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After years of following pro sports, League of Legends esports leagues are ‘finally free to be ourselves’

For years, competitive gaming has done its best to mimic professional sports, whether it’s players wearing Nike jerseys, big-name celebrity investors, or ambitious plans for home-and-away games. But Chris Greeley, commissioner of the League of Legends Championship Series — the game’s top professional league in North America — believes that esports has moved beyond mimicking existing sports.

“We had this idea in the beginning that, because esports is a sport, and we wanted to be taken seriously, we should look like a sport,” he tells The Verge. “The LCS looked like the NBA on TNT. It was great for validation and for investors and sponsors to look and say ‘Hey, this looks just like a sport, therefore this is an easy translation.’ But we’ve outlived that.”

So starting in 2021, the league is making some big changes, both in terms of how it looks and how it’s structured. “We feel like we’re finally free to be ourselves,” Greeley says.

The most obvious change is visual. The league has a new logo — it’s a crystal made of the letters LCS — and a refreshed graphic design for broadcasts. Whereas the previous logo was a shield that wouldn’t have looked out of place in college football, the new one clearly represents a video game. It follows similar redesigns for the other top League competitions around the world, including Europe, China, and Korea.

(Greeley says the logo has received a mixed reaction from fans so far — which was expected. “People hate change. We’ve seen it from pretty much every esports rebrand,” he says, adding “You don’t want [a logo that] looks like it came off of a can of soup. It has to be resonant.”)

The idea behind the refresh, he says, is to give the LCS its own distinct voice in an increasingly crowded field. “It’s not just about a new color or a new logo, but it really is about how we’re going to follow with our broadcast and our content,” he says. “You’re not going to tune in this week and see a finished product. We’ll be iterating over the next year or two, but I think this is a really great start.”

To go along with this, the LCS is also introducing some major format changes, with a bigger focus on tournaments, including one to kick off the year that starts on January 15th. Previously, the competition closely resembled something like the NFL, with a slate of regular season matches culminating in the playoffs; the best teams then moved on to international competitions. The goal is to find a balance between the thrill of knockout tournaments and the familiarity of regular season play. “Tournaments are exciting,” Greeley explains. “The problem is, if everything is a tournament, if everything is meant to feel exciting, then nothing feels exciting.”

Despite problems caused by the pandemic, the LCS — along with many other esports leagues — experienced tremendous growth in terms of viewership last year. But the league struggled on a competitive level. At the annual League of Legends World Championship, North American teams were far behind the competition and didn’t pose much of a threat to the big clubs from Europe, China, and Korea. Much of the blame was put on the region’s developmental scene. Instead of encouraging up-and-coming local players, many LCS teams relied on aging or imported stars.

The league is hoping to change that with a revamped amateur system, with the goal of opening things up, so that the developmental squads for each LCS team — known as academy teams — are able to play in different tournaments against other amateur and college teams. This will culminate in an end-of-year tournament called LCS Proving Grounds.

According to Greeley, these changes were in the works prior to Worlds — but the feedback was still welcome. “The criticism around the need for NA to make changes to develop players, that actually was satisfying to hear, because I knew this was coming,” he says of the amateur changes. “We hadn’t announced it, it was nearly final at that point, but we were just figuring out how we were going to roll it out. When you’re developing a solution, and then everyone stands up and says ‘We need a solution,’ and it’s done and ready to show, that’s actually a pretty good feeling.”

2021 will also see the league continue to operate remotely. Typically, LCS matches take place in a Los Angeles studio with fans in attendance. That obviously hasn’t been possible during the pandemic, but Greeley says that this could slowly change throughout the year. The first step is to get the broadcast team in the building, and the hope is that by the time playoffs come around, players can be present as well. Viewers, meanwhile, will likely have to stick to watching on Twitch and YouTube.

“We’re not rushing getting fans back into the arena,” Greeley says.

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Technology UK

Win An Exclusive Esports Masterclasses Bundle Courtesy of EPOS


Premium gaming audio brand EPOS is giving away two fantastic esports gaming bundles this Christmas, giving winners an exclusive peek into the world of professional gaming from some of the best players in the world. They’re also throwing in the new GSP 602 gaming headset delivering unique flair with its gloss navy exteriors set against bold brandy-coloured around-ear coupling pads.

The first-of-its-kind- masterclass live stream series is a huge benefit to videogame enthusiasts who wants to get an insight into the world of professional gaming.

The winning EPOS Esports Masterclass participants will learn performance-boosting tips and tricks from renowned organizations including Cloud9, OPL/LCS, BLAST, North and SK Gaming, including pro players Zven, Jenax and Gade. Each class will be hosted by popular esports host and personality Freya Spiers.

EPOS Esports Masterclasses are brought to you by the experts

Each lesson focuses on looking behind the curtain into the professional landscape of the esports industry. Participants will also receive exclusive tips and tricks to take their game to the next level for popular titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and League of Legends.

The broadcast schedule for the Masterclass series:

  • CS:GO (8 p.m. GMT on Saturday, Jan. 9) – Overviews the fundamentals on setup, aiming, movement and other general tips from seasoned professional players and veterans
  • League of Legends (7 a.m. GMT on Saturday, Jan. 9) – Teaches tricks and strategies to instantly improve team-based MOBA gameplay
  • The secret to success (8 p.m. GMT on Saturday, Jan. 16) – Unveils the regiment applied by the pros to succeed through balancing training, staffing and staying healthy
  • Deep dive into the world of esports (8 a.m. GMT on Tuesday, Jan. 19) – Get the latest insights and knowledge on the esports scene

Classes will be live streamed in English and subtitled in Japanese, French and German and will take place in January 2021.

