08/09/18: PUBG smooths the surface

CynopsisESPORTS
It’s Thursday August 9, 2018 and this is your weekly early morning Esports briefing. For more news and coverage, check out: http://cynopsisesports.com (updated daily).

 

As PUBG Corp paves the way for its esports endeavors, the company announced the launch of a ‘FIX PUBG’ campaign, designed as a months-long roadmap to improve the playing experience of PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds on PC and Xbox.
 
Coming off the world’s largest PUBG event, PGI 2018 in Berlin last month, the company posted its plans to “FIX THE GAME.” The site reads that, “This is a phrase that we’ve been hearing a lot lately. Bugs, performance problems, and quality-of-life issues have been limiting PUBG’s true potential, and you want it fixed. So we think it’s time to do something about it. ‘FIX PUBG’ is a months-long campaign to deliver the changes and improvements that you’ve been asking for. We’ve created a roadmap with specific details about our plans, and we intend to update it as we go, checking things off as we deliver on our promises.”
 
Details and timelines can be found at fix.pubg.com.
 

 

COMPETITION and VENUES

 

Newzoo unveiled a list of five predictions detailing what esports will look like in 2021, and following up on its calls made in 2017. The company projects that a quarter of the world’s population will be “aware” of esports by 2021and that gaming content will pass 10 billion viewer hours in 2021. In addition, the forecast sees the world’s ten-biggest capital cities each having an esports stadium while esports will surpass sports like tennis and rugby in viewership. The company also predicts that a high-profile esports star will appear in a Nike commercial.
 
ReKTGlobal and NBC Sports Group are fueling a renewed partnership for season two of the Universal Open Rocket League. The deal sees that will see ReKTGlobal produce cross-platform exclusive content for Universal Open Rocket League, including player profiles, behind the scenes content, social engagements and more. The content will examine the lives of top gamers, their unconventional paths to stardom in the esports world, family lives and in-depth coverage of their road to the $100K prize. ReKTGlobal is also tasked with securing sponsors for the season, and has finalized a corporate sponsorship deal with State Farm.
 
ESL is planning a shift to its annual November IEM event, and will move from Chicago to Oakland, according to a report from VPEsports. ESL hosted an IEM CS:GO event in Oakland for past two years, with both played in the Oracle Arena.
 
Electronic Arts, the NFL and ESPN are going big, announcing the launch of the Madden NFL19 Championship Series. Serving as the largest competition in title history, ESPN will telecast the tournaments across its family of networks with all 32 NFL teams locked in to take part. Competition kicks-off today as the Madden NFL 19 Hall of Fame Edition launches on Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. The new MCS beefs up the number of tournaments by 60% with more to be added throughout the season, with the rise of live event qualification spots spearheaded by the 500-plus entry Madden NFL 19 Classic format, an extended season with competition occurring now through late spring 2019 and the showpiece Super Bowl LIII-timed Madden NFL 19 Club Championship with the $700,000 prize pool. Additionally, Madden NFL 19 gameplay enhancements like the all-new Real Player Motion system ensures the on-screen competitors move and behave like NFL athletes in how they tackle, block, run and cut – increasing the game’s authenticity.
 
In an interview with GamesIndustryFIFA competitive gaming commissioner Brent Koning detailed the company’s vision for FIFA esports in the comping years, after 60 nations took part in the eWorld Cup this year. “We’re trying to build a platform that can adapt,” Koning explained, “But also we’re in a spot where we need to do better in certain areas. That is something we’re constantly working on. Whether that’s ethnic diversity, gender diversity, even age diversity to be honest.”
 
EVO saw Arc System Works announce plans for The ArcRevo World Tour 2018-2019. Players will be able to compete around the globe on a slate that includes Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator 2, BlazBlue Central Finction, and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle. Tournaments would take place in the North American, Latin American, European, and Asian regions with the finals in North America and over $100,000 in cash prizes.
 
