How WePlay! Esports is using AR to usher CSGO into a new era - Dexerto
Esports

How WePlay! Esports is using AR to usher CSGO into a new era

Published: 7/Aug/2020 17:51

by Andy Williams

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WePlay! Esports hosts events for a variety of games from Dota 2 to Valorant. They’re also no strangers to dabbling with augmented reality in Counter-Strike but now they’re taking their broadcasts to a whole new level.

While some games are destined to flourish under the competitive spotlight, the driving force behind any successful esport is the coverage it receives.

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Games such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike have all thrived off the back of high-end, engaging production. As a result, the games have developed an expansive fanbase that keeps coming back for more.

But just how will organizers and production companies continue to evolve their coverage? The answer is technology, and it appears that WePlay! Esports are already ahead of the curve.

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WePlay! Esports Dota 2 Reshuffle Madness.
WePlay! Esports
WePlay! Esports are no strangers to the realm of high-level production, as they bring a wealth of experience from Dota 2.

WePlay! Esports and augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) has been trickling into the way we live our lives for years, and high-end esports production is no different. Having the ability to fuse your surrounding environment with digital elements in real-time provides a much more interactive experience.

With the seemingly endless possibilities that are available with AR, WePlay! Esports are using this as their main ingredient in creating a more fluid and immersive broadcast for viewers — leveraging their coverage and leading esports into a new era of production.

Combining Source Filmmaker with other computer-generated content, WePlay! have innovated a new way for esports to be showcased on the big screen. During the Dota 2 WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020, the company used drones and AR in perfect harmony to follow players coming into the venue to provide a more realistic spectator experience. Combine this with immersing Dota 2 heroes into the studio during ‘pick-ban’ segments, and spectators could enjoy a more captivating broadcast.

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WePlay! Esports use AR to enhance CS:GO coverage

After years of perfecting their craft in Dota 2, WePlay! Esports have recently ventured into other titles, such as CS:GO. Most recently, the company pulled out all of the stops for WePlay! Clutch Island — which saw the top CIS teams battle it out for the lion’s share of $50,000 (USD).

While Natus Vincere walked away with top honors, the event highlight was undoubtedly the next generation of coverage that was displayed as a result of the integration of AR into the broadcast.

The perfect example of this would be the company’s use of AR when displaying player stats during the analysis segments between matches. Being able to visually see the player cards alongside the analysts rendered a much more engaging transition…A far cry from the mundane overlays spectators are used to seeing while waiting for the next segment.

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And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. By incorporating AR into all elements of the broadcast, WePlay! Esports provided a fresh look on full post-round analysis. While a two-dimensional birds-eye view of the map is great, being fully immersed and seeing player movements takes it to a whole new level.

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During the downtime between maps, James Banks and co. highlighted just how this can work. By essentially having a more ‘hands on’ approach, the analysis breakdown is much easier when illustrated in a three-dimensional view of the map to give a more in-depth insight.

As time goes on and augmented reality continues to develop, tournament organizers will become more comfortable with incorporating this technology into broadcasts. A task that WePlay! Esports are entirely confident in taking on, as Eugene ‘Hitras’ Shepelev (Lead Esports Manager) told Dexerto.

WePlay! Esports
Eugene ‘Hitras’ Shepelev, Lead Esports Manager at WePlay! Esports.

“While preparing for any event, the WePlay! team has three priorities: providing the best competitive environment for players, ensuring the best experience for the audience, and doing something new that has never been done before. That’s why every event is unique for one reason or another.”

Maksym Bilonogov, General Producer at WePlay! Esports, said, “In the past, you could get an edge by simply having better hardware. Using a better camera, more processing power, etc. defined whether your product was better. Nowadays, every company in this industry can afford the technology needed to stream tournaments.

Man standing with back on brick wall
WePlay! Esports
Maksym Bilonogov, General Producer at WePlay! Esports

“The thing that can set you apart from the competition is your team. The majority of people involved in the production at WePlay! Esports had valid experience or a solid background in television, filmmaking, theater, product design, and other related fields before joining our company. The people I work with are talented, independent, ambitious, and willing to be challenged. In my opinion, the team is the greatest asset our company has.”

So with WePlay! Esports leading the way and pioneering the use of AR in first-person shooters, they will be bringing with it a welcomed change to how we absorb esports content and leading the charge into moving CS:GO coverage into a new era.

CS:GO

HenryG explains Cloud9’s CSGO player salaries after $400k floppy deal

Published: 7/Oct/2020 19:11

by Calum Patterson

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Cloud9 have now confirmed that Ricky ‘floppy’ Kemery is the fourth player of their self-proclaimed CS:GO “colossus” roster, in a deal worth over $400,000, bringing their total to around $4 million in player contracts, with another two players still to go.

Floppy joined Cloud9 from ATK in January, and is now transitioning to the new ‘colossus’ roster alongside ALEX, mezii, and woxic.

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The colossus began with the signing of ALEX from Vitality, whose deal is worth $1.65 million. He was joined by fellow brit Mezii on a $426,000 deal. Then, woxic was added from mousesports, in another deal surpassing the $1m mark, at $1,365,000.

This latest deal for floppy takes the total value of this 4-man squad to $3.87 million, and with two players to go (GM Henry  ‘HenryG’ Greer has plans for a six-player roster), is set to surpass the $4 million mark.

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Since HenryG’s move from casting into a management role at C9, he has aimed to shake-up the traditionally opaque nature of esports transfer dealings.

In each of the four signings, Greer has confirmed the length of the player’s contract, and it’s total value over that period. All four players announced so far have been signed to three-year deals.

After the floppy announcement, Greer clarified on Twitter that despite the lower total value of deals for floppy and Mezii (compared to ALEX and woxic), each player’s deal is negotiated on an individual basis.

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“Ricky has received a pay increase from his previous contract and that will be reviewed each year of his stay,” he concludes.

Presumably, salaries could increase based on performance metrics or other value added to the brand by the player, or as thanks for loyalty to the team.

After he was confirmed as the GM of Cloud9, Greer told Dexerto: “My plans for this team are certainly ambitious. I wouldn’t be involved in any sort of General Manager role unless I had absolute full control of the roster and direction we plan to head.

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HenryG casting CS:GO at DreamHack event
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HenryG is now at the helm of Cloud9’s CS:GO venture.

“C9 have entrusted me with their entire CS:GO dynasty and, honestly, I think that’s one of the boldest moves any org has made in a long time.”

HenryG and Cloud9’s new approach to player deals could very well set off a new trend in CS:GO and esports generally, though for now, they remain on solitary ground.

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