*The EPOS Esports Masterclass prize is provided in the form of an electronic voucher with a unique one-use code*

If you are not one of the lucky winners, don’t despair, you can still claim your EPOS Esports Masterclass ticket when you purchase an EPOS I SENNHEISER GSP 300 Series headset, a GSP 500 or GSP 600 Series headset. From November 23 to December 31, 2020 inclusive.

For more information go to https://eposaudio.com/masterclass

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

1) You will need to register a free account on mirror.co.uk to enter.

2) Only one entry per person, per email address will be accepted. Multiple entries, or entries suspected of foul play will be disqualified.

3) This competition is open to UK mainland residents only.

4) The competition will be open until 3 pm on Wednesday December 16th 2020. Entries received after this date will not be considered.

5) Two winners will be selected at random, from all correct and eligible entries.

6) First winner will receive a one EPOS Esports Masterclass and one EPOS gaming headset – GSP 602 the second winner will receive one EPOS Esports Masterclass and one EPOS gaming headset – GSP 602. No cash equivalent.

7) Entrants must be over the age of 18.

8) If the winner fails to confirm acceptance of the prize by 3pm Friday December 18th 2020 or if the winner chooses to forfeit the prize, MGN reserve the right to pick another winner at random. Please ensure that email address and mobile number in your entry are correct.

9) Please note that delivery time is outside Reach PLC’s control. Although we shall make reasonable endeavours, delivery may take longer than 28 days. Subject to availability of prizes.

10) Standard Reach PLC competition terms apply. See www.mirror.co.uk/rules

11) If you experience any difficulties entering this competition, then please email [email protected] Please note we cannot accept entries to competitions via email.





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Football Manager 2021 wonderkids – The best young players on FM21


Another year brings another Football Manager and another generation of FM wonderkids.

From Freddy Adu and Eduardo Ratinho to Nico Kranjcar and Cherno Samba, each Football Manager game brings with it another wave of incredible wonderkids, and it will no doubt be the same story for FM21.

Last year’s game saw the emergence of now Wolves striker Fabio Silva, Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, Tottenham’s Troy Parrott, Velez midfielder Thiago Almada, Lyon’s Rayan Cherki, Barcelona’s Ansu Fati and many more.

These players will of course also feature in FM21, but there will be a few more players to watch out for too.

In FM21, players like Josko Gvardiol, Maarten Vandevoordt, Nico Serrano and Pipi make it into the very best wonderkids on the game.

No? Me neither.

The Barcelona youngster was a must have last year – if you could afford him

To celebrate the release of Football Manager 2021, we’ve put together the full, comprehensive list of the best wonderkids in FM21, based on their Potential Ability and Potential Ability range, ranking the best wonderkids on the game in order.

Brace yourselves…

* Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Spreaker.*

The best wonderkids on FM21

If you are new to the Football Manager series, each player in the FM database is given a value out of 200 for both Current Ability (how good they are now) and Potential Ability (how good they can become).

Some players are also given a Potential Ability Range, which indicates that their potential may fluctuate depending on certain factors.

All players are aged 23 and under, with the players ranked by the highest Current Ability they could possibly achieve.

Eduardo Camavinga made his debut for Rennes at 16 years and 4 months old
Eduardo Camavinga made his debut for Rennes at 16 years and 4 months old

  1. Eduardo Camavinga (Stade Rennais) – Potential Ability of -10 (170-200)

  2. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – Potential Ability of 196

  3. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  4. Dejan Kulusevski (Zebre/Juventus) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  5. Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  6. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  7. Rodrygo (Real Madrid) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  8. Pedri (FC Barcelona) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  9. Yusuf Demir (Rapid Wien) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  10. Ilaix Moriba (FC Barcelona B) – Potential Ability of -95 (160-190)

  11. Matthijs de Ligt (Zebre/Juventus) – Potential Ability of 185

    Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt is highly rated

  12. Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona) – Potential Ability of 183

  13. Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) – Potential Ability of 182

  14. Kai Havertz (Chelsea) – Potential Ability of 180

  15. Alphonso Davies (FC Bayern) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  16. Dominik Szoboszlai (Red Bull Salzburg) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  17. Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  18. Jonathan David (LOSC Lille) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  19. Antony (Ajax) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  20. Myron Boadu (Ajax) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  21. Francisco Trincao (FC Barcelona) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  22. Nuno Mendes (Sporting CP) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  23. Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  24. Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV Eindhoven) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  25. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

    England new boy Jude Bellingham

  26. Karim Adeyemi – (Red Bull Salzburg) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  27. Jamal Musiala (FC Bayern Munich) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  28. Joao Pedro (Watford) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  29. Reinier (Real Madrid B) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  30. Diego Lainez (Real Hispalis/Real Betis) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  31. Joshua Zirkzee (FC Bayern Munich) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  32. Curtis Jones (Liverpool) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  33. Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  34. Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  35. Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennais) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  36. Tanguy Nanzou (FC Bayern Munich) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  37. Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  38. Fabio Silva (Wolves) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

    Wolves’ big-money summer signing Fabio Silva

  39. Sebastiano Espositio (Inter) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  40. Rayan Cherki (Lyon) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  41. Maarten Vandevoordt (Genk) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  42. Naci Unuvar (Ajax) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  43. Nico Serrano (Athletic Bilbao) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  44. Pipi (Real Madrid B) – Potential Ability of -9 (150-180)

  45. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) – Potential Ability of 178

  46. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – Potential Ability of 178

  47. Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid) – Potential Ability of 178

  48. Nicolo Zaniolo (AS Roma) – Potential Ability of 176

  49. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) – Potential Ability of 175

  50. Phil Foden (Manchester City) – Potential Ability of 175

    Man City’s Phil Foden

  51. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) – Potential Ability of 175

  52. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – Potential Ability of 175

