Firefall's CEO Mark Kern took time from his busy day to talk with us about some of the improvements being made to the shooter MMO. As you'll see in the video below, dynamic events, like storm chasing, are going to change the way people play Firefall. Want to know more? Watch the video and then read our Firefall hands-on preview from PAX Prime 2012.

Firefall PAX Prime 2012 Gameplay Preview »

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm New Units

The StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm beta test has begun according to Blizzard. The closed beta features the multiplayer portion of the real-time strategy game and will initially be limited to a few pro-gamers, press, contest winners, and shoutcasters. Since all of these people love talking about the game, this means HotS info will be pouring out on to the net faster than a speedling.

If you've opted in to the Heart of the Swarm beta, your time will come "soon." If you haven't, make sure to do so on your Battle.net account. Anyone who's still actively playing SC2 has a chance of being selected.

“Beta testers are chosen according to their system specifications and other factors, including recent StarCraft II activity (and an element of luck), when selecting individuals during each round of invitations. Our goal is to have a wide variety of players and system types,” said Blizzard.

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MLG Raleigh Live Stream On G4TV.com August 26-28 -- Full Tournament Schedule And Details

The top two League of Legends teams were disqualified at the MLG Summer Championship for collusion. Team Curse NA and Team Dignitas had already secured the top spots going in to the grand final but instead of choosing to play out the games in a standard manner they made two very bad decisions.

The two teams first raised eyebrows when they chose to play in the unconventional format of All Random, All Middle, to "entertain fans" rather than play in a traditional format that is normally seen in tournament play. What made matters worse was that the teams allegedly agreed to split the prize money of $32,000 regardless of who won the match.

According to Major League Gaming, this clearly violated MLG’s Official Pro Circuit Conduct Rules which state, "competitors may not intentionally Forfeit a Game or conspire to manipulate Rankings or Brackets." Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, agreed with MLG's ruling and as a result, MLG disqualified both teams, denied them all of their prize money, and announced that both teams will not be receiving any Circuit Points towards the North American Regionals.

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If there were a Michael Phelps of video game tournaments, it would be Johnathan Wendel, better known to us all as Fatal1ty.

Like the top-of-his-game Olympic athlete, Fatal1ty has racked up considerable championships, supplements his winnings with a variety of endorsement deals, and remains one of the more recognizable names in his sport. He took time out of his training schedule to talk to us about the ways in which eSports has changed since 1999 and how to break into the competitive gaming arena.

eSports Spotlight: Fatal1ty -- How To Break Into Pro Gaming And The Future Of The Sport

It’s been over a decade since leagues like CPL, World Cyber Games and MLG started. How has competitive gaming changed since you first started winning?

In 1999, gaming was at its very early stages where nearly no one was competing full time. Years passed and around 2005, gaming was hitting its peak for payouts, which allowed players to could commit 100% of their energy to gaming.

Today, gamers are winning tournaments and grabbing some money here and there, but it seems more gamers are making money from team sponsorships and their own live streaming. I really like it that gamers can become stars in their own right and not have to rely on a specific team to make it as a professional gamer.

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Riot Games has announced the League of Legends Championship Series, a new, groundbreaking competitive league coming to LoL during Season Three in 2013. The Championship Series marks one of the more ambitious moves in eSports ever by a developer. Riot plans to create an international pro league for League of Legends players that will be comprised of salaried pro teams, regular high-quality broadcast streamed matches, and a multi-million dollar prize pool.

The Championship Series will feature the best eight teams from North America and Europe, and top teams from each Asian region, competing in a regional tournament leading up to the World Championship. There, the top teams in the world will compete for millions of dollars in prizes.

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Professional StarCraft 2 player "MVP" from team Incredible Miracle was featured in a great piece by CNN. The video takes you inside the life of one of Korea's most winningest pro gamers, and his journey to WCG 2011. Not only is the piece informative and expertly made, but it's also great for the community that such main stream news outlets, like CNN, are taking notice of the increasingly popular eSports phenomenon. Take a look at the video, and let us know your thoughts about it in the comments section.

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MLG Partners With Blizzard

If you have ever had a desire to be the best in gaming and the drive to make it to the top, then you are already familiar with Major League Gaming, one of the top names when it comes to competitive world of eSports.

With tens of thousands of fans chanting your name and millions more watching online, it’s no wonder that every gamer looking to make a name for themselves wants to get on the MLG stage. Since 2002, Major League Gaming has brought eSports to the forefront with competitions around the United States and highlighting the likes of Starcraft II, Mortal Kombat, and other competitive digital titles. If you ever wrapped your hands around a control and dreamed of being the best, then MLG has a spot for you.

For League of Legends fans, August is your month with the debut of League of Legends Arena starting the weekend of August 3-5th and concluding with the Summer Championship in Raleigh from August 24-26th.

But to find out where the world of eSports is heading, you often have to know where it’s been. We were fortunate enough to talk to Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of Major League Gaming, about the beginning of a new industry and where the future will take our virtual athletes.

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Street Fighter IV

Matt Dahte has lived in both the US and Japan for extended periods of time, and has been an active participant in the fighting game cultures of both countries. He saw a major difference in the way both community gatherings and tournaments were held – the Western tournaments were more personable, with a stronger social and community aspect to them.

Final Roundbats – our organization – is basically just a big party,” says Dahte, better known amongst the fighting game community under his handle, Forgenjuro. “Several of us met up on shoryuken.com, and since we were all fighting game fans, we decided to start holding these get-togethers… eventually, the idea came to sort of team up with Final Round in Atlanta and organize these tournaments as well. About two years ago, we finally established Final Roundbats as a series of regular tournaments here in Japan.”

