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Americans are spending more on video games than ever before, World of Warcraft returns to the esports arena, and the New York Game Awards acknowledges the best in gaming journalism in our latest gaming roundup.
First up, the Entertainment Software Association and The NPD Group have released new information tallying how much Americans spent on video games this year — and it is considerable. As reported by Variety, in 2018, those who reside in the U.S. spent a whopping $43.4 billion (with a B) on video games this year.
That's an overall 18% increase in what was shelled out in 2017, which totaled a mere $36.9 billion by comparison. Gaming hardware, like consoles and PCs, was up 15%, whereas digital and physical games, subscriptions, and in-game microtransactions were up a solid 18%, from $30.4 billion last year to $35.8 billion in 2018.
Next up, Blizzard has revealed it'll be taking its flagship title, World of Warcraft, back into the esports arena. A recent blog post reports that the company is backing two tournaments in 2019 — the Arena World Championship (AWC) and the Mythic Dungeon International (MDI).
It's also planning some new in-game toys that will go to help fund prize pools. The AWC will consist of two Arena seasons, one for Europe and one for America. Each season will consist of six cups, and each cup will have a $10,000 prize.
The first AWC cup will begin on Feb. 8. Signups already began last week, and will wind down next Monday, Jan. 28. Asia-Pacific, China, and Latin America will all get their own AWC cups, with signups expected to be announced later this year.
Meanwhile, the MDI tournament will no longer be by invitation only, and instead will be open to all players with a Battle.net account in good standing. Players will compete for a $12,000 prize pool per cup, leading up to a $100,000 cross-regional tournament. Not a bad payday.
You can find out more details at the World of Warcraft website.
Finally, the New York Game Awards are officially underway tonight. The annual awards ceremony honors the best in gaming journalism. This year's contenders include reports on guns in video games, the toxic masculinity of Telltale Games, and the sexist work environment at Riot Games.