esports games

Pubg Esports Revenue Share Numbers

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Sources: The numbers behind PUBG’s esports revenue sharing in 2019

During the PUBG Global Invitational in July 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, PUBG Corp. detailed a five-year esports plan for PUBG in front of the press. The road map for the next few years of PUBG esports begun with PGI, with huge changes to the entire ecosystem to follow. What came in 2019 were six regional leagues and three additional competitive regions, though – at least for the western teams – their leagues were plagued with issues. From delays to poor viewership, to organizations dropping like flies, it left a lot to be desired for all involved.

While we’ve seen in some areas that the league system was a failure, one aspect of the plan that stood to truly support organizations competing in PUBG was revenue sharing. To see just how effective this initiative was in PUBG Corp.’s inaugural esports season, Esports Insider spoke to team owners and other important figures behind the competing teams in Europe and North America.

FACEIT Global Summit

For the first international event of 2019, the PUBG Classic, FACEIT was tapped as host and organizer. To coincide with the FACEIT Global Summit, a collection of branded in-game items were available for purchase. 25 percent of the revenue generated by the sale of these items was to go to the teams in attendance. While Esports Insider can’t disclose the specific figures it has seen to protect sources, as per their requests, we can confirm that the revenue shares received were in the low thousands of dollars for the FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic.

What followed throughout the season was a massive financial decline in revenue sharing for almost every western side. It’s worth noting that this was the first international event to take place in the season.

National PUBG League 

National PUBG League was a competition for North American sides, all of which had no revenue share for the first of three phases. Moving into Phase 2 of the NPL, a total of $21,498.01 was raised through a branded in-game jacket that cost $9.99. The organizer split 25 percent of the figure, $5,374.50, between the 16 teams in the league. This meant each team received $335.91 in revenue sharing for the entire second phase.

Phase 3 saw PUBG Corp. introduce an NPL-branded baseball bat into the game with the same 25 percent split for the teams. $2775.84 was to be distributed across the 16 sides, resulting in $173.49 each. Both figures that Esports Insider had received were later corroborated by Matt Dillon, CEO of Ghost Gaming on Twitter.

PUBG Europe League 

Around the time of the announcement that the National PUBG League would have its own in-game jacket for Phase 2, the same was said for PUBG Europe League. Multiple sources close to the league have informed Esports Insider that neither payments or financial breakdowns have been delivered to the organizations at the time of writing. In the third and final phase of the 2019 season, PUBG Europe League has its own branded bat that, again, would provide revenue sharing for the qualified teams. Unsurprisingly when you consider the delay from Phase 2, financial details for Phase 3 also haven’t been received at the time of writing.

PUBG Global Championship

The PUBG Global Championship was hailed as the biggest and best tournament of the PUBG calendar – the flagship event, some would say – and it looked like an improvement on the revenue sharing front. At the beginning of 2019, organizations were promised that in-game skins with their own branding would be implemented in time for this particular event. As later reported by Esports Insider, this initiative was canceled in an email to team owners and never announced explicitly to the public. PGC-branded items were utilized instead.

25 percent of the revenue from the items was to go to the prize pool and another 25 percent was to be distributed among teams, based on votes in the PGC Pick’Em Challenge event. The total prize pool is said to have reached $4 million – double the initial amount put forward by PUBG Corp. – which, in theory, means that a total of $8 million was raised by in-game sales and that $2 million would be distributed among the 32 teams in attendance.

The problem with the approach used is that not all teams would receive the same sum of money from the revenue generated, meaning it was obvious from the get-go that Asian teams would receive the lion’s share due to the sheer popularity of PUBG in the continent. Asia had four of the six regional leagues, with the likes of Latin America and Oceania not only receiving less support throughout the year but less support from the PGC revenue share initiative due to an inherent lack of popularity.

Operating under the assumption that PUBG Corp. accurately detailed the revenue that was generated and the number of fan votes that were submitted, the tweet below details how much money each team will receive from the revenue sharing alone

What’s next? 

Revenue sharing doesn’t seem to be receiving an upgrade of any sorts in 2020. In fact, it’d be incredibly difficult to do that considering there are no longer leagues – only international tournaments and qualifying events. PUBG Corp.’s 2020 esports plans detail the PUBG Global Series, a series of major events that are open to effectively any team. The plan is to have similar revenue-sharing initiatives to what was seen at the PUBG Global Championship; an expensive, not-particularly-attractive set of items with event-specific branding. While it’s unknown how PUBG esports will fare throughout the year, it’s clear that major changes were needed as organizations continue to drop out of the title.

 

 

 

Top Mobile eSports Titles

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Top mobile esports titles to watch out for in 2020

The last year has undoubtedly been a big one for mobile esports. With filled stadium events, viewership crossing the million mark in tournaments like the Free Fire World Series, and rising prize pools, mobile games have solidified themselves in the esports ecosystem. Mobile esports still have a long way to go, however. For many games like PUBG Mobile and Free Fire, 2019 was just the beginning. These games stepped into the year with the challenge of encouraging their already huge player base to be passionate about esports. The developers of both games managed to do just that while also attracting new players. 

With 2020 kicking off, several mobile games have big plans for the year when it comes to esports. Here are the top seven mobile esports that fans should watch out for over the next 12 months.

