05/05/16: Sportradar’s newest ride; ESL takes a fall for Barclays; Vivendi’s Ubisoft creed


It’s Thursday, May 5, 2016, and this is your first weekly morning eSports and Gaming brief.

With a growing number of media outlets and brands diving wholeheartedly into the eSports space, Sportradar unveiled the launch of its API for the industry, offering a data feed that created key points such as stats and results of leading game titles and tournaments, including CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends and StarCraft II. The move is designed to ensure media companies have the tools to cover eSports in the same manner as they would the NFL, NASCAR or the NBA by utilizing scores, statistics, X/Y positioning, standings, leaderboards and schedules into their content. Cynopsis spoke with Will Thornton, Business Development Manager, US at Sportradar, about the move and how it will impact mainstream coverage of eSports.

Thorton on getting into the eSports space: I’m a fan myself and a gamer. I have been following the space for a while now and really saw this massive growth and excitement, selling out Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, etc. It dawned on me that this kind of data would not only be valuable, but could also be non-human mediated and tapped in right to the servers. It’s almost like the futuristic sport where everyone is tracked completely and every data point is meticulously kept in real-time. So, I saw the opportunity.
On filling the void: You’ve seen the likes of ESPN and Sports Illustrated come out with these standalone products, but there was no data source for them to pull from. So they looked to us as the thought-leaders on what it should look like and what data points they needed, so we created it to help them treat this just like other highly-viewed events from the NFL or NHL.

On gathering data: It’s a really complicated process. We have a full team of scouts who are watching all the games and entering them into all the schedules so we play it as it comes. We’re used to covering leagues that may not be well- organized and making them organized.

On the future: If you look at the projections and the growth, one really positive area is the brand activation portion of what this API can bring, allowing them to create engagements around different tournaments or events. We’re also looking to produce not just raw data feeds, but also leveraging them into products such as widgets and score centers, that make it easier for people to get into as well as make ourselves the first-movers in creating products for clients to put on their sites.

Favorite franchise: Call of Duty. 

Hear more from Thorton and other industry leaders at our Cynopsis eSports Conference, taking place on June 23 in NYC. Click here for tickets and info.


From ESA report: 2016 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry.

A new report from ESA released this week found that gamers are a part of 60% percent of American homes. The study, 2016 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, found that while the stereotypical image of gamers is that they’re Millennials, in fact the most frequent video game player is 38 years old, on average, and has been playing video games for about 13 years. Looking forward, 40% of gamers say they will likely purchase their own VR headsets within the next year.


ESL, as promised, is returning to New York City, announcing plans to bring the East Coast’s largest eSports tournament to Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Oct.1-2. Anchoring the event will be a $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition, with more games in the tournament’s lineup to be announced in the coming weeks. The two-day event will see the world’s top eight CS:GO teams compete in a double elimination group stage, followed by single elimination best-of-three matches on the main stage. In addition to the tournaments, ESL One New York will feature a wide array of activities as part of the main event, including pro player autograph sessions, virtual reality experiences and the ESL Shop. “The esports industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and we are thrilled to be hosting one of the largest tournaments on the East Coast,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “ESL One New York further diversifies Barclays Center’s programming portfolio and continues establishing the venue as a leader in emerging trends in sports and entertainment.”

Turner and WME/IMG unveiled the regular season tournament format for the upcoming launch of ELeague, which will pit four teams against one another in group stages each week. Debuting May 24, the schedule for the first three weeks of regular season competition will include the likes of Astralis, Luminosity Gaming, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and more facing off for a chance to earn one of eight seats in the playoffs. During the weekly group stages, each of the four teams will play one another twice in a round-robin system on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Each victory will award the winning team with one point, which will be added up at the end of play on Wednesdays to rank the group. A semifinal for the group will be held on Thursdays matching up the 1st and 4th ranked teams and 2nd and 3rd ranked teams, with the winners of those matches competing in the Friday night showcase on TBS.

The upcoming MLG Anaheim saw team passes sell out in less than two hours, according to MLG’s Adam Apicella, with more than 200 teams now on the waiting list. Only 96 amateur team spots are available for the tournament, which takes place from June 10-12 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Rivet Networks is launching Killer Networking livestream tomorrow at 10a, with an eye toward showcasing eSports, new games, giveaways, and celebrity livestream hosts. The weekly series will be housed at alientware.tv with the inaugural show featuring members of Team Dignitas’ Hearthstone team.

Team EnVyUs is prepping a new home in Charlotte, announcing plans to build an all-inclusive facility targeting interactive entertainment that will include a studio, arena, offices, LAN center, and training facility, according to Yahoo eSports. The venue will also be used to host eSports tournaments and technology camps.

After seeing Super Smash Bros. Melee player William “Leffen” Hjelte denied a P1 Pro athlete visa to the country after the US government declared that the game wasn’t a legitimate sport, eSports fans are now launching a petition to open up the industry for US recognition. The request states that “Competitors in other eSports, such as League of Legends, have been approved for P1 Visas in order to travel to the US and compete. Given the precedent set with League of Legends, other eSports should be considered "legitimate" sports in order to let players come and compete in the United States.”

