04/20/17: DreamHack prepares for Austin teleportation; Celebs join ELeague Invitational; Daybreak leads marketing buff


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It’s Thursday April 20, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.

Just ahead of DreamHack Austin (running April 28-30), VR platform SLIVER.tv announced plans to livestream the DreamHack ASTRO Open Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in VR to viewers worldwide. For the first time, spectators will be able to select from multiple virtual cameras and teleport to different areas of the game map. This technology will be offered in all seven CS:GO tournament maps and supported across the SLIVER.tv platform on desktop 360º, mobile 360º and all VR apps. In addition, SLIVER.tv will continue to broadcast a “sit-back and relax” caster led experience with auto-switching VR 360º virtual cameras that follow specific players.
“Our long-term vision is to transform the esports spectating experience,” said Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of SLIVER.tv. “The multi-stream teleporting capability powered by our virtual camera array technology truly augments the live viewing experience, and takes 360-degree VR immersion to the next level. We’re excited to launch this new technology in partnership with DreamHack Austin.”
Meanwhile, Dreamhack unveiled its talent roster for its CS:GO tournament in Austin, with Alex “Machine” Richardson set to serve as Deck Host, and backed by Pala “Mantrousse” Gilroy Sen who will take on hosting and interview duties. Commentators will include Dustin “dusT” Mouret, John “BLU” Mullen, Mohan “launders” Govindasamy and Sam “DaZeD” Marine. Halvor “vENdetta” Gulestol and Eric “adreN” Hoag will serve as analysts.

Turner and IMG are gearing up for the ELeague Street Fighter V Invitational Celebrity Showdown, locking in the likes of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, recording artist Lupe Fiasco, the NFL’s Reggie Bush and WWE’s Natalie Eva Marie to throw down for a good cause. The event will take place on April 28 at 10p on TBS, and feature the foursome fighting to raise money for each celebrity’s charity of choice.  Raise Money for Each Celebrity’s Charity of Choice
ESL UK will serve as the production partner for May’s Vainglory Spring Championship, partnering with Super Evil Megacorp, according to Esports Insider. The event runs May 19-21 from London’s O2 and will feature six North American teams battling six European teams for the title.
Esports are coming to the 2018 and 2022 Asian Games. The Olympic Council of Asia is aligning with Alibaba to include competitive gaming into the festivities in Indonesia and China, respectively as well as the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan. “OCA has always been committed to the inheritance, development, and improvement of Asian sports” said OCA President Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah. “And we look forward to the forward-thinking concepts of sports by Alisports, who will be helping us with their strength and experience in esports.” Medals will be presented for the first time in 2022.
Following the news that esports is to be introduced to the roster for the Asian Games, the oddsmakers at William Hill now place the odds of esports landing at the 2024 Olympic Games at 4/1. “The rationale behind the introduction of esports into the Asian Games is to move with the times and reflect the popularity of video gaming as a competitive sport,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly. “There is no reason why the IOC can’t follow suit.” The company reports that the industry is collectively seeing nearly $20 million a year wagered.
Gambling platform Unibet listed esports’ top-earning teams with Evil Geniuses coming in at the pole position, accumulating $15.4 million from 632 tournaments thus far (courtesy of Dota 2, which accounted for 88.26% of their earnings). Hitting number two is the China-based Wings Gaming, which has $9.7 million from 21 tournaments, followed by Newbee with $7.3 million and Fnatic at $7.2 million. Click here for the full rundown.
Turner and IMG’s ELeague Street Fighter V Invitational continues its regular season play with live “Group B” coverage on TBS tomorrow at 10p. Group B will feature Street Fighter V superstars Justin Wong, Hiroyuki “Eita” Nagata, Daigo Umehara, Yu-lin Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang, Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis and Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez as they square for two available spots in the playoffs, set to begin Friday, May 26.
Red Bull Media House announced that 2017 will see three feature events for the second season of Team Brawl: Hearthstone. Following the action this past weekend, the company will also feature events on Aug. 5 and Dec. 15. Each event will take place at Red Bull’s esports studio in Santa Monica, and will be showcased from the Red Bull esports Twitch channel. 
Speaking of Hearthstone, Blizzard revealed that Tavern Hero tournaments will run separately from the regional Playoffs as online-only double-elimination tournaments for HCT Spring. The top eight players from each Tavern Hero tournament will join the top 64 Hearthstone Competitive Point earners in their respective regional Playoffs with tournaments locked in to run May 6 for the Americas and Europe and May 13 for Asia-Pacific.

