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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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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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