PUBG Mobile

Unlike some of the other games on this list, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile has unveiled most of its esports plans for 2020. The PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO) 2019 was a huge success in terms of engagement and viewership. The Spring Split Global final was the most-watched event of the year for the game, peaking at 596,824 viewers and had a concurrent viewership of 221,491. Of course, carrying this momentum forward in 2020 was a no-brainer for Tencent. The PMCO will continue in 2020 along with the PUBG Mobile World League. The total prize pool for the year is estimated to be over $5 million. This makes the game the biggest mobile esport in terms of prize money (excluding in China). PUBG Mobile esports in 2020 will have ample opportunities for all with campus championships for amateur players, along with the PMCO and World League for semi-pro and professional players. The PUBG Mobile Pro League will also be launching next year in the Americas, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, ensuring year-long events for fans to look forward to. 

Brawl Stars

Brawl Stars is among the new games to step into esports. The MOBA has been developed by Supercell, which boasts other mobile esports titles like Clash Royale and Clash of Clans. While the game received a large number of community tournaments since its global release last year, the first Supercell supported event—the Brawl Stars World Finals 2019—was held in November. The event attracted 93,989 viewers at its peak and had an average viewership of 28,694 people, according to Esports Charts.

For 2020, Supercell announced the Brawl Stars Championship. It’ll feature monthly online and offline events that will grant qualification points toward the World Finals, which will be held in the fall of 2020. The overall prize pool for the championship is $1 million. Fans can contribute an additional $500,000 to the growing prize pool by purchasing special in-game items, which will be revealed before the 2020 World Finals.

Free Fire

The biggest mobile esport of 2019 in terms of viewership (excluding China) was Free Fire. Garena unveiled the first international esports event for the game in early 2019 with the Free Fire World Cup. The tournament was held in April 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand and shattered viewership records. It averaged over 600,000 viewers and peaked at over one million people watching. Building up from the success of the World Cup, the Free Fire World Series 2019 featured regional qualification leagues around the world. Held in Brazil last November, the tournament broke the viewership records set by the World Cup. It peaked at over two million viewers and had an average viewership of 1.2 million people. While Garena still hasn’t announced esports plans for 2020, the Free Fire community’s passion toward esports has been made clear.

Call of Duty: Mobile

Call of Duty: Mobile may have only been released a few months ago, but it’s already become one of the biggest mobile games on the market. The game has 170 million downloads since its release. It may be too soon to talk much about an esports scene for the game, but the number of ongoing community tournaments makes it clear that esports is something that fans want to see from the game. Garena, which released the game in Southeast Asia, has already realized this and has been hosting tournaments. The Clan Invasion Tournament was held in Singapore and Malaysia, featuring live finals in the respective countries as well. Call of Duty: Mobile Mission One was also recently held for Thailand by Garena and featured a $6,600 prize pool. 

The Call of Duty: Mobile Creator Challenge by WSOE has been the biggest tournament for the shooter in the Americas. The tournament featured notable influencers, streamers, and players from the region. It had a $30,000 prize pool and peaked at over 12,000 viewers. Activision hasn’t announced any tournaments for the rest of the regions yet. Considering the hype and competitive nature of the first-person shooter, though, it should only be a matter of time before it does. 

Clash Royale 

Clash Royale is looking to have another fabulous year in 2020 with the Clash Royale League. While fans are still awaiting the exact format for 2020, we can expect it to be similar to the system in 2019. The Clash Royale League runs in Asia, China, and the West with notable organizations like Fnatic and Team Liquid competing. The Clash Royale World Finals 2019 was held in December with a $400,000 prize pool. The 2019 World Finals saw a decline of over 63 percent in peak viewers compared to the 2018 Finals. The concurrent viewership dropped by 64 percent as well. While these may be troubling numbers, a huge part of the drop in viewers could be because Supercell didn’t give out any free goodies for watching the livestream of the CRL World Finals 2019. In 2018, players earned gold, chests, and even gems just from watching the livestream, which significantly increased viewer numbers.

The game has a dedicated player base and a properly structured esports format along with the backing of numerous tier-one organizations. ELEAGUE recently televised highlights from the CRL World Finals 2019 on TBS, a first for mobile esports. It also promised to continue creating more content around the game. With announcements like these, 2020 is looking bright for Clash Royale. 

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) is another mobile esport to watch out for. The game has been running esports competitions for over two years now in Southeast Asia, where it’s extremely popular. In 2019, however, the developer Moonton expressed desires to expand the game to newer territories. The M1 World Championship, the first of its kind for the MOBA game, featured a $250,000 prize pool. In addition to reserved slots for Southeast Asian countries, qualifiers were also held in the U.S., Brazil, Russia, and Turkey. The M2 World Championship will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This move comes after MLBB’s main competitor, Arena of Valor, dropped countries like the U.S. from the Arena of Valor International Championship 2019—its premium international esports event. Expanding to new regions is a steep task for the developers with Riot Games scheduled to release League of Legends: Wild Rift for mobile in 2020, along with competition from other games such as NetEase’s Marvel Super War in which players can battle as characters from across the Marvel universe. Moonton is ready to take on this challenge, though, since it recently released MLBB 2.0. The launch of MLBB 2.0 includes a faster loading time, a more refined UI, and a completely new map, which makes the game one of the best mobile MOBAs on the market. 