  53. Lautaro Martinez (Inter) – Potential Ability of 178

  54. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) – Potential Ability of 175

  55. Jean-Clair Todibo (FC Barcelona) – Potential Ability of 173

  56. Arthur (Zebre/Juventus) – Potential Ability of 173

  57. Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig) – Potential Ability of 172

  58. Ruben Dias (Manchester City) – Potential Ability of 171

  59. Ousmane Dembele (FC Barcelona) – Potential Ability of 171

  60. Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham) – Potential Ability of 170

  61. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Potential Ability of 170

    Christian Pulisic remains a wonderkid
  62. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) – Potential Ability of 170

  63. Luka Jovic (Real Madrid) – Potential Ability of 170

  64. Merih Demiral (Zebre/Juventus) – Potential Ability of 170

  65. Rodrigo Bentancur (Zebre/Juventus) – Potential Ability of 170

There are an additional 133 players on the game with -85 potential ability, which means they could reach a current ability of 170 too.

This year, FM is different to anything that has gone before, as it features the impact of Covid-19, as players who start a new career mode save will experience later league start dates, a different transfer market and an impact on club finances.

From season two of your virtual save, the world should return to ‘normal’, or as close as possible.

It has also been confirmed that FM will return to the Xbox platform for the first time since 2007.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.





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Football Manager 2021 is out today – how and when you can play on PC, Mac, Xbox


Football Manager 2021 (FM21), the latest game within the popular Football Manager series of games from Sports Interactive, is out today.

For players who pre-purchased the game from a SEGA approved digital retailer and had access to a Beta version of FM21 on PC and Mac, your game should update to the full FM21 release automatically today, with the FM21 Editor also available now.

FM21 Mobile is also out today, with the game available to download on IOS and Android, with Football Manager Touch (on Epic, Steam, Nintendo Switch iOS and Android) also available today.

However, if you want to play FM21 on Xbox, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

FM21 Xbox Edition will be released on December 1 for Xbox One and the forthcoming next generation of Xbox consoles, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, and you pay just once to play across the Xbox ecosystem. FM (Football Manager) is returning to the Xbox platform for the first time since 2007.

Football Manager 2021 is out today – how and when you can play on PC, Mac and Xbox

* Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Spreaker.*

Despite 2020 bringing more challenges for Sports Interactive, they have still managed to include a number of new features and improvements within FM21, including the addition of xG, improved graphics, more variation in conversations, improved Match Engine, new staff roles, Recruitment Meetings and much more. And of course, the data has been updated for players, staff and clubs all over the world.

FM21 will also feature the impact of Covid-19 in their virtual world, to recreate real-life impacts. Players who start a new career mode save will experience later league start dates, a more difficult transfer market and club finances will be worse.

But, the actual virus will not be included within the new game, and from season two of your virtual save, the world should return to ‘normal’, or as close as possible!

If you want to play FM21 on Xbox, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer

Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title.

The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.

In addition, each annual iteration of Football Manager has built-in algorithms which check for outliers and data discrepancies. Data accuracy is further ensured by input from contributors who are active within the professional game (players, agents etc.) who provide regular feedback.





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When is FM21 released? Release date confirmed for PC, Mac, Mobile and Xbox


The latest game within the popular Football Manager series of games from Sports Interactive, Football Manager 2021, is out very soon.

Sports Interactive have already revealed a raft of new features and improvements that will be coming to the game, including the addition of xG, improved graphics, more variation in conversations, improved Match Engine, new staff roles, Recruitment Meetings and much more.

FM21 will also feature the impact of Covid-19, as players who start a new career mode save will experience later league start dates, a different transfer market and an impact on club finances. But, the actual virus will not be included within the new game, and from season two of your virtual save, the world should return to ‘normal’, or as close as possible.

* Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Spreaker.*

Ahead of the release of Football Manager 2021 for PC, Mac and Mobile, players are now able to access a Beta version of the game, if you have pre-purchased the game from a SEGA approved digital retailer

The FM21 Beta is fully playable and includes the online modes Create-A-Club and Online Career Mode with cross-compatibility between Epic and Steam. Also, any progress made in Career Mode can be carried forward when your game updates on full release.

So, when will Football Manager 2021 be released on PC, Mac and Mobile?

FM21 will be released on November 24, 2020 on the Epic Games Store and Steam on PC and Mac, with FM21 Mobile set to be released on November 24, 2020 on IOS and Android.

It has also been confirmed that FM will return to the Xbox platform for the first time since 2007, with FM21 Xbox Edition releasing on December 1 for Xbox One and the forthcoming next generation of Xbox consoles, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, and you pay just once to play across the Xbox ecosystem.

The Xbox version of FM21 is a specifically tailored version of the game, modelled on the popular Touch series,that has been fully customised for optimal performance with the Xbox controller.

It has also been confirmed that Football Manager Touch (on Epic, Steam, Nintendo Switch™ iOS and Android) and Football Manager Mobile (on iOS and Android) are coming soon.

Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. With more than 50 countries to manage in and a database of over 800,000 players and staff it offers an incredibly detailed and immersive experience.





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Dele Alli on his love for gaming as Spurs star takes new role with EXCEL


Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli has entered the exciting world of esports, joining Britain’s leading esports team EXCEL ESPORTS as their global ambassador.

The long-term partnership will see the Spurs star work closely with EXCEL and their roster of talent, with the opportunity to benefit from his experience and knowledge of being an elite athlete to further develop their own psychological skill set, including how to deal with pressure better, overcoming challenges to perform at their highest ability and bouncing back from setbacks.

The partnership will also allow Dele to get hands on with EXCEL and learn everything from how to game on PC to understanding how esports brands operate.

* Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Spreaker.*

One of the players Dele will be working with at EXCEL is Jaden “Wolfiez’ Ashman, the UK’s top Fornite player.

