth feeder team to pull from and was looking exceptional after taking second at Malaysia's ESL One Genting 2017 just over a week ago. But it's the most recent team to form under the Newbee banner, Newbee Boss, that has everyone talking.

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The Street Fighter V player BEST_KOREA holds the number one spot in the game's ranked mode despite not being all that great. In fact, the player recently served as a punching bag for the world-renowned Daigo Umehara. So how did BEST_KOREA climb the ladder so easily?

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Cooperation Cup, a long-running Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike tournament, returned to Japan this past weekend. Now in its 15th year, the event again provided the world with some of the best 3rd Strike competition around. This time, Alex player Genki's winning performance was more than just a personal victory: It was a landmark for the Street Fighter community as a whole.

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During the holidays, a hashtag titled #310さんおめでとうコンボ started proliferating among fighting game fans. The tweet identifier, which roughly translates to "310 congratulations combo," celebrates the wedding of Hikaru "310" Sato, a Japanese competitor known for his play in Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-. The challenge: perform a combo dealing exactly 310 damage on Sato's preferred character, the pool ball-slinging Venom. The hashtag has become a phenomenon that now spans multiple games.

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Earlier this year, a new esports league, The Professional eSports Association (PEA), burst onto the scene. It was unique in that it was owned by bigtime esports teams, rather than a third party. Immediately there were worries of impropriety. Now, in the wake of a recent controversy, the PEA has suspended its Counter-Strike league.

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As part of this year's CES shenanigans, the Formula E motorsport is holding a little esports event of their own. But while the electric division of Formula 1 branching into esports and sim racing isn't all that new, the prospect of them establishing a professional esports league is.

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In 2016, esports experienced even more highs and lows than the previous year. That's what it means to be growing. But while the industry surrounding competitive gaming continues to expand on the backs of enthusiastic investors and hype-men, it's important not to forget why anyone actually watches it in the first place: the people playing are really damn good.