While the competition is a main draw, they’re not the sole focus of the events. “More than anything, we want the participants to have fun. It’s not just video games… there’s lots of drinking and conversing to be done.”

With a popular US-style tournament series running in Japan, a question comes to my mind. It’s commonly said that the Japanese fighting game players often come to the US tournaments because they prefer the sort of fun, hype-filled atmosphere our events provide. Is there any truth to that?

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The film below, Generations, by the Star nation Crew gives you a behind-the-scenes look at eSports team compLexity Gaming's trip to Major League Gaming's Anaheim tournament in 2012. The documentary follows the owners, managers and players of compLexity during one of the biggest StarCraft 2 events of 2012.

If you're a competitive StarCraft 2 fan, this mini-doc is a must-see. It shows a great look at what everyone on the team goes through during an event, and gives you a whole new perspective on competing in these tournaments. 

Thanks, Scott!

Every sport needs a superstar, and for the legion of fans behind games like Halo and Battlefield 3, they have Tom Taylor, better known as Tsquared. As one of the first champions to work as a coach as well as in front of the camera for X-Play, Tsquare stays in the spotlight both on and off the virtual field.

While you can always catch him on Twitter or watch any of his many videos of Youtube, I got a chance to sit down with the man himself as we talked about getting into eSports, how the game has changed, and what we can expect in the future for the sport and from him.

G4 Interview with Professional Gamer Tsquared »

To keep up with the man to beat when it comes to anything with crosshairs, you can check out the live action on Twitch TV, like him on Facebook, and make sure that you never miss a tip from Tsquared when he shows up on X-Play.

Just to give you more of what you want here’s Tsquared giving you Halo Reach Multiplayer Pro Tips for Countdown.

Tags: eSports, Features

SoulCalibur 5

Every EVO final has its fair share of new, unknown players and upsets that get the fighting game community hyped and talking. This year, fresh-faced Japanese competitor Shining Decopon rose from being relatively unknown outside of Japan to fighting his way out of the loser’s bracket to become the EVO 2012 Soulcalibur V World Champion.

How did he take the title? Smarts, skills, and a lot of devotion to mastering a game inside out. We had a chance to interview the champ, and some the answers he gave to our questions made his victory all the more impressive.

Your play at EVO this year looked like that of someone who truly knows Soulcalibur. How long have you been playing the Soulcalibur series?

I actually started playing the series with Soulcalibur IV. I must have spent four or five thousand hours playing that game.

Why play this over something more recognized, like Street Fighter?

Well, it was actually my friend who got me into Soulcalibur. He suggested I try out Soulcalibur IV. It was actually the first fighting game I really played… and I fell in love with it. I think that’s why I didn’t even bother looking at the other games out there!

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StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Multiplayer Units -- An eSports Update From Blizzard

All across the world, people are assembling. Propelled by the gospel of their coaches, athletes stretch and strain in spandex-wrapped preparation. At home, people are making bets, making snacks, making patriotic comments -- it's that time of the decade again where indifference is overshadowed by a sudden, unexpected love for your country. It's time for the Olympics Games and all I can think is this:

Something is missing.

Actually, a lot of things are missing. In spite of its considerable popularity and a decade-long attempt at earning acceptance from the International Olympic Committee (IOE), chess is still not a part of the event. Bridge, lifesaving - yes, folks, Miss Anderson was apparently parroting an athlete --, bowling, and baseball aren't activities that will earn anyone medals either. And with things like rugby still absent from the global tournament, will eSports champions ever have the chance to make Olympian gods of themselves?

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EVO 2011 Photo Gallery

(With The Games happening in London, now would be a good time to take a look at our own virtual athletes. Jay Snyder took home the gold at last year’s EVO 2011 for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 championship. He explains to us what drive him to be a champion and ways you can become a competitor with a couple of tips from the pros.)

Different fighting games require different skill sets and Marvel seems to fit best with mine. I excel at the creative part of gaming where coming up with new strategies is rewarded and that’s what Marvel is all about. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a little more than eight months old, and the game still has so much more to explore with half the characters still being unknown quantities in the tournament scene and some combinations with top tier characters still unexplored.

That’s what keeps me coming back as a player, the exploration and the drive to get better. All fighting games are about constant self-improvement because the goal is a moving target. Everyone else is improving every day also so in order to stay on top of the game you have to beat the competition even when you aren’t actually playing against them. If this sounds like work, then fighting games probably aren’t for you. To me, the process is as much fun as the end result.

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Quakecon 2012 Announced -- More Than $30,000 In Prizes Up For Grabs

QuakeCon 2012 has been announced. The free (to enter and watch) tournament, which brings together the world's most competitive Quake Live players will once again be held on August 2-5, 2012 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas.

More than $30,000 in prize money will be up for grabs in events like the Quake Live Duel Invitational Masters Championship as well as the Intel-sponsored Quake Live Capture the Flag Open, the Quake Live Amateur Duel, and the Quake Live Random Draw Free For All tournaments.

Registration for players begins today, July 13, 2012 at 12PM CT and goes through July 31, so make sure to register soon. For more information on each individual QuakeCon 2012 tournament, head over to the official QuakeCon 2012 website.

EVO 2012 was an amazing fighting game event, but if you missed any of the action you're going to love our Top 10 EVO 2012 moments video below. It features incredible comebacks, stunning performances, and emotional moments that will not only entertain you, but blow your mind. If witnessing the spectacular hype the fighting community gives at every EVO event doesn't give you goosebumps, I don't know what will.

The 10 Best EVO 2012 Moments »

What were your top EVO 2012 moments? Was there a certain player you wanted to see more of? Let us know in the comments.

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