League of Legends: Wild Rift

The last game on this list is League of Legends: Wild Rift. The game hasn’t been released, but Riot has promised to roll it out in 2020. Several leaks have shown gameplay footage of the game already and it’s similar to the PC version. While it may be too early to speculate about an esports scene for the game, it’s unlikely that Riot won’t try to push it in that direction.

In a recent interview, Hideo Hikida, a producer at Riot Games, told Mais Esports that Riot would “love to see the community embrace the game and move it forward in whatever way they can.” He further added that if this means that the community wants to see esports tournaments, Riot would love to give exactly that to the players. For now, fans have to wait until the game receives a release date before tournaments start happening.

 

 

Implicity eSports Gaming Company Announces

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Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company Announces Engagement of OutField Consulting for Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Sales

Boca Raton, Florida, Jan. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company, (OTCQB:WINR) (“Simplicity Esports” or the “Company”), an established brand within the esports industry and an operator of esports gaming centers, today announced that it has selected OutField Consulting, a Brazilian-based sports marketing firm, to serve as a consultant for sponsorships and business development in the U.S. market, as well as in Brazil. OutField Consulting has a solid track record in the esports market in Latin America, having worked with top teams, brands and specialized agencies.

“Our retention of OutField Consulting is indicative of our commitment to engage with corporate sponsors in 2020. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with an industry leader, and join their roster of clients that includes StubHub, Flamengo Soccer Club, and Inter Milan Soccer Club. We believe engaging OutField Consulting puts us in a position to dramatically increase our brand awareness with fans, as well as endemic and non-endemic corporations,” Jed Kaplan, CEO of Simplicity Esports, commented.

“We are very excited to work with Simplicity Esports, as we firmly believe in their “brick-and-click” business model and in their vision for the esports industry. We look forward to leveraging Simplicity Esports’ unique positioning in the industry to merge online and offline strategies.” Pedro Oliveira, Founding Partner of OutField Consulting.

About Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company:

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company (WINR) is an established brand within the esports industry, competing and streaming in popular games across different genres, including PUBG®, Fortnite®, League of Legends®, Overwatch®, Gears of War®, Smite®, and various other titles. Additionally, Simplicity Esports operates Esports Gaming Centers that provide the public an opportunity to experience and enjoy gaming and esports in a social setting, regardless of skill or experience.

PUBG®, Fortnite®, League of Legends®, Overwatch®, Gears of War®, and Smite® are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements that constitute “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous conditions, many of which are beyond Simplicity Esports’ control, including those set forth in the Risk Factors section of Simplicity Esports’ Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on August 29, 2019, as amended or updated from time to time. Copies are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Simplicity Esports undertakes no obligation to update these statements for revisions or changes after the date of this release, except as required by law.

About OutField Consulting

OutField is a consulting firm focused on the traditional sports, esports and entertainment industries, while working to build innovative strategies in the U.S. and in Latin America. Working with companies such as Unilever, Microsoft, Wix.com, StubHub and New Balance, and sports organizations such as Flamengo, Club America and Inter Milan, OutField aims to translate brands’ strategies and goals in the sports/esports industry, while also supporting sports organizations in their strategies, management, fundraising and revenue generation.

 

 

 

The Top 10 Most Influential People In eSports

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The top 10 most influential people in esports for 2019: Part III

Publisher’s Note: In a special 3-part series on the Top 10 most influential people in Esports for 2019, Ben Feferman and Niaz Dhanju collaborate to provide the InvestorIntel audience with the final 4! (Click here for Part IPart II)

Let’s recap 10-6…

10: Brandon Beck / Marc Merill, Co-founders of Riot Games

9: Andy Miller, Co-founder and Co-CEO of NRG Esports

8: Yilliang “Doublelift” Peng, League of Legends player

7:  Kirsten “KittyPlays” Michaela, Twitch Streamer

6: Faze Banks, Owner of Faze Clan

5: Carlos, “Ocelote” Rodriguez, Founder, CEO of G2 Esports

4.Robert A. Kotick, CEO Activision

Who is Robert Kotick? Kotick, an American businessman, is the current CEO of Activision Blizzard and a board member of The Coca-Cola Company. Robert grew up in New York and would eventually attend the University of Michigan for art history, where he would run a company that developed software for Apple II. In 1983, Steve Jobs urged Kotick to leave school and focus on the company full-time, advicee which Robert capitalized on whole-heartedly. Robert would then pursue various ventures, up until 1990, when Brain Kelly (current chairman of Activision Blizzard) and he would finally purchase a 25% stake in Activision. Just a year later, this swift businessman would earn the CEO title. This was not done in vain, however, for under Robert’s direction, the company would eventually grow to new heights, acquiring various esports organizations and merging with Blizzard, one of the most iconic game publishers in the world.

Why they matter in 2019? In 2019, Activision Blizzard managed to exceed their revenue projections quarter after quarter. This would eventually result in the company having a 26.97% return in 2019. Aside from competitive financial performance, the company has made tremendous noise in the esports landscape as well. The company’s portfolio already includes three major esports (Overwatch, StarCraft, Hearthstone) that captivate fans year after year, and it only seems to be growing. With the addition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty League, the announcement of Overwatch 2 and the various expansion for Hearthstone and WoW, Activision/Blizzard has continued to dominate in 2019.