Gfinity announced open beta for Gfinity TV, with a general launch slated later this year and designed to offer the gaming community with its “first truly personalized media player.” The platform will offer over eight camera feeds, fifteen audio feeds, multiple languages, HD resolution, statistics, player profiles and chat.

Of course, this weekend will see the opening of DreamHack Austin, featuring tournaments, competitions, cosplay events, and the DreamExpo from May 6-8. Matches are set to include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), Hearthstone, Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, Pokken and Payday 2.



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Vivendi boosted its stake in the gaming world, upping its ownership in Ubisoft to 17.73%. "Vivendi is considering asking for the reshuffling of Ubisoft’s board of directors with the aim, notably, to obtain a representation consistent with its weight as a shareholder," the group said in the filing with Reuters reporting that the company has “no plan to seek control” of the company.

With eyes on the Nintendo NX, company president Tatsumi Kimishima affirmed that the company won’t sell the new console next year at a loss via a post-earnings chat with investors last week, stating that the system won’t be priced lower than break even. "When Wii U was launched, the yen was very strong," Kimishima said. "I am assuming that situation will not repeat itself. Selling at a loss at launch would not support the business, so we are keeping that mind in developing NX.”

EA embraced Star Wars day with the announcement that Respawn Entertainment, developers of Titanfall, will now target Star Wars. Development of the third-person action adventure will be led by Stig Asmussen. "We get to see what they can do when you combine that great attention to gameplay with the power of Star Wars," said Patrick Soderlund, EVP of EA Studios in a statement.

Samsung is projecting that its smartphone game technology will best that of the PlayStation 4 by 202, according to Venturebeat. In a pitch to recruit game developers to its mobile game and virtual reality platforms, executives noted that global market research firm TrendForce found that the virtual reality market will grow from under $7 billion today to $70 billion in 2020.

Mobile and web-based game developer Plarium is casting actress Megan Fox for the studio’s online RPG, Stormfall: Rise of Balur where she will play Amelia Delthanis, the Captain of the High Council Guard, serving as the player’s mentor and guide in the game.


The “not com” movement is officially hitting the gaming industry as Uniregistry open .game for URLs this month. Meanwhile Rightside secured the .games domain extension with plans to launch it in the third quarter for a standard wholesale price of $12.00, offering “gamers, publishers, game developers, and retailers the opportunity to distinguish themselves with short, relevant, and memorable web addresses.” "The software games industry alone is forecasted to grow from $90 billion a year in 2016 to $115 billion a year by 2020 and that doesn’t even include the hardware and hobby game market," said Rightside CEO Taryn Naidu. "Our acquisition of .games is an exciting opportunity for game brands of all sizes, as well as individuals to buy an easy-to-remember online .games destination, and use it as a helpful online searching, positioning and branding tool."

With The Angry Birds Movie set to hit theaters on May 20, Rovio is leveraging the film for its new “fast-moving pinball arcade smasher” Angry Birds Action! The company will offers players the chance to unlock exclusive additional content at the film on opening weekend as well as play augmented-reality mini-games and earn new rewards by scanning special BirdCodes located out in the real world. Overall, more than 1 billion BirdCodes have been prepared and printed around the world, and can be found on innovative consumer products created by Rovio’s global partners such as The LEGO Group and H&M, or on display in physical retail environments such as Walmart in the United States. When scanned with Angry Birds Action! BirdCodes unlock additional power-ups and digital content, while the movie will see audience members with the game open on their device offered a whole new area of the game to explore and an additional exclusive movie clip by detecting an inaudible digital watermark that plays only behind the end credits.

Audio technology company Turtle Beach is upping its game in eSports, announcing the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset, Elite Pro Tactical Audio Controller (T.A.C.) and Elite Pro accessories designed with competitive gaming in mind. The line is slated to launch globally on June 12 and are currently available for pre-order. Already, OpTic Gaming selected the brand’s lineup as their official gaming audio gear of choice with the new partnership seeing OpTic’s Championship Call of Duty, Halo andCounter Strike: Global Offensive teams begin using the gear  at this year’s eSports World Convention which takes place later this week, May 6-8 in Paris.

Velocity Micro announced a sponsorship of Team AGG, known for their CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, DOTA2, and League of Legends teams. The computer brand will serve as the exclusive custom PC sponsor of the team. Said Randy Copeland, President and CEO of Velocity Micro, "By sponsoring organizations like Team AGG, we can help take the community as a whole and Team AGG specifically to newly attainable heights."

eSports company Ultimate Media Ventures will offer fans a new line of eSports apparel at E3 next month and is launching a lifestyle eSports site, Fragd.com, the first week of July, according to Fortune. The site will examine the behind-the-scenes activities of players and teams with a “TMZ for eSports” flavor, according to the report. “We see a lot of the same types of eSports media around us constantly, which are all variants of facts and stats,” said Nate Eckman, founding partner of the company. “Honestly, facts and stats get boring and feel clinical. We are focused on the lifestyle.”

