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Huge eSport prizes for PES League

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Konami Digital Entertainment has announced a $200,000 first prize in the revamped 2016/17 PES League and the official UEFA Champions League eSports tournament, titled “the Road to Cardiff”. 

Available exclusively to PlayStation4 and PlayStation3 users, the Road to Cardiff season has started via a dedicated PES League mode available in PES 2017, and the new free-to-play PES 2017 Trial Edition. Additional PES League events will be open to players on all platforms.

The huge prize incentive comes as Konami increases the scope of its annual competition, which is recognised by UEFA as the official UEFA Champions League eSports tournament. The ultimate winner will receive $200,000 with those in second and third place receiving $100,000 and $50,000 respectively. Additional prizes will also be available, with $20,000 going to the winners of the two European Regional Finals, the Americas Final and the Asia Final, with additional prizes for the runners-ups.

“Konami has demonstrated its skill in expanding the PES League as a global totem for PES players, and we are delighted to be involved with this illustrious competition,” said Guy-Laurent Epstein, Managing Director Marketing at UEFA. “The PES series has been a stunning showcase for the UEFA Champions League, and the confirmation that the PES League is the Official UEFA Champions League eSport tournament, is the next logical step. As Europe’s greatest club teams compete to play in Cardiff in June, so the world’s best PES 2017 players will do the same for a chance to be crowned the greatest.”

Officially kicking off today, users can register to compete in the 2016/17 PES League via www.pesleague.com and begin the first of many games as they play matches that will see them ranked against their peers. All scores and results from matches played within the PES League mode are logged and entrants can monitor their progress via the PES League website. Entry is also open to those using the new free-to-play, PES 2017 Trial Edition. This special version of PES 2017 showcases the Exhibition mode and Skills Training, but will also allow users to compete within PES League. The PES League has seen huge growth in recent years, and the 2016/17 event will be open to players from all over the globe, each looking to represent their region in Cardiff ahead of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League Final.

Launched under the Road To Cardiff banner to reflect the 2016/17 competitions position as the official UEFA Champions League eSports tournament, the national qualifying stages take place in Europe, Asia, as well as North and South America, using online matches to determine the best qualifying 16.

Entry to the new PES League season is free. “I saw for myself at gamescom last year just how high the level of skill is within the PES community,” stated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund striker and one of the official PES ambassadors. “While I consider myself good at the game, the guys who will vie for a place in Cardiff are at another level. The Official PES League is the best way to prove just how good you are at PES 2017, and I look forward to seeing the world’s best players showing their skills.”

For Europe, the first season of the regional qualifiers will run until January 5th, 2017. The second season will be held between February 16th and March 16th, 2017. Similarly, two qualifying stages in the Americas will take place, with the first running between December 15th through until January 12th, 2017 and the second taking place between January 12th through until February 16th, 2017. Asia will have one qualifying stage that begins today and will finish on February 23rd, 2017.

“We have enjoyed many great nights of European football at the Camp Nou and now we welcome the cream of mainland Europe’s PES 2017 community,” said Manel Arroyo, FCB Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “Our facilities will be a fitting venue to host such a meeting of PES talent and we anticipate a series of highly-charged matches full of flowing football and individual brilliance during this illustrious eSports event.”

With Konami establishing preferred partnership programmes with the world’s greatest football clubs, the first of the European qualifiers will be held at FC Barcelona in February 2017. The 16 competitors will gather in a special play area within the iconic ground, before entering a series of knock-out matches to decide the final four players to represent Europe at the PES League World Final in Cardiff. April 2017 will then see the 16 best American players gather at a soon to be announced location for their regional final. Four places are on offer for those qualifying from the Americas, thus ensuring a high level of competition to make the cut.

The European regional qualifiers finals will take place in April 2017 at a stadium location, soon to be announced. The initial 16 players will be whittled down to just four via another knock-out competition. Thus, with Europe’s eight entrants determined, they will be joined by the four qualifiers from the Americas, two from Asia, and one representing the rest of world, as well as one challenger to be selected at a later stage.

As has become traditional and in line with PES 2017’s position as exclusive licensee of the UEFA competitions, the conclusion to the 2016/17 season will take place ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final in June 2017. The ultimate winner will be given the main prize. The finalists will also receive tickets to watch the UEFA Champions League Final match.

“The Official PES League continues to go from strength to strength, and we are delighted to announce that the Road to Cardiff tournament begins today and is officially recognised by UEFA as the official UEFA Champions League eSports tournament,” said Jonas Lygaard, Senior Director – Brand & Business Development for Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. “We are also delighted that such key matches will take place in suitably auspicious venues, and thank our partners at FC Barcelona for providing such an iconic landscape for one of the official UEFA Champions League eSports tournament qualifier venues. There are more stadium announcements coming though so watch this space.”

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Naspers feeds into Latin America’s tech funding

Movile will get $400m funding from the SA-based technology investment giant for iFood expansion.

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Movile is to receive US$500-million in funding for iFood in the largest tech funding in Latin America to date. Naspers and Innova Capital have committed to invest $400m of new capital into Movile to use for further investment in iFood, the leading online food delivery platform in Latin America, of which Movile is a majority shareholder.  

