Triplepoints of Interest: Jan.29

In this week’s TPoI, GDC withdraws award for Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell, Ubisoft cancels Rainbow Six Siege price hike, and EA CEO Andrew Wilson defends the company’s current games lineup.   

GDC Rescinds Pioneer Award for Nolan Bushnell Due to Past Sexual Misconduct  

The Game Developers Conference announced in a blog post on Tuesday the recipients for the special awards at the event, Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail, Double Fine Founder Tim Schafer, and Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell’s nomination for the award drew a huge amount of criticism from members of the industry, which The Verge collected and featured in an article which detailed reports of Nolan harassing and sexually exploiting women. Glixel reports that GDC acknowledged the feedback and has decided to rescind his Pioneer Award nomination. Nolan Bushnell also came out with a message on his Twitter account praising the conference’s decision to rescind the award and has apologized for his past transgressions.  

Ubisoft Withdraws Rainbow Six Siege Price Hike In Response to Community Backlash

Ubisoft’s tactical first person shooter Rainbow Six Siege has built up a large community over the last 3 years, with the game receiving regular updates and re releases throughout the game’s lifespan. While fans have generally enjoyed the updates that Ubisoft have brought to the game, a recent price increase announcement drew criticism from the community. Gamesindustry.biz explained that the price increase would affect all retail copies and would raise the price of the base game from $40 to $60. Paste Magazine reports that the developers have retracted their decision and are now offering rewards for player who play before the next content expansion as a way to give back to the community.

EA CEO Defends Company Line Up

During the company’s quarterly earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson reportedly defended the studio’s recent releases, praising his employees for their hard work and the diversity of content they have put out. Kotaku reports that while critical reviews of Electronic Arts recent releases haven’t been overwhelmingly positive and some titles have underperformed, EA’s stock as continued to rise and the company plans to continue developing new titles while employing the same design strategies. Variety recently covered the company’s decision to reintroduce microtransactions into the controversial title Star Wars: Battlefront II so that it aligns with their current design strategy. While the company has prospered and generated lots of revenue due to big budget launches and microtransaction sales, this has come at the cost of their image, with Comicbook.com reporting that EA was named one of the worst companies in the world in Wall Street’s newest ranked lists, which cross references customer satisfaction surveys, employee reviews, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index to find out which companies are disliked the most.  

Triplepoints of Interest: Dec. 25

Happy Holidays from everyone at TriplePoint! In this week’s TPoI, the Nintendo Switch sets a new first year sales milestone, Apple apologizes for slowing down iOS devices, and a gaming-related swatting incident leads to fatal shooting.  

Nintendo Switch Breaks First Year Sales Record

Data from Media Create’s recent gaming market survey indicates that the Nintendo Switch has become the fastest selling console in the Japanese market, even outstripping Sony’s Playstation 2, which sold 200,000 less units than the Switch in its first year. IGN reports that these numbers were helped by the recent holiday season, where over 221,000 units were purchased from major Japanese retailers. My Nintendo News reports that the Nintendo Switch has now outsold Nintendo’s previous Wii U console, which sold 3.3 million units throughout its lifespan. Polygon speculates that these high sales numbers indicate the consoles cultural appeal and expect the console to sell well in the future.

Apple Apologizes for Slowing Down iOS Devices

In a lengthy blog post posted to the company’s website Thursday morning, Apple gave an in-depth explanation of why recent updates to iOS devices have been slowing them down. CNN reports that the updates purposely slowed down older devices in hopes to extend their battery life. The Verge praised Apple for temporarily discounting the price of battery replacements on older devices from $79 to $29 while nothing that Apple’s decision to slow down devices greatly impacted the performance of devices for heavy tasks like app use and gaming. Business Insider reports that Apple will be adding new features to indicate battery health and increase performance, which should help consumers decide if they want to upgrade or fix their current device.

“Swatting” Incident Leads to Fatal Shooting   

Swatting, the act of calling in a fake threat of violence to the police which has seen a rise in popularity in the gaming and live streaming community due to an increase in internet trolling and doxing, may have led to the deadly police shooting of Kansas man earlier this week. The Wichita Eagle reports that the false story reported to the police may have been made by a disgruntled gamer who lost a small bet while playing Call of Duty with a friend. The Verge reports that Andrew Finch, the victim of the fatal incident, opened the door for the SWAT team and was shot down in response. The Chicago Tribune featured a statement from Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston who said that they had reason to believe that the shooter was holding his mother, brother and sister hostage and that the police force is investigating the incident and hope to find the instigator soon.    

