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Lionel Messi's PSG package includes payment in crypto Fan Tokens
by Sayan Sen
Cryptocurrency it seems is all the buzz nowadays and in recent times, football (soccer) clubs and nations have also started embracing it.
In a new development related to that, French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) - which has been in the headlines recently for signing celebrated soccer player Lionel Messi - has announced today that part of the former Barcelona forward's pay package will include the club's digital Fan Tokens ($PSG).
Image: PSG The deal is initially for a two-year period which may be extended for a third. During this time, Messi will be paid $41 million annually plus bonuses. PSG however hasn't stated the amount of FTO share that will be the part of that package.
For those wondering, Fan Tokens (FTO) was created by a company called Socios and provides the fans voting rights in some minor affairs and decisions, or access to exclusive merchandise, and such. Here's how Socios itself defines the FTO:
The Fan Tokens by Socios are powered by the chiliZ ($CHZ) utility tokens based on Ethereum's ERC20 protocol and currently the $PSG FTO is trading for around US$40, which is the highest among all the other FTOs. Somewhat expectedly, the price for $PSG certainly seems to have gone up after the Messi deal.
You can find PSG's official press release here.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft and LaLiga expand partnership to transform the digital sports experience
by Hamza Jawad
Over the past few months, Microsoft has formed or expanded upon Azure-centric partnerships with various firms including Cruise, GM, Standard Chartered, PepsiCo, and more. Today, the tech giant has announced an expansion of its partnership with Spain's premier football association LaLiga.
As part of this team-up, LaLiga will be leveraging Microsoft's cloud platform, including Azure AI and ML for its LaLigaSportsTV OTT platform, as well as for its match statistics and visualization Mediacoach platform. The aim through this would be to offer viewers highly modernized interactive audiovisual experiences.
Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga, commented on this partnership, noting:
Another major feature of this collaboration would be the utilization of LaLiga Tech - the federation's technology offering - through the development of new tech solutions focused on innovating the media and entertainment industry. When it comes to fans of football, services like Azure Event Hubs, Azure Data Lake, Azure Databricks, and Azure Machine Learning will be advancing the match experience for them through personalized streaming options, as well as through new visual experiences in the form of AR, VR, and 3-D replays.
As far as the rights holders, broadcasters, and commercial partners are concerned, Dynamics 365, Power BI, SQL Database and Azure Cosmos DB, and Azure Machine learning will allow for an improved streaming platform with personalized recommendations. And finally, venue managers will be able to leverage Power BI and Azure to streamline stadium operations.
Notably, LaLiga's app ecosystem already largely relies upon Microsoft's Azure services, and the expansion of this partnership may be considered as just another major step on the road to digitizing the football experience for fans of the sport across the globe.
Amazon set to stream Premier League matches on Twitch
by Paul Hill
Ball in goal image by Shutterstock Amazon is going to begin streaming English Premier League football matches on Twitch, for free, in the UK as it tries to give fans a chance to interact with one another while games are being played. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, matches are being held behind closed doors.
According to Deadline, Amazon is hoping that users on the streaming service will act a bit like pundits as they share their views using the chat feature. Given how long it has been since football stopped, Twitch users won’t have to wait that long before the first fixture; Crystal Palace vs Burnley on June 29.
With the crowds absent, the atmosphere of the stadium is completely different according to those lucky enough to get into the match. To address this, EA Sports has worked with Amazon, Sky Sports, and BT Sport, to develop synthetic crowd noises called Stadium Atmosphere. This will provide viewers with the sounds they’re typically used to hearing.
Commenting on the new technology and the matches in general, Alex Green, managing director of Amazon Prime Video Sport Europe, said:
The matches will be presented by Gabby Logan and the pundits Roberto Martinez and Lee Dixon. Commentary for the games will be provided by Clive Tyldesley, Jon Champion, Peter Drury, and Ally McCoist.
In terms of free-to-air matches, Sky Sports has also announced that it will be showing 25 of its 64 games on Pick, available to all on Freeview and other TV services.