3. Astralis, Esports Team (ok, we are cheating a bit, including a whole team)

Members: dev1ce, dupreeh, Xyp9x, Gla1ve, Magisk

Who are Astralis? Astralis is a force to be reckoned with, not only excelling but dominating professional CS: GO competition. In August 2019, Nikolaj Nyholm and Jakob Lund Kristensen, cofounders of RFRSH Entertainment, decided to leave the company and buy out Astralis and Origen to build their own team under the Astralis Group banner. After their separation, the pair would inaugurate the company’s first FIFA team, which was also sponsored by Audi. Though the other groups continued to improve, the focus has been on Astralis due to the legendary performance they achieved in just three years.

Why they matter in 2019? With skills, finesse and strategy, oh and a little bit of funding! Astralis’ path of destruction includes the shattered monitors used by their opponents. The team is unique in that each player has breathtakingly mechanical skills and employs synergistic teamwork. As a result, the team has consecutively won the last three CS: GO majors, with the most recent being the StarLadder Berlin 2019 in September. Not only did this give them the most total major wins (4) of any CS: GO team, it is also a feat unmatched by any other team in the game’s history. These efforts have allowed Astralis to earn over USD$8 million in winnings, with about USD$2 million coming from 2019 alone. Aside from gaming, the company has also made history by being the first competitive esports team to IPO. Not only will this serve as a benchmark for esports team valuations, but also sheds light to an industry that is largely privately owned.

2. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Streamer

Who is Ninja? At one point, Ninja was synonymous with Fortnite, but today he is perhaps the most recognized gamer on the planet. In 2017, after the launch of Fortnite, Epic Games would market the game using content creators and streamers. This would allow them to procure a higher degree of engagement as well as feedback that would be critical to the success of the game. At the time, Ninja was a professional Halo player, who was building up quite a viewing streaming battle royale games such as H1Z1 and PUBG. It was not until after a PUBG tournament when Ninja first picked up Fortnite. Honestly, this may have been the single most important event in both Fortnite and Ninja’s gaming history. As Ninja grew, so did Fortnite, and as Fortnite grew, so did Ninja. The two forces were entangled, synergistically giving exponential rise to its counterpart. From 2017 to 2018, as Fortnite crowded the gaming environment, Ninja amassed over 2 million followers on Twitch, up from 500 000 in 2017. He would also set viewership records on Twitch as he played with high profile celebrities such as Drake and Travis Scott. Ninja has since managed to become the largest Twitch streamer with 14.7 million followers. In addition to his streaming pedigree, Ninja totals 22.3 million subscribers on YouTube, as well as 14.8 million and 5.37 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, respectively.

Why they matter 2019? The grandiose reason behind Ninja’s allure in 2019 is his move from Amazon’s Twitch to Microsoft’s Mixer. The news erupted the gaming industry, as gamers had limited streaming options and felt streaming on any platform other than Twitch would not bear any fruits. However, when Ninja immigrated over to Mixer, he brought along with him a large audience that helped populate Mixer’s community. This effect was clear, as Shroud, a retired professional gamer and streamer, and many others followed soon after. Ninja’s influence is widespread, and even a small stimulus can be a catalyst for an exponential effect. He has rose to the status of a coveted athlete with his own Adidas shoes, and has converged past just gaming alone.

Drum roll please…The most influential esports figure in 2019 is….

  1. Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, Founder & Co-owner of 100 Thieves

Who is Nadeshot? Nadeshot is a retired professional Call of Duty Player, who is currently the founder and co-owner of 100 Thieves, a professional esports organization that competes in Call of Duty, League of Legends, Fortnite and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Nadeshot emerged onto the professional esports scene in June 2010, when he joined OpTic Gaming’s Call of Duty team. In April of 2015, he would eventually retire from competitive play and focus his attention on content creation under OpTic Gaming. However, this relationship would not last. Soon after in 2016, Nadeshot would severe his connection with OpTic and create his own esports organization called 100 Thieves, whose Call of Duty roster would consist of King Papey’s players (former NA Call of Duty team). This was a decision he would not regret. Even though Nadeshot had a prolific Call of Duty Career and achieved high placements in various major tournaments over 5 years, what set him apart from the rest was his incredible content and popular esports team, 100 Thieves.

100 Thieves was not just your average esports team; it was a lifestyle brand. Nadeshot had made this vision clear through the content he created and perhaps, it was the secret behind the team’s rapid success. About a year after Nadeshot created 100 Thieves, Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans, made a multimillion-dollar investment that would help spur the organization. Following this investment, 100 Thieves would receive $25 million in funding from notable partners such as Drake, Scooter Braun and Marc Benioff in 2018. Nadeshot had a unique blueprint and these investors believed that the company could conquer new heights and break out its shell as just a gaming brand.

Why they matter in 2019? Those investors were not wrong! In 2019, 100 Thieves raised another USD$35 million from Aglae Ventures and Groupe Arnault in another round of funding. No longer bound by financial restrictions, Nadeshot would expand the team to cover four esports, while also acquiring content creators that were crucial to the 100 Thieves brand. The esports operations remained robust as the team went on to win Call of Duty CWL London and Anaheim and came 2nd at the Call of Duty World Championships in 2019, earning a total of USD$665k from Call of Duty alone. Many of the team’s Fortnite players also did well in 2019 placing in duo and solo events at the Fortnite World Championship to bring home almost USD$2 million in prize money.

