08/10/17: Nintendo takes on weight of Worlds; Paris eyes 2024 esports gold; HyperX’s activation blueprints

CynopsiseSPORTS & GAMING
It’s Thursday August 10, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.

The Nintendo World Championships are on deck to return for only the third time, as the company unveiled plans for the event to take place in NYC this year on Oct. 7. Competitors will be able to qualify by playing Mario Kart 7 for the 2DS/3DS at specified Best Buy locations in NYC, San Jose, Miami, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and Minneapolis with the first qualifiers starting Aug. 19. Competitive play will be divided into two age groups: 12 and younger, and 13 and older. Since first debuting in 1990, the Nintendo World Championships only made a second appearance at E3 2015 in Los Angeles.
 
“The format of the Nintendo World Championships means that anyone has a chance to become the winner,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Audiences are hungry to watch competitive video games in action, and many of our most classic games, both old and new, are well-suited to competition by players of all ages.”
 
 
COMPETITION

With Paris on the cusp of officially being handed the 2024 Olympic Games, organizers are already confirming that they are mulling the addition of competitive gaming to the agenda. Co-president of the city’s committee, Tony Estanguet, told the AP that “We have to look at [eSports] because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics. The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”
 
ESL One New York is once again preparing for the Brooklyn Beatdown. The league announced that the second edition of the fighting game tournament will return to Barclays Center from Sept. 16-17 with 256 Street Fighter V players competing for their share of a $50,000 prize pool and the title of Brooklyn Beatdown champion. “We’re proud to bring Street Fighter V back to the legendary Barclays Center again this year,” said Ulrich Schulze, Senior Vice President of Product at ESL. “The performances and passion of the attendees in 2016 was everything we could have imagined and we are looking forward to witnessing the evolution of the game and its competitors at ESL One New York this September.”
 
Speaking of ESL One New YorkNow is the time to catch up and learn about esports directly from the experts at ESL, Twitch, the 76ers and Nielsen! We are proud to be partnering with ESL for the Cynopsis Esports Master Class, a unique opportunity to pull back the curtain and experience for yourself what the competitive gaming industry is made of. Featuring not only lectures from some of the most successful executives in the space today, who will break down the ABCs of the business and its players, attendees will also go behind-the-scenes of ESL One New York at Barclays, and receive tickets to the weekend’s festivities for the largest esports tournament on the east coast (if you register early)! Get ahead of the learning curve and register today.
 
With the The International 7 underway and already flush with upsets, the Dota 2 tournament clocked in with a grand tally of over $24 million in prize money accumulated for this year’s prize pool. That marks a rise of at least 16% over last year’s record-setting numbers.
 
Supercell detailed plans for the $1 million Fall 2017 Season of the Crown Championship for Clash Royale is set to kick off on Aug. 16 with a global competition that will see players from North America, Europe, Latin America, China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and more join the competition. The season schedule will see the Crown Championship Challenge run Aug. 16-20, with competitors moving on to bracketed tournaments from Aug. 21-28. Regional Elimination Week spanning Sept. 5-7. Meanwhile, final players will participate in a finals event on Nov. 11-12. The winner from each region’s Fall Season will earn the first of two regional spots to compete live in the World Finals event held in London this December.
 
FACEIT’s Esports Championship Series returns for Season 4 with the ECS Open Qualifiers and Development League. The Open Qualifiers run Aug. 19-20 and 26-27 with the top two teams of each qualifier progressing to the Development League. Meanwhile, the ECS Season 4 Development League for Europe and North America will begin on Aug. 29, with four teams coming from the Open Qualifiers and four more teams directly invited to participate.
 
Gfinity is set to mine Australia, announcing plans to expand its Elite Series into the country via Gfinity Esports Australia courtesy of a five-year license deal with HT&E Limited. The Australian Elite Series will see city-based professional franchise teams battle it out weekly, with each event broadcast live online and across other TV and media platforms. In addition the Gfinity Challenger Series will launch later this year. The deal marks the first license of the Gfinity Elite Series format and technology to a region outside UK.
 
 
INSIGHTS


Source: Superdata
 
 
TEAMS


Team EnVyUs locked in a $35 million investment from Hersh Family Investments and its interactive group, led by Kenneth Hersh, according to ESPN. The investment group is based in Dallas and answers some questions about the teams expected move to Dallas, where they would reportedly become the region’s representative in the upcoming Overwatch League and are in the midst of finalizing an agreement to join the league.
 
Allegiance announced plans to disband the organization, citing that – at its level of funding – it was no longer able to compete at the top ranks of play. “One of our core values was to be honest and offer complete transparency to our fans, so we feel it’s right to share the reason behind us closing the organization,” team owner Connor Hall stated on their site. “As most gaming followers know, the esport industry has become extremely competitive, especially for organizations. Allegiance is no longer able to compete with the organizations at the highest level with our current funding and found that now is the best time to depart from this gaming landscape. It’s certainly an exciting time for esports and we are thrilled to see the future regardless of our involvement!
 
