"Game developers don't like me," said Sabina Hemmi. "Before I came around, there was no insight into how balanced a game was."
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Spend an afternoon at a Top 8 Finals of any fighting game tournament, and you will find there is a robust side-betting culture in esports. Pseudo-gambling activities such as "skin wagers" in Counter-Strike have been a part of esports culture from the beginning, and fringe sites such as XLBet have included StarCraft games next to MLB games.
But widespread casual betting like there is on traditional sports hasn't come to esports yet. That could all change with the recent US Supreme Court decision overturning America's ban on sports gambling - New Jersey's bizarre ban on esports betting notwithstanding.
When it arrives in December, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will feature over 60 playable characters from the franchise's 20-year history. While this caters to both the nostalgia-minded and completionist alike, it has the potential to be a nightmare for anyone looking to host competitive events.
Street Fighter 5 came out two years ago, and I still can't stop thinking about how homoerotic the tutorial is. I don't know who wrote the English translation for the tutorial, which features young rivals Ken and Ryu sweating through a workout under the direction of their master Gouken, but I can't let it go.
Every day is Christmas at the Philadelphia Fusion esports mansion. The team's marketing and content director Hung Tran gestured to the towering decorated pine tree to the right of the front door by way of explaining the joke: The pro gamers who live here get whatever they want and do whatever they want. But Christmas wouldn't seem as exciting if it happened every day.
For a long time, League of Legends has had a consistent metagame. But the competitive environment and the individual and team strategies that result have recently changed at a rapid pace, leading to earlier fights, faster games, and a wild shift in the way players try to out-pick and out-play each other.
The first 12 team slots in the Overwatch League cost, reportedly, $US20 ($27) million each. This was mostly because at least a dozen rich people were willing to give that much money to Blizzard, but was also at least in part to avoid situations like the ongoing disgrace that is the Miami Marlins, where a cash-poor owner leveraged his way into control of a franchise and then refused to properly invest in it.
Beyond the Summit held its first traditional fighting game event this last weekend, inviting 16 Dragon Ball FighterZ players to Southern California for a four-day tournament. But even with competitors such as Dominique "SonicFox" McLean, Goichi "GO1" Kishida and Sho "Fenritti" Shoji in attendance, one surprising figure stood alone as champion when all was said and done: Eduardo "HookGangGod" Deno.
On 14 May 2018, when the US Supreme Court overturned the ban on sports betting, New Jersey legislators hurried to update the state's 2014 sports betting law. Back in 2014, Jersey lawmakers had passed a law permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks, but the law couldn't go into effect until the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Ever since the Supreme Court decision, New Jersey has rushed to put together an updated sports betting bill, and over the course of their deliberations, state legislators added in a ban on esports betting.
Paper streamers fluttered down on Smash champion Gonzalo "Zero" Barrios in the red light of a former burlesque theatre in downtown Los Angeles. Barrios, the world's best Super Smash Bros. Wii U player, winked at the camera and flashed a peace sign.
Yamcha has not had the best luck in Dragon Ball. He was once a lord and a threat, but by Super his lagging power level became a gag. You wouldn't know it watching Ryota "Kazunoko" Inoue play him in Dragon Ball FighterZ, though.
Four months ago, Eduardo "HookGangGod" Hook had never entered a tournament in person. He had been shooting up the leaderboards in Persona 4 Arena and Guilty Gear for years while preferring to risk frame delays and shaky network connections. But Dragon Ball FighterZ got the self-described "online monster" to see if tournament play was worth it.
After last night, the Shanghai Dragons are 0-37 in the Overwatch League. That's longer than any losing streak in the history of the big four North American pro sports - worse than the 1976-77 Bucs and Process Sixers losing 26 and 28 games over two seasons. Worse than the Louisville Colonels losing 26 straight in 1889. They barely belong in the League, and they're one of the best things in it.
The New York Excelsior is the best Overwatch team in the world. Despite an always-shifting metagame and one of its best players sitting out nearly a third of the season so far, they have won two Overwatch League stages and made the playoffs for the third. They rarely drop games and have swept every team in the league at least once.