EUROPE: Czech open access operator RegioJet has announced plans to launch a long-distance passenger service on the Praha – Wien – Budapest route from June 2020. There would be two trains each way per day, operated as extensions of the Praha – Brno – Wien services which have been running since December 2017. This would be the first time that a private operator would directly compete with Hungarian national operator MÁV-Start. It would also provide passengers with an alternative route between Budapest and Praha, as the current direct service runs via Bratislava. RegioJet currently operates 14 daily coach services to and from Budapest, offering connections to Praha, Wien, Brno and Bratislava. ‘Our policy is to be the best value for money for passengers on rails’, said General Manager Ivana Kašická on August 8. ‘On the Praha – Wien route we have proven that it is possible to bring much higher quality of service on trains for much lower prices than the traditional train operators.’ The trains would use Budapest Déli station, unlike the Austrian Federal Railways Railjet services from Wien which serve Keleti. Trains would arrive at Budapest Déli at 12.14 and 20.14, and depart at 07.45 and 15.35. They would call at Budapest Kelenföld, Győr and Mosonmagyaróvár in Hungary, crossing the border at Hegyeshalom and calling at Wien Meidling and Wien Hbf before continuing to Praha. RegioJet is to work with local operators Westbahn in Austria and Continental Railway Solution in Hungary, which will provide drivers and conductors and be responsible for operations. This follows an agreement for Westbahn to take over from Graz-Köflacher Bahn as the operator and provider of drivers and conductors for RegioJet’s services within Austria from the December 15 2019 timetable change.
Three esports organisations are stepping into the Shadowverse arena, Next Generation Esports (NGE) and Cygames announced in a joint press release yesterday. Tempo Storm and Panda Global, both already invested in the Hearthstone scene, along with Echo Fox, announced 6 new signings.In the wake of the announcement for the Shadowverse World Grand Prix tournament circuit, more Western esports teams are gearing up to try and get their hands on the $1 million (£769,000) prize pool. With the open qualifiers starting last month, teams have started to move and pick up top players in the Pan-American and European regions. Jason Woo, NGE chief strategy officer said: “Echo Fox, Panda Global and Tempo Storm each bring unique qualities to Shadowverse esports and the players that were chosen to represent each team will be supported like never before.”Currently ranked #1 in the Pan-American leaderboards, Tempo Storm’s Anthony “Crumsion” Doan said in a statement: “Tempo Storm’s expertise in digital CCGs will be able to provide me with resources and knowledge that no other team can offer. I am certain that, with the help of Tempo Storm’s incredible management staff and my teammates, I will be able to push myself to compete at my highest level.”Released in mid-2016, Shadowverse is one of many digital card games that chased after Blizzard’s Hearthstone. While widely popular in Japan and other parts of Asia, this move signifies a shift for the game as it gathers popularity in other parts of the world.With the regional cup taking place online from 15th to 23rd September, Cygames will also be holding offline tournaments in Singapore and Montreal in August and September. This culminates in the offline Contender’s Cup held in Los Angeles which will secure them a spot for the finals in December held in Tokyo, Japan.Esports Insider says: With Artifact on the horizon and the Hearthstone Global Games in full swing leading up to Blizzcon, Shadowverse and other digital card games have a narrow window to cement their place in the esports space. These signings are promising, but we’ll have to see if it translates into increased viewership or more teams jumping on board.Sign up to our newsletter!