 
PLATFORMS


Dan Harmon’s upcoming scripted esports series Good Game saw its first trailer released for the YouTube Red program, notching nearly 800,000 views at press time. The show, which stars the likes of Game Grumps’ Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson as well as Michele Morrow and Jesse Cox, follows a team seeking fame by competing in the fictional game Killcore. The trailer can be found here with the series launching on the subscription platform on Aug. 30.
 
Just ahead of The International 7, GINX eSports TV picked up broadcast rights for the tournament, offering live coverage of play as well as dedicated content from its production team on the ground in Seattle as well as on series such as The Bridge and The Daily Download.
 
Capcom reports that nearly 5 million viewers tuned in to watch the Street Fighter V final at Evolution Championship Series 2017 this year. The finals ran on ESPN2 and Disney XD, generating total viewership of 3.1 million. Meanwhile, Twitch drummed up additional viewership of 1.65 million to bring the overall tally to 4.75 million, marking the largest ever for an FGC event.
 
NBC Sports and FACEIT announced that Twitch will serve as a live streaming partner for the inaugural Universal Open Rocket League tournament. Feeds began with the weekend’s Regional round taking place at the NBC Sports Regional Networks. “We want to reach as many esports fans as possible with Universal Open Rocket League,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, Senior Vice President, NBC Sports Ventures. “Our partnership with Twitch through the Regionals and Grand Finals provides us with another avenue to maximize our exposure in the esports community.”
 
Valve reports that Steam’s userbase has notched 27 million first-time purchasers since January 2016 for an average of 1.5 million new faces per month, according to Geekwire. Overall, Steam’s monthly active player count has grown to 67 million with 33 million daily active players, and an average concurrent user count of 14 million per day.
 
 
MARKETING


OpTic Gaming nabbed another big deal with a non-endemic brand, announcing that is was teaming with Chipotle Mexican Grill for a shot to win a trip to visit the team at the OpTic Scuf House for an exclusive hangout and fan experience. The winning fans will receive round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, spending money, food from Chipotle, OpTic and Gaming SWAG. “Chipotle is already a huge part of our organization’s everyday life,” said OpTic Gaming CEO Hector Rodriguez. “This partnership fits in well with the busy lifestyles of our pro players and our OpTic Strength initiative, which helps promote the benefits of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. We look forward to introducing the brand to esports.” The OpTic Gaming Call of Duty team will be competing in the CWL Championship 2017 in Orlando this week.
 
eUnited forged new sponsor ties with ASTRO Gaming. “This is basically the definition of a mutually beneficial partnership,” says eUnited’s Creative Director, John “mediaBRUTE” DeHart. “ASTRO provides our rosters with the best audio equipment in esports while the top tier eUnited rosters provide valuable input regarding the future development of ASTRO Headsets. Our creative direction also parallels that of ASTRO’s, and organic brand synergy as strong as this is not something that comes along often. We are super excited to work with ASTRO.”
 
Ubisoft detailed plans for gamescom, which runs Aug. 22-26 from Cologne. Fan activities will be planned throughout the week at the Ubisoft booth including stage performances for Just Dance 2018 and exclusive presentations, news, demos, trailers and giveaways. In addition, The Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Pro League Season 2 Finals will be held at the Alpha Stage ESL Arena in Hall 9 during the event.
 
Tripleclix, a consumer focused, strategic marketing agency specializing in the gaming industry, released a new study on esports created in collaboration with Epsilon that offers insight into the evolving world of eSports, as well as applications for brand marketers, and proprietary eSports segments that marketers can use to identify sponsorship and messaging opportunities. Some terrific breakdowns of game audience segments from the study are below but you can have a gander at the full report here


 
 

INDUSTRY

 
Activision Blizzard laid out financials from the more recent quarter to investors, reporting $1.6 billion in sales to garner a net income of $243 million, with 46 million monthly active users. Company CEO Robert Kotick noted “Our success continues to be the result of our focus on our players and our audiences,” Kotick said. “One, expand our reach; two, deepen engagement; and three, provide more opportunity for player investment.” Company CFO Spencer Neumann went on to tackle the launch of Overwatch League, noting “We’re investing in this league for the long term. Over time, we expect to recognize additional revenues related to both more team sales and multiple league revenue streams.”
 
Meanwhile, Take-Two reported its own upticks, noting better than expect fiscal first quarter earnings with sales of $348 million versus the $281 million. “Fiscal 2018 is off to an excellent start, with our business’s positive momentum continuing to exceed our expectations in the first quarter,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “We delivered growth in both Net Sales and net revenue, as well as margin expansion. Our results were led by the ongoing extraordinary performance of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online, strong demand for NBA 2K17 – which is now our highest-selling sports title ever – and increased recurrent consumer spending.
 