Triplepoints of Interest – Dec. 4

In this week’s TPoI, Sony’s PlayStation 4 sells over 70 million units worldwide, Ubisoft delays their 2018 lineup, and EA reevaluates monetization strategies for Battlefront II.

PlayStation 4 Sells Over 70 Million Worldwide
Early Thursday morning, Sony announced that over 70.6 million PlayStation 4 consoles have been sold worldwide since the system’s launch in November 2013. The Nikkei reports that Sony, which expects to log it’s first record profit in over two decades, has benefited greatly from the PlayStation 4’s record sales as well as the success of games and other media built for the platform. Polygon reports that the console’s continued success has pushed Sony to revise their sales goal for the 2017 fiscal year from 18 million units to 19 million units. Forbes speculates that the PlayStation 4 is on track to outperform last generations PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 but it may not outperform the PlayStation 2, which sold over 155 million units over its lifetime.

Ubisoft Delays 2018 Lineup
In an effort to develop more engaging and higher quality experiences, Ubisoft has delayed 3 of their upcoming titles including Far Cry 5, The Crew 2, and a currently unannounced game. Eurogamer speculates that this announcement comes as a result of Assassin’s Creed Origins achieving critical acclaim after the game was delayed to improve the gameplay experience. Forbes featured the new release dates for Ubisoft’s upcoming games, which have been shifted between a month to a quarter from their originally planned dates.

EA Rethinks Star Wars Battlefront II Microtransactions
Only a week after launching to mixed reviews and a sharp backlash from fans, EA has annouced that they are considering alternative microtransaction methods for Star Wars Battlefront II. Seeking Alpha reports that EA projected revenues have fallen to $1,149 million. Glixel speculates that EA and Dice may have been pushed to pursue alternative strategies not only due to community feedback, but also due to government pushback as the US government evaluates the legality of microtransactions in games. While PC Gamer note that while the developers have made progress in updating the game’s character progression system, the community is still upset and hope that the game will improve in the near future.

Triplepoints of Interest – Nov. 27

In this week’s TPoI, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gets a mobile port in China, Destiny 2 fans are upset by dishonest XP system, and the Nintendo Switch tops sales charts over the Black Friday weekend.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Goes Mobile

The PUBG Corporation released a cinematic trailer on Thursday showcasing two new mobile versions of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which will launch first in China. Polygon confirms that the two games, Army Attack by Timi Studios and Battlefield by Tencent, will try to bring the PUBG experience to the Chinese audience by adapting the games to better fit the Chinese mobile space. Comicbook.com reports that PUBG Corp has partnered with Tencent and Timi to adapt the game for the Chinese region by porting it to a more accessible platform and incorporating “socialist values” into core gameplay. PC Gamer featured the newly released trailer and highlighted new features including attack helicopters, large squad-based matches, and a large naval destroyer.

Destiny 2 Fans Upset Over Experience Scaling Issues

Bungie received negative backlash from fans this week after the discovery of an experience scaling system which some believe was created to encourage players to purchase microtransactions. GameSpot reports that the system, which limited the amount of XP which players can earn during a play session, was meant to restrict the rewards which a player can receive by leveling up. PC Gamer featured a blog post from Bungie which confirms that the developers will be removing the system, but also doubling the amount of XP required to level up, which also upset the fanbase community. True Achievement reports that head game designers Luke Smith and Chris Barrett are aware of the community’s criticism and are actively adjusting the system to match the expectations of their fanbase.

The Nintendo Switch Tops Console Sales Charts During Thanksgiving Weekend

Despite the fact that the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro were on deep discounts during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, data from Adobe’s Digital Insights Initiatives system shows that the Nintendo Switch was the highest selling console of the weekend. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the Nintendo Switch was able to secure the highest selling spot during the period without receiving major discounts at any big-box retail store. VG 24/7 notes that these numbers are not surprising after the system approaches its 4th month as the highest selling console in the United States but that the continued sales should help the platform reach a large audience in the west. IGN reports that Nintendo’s recent success is reflected in the company’s stock, which has gone up 88.5% in the last year alone.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – AUGUST 7

In this week’s TPoI, VoIP service Discord adds video chat and screen sharing, studies show that games affect the brain differently depending on mechanics and genre, and the International Olympic Committee is considering esports for the 2024 Paris summer games.

