04/13/17: Summit speakers talk good game; Dignitas opens the doors; ESL brings esportsTV stateside



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CYNOPSISeSPORTS & GAMING
04.13.17

It’s Thursday, April 13, 2017, and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.

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A mighty thanks to everyone who participated in the Cynopsis World Esports Summit, from our sponsors and partners to our speakers and attendees. A sold out event overlooking Central Park dove deep into the revenue and partnership projections for the industry, breaking down best practices and serving up exclusive research about the business in live events, through media channels, as part of teams and leagues, or within non-competitive content. (Check out some of the quotes below.)

In addition, congratulations to the winners of the Cynopsis Esports Awards and Bruin Battles! MLG’s Chris Puckett took home the Ambassador Award for Esports Personality of the Year. The IEM Season 10 World Championship was a winner for Esports Event of the Year, while ELeague took home the crown for Production of the Year. Finally, ESL and Mountain Dew emerged victorious as top Sponsor Activation for the Mountain Dew League. Meanwhile, Haste Co-Founder and CEO Adam Toll won over a unanimous judging panel to emerge as champion of the first Bruin Battles for his company’s plan to eliminate lag in esports.

COMPETITION

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The Summit saw the Esports Advertising Bureau release its study examining brand integration into competitive gaming with US audiences. Among the findings in the org’s research was that esports audiences are highly engaged with over 50% engaging at least once a week. In addition, research showed that esports audience are big video viewers, subscribing to both Pay TV and OTT with 84% watching scripted shows while esports fans are also active for live events with almost 50% having attended (with 41% interested in trying a new product). Meanwhile, non-endemic brand categories – including drinks, restaurants, movies, autos – are all seen as “a good fit” with esports. You can dive deeper into the study by visiting http://www.esports-adbureau.com/published-decks-news

The Esports Integrity Coalition announced the addition of five new members to the organization. Joining the lineup will be Esports Middle East, India’s NODWIN Gaming, South Africa’s Mettlestate, ESP esportspools.com, and FirstBlood. “We are delighted to welcome all our new members to the Esports Integrity Coalition,” said Esports Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith said. Each one is doing something remarkable in their country or with exciting new technologies and we can’t wait to work with them to continue keeping the world of esports free from corruption, match manipulation, betting fraud and doping.”

Allied Esports and Esports Arena are opening a new dedicated esports venue that will be developed at Luxor Hotel and Casino. The new Esports Arena Las Vegas is slated to open in early 2018 and serve as the first permanent esports venue on The Strip and “will be the center of Allied Esports’ growing global network of esports properties spanning North America, Europe and China.” Esports Arena will work with Luxor and design firm YWS Design & Architecture to transform the space currently occupied by a 30,000-square-foot nightclub into a multi-level arena complete with a competition stage, LED video wall, telescopic seating, daily gaming stations, a food and beverage offering, and state-of-the-art streaming and television-quality production studios.

ESL announced its first championship in Africa. The ESL African Championship will be presented by Kwese Sports with a focus on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Hearthstone. The inaugural series runs from April to June and then will be followed directly by the second series starting in July with the grand finals of series two held at the rAge Gaming Expo in the Ticketpro Dome of Johannesburg in October.

Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League appears to have its primary faces in place, signing Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles and Erik "DoA" Lonnquist to call matches for the league, according to ESPN. The pair have 11 years of casting experience between them which includes a run as the primate English announcers for South Korean gaming channel OGN. "Obviously we will serve as broadcasters for the Overwatch League once it begins in Q3 of 2017, but we’re also excited to serve as consultants to Blizzard as the broadcast and shoulder content takes shape," Mykles told ESPN. "One of the most compelling aspects of moving back to the States is the opportunity to help build a show from the ground up that resonates with fans as an authentic esports product rather than overreaching into outmoded models from traditional sports."

International e-Sports Federation announced that its ninth Esports World Championship 2017, which features international esports players competing as representatives of their countries, will take place this year in Busan, Korea from Nov. 8-12. The organization’s lineup of potential titles, according to Inquirer, would include League of Legends, CS:GO, Winning Eleven, FIFA17, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, StarCraft: Remastered, and Gran Turismo, with ongoing discussions with the related game companies for license work.

