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Twitter appoints gaming head, esports pros promptly verified


It was Christmas come early for certain professional esports players on Twitter today as dozens of pros woke up to find that coveted little checkmark next to their account names, marking them as verified users on the popular social media platform.

Players from Cloud9 and Team SoloMid were verified today, the first professional gamers to receive the tag. Twitter didn't discriminate based off account activity, role, or even game, with Cloud9 players in Counter-StrikeLeague of LegendsSmiteHeroes of the Storm, and even the recently signed Call of Duty team receiving the checkmark. Team SoloMid's Super Smash Bro. and Hearthstone players earned the recognition, with the entire League team save new support Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim also earning the honor.

Waking up from a nap to being verified on Twitter. It's a Christmas miracle!

— Søren Bjerg (@Bjergsen) December 21, 2015

It's possible this is a specific deal between Cloud9 and Team SoloMid and Twitter, but that should still open the door for more players on the platform. 

It could also be a gift from the new Head of Gaming at Twitter, Rodrigo Velloso, a former director of gaming content at YouTube who was brought on last week to help Twitter connect to one of its most active userbases—the gaming community, and esports. Velloso will help Twitter interface with gamers, developers, event organizers, and esports players.

“I want to work with content creators and give them the tools, or in some cases build them the tools, to allow them to produce the best content,” he told Variety.

What shape that eventually takes remains to be seen, but as today’s verifications show, Velloso and Twitter are committed to at least making some impact. Despite featuring some of the biggest audiences and engaged userbases on Twitter, professional esports players have spent years without qualifying for Verfied status, which ensures the authenticity of your account and grants you access to special features. It's reserved for key influencers in major industries, but for a long time that's excluded all but a select few esports players and organizations, like OpTic Gaming and FaZe in Call of Duty.

Today, that clearly changed, for at least two big esports franchises, and the hope is that's a sign of things to come.

Verification is actually very important for power users like many esports pros. It gives them access to Twitter analytics, which they can use to secure stronger sponsorship deals, and a few other useful new features.

Of course, that’s not the only thing Twitter’s new gaming initiative may bring to the table. Twitter is already a central social media network to both gaming and esports, the fastest way to get updates live from events and the players who compete in them. The potential for esports-specific Twitter tools is there, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes to fruition now that Twitter is taking gaming—and esports—more seriously.

Photo via Riot Games/Flickr | Remix by Jacob Wolf 

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