Overwatch League made it official, signing its first two expansion teams as the organization heads to season two. Atlanta and Guangzhou, China are the next cities to enter the fray. The news had been expected, with the Atlanta franchise being backed by Cox Enterprises, which partnered with Province, Inc. to form Atlanta Esports Ventures. The Guangzhou, China team will be supported by the Nenking Group, a financial and entertainment conglomerate, and owner of the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. Further details about official names, marks, and rosters for Atlanta and Guangzhou will be announced soon by each team in conjunction with the Overwatch League. Information about other new Overwatch League teams and the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.
 
gamescom 2018 will see ESL and PUBG Corp. team up to present the PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Charity Challenge, described as “a challenge driven duo tournament played by both influencers and qualified players.” 64 players overall will compete on the ESL Arena show floor at gamescom, as the community presents them with challenges and obstacles that they need to overcome. These challenges will be decided by popularity votes on social media. By completing, teams will unlock money that they then will donate to the charity they chose to represent. Out of the 64 participating players, 32 will be directly invited influencers while the other half will be determined through European open bracket qualifiers.
 
Meanwhile, ESL also announced that the 2018 VR League esports season will wrap up at Oculus Connect 5 on Sept. 26-27 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. Overall, over $120,000 USD in prizes up for grabs and the best players and teams from Onward, Echo Arena, The Unspoken, and Sprint Vector will battle live on VR League’s Facebook, Twitchand YouTubechannels starting at 11:30a.  
 
Cynopsis, Chief Marketer, Event Marketer and parent company Access Intelligence, announced a partnership with Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino to produce the inaugural Tempest Esports Business Awards gala, a first-of-its-kind awards program to celebrate the esports industry’s most innovative companies and executives, with categories that span production, marketing, talent and technology. The Tempest Esports Business Awards will be judged by high-profile members of the esports community with winners announced live on stage on Oct. 2 as part of the Esports Business Summit and showcased across digital channels reaching over 300,000 key esports and marketing executives.
 
Haven’t checked out the agenda for the Esports Business Summit lately? Then you’ve missed the addition of key panels that include “State of the Union” in-depth looks at the Overwatch League, the League of Legends Championship Series and ELEAGUE. Go behind the scenes and hear first-hand about the future of these key esports brands directly from the executives, producers, talent, team owners and players who are driving their success. Click here to get your tickets now!
 
Red Bull is launching Red Bull Challenge Mode, a new two-day event that will take place during PAX West 2018 and spotlight Cuphead, Gang Beasts and Due Process. Red Bull Challenge Mode will feature team-based competitions, speed-runs, a pop-up shop curated by iam8bit, as well as conversations with the developers who will share insight on the inspirations and challenges behind their creations. The action runs out of downtown Seattle from Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
 
Mobile esports pillar Skillz is launchingthe largest solitaire tournament in history. The event begins today in Solitaire Cube by Tether Studios, and will feature a $100,000 prize pool. The company expects over 40,000 competitors to participate, with first place winner taking home $10,000. “The popularity of solitaire made it a natural fit for Skillz, a platform that makes esports accessible to everyone,” said Tim O’Neil, CEO of Tether Studios. “When we built Solitaire Cube, we never imagined we would one day host the largest competition in the most popular game of all time.”
 
eGency Global, in collaboration with SMU Guildhall, announced the Bounty Royale Brawl featuring Fortnite, will be held during OP Live Dallas. According to Mark Nausha, Deputy Director of GameLab at SMU Guildlhall, “At OP Live, Epic will present an educational session on Unreal Engine, the middleware game engine developed by Epic, which is used by a good portion of the video gaming industry and in two-thirds of the games we’ve developed at SMU Guildhall. Fans will learn more about what Unreal Engine does and how to work with it.”
 
