• Real Luck increases authorized stock options to 13.7M • Sony acquires Nixxes Software • Twitter, TikTok, Google, and Facebook promise to boost protections for women online • EXCEL ESPORTS raises $23.4 million financing round


Real Luck increases authorized stock options to 13.7M

Real Luck Group Ltd. has approved an amendment to the company's 20 per cent fixed stock option plan to increase the number of shares to be reserved and authorized pursuant to stock options granted under the plan from 10,057,495 to 13,705,700. The adoption and subsequent amendment of the plan is subject to (i) the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange and (ii) the approval and ratification of disinterested shareholders of the company, which approval will be sought at the company's upcoming annual general and special meeting to be held on Aug. 13, 2021. At the meeting, the company will also seek disinterested shareholder approval for the ratification of certain stock option grants under the plan.


MTG acquires PlaySimple in $510m deal

Modern Times Group has acquired India-based mobile studio PlaySimple in a deal worth well over $500 million. The upfront consideration amounts to SEK 3.09 billion ($359.6 million), currently planned to be paid as 77% cash and 23% MTG class B shares. However, with performance-based earnout payments of up to SEK 1.29 billion ($149.8 million), the acquisition becomes worth $509.4 million. MTG says the deal will "significantly strengthen" its position in both the casual games space and with a female gaming audience, give it access to the growing word games genre, and allows it to tap into the talent pool in India. PlaySimple is best known for word games such as Word Jam, Word Wars and Daily Themed Crossword. Its revenues grew 144% in 2020 to SEK 706 million ($83 million), with an adjusted EBITDA of SEK 154 million ($18 million).

Sony acquires Nixxes Software

Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced the acquisition of Dutch studio Nixxes Software. The conditions of the acquisition have not been disclosed. The developer will join PlayStation Studios Technology, Creative & Services Group, which focuses on technical and development capabilities to support Sony's games development studios. It's the second developer to join PlayStation Studios this week, as Sony announced the acquisition of Returnal developer Housemarque on Tuesday. Hermen Hulst, head of PlayStation Studios, commented: "I highly respect Nixxes and am excited for this very experienced team to become part of the world-class development community at SIE."

The ‘Metaverse’ is growing. And now you can directly invest in it.

The next evolution of the Internet, often referred to as the Metaverse, is on its way. Still more conceptual than real, companies from Silicon Valley to Cary, N.C., are chasing this goal, and it is unclear what shape the Metaverse will take when it arrives. But now, through the creation of a new Metaverse-centric fund by a council of advisers from various industries, people can directly invest in it. A group of seven counselors from various industries, including journalism and gaming, started an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. It’s a basket of securities that trade like a stock, bundling companies the council deems to be in the best position to build out the Metaverse. The ETF is sponsored and maintained by Roundhill Investments.

Content Creators

TikTok increasing video length from one to three minutes

TikTok is increasing the maximum length of videos on its platform from one minute, to three. In a blog post, product manager Drew Kirchhoff said the change would allow for "even richer storytelling and entertainment". Since it launched in 2018, TikTok has limited its users to 60 seconds per video, setting it apart from competitors like YouTube. The app says that's going to change for all its users "over the coming weeks". Kera Stewart's a drummer who's had variable success on TikTok - she's managed to top a million views on some videos, but hasn't yet worked out the secret to doing it consistently. "Personally, I'm not a fan of the idea," she's told Radio 1 Newsbeat. "The reason TikTok's been so successful is because it takes advantage of our short attention spans. You can get so much different content and entertainment in a short period of time."

TikTok parent ByteDance has begun selling the video app’s AI to other clients

ByteDance, the Beijing-based parent company of video sharing app TikTok has started selling TikTok’s AI to other companies, the Financial Times reports. The company has a new division called BytePlus, and according to its website, its client list already includes US fashion app Goat, Singapore travel site WeGo, Indonesian shopping app Chilibeli, and India-based social gaming platform GamesApp. TikTok’s recommendation algorithm is a huge part of what has made it so popular. Essentially, the way you interact with the app affects what videos it will recommend to you. The company explained in a blog post last year how its ForYou feed determines what videos to serve a given user. Its recommendations are based on user interactions including which videos you like, share comment on, or create; video information, such as captions and hashtags; and device and account settings including what device you’re using, your language preferences, and your location settings.

Riot releases royalty-free album for streamers

Riot Games has launched an album of copyright-free lo-fi music designed for online creators. The 37-track record, titled Sessions: Vi, will provide streamers with music to play during live broadcasts without fear of incurring copyright claims from artists or publishers. The album is free to stream and available on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. Last month, streaming platform Twitch warned streamers about a rise in DMCA claims as the music industry clamped down on copyright violations. In an email sent to creators, the platform said it had received a large amount of takedown notifications -- with 1,000 individual claims from music publishers -- mostly directed at archived video content.

Twitter, TikTok, Google, and Facebook promise to boost protections for women online

At the UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris on Thursday Twitter, TikTok, Google, and Facebook committed to tackling online abuse and improving safety for women on their platforms. The pledge came following consultations with the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF) over the past year, aimed at examining online gender-based violence and abuse. The WWWF said the consultations showed women want more control over who could reply or comment on their social media posts and more choice around what they see online, where, and when. According to the WWWF, the companies have pledged to “build better ways for women to curate their safety online” by offering more granular settings, such as who can see, share, or comment on posts; more simple and accessible language; easier navigation and access to safety tools, and by “reducing the burden on women by proactively reducing the amount of abuse they see.”


EXCEL ESPORTS raises $23.4 million financing round

British esports organization EXCEL ESPORTS announced that it has completed a £17 million GBP ($23.4 million USD) financing round led by investment firm JRJ Group, which first acquired a majority shareholding in 2018 alongside TOMS Capital, the family office of Noam Gottesman. Further investors that participated in the round included IPGL (the family office of Michael Spencer), the family office of Alan Howard, and the international private equity firm TNF Investments. EXCEL revealed that it will use the investment proceeds to continue growing its talent lineup and expanding into more esports titles. Additionally, the organization “will further bolster its infrastructure, launching its operations into new territories and developing their digital platform to become an innovative destination for the community.”

Allied Esports announces the launch of AE Studios

Esports entertainment company Allied Esports has announced the launch of its new content development, storytelling, and production services division AE Studios. According to the release, the new division will serve the firm’s partners in need of solutions outside of esports tournament operations and broadcasts. Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports, spoke on the announcement in a release: “After years of parachuting into people’s lives through esports, we are in a prime position to serve our wide-ranging list of clients with creative solutions that tell an engaging narrative outside of pure gaming competition, with professional, experienced, digital-first production."

Shaq on The General NRG naming rights deal, investing in esports

NRG Esports announced earlier this week the first in a series of activations related to its naming rights deal with insurance company The General, its Rocket League team, and The General’s popular spokesperson, NBA Hall of Famer, and NRG investor Shaquille O’Neal. The first activation will give fans the opportunity to vote on four jersey designs beginning July 6, with the winning design being revealed at the start of Rocket League Championship Series Season 11. To learn more about how this naming rights deal between The General Insurance and NRG’s Rocket League team came to life The Esports Observer spoke to NBA legend, entrepreneur, and the foil to Charles Barkley’s biting repartee on TNT’s post-game NBA show, Inside The NBA Shaquille O’Neal.