Psyonix detailed plans for the Rocket League Championship Series Season 3 World Championship, locking The Wiltern Theater in LA for the vent from June 2-4. This will mark the first time the RLCS World Championship will be held over three days and the first time that teams from the Oceanic region will be competing in the tournament, with a record prize pool of $300,000. Tickets go on sale the week of April 17.

INSIGHTS

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Source: Superdata CEO Joost Van Dreunen at the Cynopsis World Esports Summit

CYNOPSIS WORLD ESPORTS SUMMIT UPDATES

A few lines from this year’s event…

·       “If you can’t watch the game, in will never succeed as an esport.”  MLG’s Chris Puckett

·       “The key to esports content is providing access and showcasing what’s going on behind the scenes,”  NFL’s Dan Highhill.
·       “Social media data from the Miami Heat shows a huge crossover between basketball and gaming fans. That’s an untapped resource.”  Misfits’ Ben Spoont.
·       “There are now people with the 76ers who work on esports full time. That’s how much value we see in it.” – 76ers’ Akshay Khanna.
·       “There is no extra barrier for entry into esports like there is with the NFL or NBA. If we want to create a promo, we do it.” – Anheuser-Busch’s Nick Kelly.
·       “Non-endemics can advance in esports by understanding the space and building authentic ties to the community.”  Intel’s George Woo.
·       “Regionalization in esports is a shortcut to creating emotional connections to teams and players.” – NGE’s Marc Koenig.
·       “We are an overlay for esports, which is a digital-first experience.”  Greg Millard, Turner Sports.

TEAMS

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Team Dignitas is spreading its wings, announcing that the team will end its exclusivity with Twitch courtesy of a new deal with Facebook for live streaming. With the agreement, Team Dignitas now becomes the first eSports team to announce that it is offering live streaming opportunities on Facebook and Twitch for the players on its rosters, according to the franchise, and comes as part of team owner the Philadelphia 76ers initiative to create global, multi-channel experiences for fans and corporate partners. The team noted that in the last three months, they had boosted streaming viewership by 50%, and will be increasing the volume of streaming hours by 30% over the next 90 days. “Gaming communities are an integral part of the Facebook experience, and esports continues to be a popular form of video content on the platform,” said Guy Cross, head of games partnerships, North America, at Facebook. “As gaming video continues to grow across Facebook, whether it’s a live stream from a professional esports team or a player looking to share Overwatch with their friends, we are committed to being a go-to destination for gamers to play, watch and share the games they love with people around the world.”

Fnatic became the latest team to see an influx of investment money, receiving a $7 million financing round with a board of invstors that include the likes of Raptor Group, which owns AS Roma and the Boston Celtics; Hersh Interactive Group, co-owners of the Houston Astros; Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab; and Hannes Wallin, CEO and Founder of Fractal Design. “There has been strong growth in esports, which has accelerated in recent years, but the major shift has been in the acceptance and inclusion by sports franchises, media companies and high profile individuals who have entered and advanced the industry rapidly," said Fnatic Founder Sam Mathews, per Forbes. "We’re incredibly excited by the opportunities available within esports, and having world class investors and advisors only enhances our ability to address these opportunities and continue to innovate."

Meanwhile, Swiss Football Club FC Lausanne-Sport has reportedly added esports team Qualitas Helvetica to the roster. The org will now operate under the moniker Lausanne-Sport eSports. The deal will also see Lausanne create an eSports academy for French speaking players, according to Esports Insider.

MARKETING

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Consumer electronics brand Hisense is stepping into a gaming-driven Twitter battle between NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing and Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing over who is the best gamer in NASCAR. Hisense, along with esports team Evil Geniuses, will now host the Hisense Dual Threat Challenge, pitting Jones, Bowyer, Hisense, Evil Geniuses and two fans on May 26 for a Halo tournament on the 16,000 square-foot Speedway TV at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the weekend of the Hisense 4K TV 300 in Charlotte. Jones and Bowyer will act as team captains, and fill their teams out with two Evil Geniuses team members and one fan qualifier. “At Hisense, we embrace head-to-head competition in all its forms and believe that the television is the hearth of the modern home: bringing people together to watch great content or, in this case, decide who’s the biggest dual threat,” said Mark Viken, Vice President of Marketing at Hisense. “We’re also very excited to give two lucky fans the chance to compete with some of the biggest starts of NASCAR and professional gaming for ultimate bragging rights.”
 
