Nintendo reports that it beat analyst expectations for the financial first quarter, anchored by sales of the Switch console, along with new Mario and Zelda-based games. Revenue hit $1.37 billion, per CNBC, with revenue growing nearly 150% year-on-year rise. The company states that it sold 1.97 million units of Switch in the quarter through June, and 4.71 Switch consoles overall.
WME/IMG experienced a mass defection on the esports front, as the four-person team tasked with growing the industry have departed the company, led by Tobias Sherman. Bloomberg detailed elements of the move, with Sherman telling the site that “Upon my resignation and that of my team, we will now be able to continue our track record of firsts in a variety of new ways. I also intend to create and produce more esports programming across TV and digital which is something that would not be possible as an agent.” Joining Sherman will be VP of Esports Sales and Global Partnerships Imari Oliver, director of strategy and engagement Lilia Russo Sherman, and agent Simon Abitbol. Meanwhile, WME/IMG will continue to work with ELeague, where it is a co-partner and will work to restaff the department.
Gfinity continues to shore up its ranks as an esports heavyweight, announcing plans to acquire CEVO Inc., an American provider of technology and services to the global esports market, for a total of $2.7 million. CEVO’s proprietary tournament platform includes a tournament management system, an anti-cheat system and dynamic broadcast software.
SteamSpy writes that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has now sold 5 million units in a four month span. The title will remain in Early Access until the end of the year.
Roblox Corporation announced that the company is on track to payout $30 million to independent developers in 2017, bolstered by more than 56 million monthly players worldwide. That number continues a sharp trend for the company, which had developer payouts of $2.5 million 2015 and $5.5 million in 2016. “Roblox is an immersive gaming and social platform that entertains more than 56 million players from across the globe. Even more so though, it provides players of all ages a real ability to learn vital coding and programming skills that can lead to game development on the Roblox platform and with our size and scale, serious potential earnings,” said David Baszucki, CEO and co-founder of Roblox. “We have accelerated rapidly, our payouts to developers which reflects the ability of our developer community. We are proud of everybody who continues to imagine and develop on our platform to create these immersive social experiences and there’s no better time to celebrate them than at our Roblox Developers Conference this weekend.”
What’s hot this week…
Get On My Level 2017 is Canada’s premier Super Smash Bros tournament of the year. Running through July 28-30, fans will be able to watch some of the top Smash competitors such as Leffen, Isai, Hungrybox and more duke it out in titles ranging from Super Smash Bros Melee to Super Smash Bros for Wii U. The event will be streamed on the EvenMatchupGaming Twitch account live from “The International Center Hall” at Mississauga Ontario.
FNATIC is teaming with Battlefy for the Summoners Community Clash, a League of Legends tournament for the team fans in North America. The partnership, according to the announcement, combines the franchise’s “global and passionate fanbase with Battlefy’s robust, scalable esports platform.” The event is open to all North American teams and fans and begins Saturday at 2p. “There’s no question how much clout FNATIC organization has worldwide. An event designed purely for fans is what gets the Battlefy team excited. Working with FNATIC has been a great experience, and we’re looking forward to a great day of competitive play from the FNATIC community,” said Jon Koob, Digital Marketing Manager, Battlefy.
Ubisoft selected UM to serve as its US media agency of record after a competitive review. Ad Age reports that the IPG Mediabrands network’s San Francisco office will handle planning and buying duties for the company. “The impressive and thorough work by UM made it an easy decision to select them as our agency,” read a statement from Ubisoft’s vp of media and audience management Vanessa Vignon. “We look forward to our collaboration and successful new campaigns ahead.”
Twitch revealed that the platform has now topped $75 million in donations since launch from viewers, with money dedicated to over 100 charities. Last year saw Twitch raise a record of $25.3 million with $4.6 million of that sum raised through July 2016, while this year is outpacing 2016 with $9.1 million raised so far.
Blizzard announced that it is teaming with Twitch for the Heroes Global Championship to launch a Cheering program that lets HGC fans support their favorite teams and organizations, while simultaneously unlocking loot for use on Twitch and in Heroes of the Storm. Fans who Cheer for teams can eventually access unique Twitch emotes along with in-game banners and other team-specific items for use in the game.
Turtle Beach locked in its first sponsorship deal with a Chinese esports team – inking a partnership with CS:GO squad Eclipse Club. “China is the biggest game market in the world with PC gaming counting for more than half of the total gaming audience, and it’s an honor for us to partner with the dynamic Eclipse team, its legendary founder, and their up-and-coming players to highlight the importance of audio to gamers in China,” said Juergen Stark, CEO of Turtle Beach Corporation.
With registration open for the WorldGaming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Canadian Championships, the company announced that Snakmandoo signed on as sponsor and official snack of the WorldGaming Counter Strike: Global Offensive Canadian Championships. Throughout the sponsorship, Snakmandoo will offer social contesting and influencer activations leading up to and at the National Finals event at Scotiabank Theatre Toronto.
POWER PLAYERS – Machinima’s Jason Dimberg
This week saw Machinima unveil details for BCF2, with the Body Count Fighting series featuring a lineup of Street Fighter V, Injustice 2, and Tekken 7 show matches pitting some of the world’s top players. BCF2 will be held at Machinima Studios in Burbank today at 9p ET with Krizz Kaliko hosting, streamed live on Twitch and YouTube. Battles will feature:
- Injustice 2 Title Match: Slayer (Champion) vs. Han Rashid
- Street Fighter V Title Match:Commander Jesse (Champion) vs. LPN
- Injustice 2 Feature Match: Awesomo vs. Krayzie
- Street Fighter V Feature Match:LowTierGod vs. KillerMiller
- Tekken 7 Feature Match: Princess Ling vs. SperoGin.
Cynopsis Esports caught up with Jason Dimberg – Senior VP of programming/editor-in-chief for Machinima – to discuss the event, how content is evolving for the platform and the strategy under new owners Warner Bros.
Dimberg on programming: Last year, we did a full year’s worth of work in programming as part of our partnership with Verizon’s go90 platform. We did a show called Inside Esports, that was very much a news/highlight SportsCenter-type of show for esports. We didn’t find that it resonated very well within the community, so in 2017, we were looking for something that was more on point for what the esports community wanted and a format that could be blossomed into something that was higher up the funnel that a more general audience would find entertaining. We had found some success with that in our past, such as Chasing the Cup on CW, and we are preparing a season of Injustice for them that will air on Oct. 3. That appealed to a broader audience, one that is more female than is typical for esports.
On the appeal of BCF: For an event like Body Count Fighting, core esports fans get to see the matchups that they want to see as opposed to hoping that they happen in open tournament play. This event is also good for the competitors themselves because they are the focus of the marketing and the promotion to help build their recognition and brand. In addition, the format is familiar, like a UFC or WWE fight card, and allows us to play up the rivalries and dramas that exist.
On the future of the format: We are looking to do an event, not quite every month and probably closer to every six weeks. It will be like a string of live events that will probably see us do eight or so next year. We are contemplating other games as well, for example Marvel vs. Capcom is going to be big. We are contemplating maybe adding Smash as well, with a core of Street Fighter, Injustice, Mortal Kombat and then Tekken making up the big four.
On changes with Warner Bros.: We are certainly putting the focus on Machinima content back on gaming and the gaming community. If you think back to Machinima’s roots, it was a collective of creators from the gaming community who came together at a time when, in order to make money, you had to band together. We are now laser-focused on that audience and we want to make being a gamer more fun.