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Indian Esports Athletes and Industry bats for Esports Recognition as a Sport ahead of next year’s Asian Games

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Esports has exploded in popularity over the last few years in India. Esports (Electronic sports) is a competitive sport where esports athletes use their physical and mental abilities to compete in certain genres of video games in a virtual, electronic environment. Recently, the Indian DOTA 2 team produced a power-packed performance to clinch the bronze medal at the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship. The Indian Dota 2 team, comprising Moin Ejaz (captain), Ketan Goyal, Abhishek Yadav, Shubham Goli, and Vishal Vernekar, defeated New Zealand by 2-0 in a best-of-three format in Birmingham (6-7 Aug 22).

As esports is going to make its debut at the Asian Games 2022, earlier in 2018 it was there as a demonstration title when our esports athlete Tirth Mehta won a bronze medal (Hearthstone). The Asian Games 2022, originally scheduled for September this year, will now be held from September 23 to October 8, 2023. With the conclusion of the ESFI’s National Esports Championships in April 2022, India’s 18-member esports contingent for the Asian Games 2022 was finalised.

  1. FIFA22 – Charanjot Singh and Karman Singh Tikka
  2. Street Fighter V – Mayank Prajapati and Ayan Biswas
  3. Hearthstone – Shikhar Choudhary and Karthik Varma
  4. League of Legends – Captain Akshaj Shenoy, Samarth Arvind Trivedi, Mihir Ranjan, Aditya Selvaraj, Aakash Shandilya and Sanindhya Malik
  5. DOTA 2 – Captain Moin Ejaz, Krish, Abhishek Yadav, Ketan Goyal, Darshan and Shubham Goli

Before this big tournament, for India to become an Esports nation, the game needs to be recognised as a Sport and build a solid grassroots structure in the country which can result in bringing more laurels to the country in competitive gaming. The same is advocated by esports athletes and industry players:

“After winning the medal at the Commonwealth Esports championship in Birmingham, it’s high time that esports should be recognised as a sport. Esports athletes need their due recognition and support from our government and help us in providing better facilities, coaches, health physios and all other things which other sports athletes get as getting a medal for the country need proper support.” said Indian DOTA 2 team captain Moin Ejaz

“With the medal wins at Asian Games 2018 & now at Commonwealth Esports Championship, the time has come to recognize esports as a sport. The potential of Indian esports and our athletes cannot be ignored and its recognition becomes more critical before the Asian Games 2022 (scheduled next year), this will open up doors for investments & opportunities which will lead to training & skill development of our athletes. It is encouraging to see our Hon’ble Sports Minister Shri Anurag Thakur ji launching a mobile video game “Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat & Match3” in line with India’s celebration of Azadi Ka Amritmahotsav, following should be recognition of esports as a sport” said Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF)

Charanjot Singh, FIFA 22 athlete who will represent India in the next year’s Asian Games said “Recognising esports as a sport will help a lot. This can lead to esports having a proper framework, facilities and opportunities for everyone. This will automatically lead to the growth of the Esports industry as well. More athletes would want to join in and want to represent the country at global stages.”

“It was a big achievement for India on winning the bronze medal in Commonwealth Esports. To make the industry more aligned, there should be information shared and communication between the government and stakeholders who have been investing in the Esports Ecosystem in India and including athletes and organizations. In order to have a healthy ecosystem, young athletes should also be given education in order to learn about the legal and financial nitty-gritty of Esports apart from the basic necessities of training, financial support and mental & physical well-being.” said Rohit Jagasia, Founder & CEO of Revenant Esports

“It will definitely help the players get more exposure and all the support players need from the government and from their family itself. Getting the right infrastructure and hardware is one of the most important aspects of preparing for the Asian Games. Players will show more dedication towards the games which will definitely give us top results in upcoming games too. We are already doing so much better and this would definitely be a big step for esports athletes.” said Mayank Prajapati, Street Fighter V athlete who will represent India at Asian Games 2022 on how recognising Esports as a sport will help the esports athletes before the next year’s Asian Games.

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HAWKS TALON GC SET FOR THE STEAL ON APRIL 19TH FOR CHANCE TO ENTER NBA 2K LEAGUE 3V3 PLAYOFF

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Hawks Talon GC, the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, will begin play in the STEAL on Friday night against No. 14 Blazer5 Gaming at 7:30 p.m.

Talon collected 90 points over the SLAM and SWITCH, earning 60 points in the SLAM and 30 points in the SWITCH to earn the No. 3 seed heading into the STEAL.