Gaming-Focused VoIP Service Discord adds Video Chat and Screen Sharing

Discord announced early Thursday morning that they will be testing new video chatting and screen sharing services with 5% of their active userbase. Since it’s initial launch in 2015, the gaming focused Voice over Internet Protocol service has grown to be the most popular voice solution for gamers around the world. TechCrunch reports that users with access to the service will be able to chat with up to ten of their friends with resolutions up to 720p at 30 frames per second, twice the framerate that their main competitor Skype provides. Engadget provided images and gif of the video feed in use and shows that users can move video feeds around their screen for easier visibility as well as allowing users to view video feeds on top of their games. Although the service is being rolled out over time, Destructoid notes that video calls may be turned off during the testing period due to bandwidth restrictions.

University of Montreal Study Shows that Video Games Affect the Brain Differently

New studies by the University of Montreal show that different games have varying effects on the brain. NPR columnist Courtney Columbus interviewed scientists from the University of Montreal that said that playing puzzle games like Super Mario can lead to the growth of the hippocampus. SYFY Wire notes that the study also shows that first person experiences like shooters can lead to the reduction of the same brain region and that lower levels of gray matter in the hippocampus can lead to elevated depression, Alzheimer’s and a higher risk of PTSD. The Telegraph reports that the study was conducted with the help of 51 men and 46 women that were asked to play a variety of games for a total of 90 hours each.

International Olympic Committee Considers esports for 2024 Paris Summer Games

The Guardian reports that the International Olympic Committee is considering esports medal events for the 2024 summer games as the sport genre has raised in popularity. The esports industry has increased in popularity dramatically, with CNN reporting that the global audience rose to over 292 million viewers in 2016. The Washington Post reports that there are still barriers before esports is accepted however, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach disapproving of the medal events. The Asian Games will debut esports as an exhibition event to test if there is an audience for future esports events at international competitions.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – WEEK OF APRIL 3

For this week’s TPoI, we dive into YouTube’s latest partner program update, PETA’s dispute with Nintendo, Atlus’ debatable decision to enact a strict streaming ban, and the launch of Twitch’s very own gaming store.

YouTube Enacts Stricter Creator Monetisation

In an effort to catch suspicious channels, YouTube has changed its partner program by enacting stricter guidelines for channel monetization. The Verge reports that going forward, YouTube won’t allow monetization until a creator has reached 10,000 lifetime views on their channel. MCV speculates that the true reasoning behind the move is to lessen the chances of brands finding themselves aligned with hate speech or racist content, an issue that YouTube has been battling. Aspiring creators will undoubtedly have a harder time earning money with this new policy in place, but ArsTechnica advises that using GoogleAdSense is an option to obtain ad revenue without relying on the total view count. Furthermore, Fortune revealed that YouTube plans to add a new review process for the partner program that will monitor a video publisher’s activity to ensure the creator is adhering to the rules and regulations.

PETA Shames Nintendo For 1-2 Switch Milking Game

Milk, one of 28 mini games on Nintendo’s multiplayer party game 1-2 Switch has been deemed unrealistic according to PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk. The milking simulator portrays no cows on-screen and the farmers appear to be happy-go-lucky during the entire process. Polygon reports that Newkirk personally wrote a letter to Nintendo to address her concerns stating, “We have more than 35 years of experience investigating dairy farms where cows are exploited for their milk, and it is NEVER that pleasant for these animals. Can we have some realism here, please?” Uproxx adds that Newkirk suggests either Nintendo depicts the cruel reality of animal abuse or consider simulating a game where no animals suffer. Nintendo has yet to respond but we anticipate a thought-out and respectful rebuttal.

Atlus Threatens Gaming Community With Harsh Consequences

The long awaited Japanese RPG series Persona finally launched its fifth entry to the series Persona 5 outside of Japan on April 4. The day after its release, a report from Kotaku revealed that developer Atlus threatened to issue channel strikes and content ID claims on any streamer or YouTuber that showed footage beyond 7/7, a date in the calendar of the game. The purpose of the ban is to prevent spoilers for those who haven’t obtained or played the game, but Forbes argues that users could easily search for a playthrough of the game considering it’s been released in Japan for a whole year. Atlus’ concerns are valid, but ArsTechnica adds that in this day and age, gaming companies should view gameplay videos as a way to boost exposure not hinder it. In recent news, Polygon reports that several streamers and YouTubers are showing content past the 7/7 mark and are well aware of the potential repercussions to follow.