By Hamza Jawad
Football Manager 2020 to be released next month
by Hamza Jawad
In August, Sports Interactive released an announcement trailer for its upcoming Football Manager 2020 title. That trailer didn't showcase any actual gameplay, and instead seemingly just focused on enticing players to gear up for a display of their management skills. Then, earlier this month, the video game developer unveiled new gameplay features for FM20.
Now, it has been revealed that the title will be arriving on Steam, iOS, and Android on November 19. However, release dates for its launch on Google Stadia and Nintendo Switch will be made known later.
Just to clarify, the version that will be released solely for Android and iOS will be known as Football Manager 2020 Mobile. As one would expect, although the base gameplay experience would be about the same, the amount of content and playstyle flexibility available for players on the mobile version will be quite limited in comparison to the much more expansive PC-only version.
There's also a Touch variant that is offered on all three platforms, PC, iOS, and Android. Sports Interactive notes that the latter and the former will not differ much in terms of their content, and instead, only in terms of their availability on different platforms. However, going by previous iterations in these series, Football Manager 2020 Touch should offer an experience closer to the PC-only version. For example, viewing matches with 3D player models hasn't been possible in the past on Football Manager Mobile games.
Some Football Manager fans have expressed doubts over the significance of the additions being made in the latest edition. One of the only graphical features highlighted in the gameplay video mentioned above is 'Pitch environment updates', something which may seem quite minor given that this is a separate entry to the series, demanding prices close to what one would expect from AAA titles in the current gaming era.
However, in games belonging to the tactical management/simulation genre, graphical improvements are often not the foremost of considerations, and players instead focus much more on how the gameplay has shaped up over the course of the past year. Either way, we should know more once the beta version becomes available around two weeks before the title's launch on November 19.
By Hamza Jawad
Four children emptied their parents' bank account playing FIFA 19
by Hamza Jawad
Image via FOX Sports Asia There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the system of loot boxes in gaming in recent years. Essentially, loot boxes are a form of in-game transaction that do not have their contents revealed before purchase. As such, getting an item of choice is left up to chance, leading to some people spending quite a lot of money before they finally attain what they are after. Following the backlash against this system, some companies have even made specific note of mentioning that no loot boxes will be present in their games, such as Square Enix with its upcoming Marvel's Avengers.
However, other developers, like EA, have continued to include this mechanism in massively popular titles such as FIFA 19. The Ultimate Team mode in the game consists of a card-purchasing option, which provides buyers with random players whose ratings are based on the rank (such as bronze, silver, gold) of the card that they purchase.
Now, as per BBC, four children seems to have taken this a step - or a couple hundred steps - too far. Observing their father make a purchase in-game, they went on to use his bank account details to spend £550 (~$690), emptying their parents' bank account in the process.
Thomas Carter, the children's father, bought them a single £8 (~$10) pack for Fifa 19 on their Nintendo Switch. However, he did not realize that they'd observed how the process of purchase had taken place. Coupled with the lack of precautions taken, such as no unique PIN number being used and emailed receipts being sent to an older inbox, the children were able to gain access to their parents' bank account, unbeknownst to Mr. Carter or his wife.
Mr. Carter's bank statement, via BBC The children, all four of whom were aged under 10, were after Lionel Messi, the joint highest-rated player in the game, and were not willing to give up until they'd achieved him from a player pack. Therefore, they went on to make a number of purchases over the next three weeks to fulfill their wish. As it turned out, even after spending a grand total of £550, they were still unable to experience unpacking a Messi card.
Mr. Carter and his wife did not realize what had happened until their card was declined due to their bank account being empty. The children's Switch was immediately confiscated and Nintendo were contacted; the gaming company agreed to refund all the purchases, removing all the purchased players from the account in question. Mr. Carter still voiced concerns regarding loot box systems, noting, "You pay £40 (~$50) for the game, which is a lot of money in itself, but then the only way to get a great team is essentially by gambling".
EA does have very clear guidelines for parents to control in-game purchases made through their children's accounts, and there is no doubt that in this case, the father was at fault for not implementing precautionary measures. However, the wider debate regarding the implications of loot boxes as a form of gambling, and its effects on young children, remains to be as controversial as ever.