Should Talon advance, they would play the winner of No. 6 Cavs Legion GC and No. 11 Hornets Venom GT on Saturday at 3:45 p.m., followed by the semifinals at 5:15 p.m., and the finals at 5:45 p.m. All games can be followed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.

“The STEAL is probably the toughest tournament in the 2K League, but the guys are locked in and ready to fight for their season,” said Hawks Talon head coach Ismael ‘MAELO’ Diaz Tolentino. “We are looking forward to going out there and proving that we belong amongst the best teams in the league. We were only a game away from clinching a playoff berth and we honestly think we are one of the teams to beat in this tournament.”

Talon owns a 4-4 record in bracket play thus far during the 2024 season over the SLAM and SWITCH opens, going 3-2 over the SLAM and 1-2 over the SWITCH.

The single elimination 3v3 tournament includes all 15 NBA 2K League teams that have not clinched a spot in the 3v3 playoffs, plus one community team from an open qualifier. The final two teams in the STEAL will earn a spot in the 3v3 playoffs beginning next week, with the winner receiving a winner-take-all cash prize.

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EA SPORTS NHL 24 World Championship Winner Announced

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A new champion was crowned yesterday in New York during the EA SPORTS NHL 24 World Championship, the National Hockey League announced. Ethan ‘Polgz’ Kerr-Polgar, who represented the Toronto Maple Leafs, earned his first EA SPORTS NHL 24 title, the $30,000 USD grand prize and a custom hockey stick trophy. The 21-year-old, Newmarket, Ont., resident won the back-and-forth, best-of-three series, including winning Game 1 in overtime against fellow Canadian Justin ‘Regs’ Reguly. With the win, Polgz cements his status as the top NHL 24 player in the World.

Polgz (@PolgzNHLon X) is an avid hockey fan and gamer who chose to represent his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in the EA SPORTS NHL 24 World Championship. His superior offensive skills allowed him to score eight goals in the Final series to earn the World title. Polgz dedicated the win to his mother, who is his biggest supporter and has beat cancer three times.

Fellow Maple Leafs representative Regs finished the day as runner-up. Regs was previously the North American Champion of EA SPORTS NHL 22.

The virtual qualifying events for the live competition were hosted in partnership with Rival on its fan engagement platform that connects gamers from all over the world. The NHL 24 World Championship qualifying spanned two continents and showcased the global reach of virtual hockey.

EA SPORTS NHL 24 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Round Robin

Polgz (Toronto Maple Leafs) 3 vs. Regs (Toronto Maple Leafs) 2 (OT)

Deeks (Montreal Canadiens) 7 vs Tempannen (Anaheim Ducks) 3

Regs (Toronto Maple Leafs) 2 vs. Tempannen (Anaheim Ducks) 1 (OT)

Polgz (Toronto Maple Leafs) 4 vs. Deeks (Montreal Canadiens) 3

Regs (Toronto Maple Leafs) 5 vs. Deeks (Montreal Canadiens) 1

Polgz (Toronto Maple Leafs) 4 vs. Temppanen (Anaheim Ducks) 1

Standings after Round Robin

1. Eki (*automatically advanced to Semifinal) *defeated Gren for 1st seed

2. Gren (*automatically advanced to Semifinal)

3. Polgz, TOR (3-0-0), 6 pts

4. Regs, TOR (2-0-1), 5 pts

5. Deeks, MTL (1-2-0), 2 pts

6. Temppanen, ANA (0-2-1), 1 pts

Semifinal (best-of-three)

EKI (NYI) vs. Regs (TOR)

Regs wins series 2-0

Gren (BUF) vs. Polgz (TOR)

Polgz wins series 2-0

Final (best-of-three)

Game 1: Polgz, 3 vs. Regs, 2 (OT)

*Polgz took an early lead over Regs by scoring the first goal of the series. Polgz secured a two-goal lead in the second period, which was quickly answered by Regs bringing the score to 2-1. Regs made an epic comeback in the third period, tying up the game with 17 seconds left and forcing the first game into overtime. Despite strong gameplay from both sides, Polgz pulled through to earn the overtime win.

Game 2: Polgz, 0 vs. Regs, 5

*Regs dominated in Game 2 of the Final. He scored two goals in quick succession in the first period, then took a three-goal lead in the second period. Polgz had some good chances in the second period, but ultimately was unable to overcome Regs. Regs sealed the deal with another two goals towards the end of the third period, securing a 5-0 win over Polgz and tying the series at 2-2.

