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The Global Esports Federation turns two, and what an epic ride it has been

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The Global Esports Federation turns two, and what an epic ride it has been
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When the Global Esports Federation (GEF) was launched in 2019, one of its goals was to marry the fast-growing esports world with values often tied to traditional sport.

Esports was already the fastest growing sport in 2019, with revenue over US$1 billion and a worldwide reach of close to 500 million. With its massive reach and widespread appeal among the young, esports is seen as a gateway to connecting with the youth of the world.

What then, could a new esports organization bring? As it turns out, plenty.

For starters, the GEF celebrates its second anniversary just as the inaugural edition of the Global Esports Games (GEG), its flagship event, prepares for a highly-anticipated opening in Singapore.

The GEF’s journey over the past two years has also seen it expand the reach of esports globally while championing causes often overlooked by the larger esports world.

Promoting diversity

Female representation has long been an issue in esports. The lack of opportunities for women to play at major events and an overwhelmingly male-dominated executive workforce both at esports global companies and international bodies often meant that the interest of women in esports was often overlooked.

But the GEF made sure to address this.

For its inaugural edition of the GEG, the GEF set the tone of its flagship event by ensuring that it had a women’s category. Teams Paraguay, Mongolia and Great Britain emerged through regional qualifiers to earn the right to battle it out for Dota 2 supremacy alongside hosts Singapore. GEG 2021 will also be the first major international tournament to feature an all-women Dota 2 category.

In the boardroom, the GEF has also led the way. In two years, it has increased women representation at the GEF, edging toward 40%.

Said Chris Chan, president of the GEF: “The GEF was founded on the principle that everyone in the gaming world should be considered equals and it is why we have always pushed for an inclusive esports and youth culture.

“The beauty of esports is that color, gender, race and how affluent someone is don’t factor in. When you interact virtually, it doesn’t matter what your background is.

“And that is the culture we want to foster with our #worldconnected movement. Esports is universal, and it should be something everyone can experience and enjoy.”

Championing inclusivity

Central to fostering diversity is the need to be more inclusive. And that is where the GEF has also made significant inroads, especially with promoting esports and events in the Middle East.

While esports had made tremendous strides in the dominant markets of Europe, North America and Asia, elite-level, international events are still in its infancy in the Arab world.

The GEF brought two events to the Middle East in its inaugural Global Esports Tour, which opened in Los Angeles in September 2021, before moving to Riyadh in October and Dubai in November.

Aptly, the United Arab Emirates became the 100th Member Federation to join the GEF in August 2021. To date, the GEF has 105 Member Federations.

For the 18-19 December GEG world finals, which will feature over 100 esports athletes from over 40 countries, the GEF has taken the extra step of assembling a Team #worldconnected — which brings athletes of different backgrounds, including those who represent the refugee community, people with disabilities, wounded servicemen and women, and other underserved communities.

Among the athletes in Team #worldconnected is Roby Hormis, a former refugee from Iraq who is now based in the Netherlands. He will compete in eFootball alongside Brazil-born Yuri “Yuri_FPOLIS” Andrade, who now resides in the United States.

And for the pair, initiatives like Team #worldconnected are what makes the GEF a refreshing addition to the global esports ecosystem.

Said Yuri_FPOLIS: “For me, just inviting people from all around the world, from different backgrounds, is a big step to making esports something the whole world can enjoy. It’s awesome and that is something amazing that the GEF is doing.”

Inclusivity is, however, not confined to the athletes.

As part of the Singapore 2021 GEG, GEFCon will bring together thought leaders in esports, sports, technology, and entertainment to explore topical issues facing the industry such as the role of fintech in esports, the future of entertainment, and how organizations are moving from sponsorship to partnership.

There is also the GEFestival, a two-week virtual celebration of esports in the build-up to GEG 2021. It features community gaming, music and entertainment for the gaming communities of the world.