All of these accolades are fitting for someone on this top ten list but one particular event shook the esports world profoundly.  On August 29th 2019, Nadeshot announced that 100T would not participate in the Call of Duty franchised league citing franchise fees and geolocations as some of the reasons. This announcement sent shockwaves through the esports world which was already very divided on the franchise vs. non-franchise model.

The Top 5 Rising Mobile Esports of 2020

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Editor’s Picks: The Top 5 Rising Mobile Esports of 2020

In China and Southeast Asia, mobile esports have stood right alongside their PC and console brethren for years. While the West has yet to catch up in this area, 2019 was a significant step forward as games like Clash Royale and PUBG MOBILE helped bring new organizations, viewers, and sponsors into the mobile ecosystem. 

Early in my esports career I was among the naysayers, discounting the competitive merit of mobile games and wondering aloud why anyone would choose to watch or compete in Arena of Valor over League of Legends. However, the last two years have proven that mobile esports are building up their own distinct community – a niche market that won’t be reached by traditional PC esports. Not only do these games have their own compelling competitive storylines and hype moments, but they also present a unique opportunity for brands and esports organizations alike to tap into a market they have yet to reach. 

Looking ahead, 2020 is set to be the biggest year for mobile esports yet. Between new releases, new partnerships, and a better understanding of the market as a whole, these games will help propel mobile esports forward. These are the top five rising mobile esports of 2020 – the games I predict will bring the most growth to the mobile ecosystem.

League of Legends: Wild Rift

Honor of Kings and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang have proven that mobile MOBA’s (the genre dominated by League of Legends on PC) can sustain an esports ecosystem in Eastern markets, but Arena of Valor’s attempt to replicate that success in the West has been less than successful. There is a high barrier of entry in convincing a PC-focused market to commit 20-30 minutes to playing a game on a phone.

This is where League of Legends: Wild Rift comes in. A familiar IP is a proven way to lower the barrier of entry for any game, and there are few IPs more familiar to gamers than LoLWild Rift will be the inflection point that propels mobile MOBA’s into mainstream popularity in the West, to say nothing of its likely success in China.

Historically, Riot Games has been more methodical in its esports development than some of its competitors, so it is unlikely that the game will launch with a multi-million dollar franchised league, but exhibitions featuring LoL pros are sure to be part of its marketing effort, no doubt leading to a more established esports structure heading into 2021.

Brawl Stars

Supercell has been a driving force in the development of mobile esports largely through its commitment to the Clash Royale League, which drew a number of new esports organizations into the space. While no such league has been created for the developer’s newer competitive title, Supercell has already announced a significant commitment to Brawl Stars in 2020. 

A year-long competition structure is ideal for a growing esport as it allows organizations to monitor the game early in the year, and then swoop in the buy up free agent contender rosters ahead of major championships where the bulk of the viewership and prize money will be concentrated. More structure, more prize money, new organizations entering the space – these are the defining characteristics of a growing esport, and Brawl Stars fits the mold perfectly.

Free Fire

While most of the headlines surrounding mobile battle royale titles have been focused on PUBG MOBILE, Garena’s entry into the genre quietly had a strong 2019 and doesn’t look to be slowing down. According to Esports Earnings, the game awarded nearly $400K USD in prize money in 2019 – virtually all of it coming from a single event, the Free Fire World Series. According to YouTube’s annual YouTube Rewind, Free Fire was also the fourth most-watched video game on the platform.

In addition to its game publishing work, Garena is an experienced esports tournament operator. With Free Fire challenging the likes of Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG MOBILE in total downloads, the company has an opportunity to also challenge its competitors for the mobile battle royale esports market.

Clash Royale

The last two spots on this list are somewhat of a cheat as both have proven themselves as established esports, but their growth potential (both for different reasons) means that they simply cannot be ignored.

For Clash Royale, that potential comes primarily from a recently-announced partnership with Turner Sports to oversee the Clash Royale League’s ad inventory. The CRL has largely operated without sponsors for its first two years, but bringing in the company that operates ELEAGUE (which has signed its fair share of non-endemic partners) should change that in a hurry.

While viewership and prize money may not grow dramatically for the CRL in 2020, the opportunity for brands has just grown significantly, which is critical to the long-term viability of any esport in the modern era.

PUBG MOBILE

When one of the most downloaded mobile games in the world commits $5M to an overhauled global esports structure, it is worth noting. PUBG MOBILE is already a dominant esport in growth markets like India, and esports organizations including Fnatic and Spacestation Gaming have taken note.

On PC, battle royale esports remain a complicated challenge, largely held aloft by the overwhelming prize money infused into Fortnite by Epic Games. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has abandoned its regional leagues after just one year, and Apex Legends saw virtually no esports interest this year after the launch hype died down (next year’s Global Series may change that, but it remains to be seen). Mobile battle royales appear to be another story entirely.

Both Free Fire and PUBG MOBILE have shown that there is an audience interested in watching these games played at a competitive level, and Tencent has the resources to develop PUBG MOBILE into not just a powerful mobile esport, but an industry leader overall.

The Decade’s Most Influential Video Games

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The Decade’s Most Influential Video Games

It was a decade of the indies in video games, with a number of smaller developers having an outsized influence. From new genres to controversial revenue schemes to innovative funding strategies, the industry saw evolution from bottom to top.

