Competitive gaming has been around for quite a while now and in the Philippines, aspiring to be a professional gamer might not be too far fetched of a dream anymore.
Inspired by the PBA or Philippine Basketball Association, brands have come to together to form The Nationals — the first franchise-based esports league in Southeast Asia. The inaugural season will feature five teams and three games.
Here are the five teams:
- Bren Epro
- HF Emperors
- Cignal Ultra Warriors
- PLDT-Smart Omega
- Suha-XCTN Punisher
These five teams will compete in three games on three major platforms: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on mobile, Dota 2 on PC, and Tekken 7 on PS4. A sixth team — STI — will join the league on June 2018 after the Dota 2 competitions.
Each game will have two conferences. The two conferences will comprise a double round-robin group stage and single-elimination playoffs. Winners of the two conference will then face off later on for the season finale.
The Nationals will be run like any other professional sports league. Commissioner Ren Vitug is hopeful the league will provide a platform where talent can be nurtured.
“The players will be provided with training and facilities, their health will be monitored, and they will have proper structure.”
– Ren Vitug, #TheNationals Commissioner #GadgetMatchLIVE pic.twitter.com/9ur2uImBtu
— Rodneil M. Quiteles (@rodneilquiteles) March 8, 2019
A tested league model in the Philippines
The franchise-based approach might be alien to international observers whose participants comprise of either clubs or city-based teams. However, it’s a tried and tested formula in the Philippines.
The PBA, which was founded in 1975 and is the longest-running professional basketball league in Asia, is also franchise-based and has been the model for other sports leagues in the country.
While that league is experiencing some issues in gate attendance, it is still running thanks in large part to the financial backing of its member franchises. It stands to reason that this league model might prove to be successful in the Philippines.
The Esports Center
Elsewhere, major Philippine telecommunications company Globe has launched The Esports Center or ESC. It’s a pop-up that will run from March 9 to 24 at Play Nation in UP Town Center, Quezon City. Globe says the ESC hopes to provide a venue where the entire esports community can come together.
The ESC also welcomes those who are into gaming and want to break into the esports industry but are not exactly sure where to start. Globe SVP and Head for Content Business Nikko Acosta says the ESC hopes to serve as the “venue to upgrade [the gamers’] knowledge and gauge their skill levels with others through peer learning.”
Present during the launch was Team Liyab — Globe’s own esports team which was built in partnership with professional gaming organization Mineski.
Other than mobile and PC arenas, the ESC will also have a place called The Studio. Here, those who are more interested in becoming streamers instead of esports athletes will have a place and the tools to learn more about the craft.
Brand support key in esports growth
Esports has seen a major rise in recent years and brands in the Philippines are going all in. The proclamation of overall support which include not only the athletes’ training and finances but also their emotional, mental, and physical well-being all sound very promising.
All of these are still in the infancy stages, but the prospect for growth and the continued support by brands and fans alike could push the industry to heights once reserved only for traditional athletes. If this continues, it might not be long before we’re having debates about who the G.O.A.T. esports athlete is.
Apple Arcade provides access to over 100 exclusive games
Play wherever, whenever
Apple is taking gaming way more seriously with the introduction of Apple Arcade, the company’s latest subscription service for video games available across its platforms.
In a nutshell, Apple Arcade lets you download and play any game on the service — whenever and wherever. It’s found in a new area with its own tab in the App Store and will offer over 100 exclusive games at launch.
Apple promises new titles launching all the time. Even cooler: They can be played seamlessly between an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and even a Mac computer.
— Michael Josh (@michaeljosh) March 25, 2019
Unlike most online subscriptions, every game is playable offline in case you have no mobile data or Wi-Fi to work with. And because you’re paying for the service, Apple guarantees that you’ll see no ads — something that’s plagued lots of other platforms.
Apple hasn’t revealed pricing details yet, but did confirm that Apple Arcade will come to more than 150 countries and regions in fall 2019.
— Michael Josh (@michaeljosh) March 25, 2019
We also don’t have a list of games yet, but we did see Sonic the Hedgehog prominently featured in the trailer. Check it out:
Nintendo plans to release two Switch models this 2019 — report
A pro and a lite version
If you plan to buy a Nintendo Switch, you might want to hold back for now. Talks about a cheaper and smaller Switch console have been around for more than a year, and it could finally happen. To make things more exciting, we might even have another Switch that’s better than the first one.
The first model is the long-rumored cheaper option. It’s angled to be a successor to the aging 3DS. This makes sense since fans of the popular Nintendo hand-held device need an upgrade. Some also find the Switch to be bigger than they had hoped for, so this is something that might pique the interest of 3DS users.
In order for Nintendo to offer a cheaper Switch, they’ll have to cut features and WSJ cites that this includes the vibration motor in the Joy-Con controllers.
Those who have been asking for a more powerful Switch (like me) will be happy to know that the other new model is reported to “have enhanced features targeted at avid video gamers.” Although, it still won’t be as good as the PS4 or Xbox One X, graphics-wise.
Both new versions are expected to be announced sometime in June at E3 2019 with a possible sale a few months later. It’ll be available in the market in time for the holidays and the release of new games like Pokémon Sword and Shield.
You may not be able to play PUBG for more than 6 hours in a day
Still better than banning the game completely
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds mobile edition needs no introduction. It has been the most trending multiplayer game for the last year and the trend shows no sign of cooling down. The game has been a hit in countries like India and players are hooked on it for hours.
Though, the game has received intense scrutiny from authorities because of its addictive stance. There have been multiple reports of addiction death and authorities have been scrambling to ban the game. Parents are worried about their children not being able to concentrate on studies and educational institutes have reported lower attendance as well as poor academic performance.
To counter bans and indirectly help players avoid addiction, PUBG is testing a six-hour per day gameplay limit. According to SportsKeeda, the app is sending a health reminder to players after six hours of gameplay and asking them to take a break. The game also has an age verification request now, which asks players if they are over the age of 18.
— Satiz MSD’ian 💛 CSK 💛 (@SatizMSDian) March 22, 2019
The new limit isn’t active for all users right now and is currently in a testing phase. While some users are reporting seeing the message after two to four hours of gaming, some are being locked out after six hours of usage. It seems only players in India are seeing this at the moment and other regions haven’t been affected.
This restriction comes after the game was banned in Gujarat and multiple arrests were made by the police. The Chinese government recently banned PUBG Mobile for players under the age of 13.
There is no official word from PUBG Mobile on this health reminder-based daily gameplay limit yet. The addition may irk some users, but it’s the first step towards ensuring the game isn’t outright banned.
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