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23.11.21

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161

23.11.21

Pioneer Media applies for NEO listing • Netflix hires VP of game studios • Spotify Plans To Spend $3.5 Billion On Podcast And Audiobook Expansions • Weibo Gaming acquires Suning Gaming LPL roster and franchise

Canada

Enthusiast Gaming Expands into League of Legends with Acquisition of U.GG

Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc. (“Enthusiast Gaming” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:EGLX; TSX:EGLX) is pleased to announce it has acquired Outplayed, Inc. (the “Acquisition”), owners of U.GG, one of the largest League of Legends fan communities in the world. All dollar amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated. The total consideration is approximately $45 million (the “Purchase Price”) in cash and stock paid at closing and to be paid through a schedule of deferred Anniversary Payments (as defined below), plus earnouts of potentially up to $12 million (the “Earnouts”), subject to certain performance milestones being achieved within a two-year period from the date of closing.

FansUnite Acquires American Affiliate, Accelerating Entry into U.S. Gaming Market

FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (CSE: FANS) (OTCQX: FUNFF) ("FansUnite" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce a definitive agreement dated November 22, 2021 (the "Definitive Agreement") pursuant to which the Company has acquired ("Transaction") the businesses and brands of American Affiliate LLC ("American Affiliate"). The Transaction will result in FansUnite securing a podium position in the U.S. online betting opportunity and will be the cornerstone of a larger U.S. affiliate strategy going forward. American Affiliate is a diverse collection of assets dedicated to generating new depositing customers for legal sportsbooks, online casinos, online poker sites, and adjacent products in the U.S. market. American Affiliate's vision blends an exclusive focus on the U.S. opportunity with marquee brands, a powerful omni-channel approach, a deep portfolio of proprietary technology, and a uniquely proven management team.

Wondr Gaming partners with Toronto Maple Leafs' Captain, John Tavares, to mint series of NFTs and support John Tavares Foundation

Wondr Gaming Corp. (CSE: WDR) (CSE: WDR.WT) (the "Company" or "Wondr Gaming") is pleased to announce it has entered into a strategic partnership with Toronto Maple Leafs' Captain, John Tavares and the John Tavares Foundation. Mr. Tavares is a 6-time All-Star, 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2016 World Cup Gold Medalist, and a role model in the NHL and broader hockey community. The John Tavares Foundation is an exemplary organization committed to helping children understand the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyles. In partnership with a leading Canadian crypto custodian, Wondr mints NFTs on its owned and operated white labelled NFT platform. Through its marketplace, Wondr will mint and sell NFTs from John Tavares' historic career and a share of all proceeds from the sale of John's NFTs on Wondr's platform will go back to the John Tavares Foundation to support its initiatives in the community.

Pioneer Media applies for NEO listing

Pioneer Media Holdings Inc. has submitted an initial application to list its common shares on the NEO Exchange, a tier one Canadian stock exchange based in Toronto. Michael Edwards, chief executive officer (CEO) of Pioneer, noted: "this is an exciting time for the company, and we are delighted to be listing with the NEO Exchange, known as Canada's stock exchange for the innovation economy, which embodies our shared values of innovation and excellence." Pioneer believes that the graduation from CSE to the NEO Exchange, will enable the company's common shares to be traded on a senior exchange in Canada, providing exposure to an increased number of retail and institutional investors. The company anticipates that after listing on the NEO Exchange its common shares will trade under the symbol JPEG.

Gaming

Niantic raises $300m at a $9bn valuation for "real-world metaverse"

Niantic has raised $300 million to build the "real-world metaverse." Techcrunch reported that the investment came from Coatue, bringing Niantic's valuation to $9 billion. The Pokémon Go developer's vision for the metaverse is quite different from the one Facebook/Meta is promoting, which aims at connecting users in VR. Niantic's founder and CEO John Hanke actually published a blog post earlier this year saying this approach relying on virtual reality, popularised by Ready Player One, is a "dystopian nightmare." Niantic's vision involves creating an "ever-evolving AR map of the world" to "make the real world come alive with information and interactivity," Hanke said at the time.

TinyBuild acquires Versus Evil and Red Cerberus in $31.3m deal

TinyBuild has acquired fellow indie publisher Versus Evil and its QA studio Red Cerberus, with an upfront cost of $12.5 million. There is also the potential for $18.8 million in earnouts over the next three years, bringing the maximum consideration for the deal up to $31.3 million. Versus Evil will continue to operate as a separate publishing label, one that specialises in RPGs and turn-based strategy games. The company is perhaps best known for brining The Banner Saga trilogy and Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity to market. In a video regarding the acquisition, TinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik described Versus Evil as a "complementary" label that will "expand our reach in terms of genres." The publisher adds 32 titles to TinyBuild's portfolio.