Hyundai doubling down on esports, announcing a deal to serve as the main partner of the 2017 eSports WRC Championship. The tournament will be contested on WRC 6, the official FIA World Rally Championship game and Hyundai, which operates a three-car team in the WRC, will offer a premium Hyundai i20 to the winner of the competition. “After a first year of partnership, we are really excited to be part of the eSports WRC adventure for a new year,” said Scott Noh, Director of Hyundai Motor’s Overseas Marketing Group. “The eSports WRC championship is the perfect way for people around the world to be part of the WRC family by competing in online rallies in parallel to the official ones. Last year the tournament gathered thousands of virtual drivers for a year of competition which ended with an amazing live event in Wales.”

INDUSTRY

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ESL is launching a new 24-hour linear network dedicated to esports, and announced a deal for esportsTV to launch on Sony’s PlayStation Vue TV service later this month, ahead of IEM Sydney, for US audiences. The network first launched in Europe last year and features 24/7 content surrounding the industry. “EsportsTV is the perfect complement to the PlayStation Vue offering and represents just another step for esports as a form of mainstream entertainment,” said Steven Roberts, Executive Chairman, ESL on the site. “ESL is in a unique position to significantly expand the reach and impact of premium esports content and we are thrilled to bring eSportsTV to the U.S. market.”

Cinedigm will launch Game Train, exclusively on The WHAM Network, the 24/7 eSports and Gaming streaming channel. The series is described as a reality driven series centered on a train excursion from Chicago to San Francisco with dozens of game developers heading to the Game Developer Convention. Under the enormous time pressure of a 48 hour train ride, the developers work feverishly to build new games from scratch which they will then debut to the critical audience at the Convention. The series will premiere this Fall.

IGN Entertainment is hitting E3 this June with a new partnership with Twitter that will see the platform serve as their official livestream broadcast partner for the event, which runs June 10-15. Fans will receive over 30 hours of live coverage and IGN’s livestream will be available worldwide to Twitter’s logged-in and logged-out audience on Twitter and connected devices, showcasing all major press briefings from Sony, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and more, including live pre- and post-show commentary from IGN hosts and special guests.

Riot Games detailed plans to return to the UK, opening a new office in London. Esports Observer reports that head of UK publishing Mark Cox has revealed through the company’s forums that the company was returning to "grow the player base.” "With more players comes a more vibrant and active community," he said. "I am not saying you are all not passionate and mad about LoL but think about the possibilities with more players and more active community members. We can do more great things and have more people taking part.”

Microsoft opening the market doors for Minecraft, announcing a Marketplace feature to the Windows 10 and mobile versions of the game. The feature will allow users to buy virtual currency–Minecraft Coins–and spend it on curated user-created content. "The idea is to give Minecraft creators another way to make a living from the game, allowing them to support themselves in the creation of ever-greater projects, while giving Pocket and Windows 10 players access to a growing catalogue of fun stuff – curated and supplied by us, safely and simply," the company said on the Minecraft site.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


THANK YOU
The 2nd Annual Cynopsis World eSports Summit was a huge success yesterday, bringing over 250 attendees together in New York City.

Thank you to our sponsors for making this event so incredible:
GO TO Team, The Trade Group, Bruin Sports Capital, eSports Ad Bureau, Promax Games, theScore, Polygon, NAB Show, REVXP, rEvolution


 
ON THIS DAY in 1992: Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past video game for the Super NES.    
 
Trivia: Name four fruits (or equivalent) found in the original Pac-Man game. (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In what movie/game is the antagonist known as the Master Control Program? Answer: Tron. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Luke Watson-Roker Labs/NY; Brad Stern-POM Technologies/NY; Ted Dresdner-Nickelodeon/NY; Ray Hughes-Food Network/NY; Lorin Halpert-Barcraft United/Toronto; Patrick McOwen-Comcast Spotlight/North Wales; Aron Dunn-Treason Media/Toronto; Gregory Green-Backstage Networks/Nashville; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | eSports @VegasandVine
04.13.17

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JOB OPENING:
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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, ELEAGUE PARTNERSHIPS/Turner/NYC: Serve as subject matter in fast-paced & ever changing esports space. 5+ yrs of related work exp at media/company, agency or brand, w/specific focus on esports Existing agency & client relationships specifically in esports. Full info/apply HERE (4/20)

