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Just in case you weren't sure if eSports and professional gaming is reaching the general public just yet, I want to remind you all about that one time this world-class CS:GO team got themselves their own chocolate bar.
Ninjas in Pajamas (NiP) previously played host to the best CS:GO team in the world - by far, still managing to place highly in events, they once won 10 tournaments in a row without losing a single series to any team. Later on they developed into a larger organization, seeing a foray into League of Legends and Dota 2 expand them further into the market.
On April 2, 2014, the news was broken on their website that NiP would be collaborating with Candy People in order to produce their own chocolate bar product. Originally released as an April Fools joke, it was re-released as fact the day after.
While Epic Games' founder Tim Sweeney is teasing that VR will be indistinguishable from real life within 10 years, the company has just announced its Unreal Dev Grants program that will see developers working in and around its powerful Unreal Engine 4.
Epic Games has placed $5 million into the kitty for Unreal Dev Grants, where the studio will award developers amounts between $5000 and $50,000. Better yet, the studio will not be attaching any strings to the project. Tim Sweeney has weighed into the chat about Unreal Dev Grants, where he said that in order to fund the release of his first game, Sweeney borrowed his father's tractor and spent two entire summers mowing lawns. He said that the cost of getting games from the prototype stage to finished projects takes much more than just a part-time summer job.
Sweeney spoke with Polygon, where he said: "There's absolutely no substitute for money because some of these things require real-world expenses and can't be solved just by creativity and motivation alone". He added: "It's really hard for an indie now, given how crowded the market is. Even if you're going to start a Kickstarter campaign, that takes a significant effort. And that's a big change from the original days. So we set up this grant program to help people make that first big leap, which we see pretty consistently now requires some financial resources".
Rock Band was a staple of parties and catch ups with friends, but with the PS4 and Xbox One now here, it's all but dried up. That is, until a new report from Bloomberg teased that Harmonix is working on a new Rock Band title for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles.
Harmonix was asked to comment on the news, with the developer telling Eurogamer: "We're excited by how enthusiastic our fans have been in regards to our most recent DLC releases, and we think it's awesome that people are speculating about the future of the franchise!" The developer continued: "While we don't have anything to announce, hundreds of thousands of unique users are still actively playing Rock Band games each month. This passion our fans have shown for Rock Band over the years suggests that rock truly hasn't died, and we've always been clear that we'd love to return to the franchise when the time is right".
Considering the last Rock Band game was released in 2012 as Rock Band Blitz, it's about damn time we see another Rock Band game, especially with the new consoles now here!
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."
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."
Project Cars has been delayed again, with Slightly Mad Studios announcing that it will be missing its March 17 release for an April 2 release on Steam for the PC, and April 7 on the PS4 and Xbox One. In Europe however, it will release on all three platforms on April 2.
The simulation racer was meant to launch last November, but it was pushed out to March 17, and now to April 2. The latest delay to the game has come from "final adjustments in the game that are required to provide fans with the best gaming experience they can have" according to publisher Bandai Namco.
Slightly Mad Studios' boss, Ian Bell, explains: "Moving the release date was not an easy decision to make, as we know our fans are eager to get their hands-on on Project Cars. But we know that these extra days will allow us to provide the best game experience that our fans deserve. We assure you the wait will be worth it when the game does arrive early April".
Ready at Dawn is on the verge of releasing its PlayStation 4 exclusive The Order: 1886, but the Internet has been on fire in regards to the games length. One YouTuber has finished the game as quick as possible, clocking it in under five hours, even with countless cutscenes.
The developer has gone into defensive mode, with its Chief Technical Officer Andrea Passino saying that he would not respond to "clickbait rumors about game length" even though the YouTube video in question was taken down quite quickly. Pessino has been quoted as saying "at a normal pace and difficulty level, you can finish the game in a window between eight and ten hours".
Considering that gamers who have gotten their hands-on The Order: 1886 early have said that the game is half filled with cutscenes, which you can't skip, and there are countless quick time events (QTEs), the five-hour runtime seems extremely short. With it being a singleplayer title, there's next to no replayabality, which is a real downer for the game and its five-hour playthrough.
Motorcycle riding Halo fans better put some money aside, as toy-maker NECA is preparing a helmet designed around the look of Master Chief's helmet from Halo.
The Halo inspired helmet is inspired in many ways from the popular Xbox franchise, with the front air intakes preventing fogging, while the rear exhaust vents will keep your head nice and cool, and comfortable. There's also a reflective shield with UV protection, as well as a removable top and cheek pads.
NECA began showing off its Halo helmet back in June 2014, but now we're getting closer to it being available. The new Halo helmet will be ready in July, after it is approved by the Department of Transportation in the United States.
Rise of the Tomb Raider will have a totally different look to the reboot of Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics, with Tomb Raider's previous Art Director taking the position of Game Director for its sequel.
Brian Horton, the new Game Director for Rise of the Tomb Raider has reiterated the importance of a new look to the environment, where in Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will venture out to Russia. Croft will be exploring a lost city, looking for answers about the immortal soul, with the new environment including various new challenges, and enemies.
Horton talked with Game Informer, where he said: "The concept art pieces that we do, generally have to accomplish a couple different things. They have to provide a sense of composition. You look at it and you go, 'Oh, I know where I am supposed to be looking. That is really interesting. I can't wait to get over there.' You create that interest through lighting, through complimentary color schemes, things you can say like I am in a very cold place or there is a warm light, or vice versa".
To be conducted on HLTV, professional CS:GO player Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom has been surrounded by quite a whirlwind of drama as of late and thus will be answering questions from the public surrounding his thoughts on recent happenings and future plans.
After former teammate Robin "GMX" Stahmer let loose that his old team had been part of match-fixing, Benrlitom and his squad were suspended from the gaming organization. This was followed by another Stahmer statement, claiming that Benrlitom had nothing to do with this match-fixing scandal. Finally, all of Benrlitom's teammates were handed life-time bans by Valve after being found guilty of match-fixing - leaving this poor man in the center of a big mess.
Benrlitom has made no public comment on his plans for the future, alongside not releasing many thoughts on the situation. In order to let the public in on his thoughts and future prospects, HLTV will be running an 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) this coming Thursday - where members of the public can ask of him what they wish, directly. All questions will be taken from comments this article, so we suggest you get posting if there's something you wish to know.