The latest in esports - September 25th

FIFA 18 (EA Sports)

FIFA 18 (EA Sports)

EA Sports adds esports jerseys into FIFA 18

FIFA, the world’s most popular football video game series, is back once again with the latest addition FIFA 18 due for release on September 29th. Ahead of its release EA Sports has announced that for the very first time a few of the biggest esports teams will have their official jerseys feature in FIFA 18. This is the first time EA Sports has placed the jersey for an esports team into their game for fans to use and represent as they play.

Team Liquid, Team Vitality, AS Roma and Hashtag United will be the first to have their jersey replicated digitally into the game. AS Roma’s jersey displays the FNATIC team logo, the esports organisation who are managing AS Roma’s esports team. Not only does this give fans the chance to wear the jersey of their favourite teams, but it also opens up the opportunity for the team’s to reach new fans who discover their kits in-game. So far only these 4 esports teams have announced their presence within FIFA 18, but this is likely to be the start of more to come and a way to show that EA Sports is engaging with the esports community to make things like this happen.

Arena of Valor (Tencent)

Arena of Valor (Tencent)

Esports coming to the Nintendo Switch?

The hybrid handheld console from Nintendo has been flying off the shelves since it launched earlier this year. Whether you want to play at home or on the go, the Nintendo Switch sold 4.7million units between its release on March 3rd and the end of June. It was the best-selling console in August and Nintendo have their targets set on selling 10 million units in its first year. The game library for the Switch is still fairly limited but at their most recent Nintendo Direct event they announced a new game title was coming to the console, which could open up the Switch to esports. Nintendo has announced that Arena of Valor, the mobile MOBA created by Tencent Games, will be heading to the Nintendo Switch console as a Beta this winter.

Arena of Valor launched across Europe earlier this year as the Chinese tech company looks to replicate the gaming success they’ve seen across far Eastern countries. With the mobile version encouraging competitive 5 vs 5 gaming, one can only assume that the Nintendo Switch version will follow this set-up. As Tencent builds the player base and esports scene across Europe they could look to include both mobile and Switch players within this. The Nintendo Switch version could play a key part to pushing Arena of Valor even further as it will be the first Moba game to make its way to the fast selling console.

Gfinity’s Elite Series is returning

Following a successful first run, the Gfinity Elite Series will be back for more eports action starting next month. The Elite Series bought amateur gamers to the big leagues as they played alongside professional teams through intense competition. The Elite Series returns on October 6th and will once again feature competitive gaming across Street Fighter, Rocket League and CS:GO. The series will be broadcasted on Friday night, Saturday morning & Saturday evening.

For the first series Gfinity secured broadcast partnerships with BT Sport, BBC Three & Eleven Sport, to push their esports content to mainstream media channels. According to Gfinity the first series received over three million views through their broadcasted content, and reached more than 220 million impressions across social media. Since the first series one of the teams involved, Team Epsilon, has built their own professional Rocket League team made entirely from players who came up through the Elite Series. Not only is Gfinity providing entertaining esports content to keen fans and mainstream viewers, but they’re also helping pave the way for ambitious and talented amateur players.

Charity funding by League of Legends

In the lead up to the League of Legends Worlds 2017 tournament, a special Championship hero skin has been created for fans to purchase in celebration of the event. Worlds 2017 starts on September 23rd where 24 of the best teams will begin fighting their way through the stages before one team is crowned as champions on November 4th. With every purchase of the ‘Championship Ashe’ skin 25% of the earnings will be added to the prize pool for Worlds 2017. The Worlds prize pool currently sits at just over $2.1m, put in by Riot Games, with this expected to rise significantly after adding the earnings from the in-game skin sales.

Since the skins release Riot Games have announced that not only will 25% of the earnings be added to the prize pool but they will match the contribution and donate the same amount to charity. Last year the prize pool reached over $5m, with around $3m of this coming from Championship skin sales. With sales likely to be even higher this year Riot Games could end up donating over $3m to charity. Riot have picked out three charities who will all benefit from their funding, in areas that support causes that their players care about - mental health care, access to education, and access to technology. It’s amazing to see Riot Games use their global esports event to drive charitable donations, raising a life changing amount of money through gamers purchasing an in-game item.

The hero Ashe (Riot Games)

The hero Ashe (Riot Games)