Wolfiez holds the record as the youngest gamer ever to win $1 million in a single esports tournament, after finishing as Runner-Up at the 2019 Fortnite World Cup aged just 16. Ashman was signed by EXCEL in May 2020 as their first foray into Fortnite esports.

The 24-year-old joins a growing list of current and retired footballers entering the world of esports, with the likes of David Beckham, Gareth Bale, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Aguero and others being involved with their own esports teams.

Speaking to our Reach podcast Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show, with the full episode with special guest Dele set to go live soon, the Spurs superstar told Mirror Football about how his love for gaming began and why he decided to join EXCEL ESPORTS as a global ambassador.

But for Dele, his first memory of gaming wasn’t on a virtual football pitch, but on a virtual race track.

“It started with Mario Kart, I think, as far as I can remember, I think it was either a GameCube or a Nintendo, that was probably the first console that I played it on,” said Dele.

“From playing when I was younger, trying to beat my quickest lap, it all started there and obviously as time has progressed and new consoles have come out I’ve fallen more in love with it.

“It’s something I’ve been passionate about since I was younger, sort of alongside football, well obviously football was first, but in my spare time when I wasn’t training it was something I enjoyed doing.

As time has progressed, so has Dele’s passion for gaming, with the England international revealing his current favourite gaming title.

“At the minute it’s been Call of Duty, obviously they’ve just launched the new one (Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War), so I’ve been playing that a little bit.

“Before that it was Fortnite and NBA 2K, but at the minute it’s definitely been more Call of Duty.”

On April 21, 2018, Dele showcased his love of gaming on the biggest stage, performing the now iconic floss dance move as a goal celebration, after opening the scoring against Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final.

Alli celebrating in the 2018 FA Cup semi-final

The floss dance featured in popular video game Fortnite Battle Royale, released in 2017, as a dance ’emote’ that can be performed by the in-game characters. As of May 2020, 350 million players have played Fortnite, with the floss dance’s popularity sweeping the globe due to the game’s huge success.

Dele revealed how his goal celebration came about and how he was surprised by the huge reaction to it.

“I had a lot of kids after asking me to floss!

“I couldn’t actually believe the reaction, from whenever there were mascots or kids around the training ground or if I was out and I’d see kids, they would all say ‘oh I saw your Fortnite dance!’

“I think obviously playing football and playing games at the same time, it’s trying to enjoy it as much as I can and obviously bringing out the Fortnite dances was something that I used to do.

“I can’t really remember how it came about but I always used to try and make up celebrations and the Fortnite dances was something that y’know, it was to my friends that I played Fortnite with, but obviously a lot of people could relate to it.

Dele also discussed the often overlooked positive of gaming, the way that games allow people to connect and communicate, even if they are halfway around the world, something that has been so important to people during this difficult year.

“I think it’s a great way to communicate and speak to your friends, obviously with what is going on in the world right now, it’s definitely a great way.

“But even before, for me personally playing football, you meet a lot of different people and become friends with different players.

“Everyone’s career is different and their journey is different, so people end up moving away and they can be in different countries or the other side of England.

“Having PlayStation and gaming to go to, to stay in touch and stay in communication with your friends is definitely something that makes me love the games, love gaming and playing PlayStation.”

Dele also revealed the worst, and best, Fortnite players he has played with, either in the England setup or at Spurs.

Alli insists his ex-Spurs teammate Trippier is not the best gamer

“I can definitely tell you the worst I’ve seen on it was Kieran Trippier.

“When he first started playing Fortnite, it was the first time he’d played PlayStation so he wasn’t used to anything.

“Harry (Kane) used to play a lot, but obviously he’s got two kids now so it’s a little bit harder for him, but he used to play.

“But the best Fortnite player is definitely me!

However, Dele himself admits that he’s ‘average’ at FIFA, compared to some of his compatriots.

“Trent (Alexander-Arnold) is very good, Raheem (Sterling) is pretty good as well, I’ve played against him a lot. They are two that I know, obviously Madders (James Maddison) as well, he has to be up there I think.

“I’d say I’m average, definitely in the England team, out of the footballers that I know that play, I’m probably mid-table.

“I’m not the worst but I’m not the best.

The former MK Dons midfielder also explained the reason he joined EXCEL as a global ambassador and explained how he’ll be hoping to help their roster of esports professionals.

“For me they are one of the best teams in England if not the best.

“When we spoke to them and learned a bit more about them it was something very natural and I felt like we had a lot in common with the way they work and their philosophy

“The way they go about everything is something that I felt I could relate to, speaking to the team it was something that, stepping into the esports world for the first time, it was a great place to go.

“I think mentally, coming from playing football and being part of a team, competing at the highest-level, hopefully I can come and help as much as I can.

“At the same time, their talent is unbelievable, and I think I’m gonna learn a lot as well.

“As a footballer, playing PlayStation and playing games you get to a level where you feel like you’re good, like you’re good at the game.

Alli in Spurs action

“But then when you meet a pro or watch them play, the level is a lot different, it’s very tough and they are very talented.

“With the younger kids, trying to help them as much as I can with my experience, in terms of life, playing sports, the different things I’ve been through, trying to help them as much as I can is something I will be looking to do.

“I’m looking to learn as much as I can, try and help to give my input and it’s an honour for me to be a part of EXCEL and I’m really excited.”

Dele is also very optimistic about the future of the esports industry, which is predicted to generate global revenues of $1.598 billion by the year 2023.

“I think it’s very exciting, I think the more people I speak too, who aren’t a part of it, they all love gaming so there are a lot of opportunities.

“It’s something I’ve been passionate about for a long time but when you actually see how hard it is and how talented the people are who are involved, it’s amazing.