 
INSIGHTS

 

Stream Hatchet enables our partners to take a holistic look at the game streaming market. This week, we’re leveraging our historical data capabilities analyze the growth of Mixer. We’ve mapped key product developments against platform viewership and usage to focus our insights:
  • Mixerreceived its official launch in May 2017. In July 2018, both viewership (hours watched) and usage (unique channels) have exponentially increased.
  • HypeZone, a stream setting that enables viewers to tune into peak broadcast moments, was released in January 2018 forPUBG. Since then, platform activity has increased, and Mixerhas enabled this setting for three more games.
  • The month afterMixer’s E3 broadcast, hours watched decreased indicating less viewership, however platform usage has continued to increase.
For a further breakdown of how Mixer’s product development has influenced its platform viewership and usage, visit blog.streamhatchet.com.
 
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ACTIVATION


Virtus.pro’s look is getting a shakeup courtesy of a deal with MegaFon. The team revealed new brand colors for its jerseys that will debut at The International 2018. Virtus.pro’s Dota 2 and Counter-Strike teams will both now don green and purple instead of the orange. “Our partnership with MegaFon is a crucial stepping stone for Virtus.pro and the entire Russian esports scene,” VP general manager Roman Dvoryankin said in a news release. “As the level of a professional esports culture rises in Russia, an alliance with the country’s leading telecom company further empowers the rapid development dynamics. I’m pleased to see MegaFon choosing us as the undisputed leaders of the region amidst the ever-increasing global integration in our industry.”
 
DreamHack renewed its partnership with Bell, which will continue to serve as the headlining event sponsor for DreamHack Montreal 2018. The Canadian telecommunications company returns as their exclusive telecom partner and headline partner for the third consecutive year with the event running Sept. 7-9 out of Olympic Stadium, with competition in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Shadowverse, Starcraft 2 and Street Fighter V.
 
G FUEL’s newest activision will be with Team SoloMid’s Fortnite squad, where they will join Chipotle for Fortnite-specific activation. The brand announced the deal on Twitter via video. Several members of TSM then posted their own tweets announcing the new partnership, including pro Fortnite players ‘Daequan’ and ‘Hamlinz.’
 
Madden NFL 19 unveiled its official ad to celebrate the game’s release on Aug. 10, featuring the likes of Nicki Minaj, Quavo of Migos, Chris Redd from SNL, Lil Dicky, DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans, and Joel Embiid from the 76ers
 
 

CONSUMER SNAPSHOT


This week, FanAI looked into the proportion of esports fans that follow each major US traditional sports league, its teams, or players. They found that the NBA has more than double the number of esports fans on Twitter than any other league. FanAI speculates that this is a result of both the NBA’s investments into esports and the NBA’s younger, digitally-savvy audience. 
 
More importantly, this shows that there is interest in traditional sports among esports fans. However, there is less cross-over between esports and the traditional sports leagues than between these leagues. For example, about 32% of NFL fans follow someone in the NBA.
 
 

PLATFORMS


EVO 2018 viewership saw audiences for Dragon Ball FighterZ hit 257,805 concurrent viewers according to GitHyp to rank as the most watched game at the annual event during its first year at the competition. Meanwhile, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Tekken 7, and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2all hit their own individual game record-breaking max CCV numbers with 190.4K, 176.2K, and 106.5K respectively. Meanwhile, Street Fighter V drew peak viewership of 201.6K to mark the title’s best numbers so far this year. Overall, Evo’s strong Sunday viewership boosted its tally to 2.5M hours watched for the weekend.
 
In other viewership news, Blizzard reports that the Overwatch League Grand Finals accumulated 10.8 million viewers globally, exceeding the audience for all of the 2018 season’s opening week. Two matches (seven total maps) in two days were played during the event, which drew an estimated live global average minute audience across both days of the Grand Finals of 861,205. In the 18–34 demographic, the average minute audience was 605,013. Adding the average minute audience for rebroadcast views of the Grand Finals to the live viewer average, the estimated total global average minute audience across both days exceeds one million, according to the company.
 
Gamer Sensei acquired the dedicated League of Legendscoaching website, LeagueCoaching.gg. Through this acquisition, Gamer Sensei’s collection of League of Legends-specific coaches will grow, providing gamers with more coaches to choose from, while also giving existing LeagueCoaching.gg customers access to the robust Gamer Sensei platform. This is the second recent acquisition Gamer Sensei has made of game-specific coaching platforms, with the company previously acquiring DOTACoach.org.
 
