October 13, 2020

Today’s Industry Updates

  • ESE signs hockey player Kane as brand ambassador – ESE Entertainment Inc. has signed Evander Kane, professional hockey player for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL), as a global ambassador for the company’s e-sports brands. As a brand ambassador and shareholder of ESE Entertainment Inc., Kane will help support ESE’s growth and success while partnering with ESE’s various Esports brands. Kane will attend ESE live activations throughout the year, and challenge other NHL players to team play with the Company’s Esports teams or partners. Kane’s participation is anticipated to be live streamed publicly. Kane will also contribute to building out the Company’s professional player and influencer roster.
  • Fansunite closes loan interest sale to Victory Square – Fansunite Entertainment Inc. has assigned to Victory Square Technologies Inc. the company’s interest in debt in an aggregate amount of $833,730, pursuant to an assignment and subrogation agreement with Victory Square and V2 Games Inc. The assigned debt arose pursuant to an amended and restated game financing agreement between V2 Games and Just Games Interactive Entertainment LLC, doing business as Kung Fu Factory, dated Feb. 1, 2019, and was acquired by the company pursuant to an interest purchase agreement between the company and V2 Games, dated Dec. 13, 2019. Pursuant to the assignment agreement, the company has assigned the assigned debt to Victory Square, in full and final satisfaction of debt in the aggregate amount of $658,212 owed by the company to Victory Square and certain affiliates of Victory Square.

  • Gaming platform Roblox confidentially files to go public – U.S. gaming platform Roblox Corporation said here on Monday it has confidentially submitted paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. Reuters reported earlier this month that Roblox was seeking to go public early next year, a move that the company expects would double its recent valuation of $4 billion. Roblox did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether it would choose the traditional initial public offering or direct listing route to go public. In a direct listing, no new shares are sold and underwriting banks do not weigh in on the pricing, unlike in an IPO. By not selling new shares, companies do not dilute the ownership stakes of existing shareholders and the public listing allows current investors to sell shares easily.
  • Rockstar buys Ruffian Games, rebrands to Rockstar Dundee – Rockstar Games has acquired Crackdown 2 developer Ruffian Games, and rebranded the studio as Rockstar Dundee. As spotted by TheGamer, the acquisition appears to have gone through as recently as October 1 of this year per a Companies House listing noting the name change and shift of control. The two companies have been working together for at least the last year according to a job listing for engineers to develop “unspecified titles”. Ruffian Games was established in 2009 with veterans from Climax, DMA Design, and RealTime Worlds, including developers who had worked on the original Crackdown, Project Gotham Racing, Fable 2, and Grand Theft Auto.
  • Epic vs Apple case may have “serious ramifications” for Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox – The judge overseeing the Epic vs Apple legal dispute has warned that the final decision could have “serious ramifications” for the three console makers. In new court documents, shared by The Verge, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers responded to Epic’s arguments for a preliminary injunction that would reinstate Fortnite to iOS and prevent Apple from once again attempting to block Unreal Engine or any other part of its business not connected to the battle royale game. One central argument to Epic’s motion — and indeed the case overall — was the claim that Apple is running a monopoly and that iOS is a walled garden, forcing developers to pay 30% of all revenues generated from in-game transactions.

  • Huya and DouYu Plan Merger, Tencent Will Control 67.5% of Voting Power – Tencent’s proposed merger of Chinese live-streaming platforms Huya and DouYu was set into motion on Monday when both companies announced that they have entered into an agreement and plan of merger. The business combination is expected to close during the first half of 2021. The merger combines China’s two largest gaming and esports focused live-streaming platforms with Huya being the surviving entity. In their last earnings reports, Huya and DouYu reported monthly average users of 169M and 165M, respectively. Once the merger is completed, the current Huya CEO Rongjie Dong and current DouYu CEO Shaojie Chen will lead the new entity as co-CEOs.
  • Twitch Studio adds chat overlay and countdown timer tools – Twitch has updated its livestreaming software with more features, which will give streamers more ways to make their broadcasts pop. With Twitch Studio, you can now copy and paste or duplicate layers or scenes so that you can make your stream’s visual style more consistent. Let’s say you usually place your webcam feed in the corner of the screen during your stream. If you want to position it in the bottom center for some games (i.e. to cover up the game code during an Among Us session), you can more easily create a scene with that single tweak and switch to it quickly mid-broadcast.
  • Soleil ‘EwOk’ Wheeler Comes Out: ‘I Feel Like a Weight Has Been Lifted’ – Soleil “EwOk” Wheeler, the 15-year old Fortnite professional and member of FaZe Clan, announced on Sunday that he has come out as a bisexual transgender person. In a Twitlonger posted on Oct. 11, a date known by the LGBTQ community as  “Coming Out Day,” Wheeler addressed his coming out, the hardships associated with making such an announcement, and how for years he struggled, saying he “never felt right in a girl’s body.” Following the announcement the esports community has shown its support and rallied around Wheeler. In his post, Wheeler talks about what it was like growing up and that he never really felt comfortable.

  • 100 Thieves to no longer field CS:GO roster – 100 Thieves will no longer field a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster after reports Friday that star Justin “jks” Savage would be transferred to Complexity, according to a story from HLTV. The team will part with its majority Australian roster just a year after it signed the team that previously competed under the Renegades banner. Since October 2019, the team has continued to be among the elite in the North American region. Jks’ move to Complexity was first reported by DBLTAP. 100 Thieves did not respond to a request for comment. 100 Thieves coach Chet “Chet” Singh retired from coaching Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at the end of September, signing a deal to help build and coach the new VALORANT roster of NRG Esports, his former team. 100 Thieves had not named a replacement.
  • The International Prize Pool Surpasses $40M – The prize pool for The International 10, the world championship of Dota 2, has exceeded $40M USD for the first time in its history, continuing to break the record for the largest single-event prize pool ever. TI10 was originally scheduled for August 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event has now effectively been rescheduled for August 2021. The prize pool for TI grows as a result of proceeds from the sale of Dota 2’s annual Battle Pass – a purchase that unlocks in-game rewards such as unique cosmetics and features. Valve contributes 25% of all revenue from the Battle Pass to the TI prize pool.
  • Talon Esports raises $2M in seed round – Hong Kong-based organisation Talon Esports has announced it has raised $2 million (£1.52 million) after completing its seed round. Participants in the funding round included Widus Strategic Investments, EMC Capital, Widus Strategic Investments, and founder of esports marketing agency United Esports, Felix LaHaye. Thanks to the funding raised, the organisation is said to expand its lifestyle value offering alongside expansion into new countries and competitive titles. Sean Zhang, CEO and Co-founder of Talon Esports, spoke on the raise in a release: “Since being founded in 2017 we have seen Talon grow from competing in local competitions to making it onto biggest stage of esports: the League of Legends World Championship.

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