FaZe Clan, the lifestyle and media platform rooted in gaming and youth culture, announced a ground-breaking moment for FaZe and the gaming industry: the signing of FaZe’s first all-female professional esports team. The new team, which will compete under FaZe’s VALORANT banner comprised pro players Jennifer “refinnej” Le, Emma “emy” Choe, Vannesa Emely “panini” Emory, Madison “maddiesuun” Mann, and Diane “di^” Tran.
The team will make its first public appearance under FaZe Clan while competing in the upcoming 2023 season of the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Game Changers Series. The VCT Game Changers Series was first introduced in 2022. It was created to supplement the standard VCT competitive season by creating new opportunities and exposure for women and other marginalized genders within VALORANT esports. The start of the 2023 season sees the introduction of FaZe Clan and other major gaming organizations to the series.
“It’s been a long time coming but we’re stoked to officially announce bringing on our first all female esports pro team for VALORANT. Signing this group of talented women is just the beginning of bringing female gamers to the forefront at FaZe and I can’t wait to watch them play as a team. Check them out during the 2023 VCT Game Changers Series – they’re ready to bring the heat to the competition,” Erik Anderson, Head of Esports at FaZe Clan, said.
Before joining FaZe Clan, the women played together on various pro teams throughout the years, making the new FaZe Clan female VALORANT team an exciting reunion. Refinnej, panini, and maddiesuun previously played together for Complexity GX3, while refinnej, mmy, and di^ played competitive Counter Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO) for Count Logic Gaming (CLG) Red. The first time all five women competed together was in 2022 for the Champions Tour Game Changers Series III: North America playing under the name “Hamboigas”.
The Game Awards 2023: The Rise of eSports from Start to Finish
The rise of eSports
In the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, few industries have witnessed a meteoric rise quite like eSports. What once started as a niche in the gaming world has now grown into a global sensation, captivating both amateur and professional players with its competitive events, life-changing cash prizes, and viewership figures in the hundreds of millions. Domain and hosting experts Fasthosts has compiled a brief overview of the rise of eSports, and competitive gaming throughout the years, and where the future may take the industry.
The Start of Competitive Gaming
eSports, at its core, revolves around competitive video gaming, and has experienced exponential growth over the past five decades. The earliest known gaming competition stems back to 1972, when Stanford University hosted a contest featuring the science fiction rocket game ‘Spacewar’. The event – orchestrated by sports reporter Stewart Brand – showcased the potential of video games as an “exhilarating spectator sport”, setting the stage for what was to come.
The Slow but Steady Rise
For several decades, the popularity of eSports experienced a gradual rise. In the pre-internet era, arcade tournaments provided the battleground for players, with magazines and record books recognising top players’ achievements. The 1990s marked a turning point as gaming tournaments began to gain traction, offering increasingly substantial prize pools. The technological advancements in video game consoles, and internet and PC gaming paved the way for a prosperous decade for the industry. At the end of the 90s we saw the internet cafe boom where young players would meet and play together in PC cafes, which was the start of the strong youth social gaming culture you see today.
The New Millennium
It was the early 2000s that witnessed the true birth of eSports as leagues and tournaments started to take shape around iconic titles like Counter-Strike, StarCraft, and Warcraft III. In 2001, the first World Cyber Games was held in Seoul. The tournament featured several popular games and attracted over 174,000 participants from 17 countries, making for an unexpected global success. In 2005, the CPL World Tour or Cyberathlete Professional League became the first event to have a prize pool offering over $1 million, demonstrating the start of life changing prizes that go hand in hand with competitive gaming.
Streaming Platforms: The Catalyst for Growth
From 2010 onwards, the world witnessed the revolutionary impact of online streaming platforms like Twitch.tv and Youtube Gaming, leading to skyrocketing eSports viewership figures. When Twitch launched, the ‘League of Legends’ world championship viewership figures went from 1.7 million in 2011 to 8.2 million in 2012, and to 32 million in 2013.
These streaming platforms connected fans worldwide, allowing them to tune into live events from home. The large viewing figures, advertising, and sponsorship opportunities led to investors starting their own teams, and household game developers creating leagues and tournaments. It became standard for eSports events to attract millions of viewers, and the landscape of competitive gaming had been transformed.
In 2015, eSports reached a defining moment with The International 2015: Dota 2 Championships. The prize pool offered a staggering $18 million, breaking records and solidifying eSports’ place on the global stage. This marked a monumental shift, proving that tournaments could rival traditional sports events in terms of both prize money and profitability.
The New Decade: eSports Takes Centre Stage
As the calendar turned to the 2020s, eSports entered a new era. The decade began with some of the largest tournaments in history, attracting millions of spectators and providing the largest prize pools seen to date such as The 2021 International Dota 2 Championships which took place in Bucharest Romania, offering a $40,018,400.00 prize pool – the largest prize at the time.
By 2020, it had become increasingly common to see the term “professional eSports player” conceptualising the individuals dedicating their lives to competitive gaming, undergoing strict routines and training in the unique journey of becoming the world’s next best gaming athlete.
At present, the most-viewed tournaments are impressive spectacles in their own right, with titles like ‘Free Fire World Series’, ‘League of Legends’, and ‘Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’ drawing millions of viewers. Looking to the future, in August 2023, Saudi Arabian tournament organiser Gamers8 ran their ‘The Land of Heroes’ tournament with a colossal prize of $45 million dollars, a figure that we will see constantly being pushed higher in tournaments in following years. And according to BeyonGames.biz, the eSports market is estimated to grow at 21.81% between 2022 and 2027, with the size of the market expected to increase by $3,515.1 million.