“Everything about gaming, the communication, the similarities between gaming and football is something a lot of people are interested in.

“It’s definitely something that a lot of people are into, all over the world, and I think as time moves forward a lot of people are gonna put a lot more into it, so it’s definitely exciting.

“Kids now when you speak to them, a lot of people want to be pro gamers, I think it’s exciting and something a lot of people enjoy doing and I can see it moving forward in a big way.”

*EXCEL was established in 2014 and has grown into one of the most prolific esports teams in the UK, helping to shape the landscape of competitive gaming in the country. It currently participates in two game titles, Fortnite and League of Legends. It’s one of the founding members of the Legends European Championships (LEC), Europe’s leading League of Legends league.





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Football Manager 2021: Five things we learned about FM21 after playing the Beta


Ahead of the release of Football Manager 2021 for PC, Mac and Mobile on November 24, players are now able to access a Beta version of the game.

As long as you have pre-purchased the game from a SEGA approved digital retailer, you will get access to this FM21 Beta, which is fully playable and includes the online modes Create-A-Club and Online Career Mode with cross-compatibility between Epic and Steam. Also, any progress made in Career Mode can be carried forward when your game updates on full release on Tuesday November 24.

As this is a Beta and not the full game, players may run into some bugs and glitches which their developers will be working to fix before full release, but even still, the Beta gives us a great idea of what fans can expect from FM21.

* Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Spreaker.*

Here are five things we learned from playing the Football Manager 2021 Beta.

Covid-19 will have a big impact on your virtual 2020/21 season

Although Covid-19 will NOT be included as an illness in FM21, you will still see the real-life pandemic have a significant impact on your virtual 2020/21 season in a variety of ways.

First of all, if you start a new save in the Premier League (English Premier Division in-game), your first season will start later to reflect the changes to the league in real-life. You will have eight start date options, which are;

  • Early 2020/21 Pre-Season (27/7/2020)
  • Late 2020/21 Pre-Season (10/8/2020)

  • Start of 2020/21 Season (24/8/2020)

  • Early 2020/21 Premier Division Pre-Season (10/8/2020)

  • Late 2020/21 Premier Division Pre-Season (24/8/2020)

  • Start of 2020/21 Premier Division Season (7/9/2020)

  • First Matches of 2020/21 Champions Cup (19/10/2020)

  • First Matches of 2020/21 Euro Cup (14/9/2020)

As you can see above, all start dates are later than in previous editions of Football Manager. But, the start dates will revert to normal in your second season in-game.

And it’s the same story for transfer windows. The virtual transfer windows will start by matching their current real life counterparts, but will revert to normal in your second season.

Talking of transfers, you will notice a significant impact on the transfer market in your first season, with club finances inevitably in a worse state than you would normally expect when you start a new save. Sports Interactive have rewritten chunks of their transfer system to ensure that while superstars and wonderkids will retain their value, FM21 will see more ‘loan to buy’ offers, the value of mid-range players dropping and clubs in real financial trouble trying to move players on a more regular basis.

However, as money comes back into the game over time, the transfer system will adapt and eventually return to some sense of normal, or whatever that means!

Football Manager 2021 will also use substitution rules as they are in real life for season one, but will revert to ‘the old normal’ in season two, unless the competition in question has already indicated that the plan is to adopt the new rule for the long term.

But some things will stay the ‘same’, with fans included in stadiums throughout even in season one and teams lining up in their usual manner before a game.

You have more data at your disposal than ever before

You will have more data and analysis at your fingertips in FM21, largely in part due to the addition of xG or ‘expected goals’ within the new game.

xG has become more widely used throughout football in recent years, but Sports Interactive actually created their very own xG system for FM21, with help from the guys over at SciSports, football data intelligence specialists.

This new xG system is tailor-made to work with the FM match engine, which claims to go beyond what current expected goals models are capable of in real life.

xG is included in FM21

For example, their model considers the shooting player’s distance from goal and the angle and speed of their shot to determine xG, accounting for the position of the other players on the pitch relative to the shooting player too.

In your career mode save, you will be able to see in detail xG in both the half-time review and full-time summary, with the xG match story showcasing how each team’s xG has fluctuated over the course of the game. You can also view xG shot maps for both teams that show each shot’s xG rating. Post-match, xG will be included in the analysis you receive from your data team.

Your recruitment team are much more helpful

A new addition to FM21 are 3D Recruitment Meetings, which are attended by your club’s top decision makers, Director of Football, Chairman, and Chief Scout etc, to collaborate on scouting needs and assignments.

In this meeting, your virtual scouts will recommend positions to focus on in the upcoming transfer windows, using factors such as retirements, expiring contracts and weak areas of the squad to recommend areas that could need attention.

FM21’s new 3D Recruitment Meeting

For example in the screenshot above, you’ll see that the scouts are recommending to look at the striking position, due to Troy Deeney’s contract expiring at Watford. You can then look at your scouts’ recommendations and edit the recruitment plan.

Your scouts will present you with some options for the upcoming window based on the conversations previously, you can then set new assignments, using attributes or filters to make sure your scouts are looking at players who will be relevant to you.

Recruitment Meetings occur around a month before a window starts, both pre- and mid-season, there is also a catch up meeting the week before the window closes.

Player interaction is more detailed

The way that you virtually interact with players and the media has had a huge overall in FM21, with the addition of Gestures, allowing you to add body language to what you’re saying, which make for more varied results and more control over conversations.

In press conferences, you are able to physically demonstrate how you feel about certain questions or play it cool and give nothing away. If you’re the sort of manager who tends to respond with a ‘no comment’ then you can now show your frustration when journalists repeatedly ask you for an answer.

And it’s the same for the media too, with journalists having their own body language and gestures. In connection with the new Press Atmosphere feature, you’ll be able to gauge how each press conference is going.

