October 7, 2020

Today’s Industry Updates

GAMING
  • Activision Blizzard to Shut French Office Rooted in Its Past – Video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. informed employees in its Versailles, France, office Tuesday that the location will be closed, putting an end to the U.S. company’s history in the country. The Versailles office employed about 400 people as of early 2019 and handled marketing, customer support, localizing games to different languages and other functions for the titles Activision Blizzard publishes in Europe. The company originally planned to relocate half of the office to London, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. However, the twin factors of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic have inhibited that process, leading to the decision to shutter the site about an hour’s drive outside Paris.
  • US House committee says Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook engaged in monopolistic behavior – A US House of Representative antitrust committee has completed a 15-month investigation into potential violations by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, concluding that the four tech giants have all engaged in monopolistic practices. The investigation has concluded with a 449-page report, which states that the four companies have “captured control over key channels of distribution and have come to function as gatekeepers.” Specifically, the committee targets Facebook for its monopoly over social networking, Google for general online search and search advertising as well as anticompetitive contracts connected to Android, Amazon for the online retail market, and Apple for the mobile operating system market.
  • Sky more than doubles installs in three months – Sky: Children of the Light is taking off, as Thatgamecompany today announced the iOS and Android free-to-play game has been downloaded 50 million times worldwide. That shows significant momentum for the game, as it was just three months ago that TGC announced it had reached 20 million installs after a year of availability. Those numbers could receive further boosts as TGC plans to bring Sky to more platforms. A Switch version had been announced to release this year, but the company pushed that back to 2021 in August, citing COVID-19 and the need to preserve the development team’s health.

CONTENT CREATORS & INFLUENCERS
  • Dallas Startup With the ‘Most Powerful X-Platform Tools for Streamers’ Raises $700K in Seed Funding – Botisimo is essentially a way to scale your stream. With its arsenal of customizable cloud-based cross-platform solutions, the startup enables live streamers to better engage and chat with their audiences. The recent investment was made by Mason Bridge, a Dallas-based operating partner run by experienced entrepreneurs who focus on software-driven businesses. The firm aims to bridge the financial expertise of its investment partners with the strategic needs of portfolio companies. With the funding, Botisimo will increase its user base and develop new features for its game-changing stream tool suite.
  • YouTube 4K has come to Apple TV, but we’re waiting on HDR, 60fps, and iPhone/iPad playback – “A big frustration with the Apple TV 4K is about to be history,” my colleague Chris Welch wrote, when we learned that Apple’s premiere set-top box would finally be able play 4K YouTube videos at their native resolution instead of being stuck at 1080p. These days, even a $40 dongle can do better than that. But though Apple’s latest software updates did bring YouTube 4K to the Apple TV 4K, the frustrations aren’t necessarily over. It turns out you’re limited to watching 4K at 30fps, instead of a smooth 60 frames per second, and without the depth of color and contrast that High Dynamic Range (HDR) provides. That’s what 9to5Mac noticed yesterday, and we’ve confirmed with Google that — for now — Apple TV only supports 4K at 30fps with SDR content.
  • How to Start Streaming on Twitch – You Might Think you have to be a pro gamer to get started with Twitch, but that’s not true. Everyone from artists and musicians to comedians and crafters have channels where they create, entertain—and, yes, even play games for their audience. Here’s how to find yours, and how to watch ours. Whether you plan to stream video games or, well, anything else, you’ll need a computer that’s up to the task. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need a new one, though. Twitch has its own suggested PC specs, but they’re fairly lightweight, including only an Intel Core i5-4670 (or its AMD equivalent), 8 GB of RAM, and Windows 7 or newer. Of course, if you plan on streaming games, you’ll want a PC that can handle the games and the streaming software you plan to use.

ESPORTS
  • Flashpoint’s CS:GO Tournament Series Returns with $1M Prize Pool – B Site Inc.’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournament series, Flashpoint returns as Flashpoint 2 with a $1M USD prize pool. Play-in qualifiers will start on Oct. 8 with the main competition series taking place from Nov. 9-22. The culminating playoffs start on Nov. 30 and will continue through Dec. 5 with the Grand Finals finishing the series on Nov. 6. The series champion will receive $500K and the AK-47 trophy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the league, Flashpoint 2 will be played entirely online. For Flashpoint 2, all teams will be quarantining in Europe, as well as Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles who serves as commissioner of Flashpoint and vice president of brand, and Duncan “Thorin” Shields, creative director and broadcast talent.
  • Riot Games dissolves Oceanic Pro League – Riot Games has announced that the Australia and New Zealand-based League of Legends pro-league, the Oceanic Pro League (OPL), will cease operation immediately. Riot’s Sydney office will also close and players in the OCE region will be integrated into the North American player pool. 2021 Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship qualifiers will still be held for the region. In an official statement, Malte Wagener, Managing Director, NA & OCE and Tom Martell, Director of Operations, Global Esports cite that “the OPL has not met our goals for the league, and we do not believe that the market is currently able to support the league in its current form.”
  • GGPredict is looking to revolutionise CS:GO coaching with AI – Whether you’re an amateur Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player looking to climb the rankings, or looking to improve individual and team performance in a professional setting, coming across digestible, deep-level statistical analysis can be tricky. Coaching and VOD analysis, while useful, can often be a time-consuming affair that’s more scenario-based and qualitative, or based on very top-level data that is readily available. Driven out of a desire for self-improvement through measurable data – GGPredict is an AI-driven tool that uses quantitative analysis and machine learning to give users precise, easily viewable feedback on their CS:GO skills.

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