Thunder Gaming announced a partnership with cloud-based gaming service Shadow by Blade Thunder Gaming Esports Center will serve as a beta testing site for utilizing cloud computing technology in a competitive gaming environment. As part of the partnership, Shadow accounts will be activated at Thunder Gaming for guests of the facility.
 
Rivalry.gg announced a partnership with veteran esports journalist, tournament host and analyst Richard Lewis. The partnership, facilitated by IMG, will promote the importance of responsible and safe betting in esports. Kevin Wimer, co-founder of Rivalry.gg, commented: “Our partnership with Richard Lewis represents our commitment to supporting stalwart members of the esports community who have actively worked to end the unregulated and often predatory betting on esports. We believe Richard more than anyone has worked to uncover and expose the harm done by these sites.”
 
 

INDUSTRY


Nintendo revealed that Castlevania pillar Simon Belmont and King K. Rool from the original Donkey Kong Country games would be joining the swelling list of characters taking part in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game. In addition, the Nintendo Direct also shared additional information on Echo fighters, new stages, new modes and a killer collection of music with more than 900 music tracks and 28 hours of music. The game   launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on Dec. 7.
 
Riot Games responded to a Kotaku report detailing allegations of sexual harassment and sex discrimination at the company, citing 28 sources who claimed hiring discrimination, unwelcome sexual comments and advancements toward female employees, as well a “bro culture.” According to ESPN, a Riot spokesperson released a statement that read, “This article shines a light on areas where we haven’t lived up to our own values, which will not stand at Riot. We’ve taken action against many of the specific instances in the article, and we’re committed to digging in, addressing every issue, and fixing the underlying causes. All Rioters must be accountable for creating an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard, grow their role, advance in the organization, and fulfill their potential.”
 
Daybreak Games officially announced that launch of H1Z1: Battle Royale, which will be a free-to-play game on PlayStation 4 and offer Battle pass Season 1, new weapons and more. “Everyone here at Daybreak Games is thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response to H1Z1’s debut on PS4,” said H1Z1 Producer Terrence Yee. “Ten million new players in our first month in Open Beta is an incredible milestone, and our entire development team has worked tirelessly to build on that early success. We’re beyond excited to officially launch H1Z1 on PS4 – this is our fully realized vision for battle royale on console.”
 
Showtime served up a release window for the upcoming Halo television series, locking in 2020 for the debut of the show. Ten episodes have been ordered for the first season.
 
 

SPOTLIGHT – The Story Mob’s Nicola Piggott


As the esports industry matures, executives are increasingly stressing the importance of effective esports communications. Enter The Story Mob.The agency is today releasing the “Seven Commandments of Esports Communications,” a whitepaper designed to give a brand, team or business best practices for effective communication in the world’s fastest growing sport. Mantras include: create value; be authentic; be timely; be media savvy; be transparent; be truthful about who you are; and be bold. (Be sure to check out the white paper and its examples at CynopsisEsports.com and via TheStoryMob.com.)
 
Company co-founder Nicola Piggott told Cynopsis about its guidelines, the evolution of esports PR and tips to engage audiences. For the full interview, visit CynopsisEsports.com.
 
Piggott on Esports PR: Although games PR has existed for decades, The Story Mob is the first consultancy solely dedicated to esports. With any new sport, it takes time to build up the support services that help it succeed – from lawyers who understand the ecosystem’s complexities to comms pros who are able to help brand speak to its fans. Luckily for us, esports is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to practice communications, largely because the audience is so connected and responsive. With more investment than ever flowing into the ecosystem and teams and brands looking to create stronger bonds with esports fans, now is the time for communications pros with experience to help shape those conversations.
 