Shop and Stream: The Future of Twitch

Amazon-owned Twitch has released a purchasing system for streamers and audience viewers. The Escapist disclosed that users will now be allowed to buy a game while watching a stream, with over 50 different titles released so far. Games can be downloaded and played through the Twitch launcher or on a publisher’s service, such as Uplay. Not only that, streamers will get a cut of the sales as well, with partnered streamers earning up to 5% of the sales that originate from their channel, according to The Verge. This is a smart move on Twitch’s part, as it offers revenue for both the company and streamers. Although Engadget believes this is a smart move, it worries that content creators may abuse the system and only stream games purely for financial gain. PCWorld agrees, but also argues that it’s a great way to showcase a game and see a streamer’s honest reaction and feedback.

The Brand Benefits of Publisher Conventions – BlizzCon

Conventions and the video game industry go hand-in-hand: there’s the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), Germany’s Gamescom, Comic-Cons, and more. Other than QuakeCon (and EA Play this year), it’s rare for publishers to host their own consumer-facing “mega event.” Most companies like Capcom, Ubisoft, and Nintendo share the stage and make special reveals during E3 (which is no longer open to the public) and other general gaming events.

Blizzard Entertainment is not like many companies, though as its 10th annual BlizzCon wrapped on November 4-5 celebrating all of the brand’s biggest franchises. Selling out in roughly 10 minutes, it is safe to say this annual convention is one of the most popular in the industry with no signs of slowing down!

Hosting a convention to promote your own properties and celebrate your fan base can be an extremely effective brand marketing strategy — evidenced by Blizzard. Publisher conventions can make fans feel rewarded, important,and valued. It gives attendees a chance to meet the artists and developers behind their favorite games, creating a personal connection that helps strengthen their brand affinity.

In order to understand why publishers should host conventions of their own, TriplePoint takes a look at what makes BlizzCon an impressive marketing tool, unique from other experiences, and what other companies can do to provide that same value. TriplePoint has taken all of this into account and has established five key BlizzCon 2016 brand marketing takeaways:

 

Surprising Announcements / Unique Information Distribution Structure

Each year, BlizzCon is home to new reveals and big surprises surrounding its IPs (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch). Key highlights from this year’s BlizzCon included the eagerly awaited new Overwatch hero, Sombra, the Overwatch League announcement, Diablo 3’s upcoming Necromancer class, and Hearthstone’s new expansion Gadgetzan, and more. Interestingly enough this year Blizzard chose to separate its product news from esports news, with product on the first day and esports on the following day.

Blizzard’s strategy to lead its announcements with product news is because unlike product, which has more timing flexibility, esports stories need time to develop — tournaments need to be played and winners need to be determined. Having designated days for both types of stories ensures a steady flow of information for the press and consumers. Press will have enough time to cover, news will be easier to digest, and information won’t get lost — they can dominate the news cycle.

 

Watch the Best of the Best Play

Esports are another unique aspect of BlizzCon that is surprisingly not explored by other video game conventions.The best players from around the world gather to BlizzCon to showcase their skills and compete for huge prizes. The convention center is split into several parts where each space is devoted to specific tournaments in Blizzard’s gaming library. Having world championship tournaments during BlizzCon generates tournament results and team interview coverage, fandom, and an overall event spectacle.

 

Green screen by PhotoBoothless, find out more at http://www.photoboothless.com/

Network with Industry Professionals

BlizzCon serves as a mecca, drawing in fans from all over the world and from different backgrounds. Since there is something for everyone, BlizzCon was filled with cosplayers, community managers, artists, press, developers, representatives from other games, tech companies and more. BlizzCon is a dense concentration of video game industry professionals and offers immense opportunity to connect with key industry players.

 

Get Up Close and Personal with Devs and Artists

One of BlizzCon’s greatest strengths is being able to generate a personal connection with fans through intimate events like Signing Areas and Q&A’s. Often times at conventions developers have little time to talk about their games, only showing cutscenes and trailers of games without being able to provide details on other aspects — not the case at BlizzCon. Not only should developers and artists interact with press, but the community itself is just as crucial. Q&A’s set time aside for the community and helps them understand where developers and artists are coming from when designing a game. Blizzard understands this and does it well.

