As Overwatch League veers toward is Grand Finals at Barclays Center on July 27-28, the org is offering perks to viewers that include the opportunity to earn four new in-game sprays as well as double League Tokens for watching the action. Sprays can be unlocked by watching a given amount of time and linking their accounts to the league’s Twitch and other digital platforms and include:
- Match’s On! with Hanzo, Zarya, Sombra, and McCree
- Watchparty: Gibraltar with Moira, Tracer, Winston, and Mei
- #1 Fan with D.Va
- Living Room with Brigitte, Reinhardt, Torbjörn, and Bastion
Meanwhile, Overwatch League has also partnered with Spotify to deliver playlists to mark the playoffs and Grand Finals. The Party on the Payload playlist saw Overwatch League tap the tastes of players from playoffs teams with four more also set to be unveiled: OWL Cool Down, Playoff Feels, OWL Around the World, and Overtime.
Nintendo is giving EVO attendees a taste of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, bringing the demo to this year’s championship before it hits the public on Dec. 7. EVO will run Aug. 3-5 this year and will again be hosting a pair of Smash Bros. tournaments in its lineup.
Activision reportedly wrapped up a creative review by opting to retain 72andSunny as its creative agency of record. “We are excited to continue our positive and productive relationship with Activision. We know we can do great things together and look forward to taking this franchise to new heights,” 72andSunny founder and creative co-chair Glenn Cole said in a statement, per Adweek. Activision spent just under $70 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media.
Razer begins its annual Razer Experience Tour today in San Diego at Comic-Con, with stops also set for Rooster Teeth in Austin, Quake Con in Dallas, Wizard World in Chicago, and Music Midtown in Atlanta. Several campuses including University of Miami and University of Texas will also be visited before concluding this year’s road trip at UCLA. Interactive demo stations will feature Razer’s newest gaming mice, keyboards, headsets and console products.
Giant Food, a greater Washington D.C. regional grocery chain and the official grocery store of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, locked in partnerships with several brands for the inaugural season of Wizard District Gaming and the NBA 2K League, including Proctor & Gamble and their brands Old Spice, Gillette and Tide, Nestlé and its owned brand Outsiders Pizza, and Chobani. Giant Food and its partners will look to support the team and activate via unique products, interactive live streams, and live games on Twitch.
Luminosity Gaming landed a deal with Universal Music Canada, marking the first time that a music label and esports organization have exclusively partnered together to formally connect music and gaming, according to a team announcement. The deal was announced by Universal Music Canada President & CEO Jeffrey Remedios and Luminosity Gaming Founder Steve Maida, and will open a “new platform for Universal Music artists to share their music and connect with listeners on a global scale and for Luminosity followers to get closer to their favorite artists with exclusive contests, breaking news, sneak previews, events and more.” Universal Music is also introducinga new playlist designed for gamers to stream while they play – the Gaming Hip Hop playlist.
Esports production, marketing and talent management firm eGency Global, in collaboration with SMU (Southern Methodist University) Guildhall, announced that funds raised at OP Live Dallas, will directly benefit local children through Children’s Health. The money will be donated to Extra Life, a charitable organization founded by video gamers in 2008 and dedicated to “Playing Games to Help Local Kids.”
Esports is a catchall term, but the communities within esports are not one size fits all. To see just how diverse the communities are, FanAI compared the Twitter communities of three popular genres in esports: First-Person Shooters (FPS), Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA), and Fighting Games (FGC).
To simplify the scope of the project, FanAI limited the included communities to the top 3 games per genre.
- FPS: CS:GO, Overwatch, Call of Duty
- MOBA: League of Legends, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm
- FGC: Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros., Tekken
Of the 26.7M unique handles reviewed, 81% followed only games within their genre of choice. With such little overlap between genres, it is key for companies that look to sponsor or invest in esports to carefully consider the different communities and determine which one best fits their brand.
Amazon Web Services announced that video game and software development corporation Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, is continuing to invest in AWS as its choice in infrastructure to build new games and enhance the in-game experiences. Since its inception, Fortnite has been powered by AWS and the game developer runs its worldwide game server fleet, backend platform systems, databases, and websites on AWS, and will leverage the breadth and depth of AWS’s services, including analytics, machine learning, and containers, to continually improve gameplay. “Fortnite’s meteoric rise is a quintessential example of how embracing the cloud and utilizing it fully can significantly impact the trajectory of your business,” said Mike Clayville, Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Sales at AWS. “Throughout Fortnite’s phenomenal growth trajectory, Epic Games has relied upon AWS to provide gamers with the best gaming experience in the world, and to speed innovation by delivering new items, features, and play modes to the game on a regular basis. Together, we look forward to driving new player experiences, leveraging AWS analytics and machine learning services.”
