Heroes of Newerth maker S2 announces eSports tournament

For gamers looking for additional challenges, and possibly prize money, S2 has some good news for you as the games developer has announced a tournament for its Heroes of Newerth online multiplayer game.

The HoN Tour is designed for players with different skill levels so that beginners to the game or even ones that are new to Multiplayer Online Battle Arena play are not left out of the opportunity to win cash prizes.

The tournament will have a series of events starting this month and ending in April 2013 for a full season of competition and will include 112 teams broken up into four divisions with registration for the tour now open and players can sign up individually, or in teams of five or more. For more information, including complete rules, regulations, and country eligibility visit HoNTour.com.

It should be well worth signing up as the tour will have a grand total of $333,000 cash prize pool. It starts out with a qualifier that will seed players and teams into one of the four divisions which are called Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond. After that has been accomplished there will be what S2 calls Event Cycles, one occurring every two weeks, with some exceptions.

As teams and players participate in the Event Cycles they will move up or back, as their play determines, at the end of each cycle. Once an Event Cycle is over, 112 teams across the four Divisions will win their share of a $32,950 cash prize pool. The tour finale will feature the top four teams who will compete head-to-head in a live Grand Finals playoff event featuring another $60,000 in prizing.

Friday Grab Bag: Samsung News, New World Cup Mascot, Windows 8 Tablet Tidbits

World Cup 2014

Oddly I never think of an armadillo when I think of Brazil, yet in just a few years fans will be flocking to the country to watch the 2014 World Cup and no doubt will be inundated with images of the new World Cup mascot, an armadillo.

FIFA unveiled the mascot, which it has not yet completely ruined by giving it some cute name, Monday with the assistance of Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo. Don’t worry, they are unveiling its official name in November.

Twitch gets a $15 million investment for eSports broadcasting
Twitch.tv has received a $15 million investment that is intended to help the company expand its eSports live streaming capabilities. The money, which came from venture capital investment firm Bessemer Venture Partners, will be used to expand its engineering team.

This is the company’s third round of funding, bringing its total to $23 million, with the last being a $8 million round in 2007 when the company was known as justin.tv. It received a small seed funding in 2007.

Samsung strikes back at the iPhone
Samsung has said that it plans to add Apple’s just released iPhone 5 to its existing patent lawsuit that it has with its rival. The move has been expected as the company said that if Apple included LTE Samsung believed that the technology would likely violate its extensive patent holdings in that area.

Hopefully this will go better than Samsung’s Facebook campaign, where it asked which smartphone a user would like to have if stranded on a desert island. The Apple faithful flooded the site and voted for the iPhone.

However on a brighter note the company has landed a major deal with American Airlines that calls for the airline to equip 17,000 flight attendants with the Samsung Galaxy Note, according to CIO.

StubHub out Ticketmaster in for MLB?
A report from the New York Post is claiming that Ticketmaster is seeking to replace StubHub as the office site to resell your MLB tickets. According to the piece the deal between MLB and StubHub has expired and there is pressure from several teams to switch.

The reason for the switch is pretty obvious; you can get discounted tickets for top teams at StubHub, while Ticketmaster has a reputation of piling on charges and raising the price. Teams like the Yankees want their seats sold at a higher price.

Intel gets first marquee Atom smartphone user in Motorola
Motorola Mobility has unveiled its Razr I smartphone, its first that is powered by Intel’s 2GHz Atom Z2460 processor. The phone features a 4.3 inch display that can use its entire area, displaying images from border to border.

Among its other features are an 8 MP camera, the ability to start up in one second, NFC and the screen has a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. No pricing was announced at the rollout.

Anti-Japan protests lead to Intel Extreme Masters tournament cancellation in China
The latest round of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament was scheduled to take place in a few days in Guangzhou, China at the Anime Comics and Game Show has been canceled due to anti-Japanese protests, organizers have said.

The protests, sparked over a fight between Japan and China over a set of islands has led to the cancelation of a large number of Japanese vendors at the show.

More details on Surface Tablet from Microsoft
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer told the Seattle Times that company would be pricing the device in the same price range as Apple’s iPad rather than in the area that Amazon and Google are seeking to carve out at the low end.

This is not really a surprise since Amazon and Google are positioning their tablets as front end devices that will be used to purchase additional goods and services from the company, and are selling the tablets at cost. The range that Microsoft is looking at is from $300 to between $700-$800.

Leaked pricing on the pending Asus tablet, according to a report from ZDNet, is that it will be even pricier, coming in at $599, $799 and $1,299 depending on model and features. The most expensive is expected to have an 11.6 HD display.

Google asks ITC to ban wide array of Apple products

The International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate alleged patent violations by Apple based on charges brought by Google. Google is claiming that Apple is violated a number of patents that came to the company via its Motorola Mobility purchase. It is also asking the ITC to ban all Mac OS X computers, all iPads and most iPhones.

Microsoft wins a round in patent battles
Microsoft has earned a victory in its patent battle with Motorola in a lower regional German court that ruled that Motorola has infringed on a Microsoft patent that relates to text input. Motorola is expected to appeal in the case.

The ruling could result in both the banning of select Motorola smartphones as well as unspecified damages if the appeal is unsuccessful.

Game Fixing in eSports? Say it Ain’t So!

League of Legends

All of the gamers that I know are fiercely competitive, and would destroy their grandmother (figuratively) if it meant that they could advance to the next level or open up new capabilities and so I was shocked at the news that came out of the Summer Championships from last weekend.

Major League Gaming, the tournament organizer, has revoked the titles and prize money that had previously awarded to the top two teams in the League of Legends tournament, accusing the teams of colluding in the first round.

While the MLG did not spell out exactly how the two teams colluded, it has been speculated that they played an easy version of the game in order to manipulate the rankings for later in the tournament, which ended up having these two teams face each other for the championship.

If this sounds familiar a similar collusion occurred during the recently concluded Summer Olympics with the badminton teams. In the MLG case, the teams still played to win, it is just that they manipulated the system, a move that violates both the rules and the ethics of the MLG.

They have both agreed with the ruling, at least in part, as has Riot Games the developer of League of Legends. The top two positions in the tournament will be vacated, with no team winning those places, but the third and fourth places finishers will get their points and awards.