Pixel P&L: Skyesports Championship, Filipino Esports, and Microsoft's AI

The Skyesports Championship brings Counter-Strike 2 back to India, Filipino Mobile Legends teams secure international deals, and Microsoft unveils cutting-edge AI innovations at Build 2024.

Vignesh Raghuram
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Pixel P&amp;L</p></div>
Pixel P&amp;L


AFK Gaming

Good Morning. It is Wednesday, May 22, and we’re covering the announcement of Skyesports’ $200K USD Counter Strike 2 LAN, Microsoft’s AI making its way into Minecraft, western esports organizations entering the Filipino Mobile Legends: Bang Bang market and more. 

Skyesports Championship 2024: Counter-Strike 2 Returns to India with $200k on the Line

Skyesports has announced the return of its flagship event, the Skyesports Championship, now in its sixth edition. This year's tournament will focus on Counter-Strike 2 and boast a substantial prize pool of $200k. The event is set to take place from July 23 to 28 in India, attracting teams from around the globe for an intense on-ground competition.

The Skyesports Championship 2024 will feature eight teams battling for the championship. Aurora Gaming from Serbia, the reigning Skyesports Masters 2024 champions, will lead the lineup. They will be joined by Mongolia's Mongolz, Russia's BetBoom, Turkey's Eternal Fire, and Brazil's Furia Esports. The fifth invited team and the champions from the European and Indian qualifiers are yet to be determined.

Filipino Mobile Legends Teams Secure High-Profile International Partnerships

In the lead-up to the MPL Philippines Season 13 playoffs, three playoff-bound teams have announced strategic partnerships with well-known esports organizations: Team Falcons, Fnatic, and Team Liquid.

On Sunday, AP.Bren announced its partnership with Team Falcons, a MENA-based organization with teams in esports titles such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, PUBG, PUBGM, and Rocket League. The following day, ONIC Philippines disclosed its collaboration with Fnatic through a Facebook post, rebranding the team as Fnatic ONIC Philippines. ECHO completed the trio of announcements, revealing via a Facebook video that they will now be known as Team Liquid ECHO.

The International teams may be forging these strategic partnerships in a bid to secure a spot in the upcoming Esports World Cup 2024 Club Championship, a mega cross-game competition boasting a $20M prize pool for the top 16 clubs. To get in, clubs need to finish in the top eight in at least two competitions, and to take home the championship title, they must secure first place in at least one.

Microsoft Showcases Copilot AI at Build 2024

At Microsoft's recent Surface event, the tech giant unveiled a series of major announcements, including the Copilot Plus PC platform and new Surface laptops. Among the highlights was a demonstration of Copilot, Microsoft’s AI assistant poised to revolutionize gaming.

Copilot, a direct competitor to Google Gemini, showcased its integration within Minecraft through an engaging demo. The AI assistant interacted with the player in natural language, guiding them on how to craft a sword. Copilot instructed the player to open their inventory, select appropriate items, and even identified missing materials necessary for crafting. This real-time, conversational assistance is powered by OpenAI's advanced GPT-4o model.

While Microsoft has yet to confirm plans to extend Copilot to other Xbox or PC games, the potential is evident. Should this innovation gain traction, traditional game guides and the platforms that host them might soon be obsolete, replaced by dynamic, in-game assistance.

Quick Bytes

Crunchyroll Expands Anime Reach in India with Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu Dubs

Crunchyroll announced the release of multiple anime dubs in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu for May and June. Highlights include Blue Lock on June 12, Dr. Stone on May 29 and June 26, Haikyu!! Season 1 in June, Log Horizon Season 2 on June 4, Mashle: Magic and Muscles on May 17, Radiant Season 2 on June 26, and TSUKIMICHI -Moonlit Fantasy- Season 1 on June 19.

PC Games Grew More Than Console and Mobile Games in 2023

Market researchers at Newzoo reported that 2023 was a "recovery year" for games, with PC platform revenues growing 8.4%, outpacing consoles' 0.3% increase and a 2.1% decline in mobile gaming. While PC gaming revenue reached $39.6 billion, it still lags behind mobile's $89.9 billion and console's $52.4 billion. Publicly listed PC companies saw nearly 9% growth, with strong performances from Valve, Epic Games, and miHoYo, aided by successful cross-platform strategies.

Modi: India Set to Lead Global Gaming and AI Industries

In a recent NDTV interview, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India's burgeoning gaming and AI sectors, expressing confidence in the nation's youth. "India is leading the world. All the 20 to 22-year-olds are going to do it," he claimed. Modi emphasized India's transition from an entertainment to a creative economy, promoting a "digital revolution" to empower the poor and bridge inequality. He also noted India's affordable internet, a key factor in the growth of online gaming. "When people from outside come to India, they are surprised," he remarked.

Microsoft to Add New Call of Duty to Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft is set to add the latest Call of Duty installment to Xbox Game Pass, aiming to attract new subscribers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Consumers will still have the option to purchase the game separately for PC or consoles. The announcement is expected at next month's Xbox Games Showcase, following Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In October 2023, Microsoft stated, "While we do not have plans to put Modern Warfare 3 or Diablo 4 into Game Pass this year, we expect to start working with Xbox to bring our titles to more players around the world."

GST Council to Review Online Gaming Tax Concerns

The GST Council is set to review grievances from online gaming startups regarding GST implementation last year. Central and state officials are examining relief requests from companies facing tax notices amounting to over INR 1.12 Lakh Cr, according to a Mint report. Penalties under GST laws could double these costs. An official noted the council will consider these issues in its next meeting in late June or early July. Previously, a 28% GST rate on player entry fees, applicable from October 1, 2023, significantly increased the tax burden on startups, impacting industry viability and user engagement.

Did You Know?

Team Wolf is the only Indian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) team to have ever qualified for a Major. This remarkable achievement occurred in 2014 when they secured a spot at the ESL One Cologne tournament, one of the most prestigious events in the CS:GO competitive scene. However, they couldn’t garner a single win and were eliminated in the group stages.

Quote of the Day

A sword wields no strength unless the hand that holds it has courage."
Hero's Shade, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Got any feedback? Hit us up at editorial@afkgaming.com and keep us on our toes. We're all ears!

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.