Valve vs. bad parents, round 4, pre-game

While we were all going a little nuts over the CSGO drama involving PEA management/owners against its players, it seems that the same lawyers who’ve been on a crusade against Valve for the past few months filed another complaint in US federal court.

TopClassActions.com’s summary of the latest complaint seems to focus on Valve’s supposed violations of state underage gambling law. The class in this suite are the parents of minors who were given money to spend on the Steam Marketplace on skins, but did not know that they were funding their child’s intent to gamble via skins purchases.

I’m looking at the complaint documents now, and it seems like the complaint is written to mislead the court to which it was filed with regards to Valve’s responsibility in these matters. Valve’s initial response to this particular complaint seems to be encased in its motion to compel arbitration, per the Steam Subscriber Agreement.

As we’re presently in the midst of the holiday season, I imagine the matter is in a holding pattern for now. I’m looking over the documents filed to this point thanks to internet cool person keekerdc, but I imagine there’ll be copies floating out there eventually, with more to come when the holding pattern breaks in January.

See, I just knew the week between Christmas and New Year’s was going to deliver on some spicy esports drama. More to come.

My take on the 2016 Steam Awards.

Per a PCGamer writeup, Valve has announced this year’s Steam Awards shortlists and I think they’re pretty fair, considering games released this year and games with a rather long life being included in the nominations list.

So in this post, I’m just going to fire from the hip and fill out my ballot before voting begins on 22 December based on what’s been listed in the PCGamer article. There’s quite a few categories and the post is pretty long as a result, so I’m going to place the list after a jump. (In other news, the lowercase esports podcast rides again, sometime after sundown on the East Coast.)

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Astralis provides esports with an example of transparency

You have to hand it to Astralis with their most recent post about transparency behind cajunb‘s ownership situation.

They have simultaneously defused any public backlash about the trade and, for a large part, explained how their player-based co-ownership system ends up working out. While they didn’t disclose specific numbers regarding the amount of money involved, they disclosed a lot more about the process than they were obligated to, by any means.

A TL;DR of his ownership situation: he will keep some of his share in the company, however, as a minority stakeholder, he won’t have any control or vote in Astralis’ operations. His minority stake doesn’t allow him to directly profit from the team’s performance, only from a potential sale of the organization to a new owner.

A Bloomberg article you should read.

Bloomberg published a lengthy feature about the multi-billion dollar esports betting industry with a focus on CS:GO skins gambling. They’ve even gone so far as to say that Valve is poetntially liable for enabling illegal sports betting in the second-hand market because of gambling sites that are built around the Steam API.

These sites, while independently run, use Valve’s software and pay out in skins. Valve employees also communicate with CSGO Lounge and have given technical support to the site, said Courtney Timpson, a community administrator and spokesman for CSGO Lounge. The Valve logo is prominently displayed on the site, and in one post on its forum, a moderator addresses people—especially the “younger audience”—who feel that they have been scammed. “If something is wrong, don’t post on the forums; contact Valve/Steam,” the moderator writes.

They also fired what I’d like to think is the perfect shot at Riot while defending CS:GO’s ongoing audience growth spurt… in an article that’s largely critical of the second-hand CS:GO marketplace.

With familiar graphics and a spy-vs.-spy structure, CS:GO is far more accessible than fantasy games like League of Legends, which look like an incomprehensible frenzy of bizarre creatures casting spells on one another to the novice viewer.

TLEP #024: Coinflipping Is Not Gameplay

May it be known, that I am not a fan of spectator coinflipping infringing on the grand ol’ pastime of streaming games on the World Wide Web. This episode of the lowercase esports podcast is a jumble of words about how I feel on the subject, bouncing off of the Reddit post that sparked quite a discussion on r/globaloffensive.

As always, the episode list and subscription options for the lowercase esports podcast can be found over on the podcast index.

$5m USD sure is a milestone.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 11.17.36 AM

Feature Image - DOTA 2Not only is the prize pool historic, but how about a $1m USD second place prize? Regardless, Valve’s Compendium sales have allowed them to create a hype machine to rival hype machines, while pocketing over $10m USD in exchange for a few models and a new game mode.

A pretty good trade-off, I think. So when will Riot or Blizzard hop on board with the microtransaction crowd-funding train? Definitely looking forward to see how they end up promoting their leagues’ finales end this year.