Here are the surprising hits that made waves and spawned copycats each year this decade:

2010 – Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent helped usher in a spate of lo-fi horror games and spawned the careers of YouTuber influencers who are now celebrities among the Gen Z set.

2011 – Minecraft

Minecraft was a pioneer even before its official release in 2011. The title spent its first years in an “early access” state, where players paid a nominal sum to play an in-development beta, a strategy that’s been adopted across the industry as a way to test and fund projects.

2012 – Puzzles & Dragons

Mobile became gaming’s dominant platform this decade by following the lead of Puzzles & Dragons. The Japanese gacha game was perhaps the first mobile title to cross $1 billion of revenue and helped popularize the “loot box” revenue model now copied by top-earning mobile games and big-budget franchises like Overwatch.

2013 – Gone Home

Sarcastically dubbed a “walking simulator,” Gone Home followed meditative, non-combat indies like Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable but struck a chord throughout the industry with its ’90s aesthetic, satirical hints of horror and inclusive storytelling.

2014 – Broken Age: Act 1

Legendary designer Tim Schafer used Kickstarter in 2012 to raise a record-breaking $3.3 million to make one of his patented old-school adventure games, showing the viability of crowdfunding. Not without controversy, an accompanying documentary illustrated development pain points, like the game Broken Age splitting in two.

2015 – Destiny: The Taken King

The original Destiny in 2014 faced development troubles that threatened its future, but the monumental Taken King expansion, released a year later, successfully overhauled the title, showing other major studios how to stick with a game and retain players after rough launches.

2016 – Pokémon Go

The mainstream phenomenon that was Pokémon Go contributed to a trend of pop culture nostalgia while also showing Nintendo the benefits of lowering the walled garden around its key franchises as it prepared for the 2017 launch of its Nintendo Switch console.

 

2017 – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds came out buggy and incomplete in 2017—and it also became one of the bestselling games of all time. From out of nowhere it dominated the industry and popularized the “battle royale” genre that Epic Games then used to retool its game, Fortnite.

2018: Fortnite: Battle Royale

Added to Fortnite in fall 2017, the Battle Royale game mode became the cultural touchstone of Gen Z in 2018. It showed up in Walt Disney’s Avengers franchise. Competitor stocks suffered. Blue-haired streamers got rich. And its subscription-based revenue model was looked at as a suitable industry alternative to maligned loot boxes.

2019: League of Legends

Riot Games this year announced a slew of spinoffs for its ten-year-old League of Legends, capping a decade where the title legitimized the free-to-play model and showed how to sustain relevance with never-ending updates, all the while filling Olympic stadiums with fans for its competitive matchups. The dysfunctions of Riot’s workplace—claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, walkouts over forced arbitration—also defined what was a tumultuous decade for workers in the burnout-heavy games industry, which may be headed for unionization in the 2020s.

China Esports Recap

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Tencent and VSPN Co-Host $430K Peacekeeper Elite Championship in Xi’an, Newzoo Partners with Newbee

In the last week of 2019, Chinese esports organization Vici Gaming won the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Invitational in Singapore, taking home a $200K USD share in prize money from $500K. In addition, two former League of Legends Master Series (LMS) Taiwanese teams – Flash Wolves and MAD – disbanded. 

Among the top stories: Tencent and VSPN will co-host the Peacekeeper Elite Championship in Xi’an Qujiang District with ¥3M RMB ($430K) in total prize pool money; esports data company Newzoo signed a partnership deal with Newbee; and esports organization LNG changed its home venue from Chongqing to Suzhou.

Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.

Tencent and VSPN to Co-Host First $430K Peacekeeper Elite Championship in Xi’an Qujiang

Game publisher Tencent and Chinese tournament organizer VSPN will co-host the first Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PEC) in Xi’an Qujiang from Dec. 28-29. The tournament will feature a ¥300M ($430K) total prize pool, and 15 esports teams from 11 regions, including North American esports team Cloud 9, Chinese team 4AM, and Fnatic’s South Asian team. 

According to the release, PEC is the premier international tournament in Peacekeeper Elite esports system. VSPN told The Esports Observer, that the organizers will also invite Chinese musical artists, including Yuchun Li and Yawei Yuan, to perform during the event. 

Peacekeeper Elite is considered a clone of popular mobile game, PUBG MOBILE. In May, Tencent released the game and made it exclusively playable in mainland China. The company made sacrifices to content and removed a few features from Peacekeeper Elite in order to get approvals from the government and monetize the game. Sources close to Tencent and VSPN told The Esports Observer that Peacekeeper Elite and PUBG MOBILE are recognized as two different games in China. 

On Christmas day, market intelligence company Newzoo announced that it signed a partnership deal with esports organization Newbee. Under the terms of this deal, Newzoo will provide esports data from the industry, and Newbee in turn will provide its data for Newzoo’s esports research. 

“Newzoo has a senior understanding and data analytic knowledge in the esports market,” said Xin Tong, the CEO of Newbee in a release. “The partnership with Newzoo will help the company obtain more insights from the esports business market while we will also help Newzoo on their esports research.”

Newbee is best known globally for its Dota 2 team, which won the 2014 The International Championship and took second place at the 2017 The International. The organization competes in Dota 2, Warcraft IIIStarcraft IIClash Royale, and Fortnite. Sponsors include IntelNvidiaSennheiserSecretlab, Raybet, and Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning. 