 

Hands-On Experiences

BlizzCon had many demo stations for Blizzard’s key titles, filled with new content yet to be released to the public. This concept is not new for video game conventions, but BlizzCon has the advantage of knowing virtually all consumers will be interested in all demo stations; therefore can optimize and personalize the content for the trade show attendees (vs. a content free-for-all at an event such as PAX). BlizzCon’s demo stations allow players to take their time, experience the new changes implemented into franchises they are deeply invested in, and provide valuable feedback. Sure, companies can host events for press to test a demo, but it’s equally important for the game’s community to experience it. It brings insight from different skill levels and backgrounds as well as tests what works and doesn’t work with its most important stakeholders — the fans.

 

Red Shirt Guy!

BlizzCon is a celebration of not only Blizzard’s video games but also its dedicated community they’ve cultivated for many years. Conventions can serve as an effective marketing tool, providing long-term value and building faith with your audience. In the end, players want games to succeed and to have fun. Personalized trade events such as BlizzCon are a great way to connect and celebrate with the fans.

 

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of May 23


Calling all agents: Overwatch has finally launched this week — and we’re not the only ones excited about it! The game has been getting rave reviews and the hype train shows no signs of stopping. In other news, Tencent could soon be the proud owner of Clash of Clans, and the company behind Rolling Stone will be adding a new site devoted to gamers.

Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of May 23

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of January 4

Bouncing back from the brief holiday break, game companies have been leaping into action for an exciting 2016 year to come. MLG has been sold to Activision Blizzard who plans on using the eSports organization to build their media empire, and Oculus Rift launches pre-orders along with a hefty price tag. Steam Spy takes a peek back at 2015 and reveals some numbers behind Valve’s Steam success.  Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of January 4

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of October 5

Where do you prefer to watch the League of Legends World Championships? Twitch? Azubu? Maybe you should tune in on…BBC! This and other news from the world of games!

BBC: the next big thing in eSports

ESPN, TBS, and now BBC! Game Informer reports that BBC Three will be streaming the League of Legends World Championships starting on October 15, including all four days of the quarterfinals and other supplemental programs. Commentators will be broadcasting live from London’s Wembley Stadium, adding BBC to the list of mainstream channels broadcasting eSports tournaments.

Spend to meet your Destiny

Bungie announced they will be adding microtransactions to Destiny on October 13. GamesIndustry International reports that Bungie added this feature to “bolster the service provided by the live team for another full year, as they grow and create more robust and engaging events that we’ll announce later this year.” Bungie will be introducing silver as the Destiny’s in-game currency.

Everything you need to know about Rock Band, you learn from GameSpot

Purchased Rock Band 4 and have a lot of burning questions? GameSpot has you covered with their “everything you need to know” guide that includes how to import old songs from previous installments–including on-disc tracks, which old instruments will work on the new system, and where to buy new gear.

Ads can be games too!

Zynga is experimenting with a brand new type of ads. Called SponsoredPLAY, the advertisements are delivered in the form of mini-games. Gamasutra explored an example using Progressive’s iconic character, Flo, who appears in one of the Farmville games as part of an ad. Zynga has since reported a double-digit increase in user ad engagement.
Photo from BBC

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of September 21

You might not be reading this if you’re standing in line for a new iPhone 6S. Nonetheless, here is a fun tidbit about the craze around the latest iPhone, plus other fun news from the games industry and beyond.

Are you the biggest Apple fan?

Does anyone else want the new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus more than you? The Verge reports that Australian Lucy Kelly might take the crown for most dedicated iOS user by placing an iPad powered by a robot to hold her spot in line at Sydney’s flagship Apple store. Mashable reports that Ms. Kelly intends to purchase her iPhone through her robot, therefore not requiring her to be present at the register when she receives her new product (keeping in mind it is cold and rainy in Sydney now).

Keep your iPhones safe!

Apple has removed 300 apps from the App Store believed to be infected with malware. According to WIRED, several security companies have pointed out that infected apps can help attackers create a direct line to individual devices and steal information including passwords. MacRumors has the list of the top 25 apps affected by the attack.

More TV stations will broadcast eSports!

Building on the efforts of eSports to go mainstream, TBS will be broadcasting 20 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive live events starting in 2016. VICE Motherboard points out that this production is put on by WME/IMG, a sports events company, and Turner Broadcasting, without the help from an existing eSports organization like ESL, showing traditional sports media’s commitment to the genre.