Expect games to have more impact on experiences at theme parks. Great America announced the launch of a new Mass Effect attraction in California that will open on May 18. The new attraction will offer an interactive 3D presentation and 4D holographic effects and motion-enabled seating with live actors also taking part in the experience. The ride is produced in partnership with publisher Electronic Arts and BioWare. Meanwhile, Ubisoft Canada launches the Rabbids Amusement Center in August. Ubisoft Canada’s managing director, Olivier Ernst.


GameStop co-founder Richard Fontaine will retire at the end of his current term in June. He previously served as CEO from 1996-2002. "Dick has been a good friend and a trusted business partner of mine for almost 30 years. As a founding member of GameStop, he has been instrumental in the development of the culture that has given us the ability to develop a high rate of change in an ever-changing business," said executive chairman Dan DeMatteo.

Machinima Chief Content Officer Daniel Tibbets is departing the company to take on the newly created position of president and general manager at El Rey, where he will oversee the day to day operations for the entertainment channel.

InnoGames tapped Peter Meyenburg, former EMEA Corporate PR Lead at Rakuten, as Head of PR for the company where he will lead the department, which controls all external communication, as well as internal communication at the company’s Hamburg and Dusseldorf offices. “I plan to put a high priority on further increasing InnoGames brand awareness internationally. This will be important to continuing the company’s reputation for high quality business partnerships and as an attractive place to work. I also look forward to leading the launch communication of several interesting mobile projects in the pipeline right now,” said Meyenburg.


Game releases  May 4-11
·       Kathy Rain  May 5 (PC)
·       Coffin Dodgers  May 6 (Xbox One)
·       Ecotone  May 6 (PC)
·       Stellaris  May 9 (PC)
·       The Magic Circle: Gold Edition  May 10 (PS4)
·       MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies  May 10 (PS Vita)
·       StarBreak  May 10 (PC)
·       Tastee: Lethal Tactics  May 10 (PC)
·       Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End  May 10 (PS4)

GAMING SPOTLIGHT- Trailers that struck a chord this week.


Going “beyond the reaches of Earth," the newest edition of the Call of Duty franchise hits shelves on Nov. 4. Click here for the spot to Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and see if it blasts you away.


Dreamhack Austin’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with a prize pool of $100,000. First match: Luminosity Gaming v Splyce at 4p on Twitch.

ON THIS DAY in 2009: PopCap Games storms the planet with worldwide release of Plants vs. Zombies.

Trivia Question: What is the name of the company behind the T-virus in the Resident Evil franchise? (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: What are the names of the original Ghosts from Pac-Man? Answer: Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde. Kudos: Brad Stern-POM Technologies/NY; Glen Ross/NY; Cindy O’Connor-Cox Reps/NY; Francisco Gomez-GSN/NY; Julie Moran/Orlando; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Kurt Melcher-Robert Morris University-Illinois/Chicago; Jason Morrow/Houston; Sale Alexander-The Marketing Arm/Dallas; Damon Parry-NCC Media/LA; Joey Olson/Manhattan Beach; Matthew Allen-Wikia/San Francisco



In addition to our daily trivia question,
Cynopsis now offers
FIVE new games
to test your TV knowledge.

Each day is a different game and the
names and companies of six winners will be posted on our website.

Play and see who has the

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | eSports @VegasandVine

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Help EyeWire scale to process neural tracings at high throughput. Game development or WebGL experience is a plus.
Full Stack/Game Developer
Boston MA

Technologies: latest Android or iPhone.
Mobile Developer
Boston MA

Distribute all moves, adds, and deletes to Pricing & Inventory Analysts.
Pricing & Inventory Manager
Boston MA

Research, evaluate and implement new products/platform utilizing industry best practices.
Senior, Networking Engineer
Clearwater FL

Implement server side game features using an existing Java server and API that is scalable, robust, secure and easy to maintain.
Senior Game Programmer
Seattle WA

Drive systems design and engage our audience with addicting gameplay mechanics.
Senior Game Designer
Seattle WA

Define broad strategic consumer marketing direction which is globally applicable.
Senior Global Brand Manager
505 Games
Calabasas CA

Drive revenue and community base through consumer acquisition, onboarding, engagement, retention and loyalty programs.
Director of Consumer Retention
505 Games
Calabasas CA

Partner with studio teams from concept to launch to create amazing games for our fans.
Senior Manager Product Marketing
San Mateo CA

Maintain a good knowledge of the games design to facilitate communication and enable early identification of issues.
Senior Character Artist
Santa Monica CA

Utilize advanced techniques including custom effects, titling, keying, audio filters, etc.
Motion Graphics Producer
San Francisco CA

Integrate web applications with client-side display ad solutions using ad serving platforms, such as Google DoubleClick For Publishers.
Software Engineering Manager, Ad Technology
San Francisco CA

Work with Tech and Game teams across King, this will include doing platform porting, developing new creative solutions, review technology stacks and coach fellow developers.
San Francisco CA

Managing Azubu’s CRM tree from build through execution; Structuring a plan and cadence to our community outreach efforts.
Director, Marketing
Los Angeles CA

Assists management of partners through timely and regular communications concerning delivery of projects and/or ongoing service.
eSports, Manager
Los Angeles CA

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