When going into face-to-face conversations with your players, they can now bring in a third party, such as their agent or your Director of Football, which adds yet more variation to conversations and sometimes, makes them much more difficult for you!

The big moments are more memorable

In previous Football Manager games, when you’ve had a good season, you may get an email or two about awards and so on, but mostly it’s all about planning for next season.

However, if you’ve had an impressive campaign in FM21, you’ll definitely know about it. The guys and girls at Sports Interactive have added an End of the Season Review feature, which will take you out of your inbox and into a full season review where you’ll browse through the highs and lows of the campaign.

Here, not only will you get to revisit games but you’ll see your year in snapshot – reviewing your best XI, transfer business and significant results.

A very nice touch in what is shaping up to be yet another impressive Football Manager gaming title.

FM21 will be released on November 24, 2020 on the Epic Games Store and Steam on PC and Mac. Ahead of the game’s launch, Sports Interactive has also provided a small indication of what fans can expect from FM21.

As always, players can get early access to FM21 on PC and Mac, for anyone who pre-purchases from a SEGA approved digital retailer, with players able to access a BETA version of FM21.

It has also been confirmed that FM will return to the Xbox platform for the first time since 2007, with FM21 Xbox Edition releasing on December 1 for Xbox One and the forthcoming next generation of Xbox consoles, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, and you pay just once to play across the Xbox ecosystem.

The Xbox version of FM21 is a specifically tailored version of the game, modelled on the popular Touch series,that has been fully customised for optimal performance with the Xbox controller.

It has also been confirmed that Football Manager Touch (on Epic, Steam, Nintendo Switch™ iOS and Android) and Football Manager Mobile (on iOS and Android) are coming soon.

Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. With more than 50 countries to manage in and a database of over 800,000 players and staff it offers an incredibly detailed and immersive experience.





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Technology UK

Next step for FIFA esports – “Our competition isn’t the EPL, it’s Netflix”


On Thursday October 29, EA hosted the ‘FIFA 21 Challenge’ esports event on Twitch, it’s now the most-watched EA operated esports broadcast in history.

The broadcast more than doubled the viewership metric set by the next most-watched EA operated FIFA event, the FIFA Global Series FUT Champions Cup: Barcelona, which took place over multiple days in January 2018.

In the event, four professional FIFA esports players paired with four professional footballers, with Liverpool defender Alexander-Arnold, West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, Inter Milan defender Achraf Hakimi and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna all involved.

The footballers were paired with professional FIFA players Fnatic Tekkz, Dux Gravesen, Levy “Levy” Frederique and 2019 FIFA eWorld Cup champion MoAuba respectively. In the end, Reds defender Alexander-Arnold and Fnatic’s Tekkz took home the trophy and won $20,000 on behalf of their selected charities.

There’s no doubt that the viewership figures behind this one-day FIFA esports event are absolutely extraordinary.

EA say that the event had a total watch time of 1,024,696 hours. To put that into context, that’s the equivalent of over 11,385 full-length 90-minute football matches. It’s also the equivalent of 42,695 days of watch time, or 116 years, or more than an entire century.

Click here to subscribe to Level up! The Esports and Gaming Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spreaker.

These mind-blowing viewership figures showcase the sheer popularity of FIFA esports, with the entire esports industry in general growing increasing popular worldwide.

To find out more about the present and future of FIFA esports, we spoke to Brent Koning, EA SPORTS FIFA Commissioner.

He told us about their plans for the future, blurring the lines between football and esports, FIFA esports’ main competitors and why they’ve had to balance competition with entertainment.

“We set out with a pretty aggressive plan in a big pivot to traditional esports, which is professionals going at it one v one, two v two etc, to mixing it up a little bit,” said Brent Koning, EA SPORTS FIFA Commissioner.

“Our lens on our esports scene is that this is about entertainment as well as competition, so this kind of hybrid has unlocked some really cool things for us.

“The people that are getting involved, there’s great stuff happening with Fnatic and the organisations that have been in the scene for a while, they are pivoting and they are pulling in stream numbers that are better than a lot of other games, and that’s because they’re woven into that fabric of football.

“It’s all indicative of that change and that shift to not just pure competition but also entertainment.

“The biggest differentiator for us is that access, it’s really ball, net and easy to watch. You’re not talking capture the flag moments and defending zones with time challenges, it’s accessible and it’s familiar.

“Because it’s familiar, it makes it digestible. Instead of watching a 90 minute football match, it’s 12 minutes, so if your favourite player is Tekkz, you can watch him for 12 minutes and get your fix, watch some other stuff and come back and hang out in a broadcast.

“Thats the magic of esports and the magic of FIFA as well, because there’s so many things going on, you can flip to Tekkz, to Trent Alexander-Arnold, to getting rewarded with Twitch rewards.

“It’s a full experience of entertainment rather than just watching a competition.

In recent years, EA have taken the decision to involve professional footballers within their esports scene, with players like Liverpool defender Alexander-Arnold and Man City winger Raheem Sterling among those who have featured in FIFA esports events.

But as Brent explains, it wasn’t as easy as sticking a professional footballer on a stream, it took some planning.

“This has been a multi-year discovery phase for us.

“Here’s the unique thing about FIFA, for every single pro esports gamer in the world, FIFA is in their top three games.

“The best DOTA 2 players in the world, the best CS:GO players, we get videos all the time of them at tournaments, Liquid vs Fnatic and all these teams, playing FIFA. So it’s a top game for all these competitors.

“Here’s the crazy thing, when footballers are not playing on the pitch, on the grass, they’re playing FIFA!

“Why this has been such a discovery phase for us is that we’ve had to find ways to make the content meaningful.

