October 6, 2020

Today’s Industry Updates

CANADIAN COMPANIES
  • Fansunite to add Pinnacle data to Chameleon platform – Fansunite Entertainment Inc. has entered into its latest partnership with Pinnacle Solutions, a global leader in on-line sports betting. Fansunite is excited to announce its partnership with Pinnacle to incorporate Pinnacle’s new esports data and odds feed into its Chameleon Gaming Platform. The partnership is part of its strategic plan to collaborate with the best data providers for its esports betting offering. Through Pinnacle’s partnership with GRID Esports, they gain direct access to GRID’s contracts with esports leagues and tournaments, making it the best data source for many major esports events. In partnering with Pinnacle, Fansunite can now offer the best odds on esports bets for its Chameleon Gaming Platform partners, giving it a competitive advantage over other turnkey B2B esports betting products.
  • Fandom Sports works on Fandom platform upgrades – Fandom Sports Media Corp. has commenced requested upgrades to the Fandom e-sports platform based on feedback from potential partners and superusers garnered during the private beta launch. “Having already determined the infrastructure requirements required for a global launch, we continue to develop innovative and proprietary technologies that will give Fandom players a transformative way to play predict and get rewarded for interacting with e-sports data feeds,” states David Vinokurov, chief executive officer and president. Partnership discussions are continuing and the company will be providing regular updates on feature rollouts which will assist in defining business terms for localized launches of the platform.

GAMING
  • Mobile gaming firm AppLovin hires Morgan Stanley to lead IPO – AppLovin Corp, the U.S. mobile app and gaming company backed by private equity firm KKR & Co Inc , has hired Morgan Stanley to lead preparations for an initial public offering (IPO) which could come early in 2021, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has flirted with the idea of an IPO for years, but had never taken a concrete preparatory step. It is the latest mobile gaming startup to eye a stock market listing, as demand for video games surges among consumers staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sources requested anonymity because the IPO preparations are confidential and cautioned that the plans are subject to market conditions.
  • ‘Genshin Impact’ Feels Destined To Change The Gaming Industry – At this point, it feels like a long time ago that Genshin Impact first made its debut in the western gaming consciousness. It…did not go well. The game was widely derided as a knock-off of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with a similar art style, the ability to climb anything in the world limited only by a stamina meter, music that evoked the Legend of Zelda series, and other systems like cooking and fire propagation. Now that the game has arrived, however, the conversation has turned on a dime. Genshin Impact is a fine, well-crafted game, and the world is taking immediate notice. Despite competing with the US for the title of largest gaming market in the world, Chinese-developed games are viewed with suspicion in the west, and there aren’t a ton of crossover hits.
  • Sony expects PS5 to sell more than 7m units by April – Sony Interactive Entertainment expects that PlayStation 5 to shift more than seven million units by the end of the current financial year. In an interview with Korean site Naver, via Google Translate, president and CEO Jim Ryan predicted the console would “sell more in its first fiscal year than [we] sold in the first fiscal year at the time of [the] PS4 launch.” PlayStation 4 released in mid-November 2013 and by April 6, 2014, just after the end of the financial year, Sony announced it had sold more than seven million units. At the time, this was enough to give Sony a comfortable lead over Microsoft and its rival Xbox One console. With no current prediction for Xbox Series X or S sales, it’s unclear whether or not seven million will be enough to secure the lead this time around.

CONTENT CREATORS & INFLUENCERS
  • 2 Million Creators Make 6-Figure Incomes On YouTube, Instagram, Twitch Globally – There are currently over 50 million creators on Youtube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, and other social media platforms. Two million of them are full-time, and they earn six figure salaries by creating content daily or weekly. And that massive distributed content creation engine means that about 90% of the video, audio, photo, and text-based content consumed today by Gen Z is created by individuals, not corporations. That’s a massive cultural shift. These are just a few of the insights from a recent report on the “creator economy” by Yuanling Yuan, senior associate at SignalFire, and investment firm. “The number of those long tail amateur influencers/creators is going to explode. I think by our data, this should grow from 50 million to a 100 million and possibly even larger,” Yuan told me in a recent TechFirst podcast. “A large amount of that growth is going to be driven by Gen Z.”
  • Facebook Gaming surpassed one billion hours watched in Q3 – After a significant leap in streaming hours watched due to pandemic-related lockdowns, viewership for Q3 appears to be steadying somewhat, though YouTube and Facebook Gaming continue to see gains. According to the quarterly report from Stream Hatchet, Twitch hours watched in July through September of 2020 reached 4.7 billion, down from a record high of 5.1 billion in the prior quarter but still well up from 2.8 billion hours watched in the same quarter last year. YouTube Gaming hours watched continued to steadily rise to 1.7 billion in Q3, up from 1.5 billion in the prior quarter and up from 724 million in Q3 of last year. And Facebook Gaming hours are also still trending upward, surpassing 1 billion hours watched for the first time in Q3 this year after coming in just under the milestone last quarter.
  • xQc becomes most-watched Twitch streamer by far amid Among Us hype – Canadian streamer Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel has secured the title of the most-watched channel on Twitch, partly thanks to his streams on breakout title Among Us in September. xQc has been one of the biggest streamers on Twitch for quite a while, with over 3.6 million followers on his channel, but he is no longer just one of the biggest – he is the biggest. While Ninja and Shroud may boast more followers, in terms of who people are actually watching most, no one comes close to xQc. The former Overwatch pro has seen a massive surge in viewership since he started playing Among Us – a co-operative game that has exploded in popularity on Twitch, now making him, by far, the most-watched streamer.

ESPORTS
  • Supercell Announces Brawl Stars World Finals with Increased $1M Prize Pool – Supercell has announced that this year’s Brawl Stars World Finals will feature a $1M USD prize pool, up from $250K in 2019. Eight teams from around the world will have earned their spot in the finals through a series of online qualifiers. The World Finals will take place on Nov. 21 – 22. Last year, the World Championship took place live in Busan, South Korea, where Nova Esports took home the title. Supercell has not yet indicated if this year’s competition will take place live or online as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. Both Riot Games and Activision Blizzard chose to hold their world championships for League of Legends and the Overwatch League in person, but the majority of championship-level events for other esports have either been canceled, postponed, or shifted to regional online competitions.
  • European ESL Mobile Open expands into MENA for second season – Tournament organiser ESL has announced that it is to expand the ESL Mobile Open into the Middle East and North Africa for its second season. Over 500,000 players participated in the inaugural season of the mobile-focused competition, according to a release. The tournament is to double the number of titles for players to compete on. For the second season, Asphalt 9, Clash of Clans, Auto Chess, and PUBG Mobile have been selected for competition. Alongside the new titles, players will compete for a share of an €85,000 (£76,564) prize pool.
  • Riot Games Initiates Legends of Runeterra Esports Program with Seasonal Tournaments – The full slate of Riot Games titles now officially have publisher-backed esports programs following the announcement of a new tournament system for the publisher’s digital card game Legends of Runeterra. The game’s latest developer update video introduced the Seasonal Tournament model. The competitive season will begin on Oct. 14, with players in each region qualifying for a season-ending tournament either through success on the game’s ranked ladder, or through special “gauntlet” events wherein a player must win multiple games consecutively. On Dec. 5, Riot will hold a Last Chance Gauntlet as a final qualification opportunity before the tournament kicks off on Dec. 6.

Subscribe to The Daily Download by REX