Movile and Just Eat have already invested $100m in iFood during 2018. iFood’s extraordinary growth and the vast market opportunity in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America has driven the increased investment commitment. 

iFood’s monthly orders in Brazil have fed more than 9 million customers in the past twelve months, 16 times the nearest online competitor, in terms of daily active users. This means its partner restaurants are serving the biggest population of consumers ordering food in Latin America. iFood has 50 000 restaurant partners and uses 120 000 couriers. 

The increased investment commitment from Naspers, Innova and Movile is expected to accelerate growth, speed up product development and innovation, and fuel geographical expansion for iFood across the region. The company’s vision is to gain deeper knowledge of consumers through artificial intelligence technology, to personalise the food delivery experience – and at a reduced price, because of improved logistics. 

“Movile is very fortunate to have long-term investors who have supported us for the past decade to help achieve our goal of transforming the lives of more than one billion people and thus we are able to continually back iFood to ensure it remains the market leader,” said Fabricio Bloisi, Movile CEO. 

“Our entire ecosystem of companies is focused on allocating resources and energy towards our one billion people goal. iFood is leading the way, fueling unprecedented growth through its innovative technology platform, providing consumers, couriers and restaurants with the best experience in food ordering and delivery.”  

Larry Illg, CEO of Naspers Ventures, said: “iFood has established itself as a technology leader in Latin America and its success stacks up with some of the most innovative food companies that are leading regions in North America, Europe and Asia.  We have been impressed by their execution in Brazil and remain committed to backing the company on its path to transform the entire food chain to better serve consumers.” 

Online food delivery is experiencing massive expansion globally. According to latest reported results, Grubhub grew daily average orders 39% year-on-year, reaching over 416 000 orders per day. In Latin America, iFood has reached 390 000 orders per day just in Brazil in the last week of October, compared with 183 000 in October 2017, representing 109% growth.

iFood CEO Carlos Moyses said: “We want our consumers to have an amazing delivery experience from the moment they order their food to the moment it arrives. Our partners – the restaurants and delivery fleet – make that happen by living our purpose of improving people’s lives using our services.

“iFood exists for our customers and, with an increased investment commitment of this size, we will be able to build out our state of the art technology platform, and increase our courier and restaurant partners to even better serve our current and future customers in Latin America.”

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Hide your sheep, Spyro is reigniting

Spyro, the iconic purple dragon that entertained living rooms worldwide in the late ‘90s, is making a return with the release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

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Spyro Reignited Trilogy introduces players to a fully remastered game collection with a re-imagined cast of characters, animations, environments, new lighting and recreated cinematics—all inHD.  Now fans can explore more than 100 lush environments filled with new detail, that brings the Dragon Realms and Avalar to life . The trilogy is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro and the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X.

South African distributors Megarom provided the followjng information:

In Spyro Reignited Trilogy, lead developer Toys For Bob is giving fans an all scaled-up version of the original three Spyro games that started it all, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, but with a modern-day feel that makes it fresh and fun for today’s player. Adding to the fun, voice actor Tom Kenny is returning to the franchise as the voice of Spyro in all three remastered games. Longtime fans will be treated to Toys For Bob’s reimagined version of the classic soundtracks, in addition to an all-new title-screen theme from original soundtrack composer Stewart Copeland.

Additionally, the new game brings an in-game audio feature that allows players to switch between the original and the newly remastered soundtracks, for those who want a more classic gameplay experience. Players can simply fly in to the “options menu” at any time during gameplay, unleash their preferred nostalgic or scaled-up groove, and glide right back into the Spyro action without losing saved data.

“It’s been a real pleasure to bring back one of most iconic video game characters of all time through the Spyro Reignited Trilogy,” said Paul Yan, Co-Studio Head at Toys For Bob. “We’ve poured everything we’ve got into making sure every detail was done right to deliver a great Spyro experience for fans. We hope players will have as much fun revisiting the Spyro world and characters as we did remastering them.”

In the road up to the official release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, created a first-of-its-kind, life-sized, fire-breathing and talking Spyro Dragon drone. The drone took off from “Stone Hill” castle near New York City, spreading his wings across the U.S. to explore the cities and iconic landscapes that resemble levels and themes from the original Spyro games. As part of the tour, the Spyro drone chased sheep, fired up some BBQ and delivered an early copy of Spyro Reignited Trilogy to fellow O.G. and entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg. Highlights from the Spyro drone’s delivery to Snoop Dogg can be found here.

“Fans have been asking Activision to bring Spyro back for some time now. The response to Spyro Reignited Trilogy has been great thus far, and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’re able to continue to reimagine and reinvigorate some of the most iconic videogames and characters of all time with our remastered experiences,” said Steve Young, Chief Revenue Officer at Activision. “With this year being the 20th anniversary of Spyro, there’s no better time to pay homage to everyone’s favorite purple dragon.”

The Spyro community is invited to geek out and elevate their fandom even further through the elite global partnerships from the Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG). Collaborations with Funko, Traly Pins, Exquisite Gaming, KidRobot, USAopoly, Trends International, Rubber Road, and Changes have created new avenues for fans to share their love for the return of Spyro, the original roast master. Spyro consumer products across apparel, collectibles, figurines and more are now available at retailers worldwide. Fans can also take advantage of the GameStop exclusive Spyro TOTAKU Collection.

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