PUBG Corp. will utilize Multiplay, a game server hosting service, to host its European server infrastructure. Multiplay will manage the server migration itself. “This partnership with Multiplay will allow us to improve our game server’s performance and deliver a smoother experience to PUBG fans in Europe,” said Chang Han Kim, CEO of PUBG Corp. “Multiplay’s expertise and dedication, paired with the resources that Unity offers have made them key partners we love working with. We look forward to building a long term partnership with the team at Unity.”
The Washington Post is turning to gaming for its next platform, launching a channel with sister Amazon-owned company Twitch that will see live streaming of politicians as they play video games. Overall, two forms of content were announced: live event coverage hosted by Post on-air reporter Libby Casey, as well as Playing Games With Politicians, a series hosted by Post political reporter Dave Weigel, with the first installment set to feature Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
Speaking of which, Twitch is launching an Ambassador program, announcing fifteen ‘Ambassadors’ for TwitchCon, designed to “embody what Twitch is all about, from games to cosplay to IRL streams and more.” This year’s honorees include: Avajaijai, Data_Dave, DeejayKnight, DistractedElf, Djarii, Elspeth, ESBC, Gibson, Pokimane, Sequisha, Skybilz, ThatBronzeGirl, UmiNoKaiju, Wish, and Xmiramira,
Disney XD’s new deal with Overwatch League helped propel the channel to an audience of 127,000 viewers on the linear channel alone, pushing the network to the top 150 for original cable and network television programs. The broadcast comes courtesy of a deal between Blizzard and Disney, ESPN and ABC to televise the league.
As Chuck Smolka, a nine-year-old from Staten Island, won the first-ever MLB Home Run Derby VR Tournament Championship, held as part of GEICO All-Star FanFest, MLB reports that his performance in the final round on Monday , which at the time on Monday ranked as the top live streaming video on Twitch.TV with more than 120,500 concurrent viewers.
Meanwhile, Thunder Gaming and tournament organizer 2GGaming saw the launch of new national Super Smash Bros. 4 tournament 2GG: Hyrule Saga reel in more than 185,000 unique viewers, with 215,000 hours watches and average concurrent viewers of more than 9500.
Electronic Arts officially unveiled the Madden NFL 19 and Madden NFL Overdrive cover athlete with Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Antonio Brown gracing this year’s spotlight. “AB has taken the league by storm the past few years and is arguably one of the best wide receivers to ever play in the NFL,” said Joshua Rabenovets, Sr. Brand Director at EA SPORTS. “His game is hot, he’s got a ton of personality on and off the field – he was an easy choice for the Madden NFL 19 cover.”
Blizzard appears to be burying the Battle Chest, making a change to World of Warcraft will now offer players access to the game (along with every expansion through Legion) via subscription and without additional purchase.
Microsoft announced plans to hold a live stream for new features, news, and most importantly “all-new Xbox hardware and accessories” on Aug. 21.
Chinese news site Shine reports that the city of Shanghai is opening a dedicated business park designed to be home to local and international esports companies. The park would open in 2020 and be built in cooperation with Super Generation Investment and Tencent. Plans include a 6,000 seat esports arena that would host domestic and international competition.
Pokemon Go developer Niantic captured Seismic Games, acquiring the company for an undisclosed fee. Seismic has worked on mobile and VR titles including Marvel: Strike Force and Blade Runner Revelations.
Gfinity named sports and media executive Graham Wallace to the Board of Directors and to the newly created role of Global Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. Graham will work alongside recently appointed Executive Chairman, Garry Cook, with responsibility for managing Gfinity’s global business operations as the Company focuses on delivery of its strategy and growth targets.
Former Hearthstone game director Ben Brode is launching a new studio, Second Dinner, that will be based in Orange County.
Jeff Karp is headed to Big Fish to serve as the company’s new managing director and president. Karp was most recently the chief executive officer of Sports Illustrated Play, where he lead the construction of various youth sports platforms.