Source: Superdata

Ninjas in Pyjamas announced a partnership the extension with Twitch to serve as the main streaming platform for the franchise. The partnership will bring the Ninjas in Pyjamas’ Counter-Strike, DotA2 and Overwatch players streams to the platform for the next 18 months as part of a wider partnership agreement. “At Ninjas in Pyjamas we value long term partnership, and it is with this spirit we have decided to stay on Twitch with our live streaming content. The agreement gives us the opportunity to reach our established streaming audience for the Ninjas in Pyjamas brand and all individual players, as well as giving the opportunity to grow on the platform as we seek to expand the Ninjas in Pyjamas teams and titles in the future, said Hicham Chahine, CEO at Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Evil Geniuses is teaming up with SteelSeries to launch a new accessories line set to include: Arctis Headset with a custom-designed headband, a Rival 300 Mouse EG Edition, an Apex M500 EG Keyboard, and a QcK+ EG Mousepad. “For years, SteelSeries has collaborated with Evil Geniuses to test and improve our products to ensure they are tournament ready,” SteelSeries CEO Ehtisham Rabbani said. “Their winning culture and pursuit of excellence in eSports aligns with SteelSeries’ commitment to supporting eSport professionals with products that help them rise to the challenge.”

With a new sponsorship of NRG in place, Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, announced plans to host four Smite World Championship esports players in the city from April 19-27. While visiting the District, the players (Craig “iRaffer” Rathbone, Kennet “Adapting” Ros, Emil “emilitoo” Starnman, and Andre “Yammyn” Brannvall) will participate in boot camps to continue their scrims and spend three days “exploring the best of what the city has from restaurants, neighborhoods and popular attractions.” “Sponsoring a team like NRG and hosting these extraordinary players are a perfect way for DC to show that it’s embracing esports and gearing up to be an esports capital,” said Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Events DC. “It is our priority to be a forward-thinking organization and to continue to identify unique ways to attract visitors to Washington, DC and esports is just one avenue of entertainment to keep visitors and residents coming to the city, further drive economic development and act as a catalyst for future job growth.” 
Intel Extreme Masters is reteaming with HyperX to serve as the exclusive peripheral and memory partner for Season 12 of the series. The deal will see pro players practice and compete with HyperX headsets, keyboards, mice, and using systems complimented by HyperX memory in IEM tournaments. This will be the fifth consecutive year HyperX is a sponsor. “We are thrilled to once again partner up with HyperX, who we have had a successful relationship for several years now,” said Michal Blicharz VP Pro Gaming at ESL, “HyperX’s ongoing commitment to excellence has made it a perfect match for Intel Extreme Masters for the last 4 years. Taking this commitment into the next season will only improve it further.

The Entertainment Software Association released its newest report, 2017 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, finding that 65% of American households are home to someone who plays video games regularly, with gamers age 18 or older representing 72%of the video game-playing population and the average gamer clocking in at 35 years old. The report also states that, in 2016, the industry contributed $11.7 billion in value to US GDP and $30.4 billion in consumer spending, compared to $23.5 billion in 2015.
Meanwhile, the latest report from SuperData reveals that 2017 will see a worldwide gaming audience for gaming video content hitting 665 million with viewership swelling an additional 21% between 2017 and 2021. The survey states that last year saw gaming audiences hit 517 million viewers on YouTube with 185 million on Twitch. The report also projects that 2017 will see gaming video content generating $4.6 billion in revenue, with $3.2 billion flowing in from sponsors and partners.  
Speaking of Superdata Research, the company also announced that Nintendo has sold 2.4 million Switch units worldwide in its first month on the market. As a result, SuperData revised its forecast for the console’s sales upwards, from 5 million units sold to 7.2 million units.
SEGA Networks and Sensor Tower released data from their survey on US Mobile Gaming Trends 2016. Key takeaways included noted that annual revenue of mobile games grew by 7% from $5.75 billion in 2015 to $6.15 billion in 2016, while the top five grossing mobile games last year generated only 28% of total market revenue compared with 40% for 2015. Meanwhile, seven the top 10 games released in 2016 were Licensed Brand or Expansion Game IPs, which accounted for 93% of revenue.
Chinese investment company Tencent is launching its own global game platform, according to TEO, which will be known as WeGame. The platform will extend the currently-running TGP worldwide.
POWER PLAYERS: Daybreak Games’ Laura Naviaux