Newzoo is also an esports data partner of LGD Gaming

LNG Moves its Home Venue from Chongqing to Suzhou 

On Dec. 18, esports organization LN Gaming (LNG) announced that the company will move its home venue to the Chinese city of Suzhou from Chongqing. The new home venue is called Suzhou Yangcheng International Esports Venue, which also will be the place to host the League of Legends Demacia Cup 2019 group stage. 

LNG is owned by Viva China Sports. In May, Qilin Li, the CEO of Viva China Sports, acquired League of Legends Pro League (LPL) team Snake and rebranded it to LN Gaming. Li is also on the executive board of Chinese sportswear giant Li-Ning Group, and LNG has also considered a major team investment of Li-Ning in esports. It should be noted that Snake (Now LNG) is the first esports LPL team to have an esports home venue. 

Other Esports Business News: MAD Team, Flash Wolves Disband LoL Teams

On Dec.18, Taiwanese esports organization and former League of Legends Master Series (LMS) team, MAD Team, disbanded its League of Legends team. Former LMS Taiwanese team Flash Wolves (FW) has also been shut down. 

According to the announcement by MAD Team, the company has transferred its qualification to the Pacific Championship Series (PCS) to Hong Kong-based esports organization Talon Esports. PCS is a merged evolution of League of Legends Southeast Asia Tour (LST) and LMS, featuring ten esports teams from Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, and Bangkok.

How Video Games and Esports are Shaping Fashion

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How Video Games and Esports are Shaping Fashion

Video games have become the most profitable form of entertainment, estimating the global gaming market to be worth $152 bilion by the end of this year. When it comes to fashion, the global market is projected to exceed 1.5 trillion dollars in 2020. The demands for clothing and gaming is on the rise across every corner of the world. It only makes sense that eventually, they would collaborate.

Accessibility plays a huge part in the growth of both of these markets. The barries to become a gamer have never been easier to cross due to mobile gaming, as well as the consumption of clothing items has never been financially more approachable with the rise of fast fashion. Although profitable numbers in the trillions are indeed impressive, the fashion market still has room to grow when appealing to gamers.

The insertion of gamer focused apparel articles have now reached every type of consumer in the fashion realm. From the fast fashion collaboration between Forever 21 and Overwatch to handbag collections, and the overly referenced collection between haute couture brand Louis Vuitton and League of Legends, we can go on and nominate countless brands that have licensed video game IPs. But who are they creating for?

Consumer Products Specialist Mandie Roman stated that “the LV x LoL isn’t really for League fans. Look how many items are in the collection, and how many feature Qiyana. It’s very few. The target demo is the usual demo who can splurge on luxury goods like this. Riot partnering with one of the biggest luxury brands in the world is a huge marketing beat. When Vogue and other non-gamer endemic brands are talking about it, that’s incredible visibility for League. It’s also very telling of how far gaming/esports has come and how much further we can go. I for one am super into this collection. It means more brands, hopefully, some in my price range, can partner and create more content and merch for us to collect!”

The truth is that brands have a lot more than sales to gain from the usual gamer. When it comes to Louis Vuitton, brand awarenes definitely seems to have a bigger play in the collaboration, as the three items featuring the character Qiyana, are actually the cheapest pieces in the collection. When Louis Vuitton first explored the gaming realm with their Final Fantasy collaboration, none of the pieces made reference to the in-game characters, except Lightning was modeling some of the pieces herself. The average gamer is not likely to spend a few thousand bucks on a pair of shoes, so we are left wondering who the consumers of these products will be.

Accessory brand DN Handbags just recently teamed up with Nintendo to create a handbag collection featuring Super Mario characters and the iconic NES controller. The price tag of most gaming inspired collections are friendly to most consumers, being on the range of $18 – 88. Italian luxury fashion brand Moschino has also made its way down the warp zone, designing a collection of clothing and accessories based on the italian plumber.

Gaming brands are meeting the fashion industry half way, entering the apparel marketing by releasing clothing inspired by their lifestyle. Esports teams are entering the game releasing out of the regular esports jersey style.

Esports organization Cloud9 has teamed up with sportswear brand Puma to launch a collection focused on gamers, with the #DareYou campaign, featuring several of their players and influencers. FaZe Clan just released a collection with their newest investor, Offset, who says “The actual players, they’re like rock stars, they’ve got great followings, they influence kids, and that’s what I do”. 

Esports x Streetwear brings together cultural aspects of both scenes: competitivity, hype, and undeniably, clout. Streetwear’s core aspects allow esports to make for a strategic partner when bringing awareness to brands and representing gaming culture. Hype Culture, as defined by The Bagpipe, is “a term used to describe a generation obsessed with finding the next big thing. It is a culture bent on excitement and adrenaline.”

The insertion of musical culture in gaming is only paving the way to solidifying the ever growing culture of gamer fashion. This year, Riot Games created True Damage, a hip-hop group based on some of their League of Legends characters, with a twist of fashion elements that adapt to our culture. There’s only hoping that this sets a new standard for fashion influence. 

For more fashion, gaming and esports content, followe me on Twitter! Even I was guilty of wanting to wear some of Qiyana’s clothes.