On the whitepaper: We wrote the whitepaper to answer a lot of common questions that we get as esports communications professionals. We’ve been privileged to work in esports for multiple years, and we care about helping the sport to grow and avoiding pitfalls that hold it back. That’s why we wanted to spread the word about a few simple things that we think everyone in the scene should keep in mind when planning out their communications. The commandments may seem obvious – say what you mean, don’t fake knowledge or enthusiasm – but too often we see them being broken. I’d like to think that this is relevant for anyone that’s looking to speak directly to esports fans – whether or not they have the budget to work with an external consultancy like us.
 
On good PR/communications: As we say in the whitepaper, esports fans are some of the most demanding – and bullshit resistant! – sports fans in the world. This is a sport born into a post internet world, which means fast and plentiful information, close connections with athletes and the potential for crises to explode in the blink of an eye. Having a thoughtful and thorough approach towards your communications is what separates esports teams and brands from their competitors. Automotive or telecom brands aren’t thinking moment to moment – they have decade long brand goals and messaging to help them get there. When we work with brands in the esports space, we encourage the same long view.
 
On the seven rules: We approached the commandments as a set of universal truths that we wanted to see more awareness of within esports. We could have been more specific and tactical – given a playbook on how to run an AMA or how to work with a pro or team after a crisis – but our goal was to highlight the values that we should all be holding to. Some of the simpler commandments – ‘be truthful about who you are’, for example – felt pretty obvious, but we see so many examples of brands making statements that they don’t stand by, or claiming standards that they don’t apply in their operations. We need to dial things back and help brands articulate who they are, what they bring to the ecosystem and what they stand for. Everything else is window dressing.
 
 

ROSTER MOVES

ESL is making changes to its executive team, announcing a new, dual leadership approach at CEO level and a new COO. Ralf Reichert, the Founder and CEO of ESL, will now share the CEO position with David Neichel as Co-CEO. The dual leadership allows Ralf to focus on the ESL vision and strategy while David Neichel, who joined ESL in 2017 as COO, will continue to drive product delivery for fans, manage key revenue streams, develop departments and talent within the organization, and strengthen the global footprint of ESL. Meanwhile, Krzysztof Pikiewicz is being promoted from Senior Vice President of Esports Services to Chief Operating Officer.
 
Former 2K Games president Christoph Hartmann his heading to Amazon Games as its new VP of game studios. At Amazon Games, he will lead the studio’s teams across Seattle, Orange Country, and San Diego in their work on games such as New World, Crucible, and other upcoming titles.
 

ON THIS DAY in 1992: Midway Amusement Games releases Mortal Kombatto arcades in the US.
 
Trivia: Easy one. What does Dota stand for? (Note: I don’t mean “Depending on the Artist”) (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: Which Disney character inspired the look of Link in The Legend of Zelda franchise, according to game designer Shigeru Miyamoto? Answer: Peter Pan. Kudos: Julie Reuther/Sydney; Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Marissa Sunio-Columbia University/NY; Danny Araque/NY; Allison Weiner-MMSI/Warwick; Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick-National Geographic/DC; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank

 
For more news and coverage, check out: http://cynopsisesports.com (updated daily).

 

Later — Chris
Roberta Caploe
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JOB OPENING:  SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER/TBS, TNT/LA: Oversee daily executionfor all TNT & TBS unscripted social media channels. Work closely w/mktg, dvlpmnt, PR & product teams. 5-7 yrs SM exp managing social content mktg campaigns either client or agency side. Entertainment brand exp pref’d. Full info/apply HERE (8/15)

JOB OPENING: SENIOR MEDIA BUYER/SPURRIER GROUP/Richmond, VA: Work with planner/strategist to determine best tactics for target audience; 3-5 yrs exp w/broadcast, radio, OOH & print buying. Digital & International buying exp a +. Knowledge of STRATA, Nielsen, SQAD & Simmons. Send qualified resumes to spurriergroup@gmail.com (8/15) 

