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Gaming Week in Review: ESPN starts official eSports division

ESPN Opens eSports Division

On Wednesday, Jan. 14, ESPN launched its new eSports division known as ESPN eSports. The division includes several notable writers such as ESPN business writer Darren Rovell and former GameSpot editor Rod Breslau.

The division’s web page, which can be reached from ESPN’s main website, has sections dedicated to League of Legends, DOTA 2 and Hearthstone, as well as a feed of eSports-related articles written by ESPN staff members.

This is not ESPN’s first time hosting delving into the world of competitive gaming. ESPN 3 broadcast footage from Valve’s “The International” event as well as footage Blizzard’s Blizzcon competitions. Blizzard’s “Heroes of the Dorm” tournament was aired on ESPN 2 last year as well.

ESPN officials have been talking about the potential of eSports as a broadcast-worthy venture since the success of “The International” broadcast, which drew more viewership than The World Series and the NBA Finals, with 300-thousand viewers.

Psychonauts 2 Reaches Crowdfunding Goal of $3.3 Million

Psychonauts 2, the sequel to studio Double Fine’s cult classic Psychonauts, reached its goal of $3.3 million on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The crowdfunding effort was hosted through Fig, which Tim Schaefer, president of Double Fine Productions, co-founded.

Fig is a relatively new crowdfunding platform for video games that launched on Aug. 18, 2015. It allows for individual contributions from fans for tiered rewards, as well as investor contributions for a share of the profits.

The game is expected to release sometime in 2018. To celebrate the game’s successful funding, the development team hosted a Twitch live stream where they talked about the creation of the original.

Pokemon Ad Set to Run During The Super Bowl

As part of the Pokemon series 20th anniversary, Nintendo has purchased a commercial time slot for this year’s Super Bowl broadcast. No details have been given about the content of the commercial, but it will apparently encourage fans to “train on.” A 30-second Super Bowl commercial time slot is estimated to cost roughly $5-million.

The commercial is part of several events related to the Pokémon series’ 20th anniversary, which includes a digital re-release of the original games, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, for digital download on the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo’s new mobile game Pokémon GO is also set to release sometime in 2016.

This will not be the Pokémon series’ first excursion into the world of professional sports. In 2014, the series’ most popular character, Pikachu, was elected to be the mascot for Japan’s team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Each individual team member was also represented by one of the series many other Pokémon.

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Mathew Brock

Mathew Brock