Esports New Growth

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Esports new growth point of China’s gaming industry

Esports games have given new momentum to China’s gaming industry and are becoming a fresh growth point, said a report on China’s gaming industry in 2019.

Esports games created a sales revenue of 94.7 billion yuan (13.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, up 13.5 percent year on year, according to the report released Thursday by China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association.

The number of the game users have increased for five consecutive years to 440 million this year, doubling that in 2015, said the report.

The report foresees strengthened talent cultivation and an improved employment system in the esports industry with the support of relevant policies.

Emerging games such as augmented reality games and virtual reality (VR) games are burgeoning. According to the report, the actual sales revenue of China’s VR games in 2019 reached 2.67 billion yuan (381 million U.S. dollars), registering a sharp growth of 49.3 percent from a year earlier.

China has 640 million game users in 2019 and the actual sales revenue of the country’s gaming industry totaled nearly 231 billion yuan, said the report.

Apex Legends Global Series

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EA and Respawn announce $3m Apex Legends Global Series competition

EA and Respawn Entertainment have announced the Apex Legends Global Series – an international multi-tournament esports program with a whopping $3 million in total prize pool.

Since the game’s launch in February of 2019, Respawn’s battle royale was an instant hit, with its potential as an esports title immediately realized.

Events such as Twitch Rivals and X-Games gave fans and players a taste of what to expect with competitive Apex Legends — before Respawn stepped up the game with the $500,000 Preseason Invitational. On December 17, the future of the esport has been unveiled with the Global Series from EA and Respawn.

The competition will begin on January 25, 2020, and will be for PC players from over 60 countries. Initially set to feature 12 live events (in addition to online competition) EA and Respawn will ‘self-execute’ some of these events, while others will be operated by PGL and GLL.

The competition is open to all players on PC, with registration starting in early January. Players must be over 16 to participate, or 17 in Japan and 18 in Russia or South Korea. Full rules can be found on the Apex Legends website.

“The competitive journey for many will start with online competition, with competitors potentially advancing to live, regional Challenger Events and global Premier Events,” EA explained. “Players will earn Apex Legends Global Series Points for their performances in online and certain live events and those atop the standings will be invited to the four Apex Legends Global Series Majors, the highest competitive live event tier.”

Apex Legends Global Series structure

Hopeful players will need to earn Global Series points to earn an invitation to the first of four Majors, which will take place on March 13-15, and feature 100 of the best three-player squads.

The fourth and final Major will be the Global Series Championship, where the top 60 teams will each compete for a $1 million prize pool and the title of ‘World Champion.’

Battle royale esports has faced challenges with other games like Fortnite and PUBG. There are challenges to make th games translate well as a spectator experience, as well as ensuring luck or ‘RNG’ is balanced out through the points system.

Respawn hopes Apex Legends’ exclusive Match Point format will set it apart: “Match Point requires teams in the Finals to reach a points threshold through a combination of match placement and accumulated kills. Apex Legends is the only Battle Royale esport to feature this uniquely exciting end game mechanic.”

Apex Legends’ “immense esports potential”

Head of Respawn, Vince Zampella, has said that “competition is at the heart of Apex Legends,” and expects esports to play a “big role” in the future of the game.

John Nelson, Competitive Gaming Commissioner for Apex Legends, believes that the game “possesses immense esports potential. “Through close communication with our community, we’ve built an accessible Apex Legends ecosystem where any player can become a potential star while the world watches our unique, entertaining take on Battle Royale esports.”

There will perhaps be some disappointment for console players on PS4 and Xbox One, where Apex is also immensely popular. It’s unknown at this time if controller on PC will be permitted in the Global Series, as is possible in Fortnite.

More details about the Apex Legends Global Series is set to come soon, closer to launch in January.

Drawn from several surveys of mostly college-age adults in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, the report by U.K.-based Student Affinity Network UNiDAYS details how firms can best reach Generation Z , generally considered those born between 1995 and 2010. Gen Z is the top target for Navy recruiters. Among the report’s findings, 49 percent of Gen Zers feel better socializing online than off.

Focusing on esports is seen as a way for the Navy to tap into this community of possible recruits that tend to congregate online, Muoio and Raidt said. To start, they described the Navy’s esports spending as modest while the service learns where best to focus its recruiting efforts. They want to see which specific online games yield the most potential recruiting contacts.

“At this point, we’re not looking to be integrated in the game, but want to use it to be engaged,” Raidt said.

Engagement is where the Navy’s esports team fits into the strategy. In May, the Navy plans to hold auditions to join a dedicated team of esports competitors. The Navy is creating an esports team from the service’s current pool of roughly 4,700 active duty recruiters.

The sailors selected will be expected to participate in online gaming and use the platform as a way to connect with other players online at that time, telling them about their experiences in the Navy and encouraging the players to continue a conversation with Navy recruiters.

Earlier this year, the Army fielded a similar team, the Army eSport Team based out of Fort Knox, Ky. The team operates much like the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team and Army Marksmanship Unit, which travel around the country demonstrating their skills and increasing awareness of opportunities in the Army, according to the Army. The U.S. Air Force Academy has an esports team that competes in the Mountain West Conference.

“My expectation is what we’ll end up doing is creating a lot of engagements with a lot of content and just get people a lot more information about the Navy,” Muoio said. “I expect to see a lot more site visits to Navy.com.”