Netflix hires VP of game studios

Netflix has appointed former president of games at Scopely, Amir Rahimi, as vice president of its game studios. Rahimi worked at Scopely for almost two years, having previously been SVP and Los Angeles general manager at FoxNext, the VR and theme park unit of 20th Century Fox. Rahimi's previous experiences also included three years at Zynga and seven years at EA. At Netflix, Rahimi will report to vice president of games Mike Verdu, GamesBeat reported, and oversee all the games the company will make available to its members. On his Linkedin, Rahimi said his new position will "give [him] the opportunity to green light games that will put player delight above all else," adding that there will be "no more stressing over monetisation." He added that he hoped to "play a small part in shaping the future of the industry."

Content Creators

Spotify Plans To Spend $3.5 Billion On Podcast And Audiobook Expansions

Spotify CFO Paul Vogel said the audio streaming service has $3.5 billion cash earmarked for expansion, and has a particular eye on the podcast industry. Speaking at the MIT Sloan CFO Summit this past week, Vogel said that Spotify is looking toward a future where the revenue it earns from advertising is “as good and healthy” as the revenue it brings in from premium subscriptions. Spotify recently closed its biggest quarter yet in terms of advertising revenue, and pointed right at podcasts for driving the $375 million (a 75% year-over-year growth from 2020 to 2021) it earned. Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, said that the quarter put his company well ahead of its plans for podcast monetization, which include a recently debuted subscription service where it’s giving 100% of subscription fees to creators through 2023.

TikTok is now available on Samsung and LG TVs, Android TV devices

TikTok is expanding its presence on TV screens in a major way. After initially launching in North America on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the TikTok TV app is today available on Samsung and LG smart TVs — plus Android TV devices, including the Chromecast with Google TV. Whereas the massively popular mobile app is intended for “little bursts of joy,” TikTok says its big-screen software is optimized for “a TV home-viewing experience, making it easy to watch content from our For You and Following feeds on the big screen. This includes the most liked and viewed videos across a huge range of categories, from gaming and comedy to food and animals.” There’s a Discover section in the TV app, as well. TikTok videos can be up to three minutes in length.

How to unlock more emote slots on Twitch

Channel emotes are one of the staples of Twitch chat interactions that make it the most popularly used livestreaming platform. While many of Twitch’s biggest streamers have a full slate of 60 emotes, it’s not something that comes quickly or easily. Streamers can gain emotes by gaining “Sub Points.” The point system is effectively a weighted visualization of your subscription total. Tier one subs give you one point. But tier two subs give you two points, and a tier three sub counts as six points. As of this month, Twitch unlocked more emote slots for all streamers with Affiliate status, upping the base number of emotes from one to five.

Esports

Placing esports on the same tier as games and entertainment, Riot Games is redefining its business

When Riot Games launched Wild Rift, a mobile version of its popular League of Legends, the expectation from fans and analysts was that the company would play it slow with esports, letting the game gain an audience and slowly build out a global esports plan. As the game launched in October 2020, fans immediately saw Riot taking a much more active role in shaping Wild Rift’s global esports structure. According to John Needham, this shift in strategy began well before the game’s release. “A year and a half ago Nicolo [Laurent, CEO of Riot Games] put a challenge to me and said ‘Listen, go with your team for the next few months and come back to me with a plan on how we can go big on esports,’” said Needham, who was promoted to Riot Games president of esports last week.

Weibo Gaming acquires Suning Gaming LPL roster and franchise

Weibo Gaming (WBG), the esports branch of China’s biggest social media platform Weibo (similar to Twitter), announced on Monday that it completed the acquisition of Suning Gaming (SN), including the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) franchise and its full rosters. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2018, WBG has competed in PUBG, Honor of Kings, and Peacekeeper Elite. Following this acquisition, SN will be rebranded to WBG. The organization also announced plans to enter the Hearthstone and League of Legends: Wild Rift esports scenes. WBG Vice President Biaozhan Hu revealed in an interview with the Chinese esports outlet People Esports that the organization reached out to SN and reported the initial purchasing plans to TJ Sports (a joint venture between Riot Games and Tencent that operates the LPL in China) in June.

Ghost Gaming acquires content organisation One Percent

Atlanta-based esports organisation Ghost Gaming has acquired esports content firm One Percent. As a result of the acquisition, One Percent’s CEO Julian ‘Aeolus’ Castro has been appointed as Ghost Gaming’s Managing Director of Content and Community. According to the release, the transaction is expected to further the organisation’s presence in Atlanta and become ‘the leading platform for popular gaming content creators in the South’. Andrew Steinberg, Chair of the Board, Ghost Gaming, commented on the acquisition in a press release: “Ghost is the voice of Atlanta’s gaming culture, reaching the most coveted but otherwise elusive audience of 13-34 year olds."