“You can’t just take Trent and put him up against Tekkz, you can’t just take some random person and put him up against them, they would just get smashed!

“What we’ve had to do is try and figure out the right balance and really create a piece of entertainment, not just a competition, because it’s both, and you have to do both.

“That’s what the unlock for us has been, with some of this viewership, is treating this like a true form of entertainment as opposed to just another esports competition.

As well as increasing viewership and interest in the game, Brent is also keen for EA to attract more professional FIFA players, explaining that it’s now easier than ever for people to get involved in the industry.

“It’s never been easier to compete in a FIFA event, you can compete through a league, you can compete for yourself, your own team, your own company.

“FIFA can break down those barriers and find that access. First off, It makes our in-game engagement go up because you can compete in all these different ways. It also lets people know that they can actually win this.

One of the most popular and talented professional FIFA players around is Tekkz, who is signed to esports organisation Fnatic.

Tekkz, real name Donovan Hunt, has won a number of major esports competitions in his career so far, including the ePremier League for Liverpool in 2019.

Brent explained how Tekkz’s story is one that other budding FIFA esports players can take inspiration from.

Donovan Hunt, also known as Tekkz, is one of the best professional FIFA players in the world. He represents esports organisation Fnatic.

“Tekkz had around 1500 followers on Twitter before our massive Barcelona event that he won, I don’t even know what he has now (over 190,000), he’s massive!

“For an esports trajectory, he is the white paper on what it means, he’s been signed to a number of different clubs, Fnatic arguably one of the most successful esports organisations in the world, competing for Liverpool, has brought his buddy Harry on with him to join the roster (Harry ‘Harry’ Hesketh, who Fnatic signed from Hashtag United).

“Their content is amazing, their competitions are great too, but if you watch their streams, they are pulling in 15,000-20,000 (viewers), pulling content with BMW and performing really well. And it really all does come from that access.

Over the last few seasons, EA offered viewership rewards to select viewers who link their Twitch and EA accounts and watch eligible FIFA Global Series broadcasts. For FIFA 21, EA introduced FGS Player Tokens.

The FIFA Global Series Swaps will offer one guaranteed FGS Player Token Item during each eligible event to a viewer who watches 60 or more minutes of that event. to those who tune in and watch 60 minutes or more of any of our eligible broadcasts. Once you earn at least two separate tokens from two separate events, you can then redeem your FGS Player token items for pack rewards in repeatable SBCs.

Brent explained how important it is to reward audiences for their viewership, and how traditional sports do the same thing.

“Being incentivised to watch something is inherently good.

“This isn’t just for FIFA, I could be speaking on behalf of esports and traditional sports as well.

“The concept of rewards absolutely is a driver of viewership. To make the comparison back to football and sport, in North America, when you go to the match the sponsors put out t shirts on the chairs, you get foam fingers when your team advancing into the playoffs in the NFL.

“The concept of rewards is not a foreign concept. We need to find the right balance with what works, what people want versus what we have available to give.

“The more popular FIFA esports is, it will allow us to do more and more crazy things and bring bigger and better celebrity to what we’re trying to do, that’s just like sport!

Donovan Hunt (Tekkz) of England celebrates in his Group A match during Day 2 of the 2019 FIFA eWorld Cup.

“We’re trying to grow fans, players, viewers, people that engage with the brand and you have to reward them.

“Whether that’s amazing content, twitch rewards or just giving them someone to cheer for, that’s essential.

“That is sport, that is competition, that is entertainment.”

So, just how big can FIFA esports become?

Brent explained how whilst they are under no illusions about FIFA esports’ potential popularity in comparison to real-life football, professional football isn’t necessary their competition at all.

“Here’s the reality, are we ever going to take over football, which has billions of fans, the most commercialised and successful support known to man? The answer is no.

“I want the biggest thing possible (for FIFA esports), that’s important, viewership and fandom is massively important. But, we have to be authentic, I think FIFA in general is one of the most authentic video games.

“We can actually go through and build a culture around the soundtrack, players to watch, Players of the week, it’s everything. During the pandemic, when we had our celeb tournament, the players that performed well when football was shut down, got a boost in their ratings in the game.

“Those are the things that are magic, those are the things that make us unique and different compared to our other esports partners.

“As an industry, I want all esports to be successful. I don’t think we have competitors. League of Legends and Fornite aren’t our competitors, our competitors are other entertainment properties.

“Our competitors aren’t the Premier League, our competitors are movies and Netflix.

“Would I love to see millions and millions of people watching our content, absolutely, they do now!

“Would I love to see more? Absolutely, but we have to do it so that it makes sense for our game, our culture and our ecosystem.

“Once we do that and continue to have these little unlocks and little wins around our event last week, that’s when I will say we are a successful esports and hit where we wanna be.

“Everyone wants to talk about how video games are blurring the lines with football, but the reality is that football is blurring the lines with esports. Look at what Spencer and the team are doing at Hashtag United.

“They’ve been promoted up, they competed in the FA Cup and then the next day they are competing in a esports tournament on the sticks in FIFA!

“These blurred lines go both ways, the yardstick for success has always been viewership, but for FIFA it’s actually more than that.

“It’s more than just viewership, it’s engagement in the game, it’s the popularity amongst Gen Z and millennial’s, but there’s a lot of Gen X-ers paying attention.

“It’s easy to watch, if you’re an old school Liverpool fan at home watching the Premier League every Saturday and there’s nothing on during the pandemic because things are shut down, those people watched our programs.

“Those programs were on the BT Sports and Sky Sports of the world, and you know what they did, they sat back and watched our stuff!

“I think those lines being blurred are really really important but they go both ways and I think that’s the magic of what we’re trying to do.

