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While The International continued to stand as a key headline this past week, the world has seemingly gone a little TF2-crazy with the release of new game updates, SFM shorts, community contests, and our very own Top 5 episode!
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As part of the build-up to the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive championship at ESL One Cologne 2014, Valve have revealed the "Pick'Em Challenge", a new mini-game focused on a number of stickers introduced in a game update earlier today.
The ultimate goal of the Pick'Em Challenge is simple: Correctly predict the winning teams at Cologne 2014. By collecting team stickers from the ESL One Cologne 2014 Sticker Capsule or the Steam Marketplace, players can use them to predict which teams they feel will win each stage of the event. As the tournament progresses and becomes more difficult to predict, the point value awarded for each correct prediction steadily rises from 3 points for the Group Stages, to 6 points for the Quarterfinals, and 8 points for the Semi and Grand Finals.
Points can then be compared against those of your friends using in-game leaderboards before the final scores are tallied and Challenge Trophies are handed out to participating players at the end of the tournament. Pick'Em Challenge Trophies will be viewable on a player's CS:GO avatar and their Steam Profile (much like crafted game badges), and can be collected in three different varieties, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, which are obtained by scoring a total of 25, 50, or 75 points, respectively.
While the Pick'Em Challenge is a totally new system currently unique to CS:GO, its design is very reminiscent of voting features contained within the 2013 and 2014 Compendiums for Dota 2's International tournament. The Pick'Em Challenge will run throughout the four day ESL One Cologne 2014 event, which begins on August 14th and concludes with the Semi and Grand Finals on August 17th.
All the recent hubbub surrounding new Team Fortress 2 maps gave us an idea: What exactly are our favourite official and community maps? For episode 10 of Top 5, we decided to draft in Frozen of TF2Maps.net to help decide which of the 50+ maps deserve a spot on our list.
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Even though it's been over a week since The International 2014 Grand Finals took place on Monday, July 21st 2014, the buzz surrounding the event's success has failed to fully dissipate. Earlier today, a Valve representative informed IGN that the event was spectated by more than 20 million unique viewers across the in-game spectating client and the numerous online streaming outlets, such as the Dota 2 blog and Twitch.TV.
While this figure alone is pretty impressive, the event's impact can be seen even more prominently when you consider that more than 2 million simultaneous viewers spectated Monday's grand final live, over double the amount of the 2013 finals. This figure does not include data from ESPN3, MTG Europe, or Chinese television coverage, all of which were reportedly very successful on their own.
Even without providing any concrete viewing figures, ESPN was extremely impressed with the event's turnout, something which has prompted the company to broadcast more eSports related content in the future, just as Valve and Erik Johnson had hoped when the partnership was announced a few weeks ago.
With prize pools and audience figures literally multiplying year-on-year, the main question on everyone's mind remains: Just how big can The International become?
With The International 2014 now all wrapped up, many of Valve's other products have been attempting to steal the vacant spotlight, including the return of the Steam Controller and Steam Music, and the Fourth Annual Saxxy Awards!
Thank you to everyone who has subscribed and supported our content over the past few weeks, it really means a lot to us! Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and to rate our Dota 2 Announcer Pack positively over on the Steam Workshop. Thanks again for watching!
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