April 27 will see the bow of PromaxGames: The Summit 2017, as the entertainment marketing association once again brings together some of the top creative minds in and around the video game industry to serve up dialogue, panels, networking opportunities as well as its Award show in San Francisco. Anchored by a Board of Governors that include brands such as EA, 2K, Ubisoft, Facebook, Twitch, Xbox and Blizzard (among others), the day will include keynotes from Ryan Wyatt, Director, head of Global Gaming at YouTube, and top social influencer Erik Qualman. With esports continuing to grow in importance from within the gaming community, Cynopsis spoke with Laura NaviauxChief Publishing Officer, Daybreak Game Company and PromaxGAMES Co-Chair – about the event, how esports fits into Daybreak Games’ plans and what to expect for its H1Z1 title. (And click here for more info about the Summit.)
On working with PromaxGames: My interest in taking this one with Promax was on multiple levels. Just being in the industry for almost 20 years, watching how marketing has evolved so dramatically, I know how marketers have to wear more hats than ever. I don’t think there are a lot of educational opportunities for marketers, particularly in this industry, so the conference is an important piece of that with the momentum that we have created over the years. Our new partnership with PromaxGames is about more than a one-day conference. It’s about a membership, it’s about a year-long network of marketers and opportunities for mentorship, menteeship and creating a community of marketers from the game community to get together to relate and learn.
On how game marketing has evolved: The role of the marketer has changed dramatically. When I first started in this industry, it was exciting because people saw the power of marketing to really sell units. There weren’t very many levers to pull. Now, marketers have to think about an entire ecosystem. It’s not just social, it’s ecommerce, what is the player behavior within a game world, what is their experience. You have to know so much more about all of the disciplines and it requires much more holistic thinking and action.
On takeaways from the Promax Games Summit: I hope that when they walk away, they want to take a left turn. I hope they day really sparks their imagination and connects the dots for them in a more meaningful way. I also think it is about transforming your point of view and having something tangible to take back to their organization.
On the role of esports in game marketing: Right now, esports and marketing are fairly synonymous. When you talk with publishers about why they do esports, they know that it helps to increase the footprint of a game, whether it’s in distribution such as driving installs for a free to play game, or selling more copies. But I think it can be so much more, and Daybreak’s unique point of view on it is that esports are a way to cultivate a much deeper relationship with a player and for them to have a much deeper attachment with a game. There is this aspirational idea for the average joe’s, the people who aren’t pro-level but feel that they could have a meaningful chance to play at a competitive level. In the future, I think esports is going to be something much bigger than a marketing initiative and instead serve as a cornerstone for their business.
On plans for H1Z1 in esports: We have some very lofty plans for H1Z1 in the realm of esports. We’ve wanted to progress it alongside our community and listen to what they felt was appropriate for this game. We’ve ingested those meaningful conversations, spoken with pro teams, the influencers and the player base and thought about how to have a model that fits everybody’s skill lever. As a result, we have a very robust plan that will roll out this year that does everything from featuring a competitive play loop within gameplay all the way to a pro-level event that will rollout globally.

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ON THIS DAY in 1982: Gabriel Industries announces a deal with Bally manufacturing to market home game versions of Bally Arcade games.

Trivia: Name the game pictured above. (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: Name four fruits (or equivalent) found in the original Pac-Man game. Answer: Cherry, Strawberry, Orange, Apple, Melon, Galaxian Boss, Bell, Key. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris

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