As with any organization, the formative years are crucial. It is where one builds stability and strong roots to form a firm foundation for growth. With a strong base, already established in its first two years, the global esports community can look to many more initiatives that will excite and positively impact esports.

Among the initiatives on the horizon are the expanding of the GEF’s presence in the metaverse with its partnership with 888 The New World, and an exciting line-up of Global Esports Tour and GEG 2022 as the flagship event moves to Istanbul, Turkey.

Said GEF CEO Paul J. Foster: “Just like the dynamic industry that is esports, the GEF also needs to constantly evolve and innovate to cater to an ever-changing target audience and market.

“But as we look to strengthen and add to the many initiatives and partnerships we had built in our first two years, our ethos of bringing inclusivity and celebrating diversity in esports will always remain central to what we do.”

eSports

IESF puts out call for nominations for IESF Athletes’ Committee

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For five years Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) had one of its athletes on IESF’s Athletes’ Commission.

With the IESF launching its Athletes’ Commission in the Hilton Hotel in Shangai in 2016, the Athlestes’ Commission was instrumental in ensuring the rights and interests of athletes were always tacken into account at IESF’s Board.

The first chairman of the Athletes’ Commission, as elected in 2016, was none other than Koen Schobbers. At the same election, Jason Batzofin, who was a learner at St John’s College, was elected on the committee and served with distinction.

In 2019 Jason Batzofin was elected as chairman and continued to serve with distinction until, due to unforseen circumstances, felt the need to resign. Upon Jason’s resignation, Tiffini Lim was appointed as Chairlady by IESF’s Board.

To stand for this important committee, National Federation’s Athletes Representative shall satisfy at least two of the points below:

a) Shall have experience as an esports athlete;

b) Shall have experience in esports;

c) Have worked with their National Federation in the past three (3) years;

d) Have represented their Member nation at an IESF-accredited event

It must be noted that no nation may have more than one representative in the Athletes Committee.

Key Information:

• Registration Opens: 27 November 2022
• Registration Closes: 6 December 2022 (15:00 Bali Time)
• Voting Begins: 7 December 2022 (15:00 Bali Time)
• Voting Closes: 10 December 2022 (15:00 Bali Time)

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Challengermode launches in-game tournaments with The Battle of Polytopia, ushering in a new era for esports & competitive gaming

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Challengermode launches in-game tournaments with The Battle of Polytopia, ushering in a new era for esports & competitive gaming
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Global esports platform Challengermode has signed an exclusive 5 year deal with developers of turn-based civilization strategy game The Battle of Polytopia, Midjiwan, to development of the game’s competitive esports scene.

This partnership is a huge step forward in Challengermode’s mission to directly support game developers in realizing their games’ esports ambitions, proving just how easy it is for players to make the jump from casual multiplayer to grassroots competitive gaming – and for 3rd party esports organizers to host easily accessible competitions in-game.

Challengermode will provide Midjiwan with its esports expertise and automated tournament technology to guide the development of The Battle of Polytopia for competitive audiences worldwide across Steam, iOS and Android. Players will be able to browse, play and see the results of tournaments from within the Polytopia game app itself without having to leave the game client or use any external 3rd party esports mechanisms. The aim is to create a robust esports community for The Battle of Polytopia where grassroots players can compete seamlessly in an organized setting for real prizes.

Robel Efrem, CEO and founder of Challengermode said: “We couldn’t be more excited to be helping Midjiwan expand the competitive gaming side of The Battle of Polytopia. I’ve been a big fan of the game for years, so having the opportunity to assist with the creation of its nascent esports scene is a dream come true. It’s also an excellent opportunity for Challengermode to demonstrate benefits of game developers working directly with companies in the esports space to rapidly scale up their own competitive gaming operations, making their games better integrated and more accessible to esports hopefuls of all levels. With the sustained growth of the grassroots esports sector, we fully expect more game developers to add competitive modes such as tournaments, leagues and ladders alongside their classic multiplayer modes in the near future.”