JOB OPENING: SOCIAL & SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING ANALYST/SPURRIER GROUP/Richmond: Results-oriented candidate w/excellent creative skills, capacity for making data-driven decisions & aptitude working w/ automated campaign mngmnt tools. MANDATORY! 2-3 yrs of Social & Search Engine mktg exp, mngng high volume ad buys. Resume to: spurriergroup@gmail.com (8/15)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, CONSUMER INSIGHTS & ANALYSIS/PBS/Arlington, VA: Provide research-based strategic direction to leadership and stakeholders. Analyze ratings & viewing metrics &  interpret data to inform decision making. Use various tools to analysis & solutions. Min 8yrs related rsrch exp pref @TV ntwk. Apply HERE (8/15)

JOB OPENING: SOCIAL INSIGHTS ANALYST/Fullscreen/Playa Vista CA: Mng listening, reporting & insights analysis for organic & paid social media content for various clients. 2+ yrs exp @ social media or digital mktg agency & able to translate daily/weekly analytics on sm platforms into true insights for a sm team. Full info HERE (8/11)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, RESEARCH/Showtime/NYC: 8+ yrs experience, Oversee market research projects supporting mktg, advertising, strategy and sales initiatives. Develop quantitative solutions to address strategic and tactical issues. Exp working directly with consumer data in SPSS, SAS, etc. Full info/apply HERE (8/11)
 
JOB OPENING: BRAND MANAGER/NBCU/LA: Dvlp world-wide product release & mktg strategy for all Universal Pictures New Release titles, ensuring each title’s profit is maximized. Min 3-4 yrs of consumer mktg exp w/a demonstrated ability to proactively lead initiatives to make a positive difference. Full info/apply HERE (8/11)
 
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JOB OPENING: PRODUCER/EDITOR/NBCU/NYC: We are looking for a smart, enthusiastic and prolific producer who can write and produce daily news segments that will help shape the future of news. Thorough knowledge of current events, U.S. politics, and pop culture. 5+ yrs exp pref’d working on live daily shows or in & around a control room brdcst/cable. Full info/apply HERE (8/10)
 
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OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST
 

Configures, tests, and maintains LAN/WAN network equipment and related services across multiple geographies.

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https://careers.take2games.com/north-america

 

Assist in the preparation of compensation survey data submissions.

Senior Analyst, Total Rewards
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https://careers.take2games.com/north-america

 

Contributing to and enforcing engineering best practices including peer reviews, coding standards, and others as necessary.

Senior Programmer – Online Game Services
Epic Games
Cary NC

https://epicgames.com/site/en-US/careers

 

Experiment with game design and use rapid prototyping while ensuring that strong architectural and algorithmic decisions are made.

Lead Gameplay Programmer – Fortnite
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https://epicgames.com/site/en-US/careers

 

Demonstrated product/brand management experience within the video game/entertainment industry.

Manager, Product Marketing
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https://www.squareenixinc.appone.com/

 

Provides translation of customer facing in-game notifications, social media posts, and more.

Mobile Live Operations Agent
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https://www.squareenixinc.appone.com/

 

Assist in the greenlight process and title/IP evaluation for incoming IP via acquisition, internal development and beyond.

Brand Manager
Konami
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https://www.konami.com/jobs/en/career/

 

Collaborate with related departments to develop and manage other marketing activities such as social marketing, events, and PR.

User Acquisition Specialist
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Collaborate with game developers to effectively fit high impact user feedback into their development processes
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San Mateo CA

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Mentor other Security Operations (SecOps) members in multiple disciplines such as hacking, scripting and programming.

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Design and implement networking solutions taking bandwidth and latency considerations into account.

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San Diego CA

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Assist in the development of deployment automation and operational support strategies.

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Responsible for managing effective, innovative, and cost-efficient marketing campaigns in North and South America territories.

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Capcom
San Francisco CA

http://www.capcom.com/us/

 

Perforce administration of users, groups, permissions, and file types.

Data Manager
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San Francisco CA

https://www.ubisoft.com/en-US/careers

 

Work closely with the Art Director, Art Leads, and Designers to produce consistent quality designs for shaping the visual of the game.

Senior Concept Artist

Ubisoft
San Francisco CA

https://www.ubisoft.com/en-US/careers

 

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