Millennial Esports entered into a share purchase agreement 82.5% majority interest of Eden Games, a French based publisher of racing video games. “Millennial Esports has made the acquisition of Eden Games to expand its offering in Motorsport gaming quickly” said Alex Igelman, CEO of Millennial Esports. “Eden Games has an almost unrivalled reputation as an independent racing game developer with the huge critical and commercial success of both Test Drive Unlimited and V-Rally. Their successful recent move to mobile games with their first title Gear.Club brought them to our attention. This acquisition is just the first step in our investment in the platform. The portfolio of games built on their technology platforms will expand very quickly now. That will allow Millennial Esports to take part in the significant growth in Mobile Esports gaming revenue globally.”
 
Vainglory parent Super Evil Megacorp announced that it had raised an additional $19 million from investors. The round will allow the company to invest in its upcoming 5v5 game mode and in growing its community for the title in addition to continuing to develop its proprietary, console-grade, multi-platform engine, aka E.V.I.L.
 
 
THE META
What’s hot this week…
 

The Dota 2 International is under way with a first prize of over $10 million! Dota 2’s prize pool is made up predominately of fan contributions with Valve offering a Battle Pass leading up to the tournament that contains quests and challenges where players can earn in game rewards. 25% of the cost of the battle pass and other in game purchases gets added to the prize pool. Plenty of upsets and definitely worth tuning in to on https://www.twitch.tv/dota2ti.
Provided by: Esports One & Esportspedia: Revolutionizing Esports Data
 
 
POWER PLAYERS – Daniel Kelley, HyperX


With HyperX hitting the big 15 this year, anchored with a mantra of developing “gaming products for gamers – high-speed memory, solid state drives, headsets, keyboards, mice, USB flash drives, and mouse pads – to the gaming community and beyond,” the brand continues to establish itself within the esports meta through long-term partnerships that include SK Gaming (which is now ten-years old) and IEM (five) as well as more recent alliances such as ELeague or naming NBA rookie De’Aaron Fox as a brand ambassador.
 
Cynopsis Esports asked Daniel Kelley, Director of Corporate Marketing, HyperX, about the brand’s evolution as the esports industry matured, its partnerships and its keys to success for activation.
 
Kelley on the esports industry: We have learned a lot being one of the first brands to sponsor eSports. The are many opportunities as eSports continue to grow, with expanded interest from non-endemic brands entering into eSports, the market and viewership will continue to expand. The challenge with expanding into eSports will include staying authentic to core gamers and being entertaining to a wider group of people.

On the evolution of HyperX: Fifteen years ago, HyperX started offering memory for gamers and overclockers. In the last three years, we’ve grown to become the maker of quality gaming headsets, keyboards and mice. In the beginning, eSports was a way for gamers to play and earn a little cash. Now gaming is a big business with professional teams playing for large sums of money. At its inception, supporting eSports was putting a logo on a t-shirt. Today it is helping fill sports stadiums with fans and sponsoring influencers that stream to hundreds of thousands of viewers on Twitch.tv and supporting PC, console and mobile gaming, it’s changed quite a bit.
 
On the next 15 years: The world of eSports is one of the fastest growing segments of entertainment in the world, with live viewership exploding and surpassing that of the NFL and NBA. HyperX, with 15 years of experience within the eSports community supporting players and teams, now integrates a range of NBA players, celebrities and social influencers in their unique vision and experience in gaming globally. In the next 15 years we envision an eSports explosion, with eSports reaching the same notoriety and respect as traditional sports. Players will continue to be treated more like celebrities, with more media attention, and used by more brands as part of their influencer marketing programs.
 
On keys to a successful activation: The keys are staying close to the community and being authentic. We’ve been involved in eSports even before it was called eSports and now are involved with over 30 organizations, 95 teams and over 450 players. We provide players with products they like to use and that help them excel in gaming.  We bring players to our HyperX studios in Southern California to get their opinions on new products we are developing, and include them in a range of marketing activities and content development at HyperX.  They are a part of our team.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

BITKRAFT Esports Ventures announced that Minard Hamilton would be joining the company as a US Partner, whilst Greg Essig was tapped as Head of Business and Product Strategy. Hamilton was previously CEO at Six Degree Games following roles as Senior VP at ESPN International and General Manager at ESPN.com International.
 
Ubisoft announced that former EA DICE studio manager Patrick back would be joining as the company to oversee a new development studio in Stockholm.
 
Capcom saw Tim Bennison join Capcom Game Studio Vancouver as Chief Operating Officer and Studio Director. Bennison will head up Vancouver operations and will be responsible for the growth of Capcom Vancouver.
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1993: Sega of America releases the Jurassic Park video game.
 
Trivia: The name Tetris comes from a combination of the word “Tetra” and… (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: In 2009, this title (pictured above) helped reinvent how games were played on social platforms, topping 80 million players at its peak. What is its name? Answer: Farmville. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Danny Araque/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Christian Perilla-Fusion/Miami; Jorge Tatto-Wasserman/Toronto; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Tony Reyes-Stoopid Buddy Stoodios/Burbank
 
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