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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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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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