Integrating with the Challengermode Game Integration API opens up possibilities for Midjiwan to develop other valuable additions for the competitive community in Polytopia, including “Live Games” – a play clock game mode where players have a bit more than 1 minute from the start of their turn to make their moves. Players will also be able to access replays of matches, meaning all multiplayer games they complete can be saved, rewatched and shared as much as they like.

Christian Lovstedt, General Manager at Midjiwan, adds that: “Challengermode’s dedication at the grassroots level esports players made them the perfect partner to work with in building out our competitive gaming scene for The Battle for Polytopia. As a developer, it was important to us to integrate the esports aspects of Polytopia with the main game itself, removing the barrier that usually exists between casual multiplayer and the competitive play that players can enjoy at a more professional level. We welcome Challengermode’s esports expertise in bringing the competitive side of The Battle for Polytopia to a wider audience than ever before, and look forward to working closely with them in this endeavour.”

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Compliance Updates

SIS awarded ESIC Gold Standards accreditation for Competitive Gaming offering

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SIS awarded ESIC Gold Standards accreditation for Competitive Gaming offering
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Endorsement marks out supplier as only esports betting events provider to officially meet new integrity measures

SIS (Sports Information Services), the leading multi-channel supplier of 24/7 live betting services, has been awarded the Esports Integrity Commission’s (ESIC) Gold Standards, the highest possible accreditation from the industry association.

The award sees SIS become the first esports betting events supplier to meet ESIC’s stringent new criteria, created to set unmatched levels of integrity and safety in the esports betting industry, for its Competitive Gaming portfolio (Esoccer, Ebasketball and CS:GO).

The purpose of the ESIC Gold Standard is to build on its existing principles by setting out a list of standards for tournament organisers, ensuring that events are run to the highest level of integrity and safety for the benefit of all stakeholders.

With stringent integrity measures in place, SIS Competitive Gaming follows best practice outlined by ESIC in addition to strict operational measures in place to ensure that each event is fair.

Each SIS Competitive Gaming head-to-head match, all of which take place from within SIS’ UK-based self-contained studios, is streamed live with experienced casters providing live in-game commentary. The streams take place through a secure platform that is exclusive to licensed operator sites where the age of the audience has been verified and is not available on open streaming services, meaning there is less danger of toxic messaging of the sort that is often carried on unlicensed sites.

All events are overseen by a dedicated ESIC-trained integrity referee and have a real-time link to SIS’ expert trading team, which closely monitors betting activity. Rigorous gamer competitiveness and predictability tracking measures are in place, through supremacy and volatility reporting, with all events taking place in a jurisdiction with well-respected legal and employment rights.

The new ESIC Gold Standards have been created to elevate transparency and impartiality, and required SIS to meet a number of rigorous requirements across the board, including:

  • No communication devices allowed anywhere in the gaming studios
  • Minimum of three employed personnel (independent from gamers) watching every event
  • Controlled fixed game settings to ensure fair and competitive play
  • Employees are fully background checked for criminal records, with references taken
  • Ensure all gamers are of sufficient skills and expertise to compete against other pro gamers.
  • ESIC anti-corruption code to be signed by all staff and gamers

SIS continues to work with ESIC to evolve the Gold Standards to improve Integrity and the visibility of clear tangible rules and standards by which tournament organisers should run events.

Adam Conway, Head of Esports & Competitive Gaming at SIS, said: “We are extremely proud to have received this new accreditation, which shines a light on the very high integrity and safety standards we have always put at the core of our Competitive Gaming offering.

“Our operator partners and their customers appreciate our high levels of integrity, such as visible referees invigilating every game, making us the only esports betting events supplier to do so.”

Ian Smith, Commissioner at Esports Integrity Commission, said: “ESIC’s new Gold Standards set heightened levels of integrity and safety in the Esports industry for the benefit of all stakeholders, and through ongoing assessment of SIS’ Competitive Gaming operations, which meet all the key integrity requirements, we are delighted to award SIS with ESIC’s Gold Standards, our highest possible accreditation”.

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