The journey of competitive gaming from its humble beginnings to its current global standing is a testament to its enduring appeal and cultural impact. With its exhilarating competition and substantial rewards, eSports has become a true force in the entertainment world. As the industry continues to innovate and evolve, one thing remains clear: this isn’t just a passing trend. It’s a phenomenon that has permanently transformed the way we engage with and celebrate competitive gaming.
Global Esports Federation Reveals Season 4 of Global Esports Tour from Rio De Janeiro
The Global Esports Federation’s pro-series – Global Esports Tour (GET) – will kick off its next season in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in April 2024. Staged by the Brazilian Confederation of Games and Esports (CBGE) and strongly supported by Brazil’s National, State and Local partners. The event promises intense competition and a boost for economic and tourism development in the vibrant city.
GET Rio 2024, the first stage of a multi-year Global Esports Tour slated for Brazil from 2024 to 2026, is set to feature the Counter-Strike 2 championship with eight Open teams and four Women’s teams, competing for the coveted prize bank of $200,000. Beyond intense gaming action, the Rio Free Fire Cup (JEDIS), cosplay performance, conference panels, art and urban culture will enhance this innovative event.
“With the selection of Rio de Janeiro as the launch site for the Global Esports Tour 2024, we are embracing the passion and commitment of the Brazilian esports community. This marks a pivotal moment in elevating Brazil’s position in the world of esports. As we expand our global GET portfolio, we are proud to appoint GEF’s Director of Programs and Content, Eric F. Brinkley, as our first GET Commissioner,” Paul J. Foster, CEO of GEF, said.
“We are honored to host our first stage of the Global Esports Tour over the next three years. This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the world’s talented esports athletes, promote esports in our region, and develop the esports industry in Brazil,” Paulo Ribas, President of CBGE, said.
“We are preparing an epic event. It will be a great party, a true convergence between competition and entertainment in one of the most vibrant destinations in the world,” Paulo added.
Rodrigo Castro, State Secretary for Events and Promotion of Rio de Janeiro State, said: “In addition to contributing to the state’s economy, esports is a way of transforming lives. It is a privilege to bring an international event to Rio de Janeiro with content including music, the arts and culture. We are proud to be the hosts of this major event for our diverse, young community.”
The support from the State Government, Ministry of Sports, State Secretariat of Sports, and Suderj underscores the collaborative effort to make the Global Esports Tour a transformative experience for Rio de Janeiro and the esports community.
Mario Cilenti, Executive Director of Operations at GEF, said: “Brazil is a key growth region for esports, and we believe this event will not only showcase the talent of professional esports athletes but also provide an opportunity to continue to fuel growth in this powerful region.”
Gillette named as the Official Partner of the Esports Awards
- Gillette joins forces as the official partner of the prestigious Esports Awards, marking a partnership of two industry leaders set to deliver an unforgettable experience
- As part of the collaboration, Gillette will present the Esports Awards pre-show and will feature “Gillette resets” as transitions between segments at the Awards ceremony
The Esports Awards presented by Lexus, the most prestigious night in the esports calendar, is pleased to announce its latest partnership with the world’s leading expert in men’s grooming, Gillette.
As part of the partnership, Gillette will present the Esports Awards pre-show, promising a showcase of talent, innovation, and excellence in the esports world. Alongside this, Gillette has introduced ‘Gillette Resets’, as exciting transitions between segments of the main ceremony.
This partnership marks a significant milestone in the world of esports, uniting the acclaimed grooming brand Gillette with the prestigious Esports Awards to deliver an unforgettable event. Presented by Gillette, the Esports Awards Pre-show promises to be an exciting showcase of talent, innovation, and excellence in the esports world. Throughout the main ceremony, viewers will witness the fusion of gaming and grooming as Gillette introduces “Gillette resets”.
With initiatives such as the ‘Gillette Gaming Alliance’ and the thrilling ‘Gillette Cup’ Fortnite Tournament, Gillette is no stranger to the world of esports and gaming. This partnership, the fusion of gaming and grooming, emphasises Gillette and the Esports Awards joint commitment of fostering and celebrating excellence in esports.
“We are thrilled to announce our exciting partnership with Gillette, a brand known for excellence and precision. This collaboration marks an essential step forward in our journey to honour and celebrate the incredible achievements of esports industry leaders,” commented Mike Ashford, CEO of the Esports Awards, “With Gillette’s unwavering support, we are confident that we can continue to elevate and recognise the extraordinary talent within the esports community.”
Project Love, a welcoming initiative by the Esports Awards, will receive generous support from Gillette. As part of this partnership, Gillette will contribute by providing special gifts to VIPs and guests attending the event. Project Love has been a cornerstone of the Esports Awards for several years, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for its esteemed guests.
The Esports Awards ceremony, presented by Lexus, is the highlight of a thrilling three-day celebration, including the PWR UP Las Vegas esports conference hosted at the luxurious Resorts World Las Vegas. The ultimate esports, tech and gaming extravaganza will feature groundbreaking events like the Esports Awards Open, a unique golf tournament that blends networking and entertainment with industry leaders and celebrities, shaping the future of esports, tech, and gaming.
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