Game 3: Polgz, 5 vs. Regs, 3

*An unstoppable Polgz took the early lead, scoring four unanswered goals in the first period. After a mostly quiet second period, Regs got on the board with two unanswered goals of his own, suddenly cutting Polgz’s lead in half. Entering the third period at 4-2 with Polgz in the lead, Regs made up ground with another goal early in the third period, making for an exciting battle for the win. In the end, Polgz locked in the win with a fifth goal in the third period, winning Game 3 with a final score of 5-3 and ending the series 2-1.

World Championship History

YEAR WINNER RUNNER UP
2024 Polgz (Ethan Kerr-Polgar) Regs (Justin Reguly)
2023 Jos x 10 (Joseph Olmstead) EKI (Erik Tammenpää)
2022* NA: Regs (Justin Reguly)

EUR: EKI (Erik Tammenpää)

NA: Gren-35- (Matthew Grenier)

EUR: J-_-JamalTheMan (Jimi Rönkkönen)

2021* NA: Gren-35- (Matthew Grenier)

EUR: EKI (Erik Tammenpää)

NA: Regs (Justin Reguly)

EUR: NikkeDangles (Niklas Tukiainen)

2020* CAN: Regs (Justin Reguly)

USA: OF’s HF (Josh Fuss)

EUR: Artuzio (Arttu Mustila)

CAN: YungGren (Matthew Grenier)

USA: Top Shelf Cookie (Matthew Gutkoski)

EUR: MrNipsuli (Roni Kajan)

2019 Top Shelf Cookie (Matthew Gutkoski) JohnWayne90 (John Casagranda)
2018 EKI (Erik Tammenpää) Jr Pens (David Roebuck)

*World Championship canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions NA = North America / EUR = Europe

EA SPORTS NHL 23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL STANDINGS

1. Polgz, Toronto Maple Leafs ($30,000 USD)

2. Regs, Toronto Maple Leafs ($10,000 USD)

3. Gren, Buffalo Sabres ($5,000 USD)

4. Eki, New York Islanders ($5,000 USD)

5. Deeks, Montreal Canadiens ($1,000 USD)

6. Temppanen, Anaheim Ducks ($1,000 USD)

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BITKRAFT Ventures Launches New $275M Venture Fund, Continues to Invest in Early-Stage Gaming and Interactive Media Startups Globally

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Once closed, this fund will bring BITKRAFT Ventures’ total assets under management to over $1 billion

BITKRAFT Ventures, one of the leading global games investment platforms, has announced the filing of BITKRAFT Venture Fund 3, a $275 million fund dedicated to driving early-stage investments in gaming and interactive media companies. Serving as the successor to their two Early Stage Equity Venture Funds, BITKRAFT Venture Fund 3 will continue to invest in studios, platforms, and technology globally within the gaming and interactive media space at the Seed and Series A stages. Once closed, this milestone launch will bring BITKRAFT Ventures’ total assets under management to over $1 billion.

Grounded in its vision of synthetic reality, BITKRAFT believes in the transformative power of digital experiences, shaping the future of entertainment. With a core belief that humanity is increasingly immersing itself in digital realms, BITKRAFT recognizes game companies as central to this development, driving the evolution of digital entertainment. Founded by seasoned entrepreneurs and builders in the games ecosystem, BITKRAFT has grown from a small team to over 25 professionals distributed globally, with a presence in key markets in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

“At BITKRAFT Ventures, we are as committed to — and optimistic about — the future of the games industry as we were from the inception of BITKRAFT in 2016. We’ve seen continued growth across all major game platforms, in metrics including user engagement, activity levels, and monetization,” says Jens Hilgers, Founding General Partner at BITKRAFT Ventures. “Newly formed game studios have seen substantial break out successes over the last years, and the advent of AI in game production further benefits new upstarts in the space. Additionally, we have witnessed increased interest in game content beyond incumbents from media and tech giants, as well as private equity firms entering the landscape of potential buyers further expanding the exit landscape.”

BITKRAFT Ventures has strategically invested in various stages in a global roster of well-known companies including Frost Giant, a studio dedicated to bringing back real-time strategy; Anzu, an in-game advertising platform revolutionizing the gaming industry; Carry1st, a mobile gaming platform focused on serving the African market; InWorld, a social platform merging the digital and physical worlds; Voicemod, a voice modulation software empowering content creators; Immutable, the creators of the popular blockchain game Gods Unchained; and Karate Combat, an innovative martial arts league bringing high-octane combat sports to global audiences.

BITKRAFT Ventures’ funds exhibited noteworthy performance, as documented by the Cambridge Associates Benchmarking Data Report 2023. BITKRAFT’s inaugural Web 3 fund achieved a top 5% ranking, while its second Venture Fund secured a position in the top 8% of all funds based on Internal Rate of Return (IRR).

 

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