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JOB OPENING: MARKETING SPECIALIST/GSNTV/CA: construct custom mktg campaigns for MVPDs; devlop, design & implement mktg. activities & resources. BA/BS degree. Min 3 yrs exp work in content (video,digital,OTT) distribution. Photoshop skills preferred. Send res and CL to gsntvdistributionmarketing@gmail.com (4/15)

JOB OPENING: ART DIRECTOR/TLC/MD: Motion graphics & branding expert w/desire to get their hands dirty in multiple mediums. Enthusiasm for on-air graphics, independent/team work, latest technologies & trends a must. 6-8 yrs exp req’d. Apply (4/14)

JOB OPENING: MARKETING MGR/UP TV/ATL: 3+ creative media exp. at cable network. Exp dev. mkting strategies & creative briefs. Exp. working w/ creative agencies & executing campaigns. Must have budget mgt exp. Exp. managing media trafficking for off channel. Apply HERE (4/14)

JOB OPENING: AD SALES ASSISTANT/BOUNCE TV/NYC: Support AdSales Planning: executing client skeds, wkly allocs, securing traffic, preventing discreps. Interacting w/AE’s & clients. 1+ yr AdSales or Rsch exp. & use of WideOrbit a +. Resumes/cvr: HERE careers@bouncetv.com (4/14)

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OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST

Have a good working knowledge of PBR materials (not the beer – though that is a plus with some of the team).
Senior Weapon & Hard Surface Artist – Destiny
Vicarious Visions
Albany NY
https://activision.referrals.selectminds.com/vicariousvisions/
 
Design and implement security initiatives for the Destiny franchise.
Senior Security Engineer
Vicarious Visions
Albany NY
https://activision.referrals.selectminds.com/vicariousvisions/
 
Interface with design team and implement gameplay features from given designs.
Gameplay Programmer
Gearbox Software
Frisco TX
http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/careers/
 
Create, develop and improve the graphic capabilities of the Unreal Engine.
Graphics Programmer
Gearbox Software
Frisco TX
http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/careers/
 
Communicate and work with a team of programmers, artists and designers through all stages of development to own and implement full game environments.
Lead Level Designer
Bioware
Austin TX
http://www.bioware.com/en/careers/
 
Works with artists and other graphics programmers to design and implement world class rendering features.
Senior Rendering Programmer
Bioware
Austin TX
http://www.bioware.com/en/careers/
 
Receive feedback and modify work based on direction from both the internal team and franchise representatives.
Senior Game Writer
Warner Brothers Entertainment
Salt Lake City UT
http://www.warnerbroscareers.com/
Design, author, maintain and document robust and highly optimized systems that meet all design, technical and schedule requirements.
Senior Software Engineer, Graphics
Warner Brothers Entertainment
Kirkland WA
http://www.warnerbroscareers.com/
 
Help build, enhance and maintain a web based version of Slack/Trello/Dropbox/DevTrack/YouTube.
Web Developer
Naughty Dog
Santa Monica CA
https://www.naughtydog.com/careers
 
Improve the shading code for existing material types (like skin or fabric), and develop new techniques to render special-case materials or advanced effects.
Character Shading TD
Naughty Dog
Santa Monica CA
https://www.naughtydog.com/careers
 
Provide timely reporting on summaries of events and other esports programs and initiatives.
ESports Coordinator, Hearthstone
Blizzard
Irvine CA
https://careers.blizzard.com
 
Identify and resolve pipeline issues and discover opportunities for improvements.
Pipeline TD, In Game Cinematics
Blizzard
Irvine CA
https://careers.blizzard.com
 
Responsible for building customer facing features in an Agile environment with continuous deployment.
Director of Engineering, Ads
Unity Technologies
San Francisco CA
https://careers.unity.com
 
Recruiting and managing a team of about 10 Backend and DevOps Engineers.
Engineering Lead
Unity Technologies
San Francisco CA
https://careers.unity.com
 
Work with a small, very experienced (not our first rodeo!), and extremely productive team reporting directly to the CTO.
Full Stack Engineer
Fig
San Francisco CA
https://jobs.lever.co/fig

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