This season, EA will award $3million in prizes across Qualifiers, Regional Playoffs, the eChampions League, and CONMEBOL eLibertadores, an increase of over $1million from what was awarded last season. Also, Regional Playoffs now have over $1,500,000 in total prizes compared to last season’s $500,000.

This might seem like a huge amount, but it’s fairly small compared to other major esports, such as Fortnite. For the 2019 Fornite World Cup, a $30 million prize pool was available across the various competitions.

In the 2019 solo event finals, 16-year-old American Kyle Giersdorf, known online as Bugha, won $3million in prize money. To put that into context, Tiger Woods won $2.07 million for winning the 2019 Masters.

Brent stressed how it’s important that prize pools increase within FIFA esports, but also stressed the importance of how they do that increase.

“Here’s the deal, we want to make as many pros as possible. We want bigger prize pools, we want the biggest prize pools!

“It’s a very important topic, I want to make as many people pros as possible, I would love for people to not have to have two jobs and have them completely dedicated on being a great content provider, being a great pro and competing at events, that’s absolutely magic.

“But, here’s the thing. It’s an economy that has to be convergent with competitions. We have 45 league partners around the world, we have all of our regional tournaments, we have FIFA national tournaments, the FIFA eWorld Cup, we’ve got thousands of people competing.

Mosaad ‘MSDossary’ Aldossary lifts the trophy after victory in the Grand Final FIFA eWorld Cup 2018.

“I don’t know what the new Fortnite prize pool is, probably a billion dollars!

“But if the Fortnite tournament is a billion dollars and we had a FIFA tournament that’s a billion dollars, the economy would fall apart.

“No one would compete for the leagues, no one would compete in any of our tournaments, they would compete for the one tournament that has the most prize money.

“What that does is jeopardise the integrity of what we’re trying to build. What we’re trying to build is an ecosystem not an event.

“I have a lot of friends at Epic, kudos to them! They have massive events, massive viewership and massive prize pools, but that’s just not us.

“That’s not what we’re doing, we’re building an ecosystem that’s sustainable for the long-term. We know we need to increase prize pools, I’m not denying that.

“Yes, we want to increase prize pools, we’re going to do it measured, we’re gonna do it with the whole ecosystem in mind.

“But I want to make sure we’re taking care of the players, that’s a massive priority for me personally and for us as a team.”

FIFA 21 is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

The next generation version of FIFA 21 is set to be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 on December 4, 2020.

Additionally, fans who jump into FIFA 21 can also benefit from Dual Entitlement, enabling them to upgrade their copy of the game from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S at no extra cost.

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Reliance Jio Ventures Into Esports With Free Fire Tournament


Reliance will be venturing deeper into the lucrative business of mobile and online gaming with hosting an esports event called the JioMart Gameathon this month. The Free Fire tournament will be the first in a series of events that the company plans to hold, and it is marketing the initiative under its JioGames platform. To recall, JioGames was announced — along with JioFiber set-top box — at Reliance Jio’s 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) last year. While the app is still in its beta version, has over five million downloads on the Google Play store.

The Free Fire tournament will be held from October 30 to November 1 and will have a live broadcast via YouTube and also via JioTV, according to a support page created for the tournament. The competition will have a prize pool of Rs. 25,000 with the winning team getting Rs. 16,000, followed by Rs. 12,000 for the runner-up, and Rs. 1,000 for the most valuable player. The money will be credited to the players’ JioMart wallet. This will be a mobile-only tournament, and tablets, triggers, emulators, etc. won’t be allowed.

Registrations for JioMart Gameathon #GetSetGame are open October 26 to October 29 through the JioGames portal. It will be a four-stage tournament starting with a qualifying stage on October 30 and 31, 11 am onwards. It will be followed up with the quarter-finals from 11 am to 3 pm, semi-finals from 1 pm to 4 pm, and the grand finale from 5 pm to 8 pm on Sunday, October 31.

A total of 576 teams will enter the qualifying stage divided between 48 lobbies and the top 2 teams from each lobby will make it to the quarter-finals. The 96 teams will then compete in 8 lobbies and the top three teams from each will reach the semi-finals. The 24 winning teams will battle in two lobbies in the semi-finals and six from each will advance to the finals. The grand finale will have a single lobby and 3 maps will be played to declare the winners. The registration page has details about the scoring system, in-game and device settings, and general rules.

Reliance Jio has had an interest in gaming for a long time now. In a televised sit-down with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in February this year, Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani had said that “gaming will be bigger than music, movies, and television put together”. Microsoft had also confirmed that it was partnering with Jio to bring Project xCloud to India. Reliance had also live-streamed a League of Legends World Championship on JioTV in 2018.

Gadgets 360 has also reached out to Reliance Jio to enquire about its future plans in esports and will update the copy on receiving more details.


Will Xbox Series S, PS5 Digital Edition fail in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Millionaire reward for playing: FIFA will distribute more than 4 million dollars to gamers in tournaments | The NY Journal


In different categories, the governing body of world football will award juicy prizes for those who show their talent in FIFA 21

FIFA 21 tournaments will award $ 4.3 million.

Photo:
Mark Robinson / Getty Images

This is your chance to show that jplaying video games can make you a millionaire, since FIFA will award a huge purse to the winners of the soccer tournaments of eSports that participate this season.

A couple of days ago the highest body of world football announced the bag that they will give to the best gamers and surprised by the large amount they will deliver.

The prizes will be distributed in the tournaments as follows:

$ 500,000 dollars in Singles Tournament.

$ 350,000 dollars in Club Tournament.

$ 500,000 dollars in Selection Tournament.

$ 3 million in qualifiers, regional qualifiers and other competitions, such as the eChampions League or the Conmebol eLibertadores.

If you want to register to test yourself in any of the tournaments, you can do so before December 31 on the official site of the video game.

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