Half-Life 3… Now I have your attention!

Fans just can’t get enough of Half-Life 3 rumors and teases. One of Valve’s main writers, Chet Faliszek, responded with a firm “no” when an audience member at EGX Birmingham asked if the game will have VR support. PCGamesN speculates that Mr. Faliszek’s response suggests that Valve is backhandedly confirming Half-Life 3’s impending release.

TwitchCon kicks off today!

Watch the keynote and all the action, and learn about the future of broadcasting on the official Twitch streaming channel!

Photo from Gotta Be Mobile

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of August 31

It was a big week in video games, but for two starkly different reasons. The summer is wrapping up with two major console game launches in Super Mario Maker for the WiiU and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for, well, everything else. On the other hand, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel sparked a controversy with a comedy segment aimed at YouTube’s new gaming channel and the concept of watching people play video games.

Super Mario Maker and Metal Gear See Critical Success

Two major console titles have launched this week to critical acclaim – Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker for the WiiU and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Nintendo’s latest allows players to create and share their own Mario levels and currently has a score of 89 on Metacritic. The latest in the Metal Gear Solid series – with a rating of 94 on Metacritic – represents famed designer Hideo Kojima’s final production for publisher Konami as the two parties continue their acrimonious separation.

Jimmy Kimmel Versus Gamers

Last week, late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment making fun of YouTube’s new Gaming channel and parodying the concept of watching people play video games. This lead to many angry comments and vitriol directed at the host from upset gamers, including death threats, which Jimmy Kimmel shared in not one, but two follow up segments on his show this week. This only continues to grow, with much of the games and tech press covering the controversy, and we expect that this won’t be the last we hear from the talk show host on this. 

Machinima’s Slap on the Wrist

Popular YouTube content network Machinima has come under fire from the FTC for deceptive business practices pertaining to an XBox One launch campaign. According to Kotaku, Machinima paid YouTubers to create positive content around the XBox One while preventing them from disclosing that the videos were paid for by Microsoft. The FTC and Machinima have come to a settlement preventing this type of business practice in the future.

The Most Popular Apps of All Time

App Store analytics firm App Annie released a new report this week on the most popular iPhone and iPad apps of all time. GamesIndustry International reports that, in terms of the highest grossing games on the App Store, Supercell comes out on top with their megahits Clash of Clans, Hay Day, and Boom Beach.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of August 24

The eSports gods have spoken: watching the tournaments on streams is a hit and more! Check out the awesome statistics from the eSports tournaments of the past weekend as well as some interesting insight of how much time Americans REALLY spend on their phones and playing games.

Counter-Strike: Global Phenomenon

The stream numbers are in and VentureBeat reports over 27 million people tuned in to watch the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament at ESL One and noted that while Evo 2015 only received 248,000 peak concurrent viewers, it still saw a 75% increase from last year’s numbers. Writer, Jeff Grubb, notes that this signals a diversification of eSports content seeing brands other than Dota 2 and League of Legends grow at such a high rate.

Pass the blood samples

Two major eSports tournaments wrapped up this weekend: League of Legends North American LCS Summer Finals in New York City and ESL One in Cologne, Germany. PC World takes a look at the first tournament where ESL began testing players for drug use. Writer, John Gaudiosi, discusses the mixed reactions from fans and notes that other organizations like Major League Gaming and Riot Games have yet to implement such procedures.

Conventions got snug and cozy this year

GamesIndustry.biz takes a look at the move of Gamescom to earlier in the month of August, setting it less than 2 months after E3, and causing Nintendo to cancel their press conference and Sony moving their presence to Paris Games Week. While this meant press schedules becoming more compressed, writer, Dan Pearson, notes that this gave an opportunity for Microsoft to garner most of the press attention during Gamescom thanks to maintaining their presence at the show despite tight scheduling.

Smartphone addictions continue!

Yahoo analytics firm, Flurry, released data relating to US smartphone use and how it relates to the time spent gaming. GamesIndustry.biz reports that although time spent on smartphones has risen 35%, the amount of time spent gaming has halved. Writer, Dan Pearson says, “Flurry attributes this shift to three major factors: a lack of new hit games, with the top grossing charts remaining static; the rise of spectator gaming, as gamers spend more time learning by watching streaming services rather than playing; and the unwillingness of players to spend time grinding their way through games, instead paying their way to content via free-to-play mechanisms.”

Photo from ESL