Set inside the 15,000-seat stadium called Lanxess Arena, the second largest multifunction arena in Europe, ESL has announced they will be running the "world's largest CS:GO event" on August 22 and 23, 2015.
This tournament marks the fourth time ESL has offered $250,000 on the table in only two years, however this event has been reported by HLTV to be financed and conducted directly by ESL - with no skin or sticker monetary support from the community.
The team qualification details have not yet been released, however we are told that there will be 16 teams in total fighting it out for the top spot. We also know that live spectator tickets will be available for purchase on February 23 through Eventim and various other ticketing agencies.
Ulrich Schulze, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL, is excited by this news, stating "we had the honor of hosting two US$250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments last year as part of the ESL One esports tour, and this year we plan on stepping it up," adding "ESL One Cologne is going to be the largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event in the world. Taking place in the biggest indoor arena in Germany, we're sure it'll be a massive hit for fans from all over."
The worldwide market for refurbished mobile phones sold to end users will increase from 56 million units in 2014 up to 120 million units by 2017, according to the Gartner analyst group.
Consumers in mature markets upgrade their smartphones on average of every 18 to 20 months, opening the door to a lucrative used market. Seven percent of those devices are recycled, 23 percent are handed down, and 41 percent are traded or sold privately.
"This rise in smartphone reuse will impact not only the sales of new units, but also the revenue streams of all those involved in the smartphone supply chain," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Stakeholders that are already participating in take-back or trade-in programs need to have a strategy for turning used devices into a positive asset."
Following news of which films are up for Oscars, online piracy of nominated movies increased 385 percent since January 15, according to the Irdeto piracy monitoring firm.
Irdeto uses a crawler to monitor torrent downloads, and saw increased interest following the Oscar nominations - largely due to increased media coverage - with screener films sometimes leaked online.
"Hollywood screeners specifically accounted for a substantial 31 percent of the total illegal downloads tracked between January 15 and February 14," according to Irdeto, as published by TorrentFreak. "Six nominated movies currently unavailable for retail purchase on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD or legal streaming/download sites saw the majority of piracy coming directly from these screeners: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Wild, Selma, Whiplash and Still Alice."
Computer manufacturer Lenovo will no longer pre-install the controversial Superfish adware on PCs and laptops, due to growing public backlash from customers. Cybersecurity experts warned Superfish potentially left them vulnerable, after injecting advertisements to browsers.
"The way the Superfish functionality appears to work means that they must be intercepting traffic in order to insert ads," said Eric Rand, researcher for Brown Hat Security, in a statement to Reuters. "This amounts to a wiretap."
Lenovo must now answer questions regarding its use of Superfish, including how long it was pre-installed, and how much data was collected by the software. Superfish was installed on consumer PCs and notebooks only.
Fitness tracker wearables and mobile apps are becoming popular among consumers trying to improve their lifestyles while become healthier - but manufacturers want to drive interest in wearables.
Most fitness trackers tend to vary in price from $49 for the Misfit Flash up to $250 for something like the Fitbit Surge - with additional hardware and software features being packed into the wearables.
Some of the mobile apps are just as accurate as their wearable counterparts, and using a smartphone is something more users are already familiar with. However, here is a bit of advice for consumers unsure if they are ready to make the plunge:
Samsung has purchased U.S. mobile payments firm LoopPay, giving the South Korean electronics company a strategy to compete with Apple Pay. It looks like a new mobile payments solution will be introduced on March 1, during Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone event.
Unlike Apple Pay, LoopPay's solution can convert traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems so they are able to accept contactless payments. Customers tap their smartphone next to a LoopPay card reader connected to the POS, with Samsung saying 90 percent of current systems support the mobile payment technology.
"Our goal has always been to build the smartest, most secure, user-friendly mobile wallet experience, and we are delighted to welcome LoopPay to take us closer to this goal," said JK Shin, co-CEO and head of Samsung's mobile business, said in a public statement.
Swedish citizen Alex Yucel, 24, has pleaded guilty for his role in being co-creator of the BlackShades malware, which infected more than 500,000 PCs across the world. Yucel pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of malicious software, and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years.
In exchange for his guilty plea, there is a stipulated agreement that will see Yucel receive a sentence ranging from 70 to 87 months. "I do actually want to plead guilty," Yucel said in his court appearance. "I knew that the program would be used to cause damage."
Yucel was arrested in November 2013 while in Moldova, and was extradited to the United States. As the operator of the criminal organization, Yucel hired administrators, marketing and customer support staff to interact with customers - generating upwards of $350,000 in revenue.
The gaming market is alive and well, with PC and console gamers both enjoying hardware and software titles available to them. Sony and Microsoft have a lot to be thankful for, as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox are enjoying appealing titles able to keep gamers interested.
Both saw strong year one shipments - and the global install base for both consoles has been extremely successful.
"Despite reports to the contrary, the game console market is not dead," said Eric Smith, senior analyst for connected home devices at Strategy Analytics, in a statement published by Venture Beat. "Core gamers have moved faster to this current generation than in any previous generation. The main difference in this generation is that casual gamers who bought a Wii are remaining largely on the sidelines as free-to-play casual games and mid-core games on tablets and smartphones have captured this segment of consumers."
With the total eSports revenues of 2014 said to equal $194 million, Newzoo's latest report claims that this figure will climb to a massive $465 million in 2017.
This report was conducted in conjunction with Repucom, a sports market research company. Their findings also state that the number of eSports enthusiasts is likely to climb from 89 million as seen in 2014 to 145 million in 2017 - with another 190 million said to be included as casual viewers. Relating this to the general (public) sporting field, this means that eSports will generate a similar fan base to the traditional sports of Volleyball, American Football and Ice Hockey.
ESL is one of the largest names in the eSports world, conducting numerous tournaments spanning many different titles each year - seeing tens of thousands of live spectators and hundreds of thousands of online fans watching their every move. Their global managing director, Heinrich Zetlmayer, is excited by this news, stating "Reading through the first, most extensive and comprehensive report that puts some realistic numbers on the esports industry was a pleasure. Especially the comparison to traditional sports is a valuable insight that will help everyone understand better what this business is about and the potential it has."
The Sony PlayStation 4 will see its sales dominance over the Microsoft Xbox One continue, with the Japanese console outselling its American counterpart 40 percent by 2019, according to Strategy Analytics.
Through the first 14 months, the PS4 has sold 18.5 million units - and is on track to mimic the same success the PlayStation 2 had years ago. Strategy Analytics believes the PS4 will sell 80 million consoles by 2019, a dominant lead over the estimated 57 million units for the Xbox One.
The PS4 dominated the Xbox One for most of 2014, and has recaptured its lead in 2015 - and predicting extended dominance wouldn't be overly surprising. Even if Microsoft is unable to catch up to the PS4, there is still plenty of room for both consoles to rack up impressive sales figures.