03/16/23: SVB collapse affects gaming, esports orgs

 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday March 16, 2023

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and gaming brief.

Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse impacted several major game developers, though esports organizations remained largely unscathed by the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history.

The financial and venture capital news of the week – SVB folding in 48 hours following a bank run that left an institution that once held more than $210 billion in assets in ruins – was bound to affect the games industry, as many developers and some esports organizations rely on venture capital as a means of maintaining operations.

Some heavy hitters in gaming were affected, including Unity Software, a widely used software platform for creating games, and Roblox Corporation, the creators of one of the biggest games in the world. Each said in separate statements that 5% of their cash and cash equivalents were in SVB. Meanwhile, James Fudge of The Esports Advocate confirmed most Tier 1 esports organizations would not be affected by the bank run, with the exception of NRG Esports and Gen.G Esports.

COMPETITION

FIFAe, the competitive esports program for FIFA, has launched FAMERHERGAME, an initiative to help promote competition opportunities for women in FIFA esports. FIFAe oversees all regional programs for FIFA esports, and it plans to “empower Member Associations and regional leagues like the ECL and other league partners to run their own events to increase women participation globally.” FIFAe also plans to host a bootcamp to help highlight top women in esports, build their skills and give them a chance to compete for an all-inclusive trip to this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Complexity Gaming will host a VALORANT Legends tournament for women and non-binary players with a $10,000 prize pool on the line. The Paradox Invitational, the first event in an upcoming series of Complexity-supported competitions focused on elevating women and non-binary competitors, will feature VALORANT Game Changers teams and help recognize Women’s History Month. Complexity’s female-identifying and non-binary roster, GX3, will compete in the event March 25-26 alongside Akave Girls, CLG Red, Evil Geniuses, Hamboigas, KARMA, Leviatan, and Velaris.

Competitive Fortnite will return to LAN with a $250,000 prize pool at DreamHack San Diego, parent company ESL FACEIT Group announced. The DreamHack Open Featuring Fortnite will feature $30,000 going to the top-performing players in its Zero Build duos competition. The event will take place April 7-9 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Gamers8, a Saudi Arabian esports tournament, will host a $15 million Dota 2 tournament at its Riyadh Masters in the country’s capital city this July. Players will qualify for the Gamers8 tournament via ESL FACEIT Group’s ESL Pro Tour for Dota 2, which begins April 9 with DreamLeague Season 19. EFG, which is owned by Saudi commercial investment entity Savvy Games Group, will send three teams to Masters alongside 17 others for the two-week event in July. Riyadh Masters will likely be the premier esports event of 2023, with more than $45 million in cumulative prizing being distributed across multiple tournaments.

STREAMHATCHET

TOP APPAREL BRANDS IN TWITCH CHAT- FEB 2023

Looking to Twitch chat is a great way to measure the popularity of a brand among the 18 to 35-year-old demographic

The most mentioned apparel brand in February is Gucci. During February Gucci garnered over 116K chat mentions on Twitch owning 1/5th of the total mentions for all apparel brands on Twitch.

As Twitch begins to diversify their creators and influencers who broadcast on the platform, we have begun to see new audiences become a part of the Twitch community. Many influencers Influencers who have come onto Twitch are selling a luxury lifestyle where they drive nice cars, live in expensive houses, and have nice jewelry. This is a great audience for Gucci who is a luxury apparel brand based in Italy.

Read more about the top apparel brands on our blog

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Complexity Gaming has partnered with social media sports platform Playmaker to “link traditional sports and gaming through content collaboration and strategic development with athletes and gamers.” Complexity, which sponsors an athlete-focused content creator program known as Complexity Stars, will assist Playmaker in the launch of esports and gaming channel playmakerOP and facilitate access to Complexity parent company GameSquare’s resources and talent to build Playmaker’s audience of 18 million followers across various social platforms.

The Portuguese Football Federation is building out an esports visibility program for soccer simulation titles, according to a report from Esports Insider. The initiative will focus on building awareness of esports at universities in the country through an event circuit featuring eFootball and FIFA titles. The move could benefit Portugal’s efforts in esports at a pro level as well: The Primeira Liga, the country’s top soccer league, also sponsors an esports competition known as eLiga.

Sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE has partnered with Giants Software to help secure sponsorships for the Spanish esports organization. SPORTFIVE has worked in the esports space before through a similar partnership with Brazilian org paiN Gaming and will leverage that experience to help Giants find a naming sponsor, facility sponsor and overall primary sponsor.

ESL events will continue to be broadcast on German TV following an extension of ESL FACEIT Group’s partnership with SPORT1. SPORT1 will continue to air competitions in the ESL Pro League, Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and several other circuits on its esports-focused affiliate station, the organizations announced.

2023 Sports Media Awards

2023 Brands of the Year announced!

Congratulations to our 2023 Brands of the Year:
Media Brand of the Year: Amazon
Event Brand of the Year: USAA
Engagement Brand of the Year: Ally Financial

Celebrate these brands’ achievements in NYC on April 18th!

REGISTER NOW

YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS

What do esports followers do on social media?

For brands looking to connect with esports followers on social media, it is important to know the types of content they consume on it. Our data shows that other than gaming and hobbies (55%), esports followers are also very likely to engage with content centred on comedy (57%), music (51%), TV & movies (51%), technology (51%) and even business and money (43%).

TEAMS

Misfits Gaming has signed AustinShow and Karl Jacobs as the company continues to expand its footprint in the content space. Both content creators have roles that go beyond the usual for signed streamers: AustinShow was also brought on as Misfits’ executive producer, while Jacobs now holds a co-ownership position in the organization and was named creative director for Misfits. “This basically means Misfits is gonna power a lot of the ideas and concepts both me and Austin have wanted to do for a while now,” Jacobs said on Twitter. “Love working with him on everything and anything and I can’t wait for you guys to see what all we have planned.”

Sentinels has signed VALORANT pro Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen as a replacement for substitute player ??Hunter “SicK” Mimsin, who was arrested in Texas on March 2 on charges of criminal trespassing. Marved, a former OpTic Gaming player, will take SicK’s place as a backup following SicK’s suspension by Sentinels on March 6. “Our goal is to support Hunter during this difficult moment,” Sentinels CEO Rob Moore said on Twitter on March 8. “However, due to the upcoming start of the franchise league, we will be looking to sign a 6th man that is able to take up the spot he’s left vacant for the time being. I appreciate the community’s patience as we get through this together.”

Esports organization Cloud9 has made cuts to its staff, with at least four people affected by layoffs, according to a report from The Esports Advocate. This staff reduction adds to an already robust list of esports teams that have cut programs, personnel or both throughout 2023 as capital concerns grip the industry. Organizations like The Guard have made headlines for cutting almost all of their staff, while other prominent names like 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan have trimmed dozens of positions thus far in 2023.

Retired League of Legends pro Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya will return to pro play as a top laner for 100 Thieves’ North American Challengers League team while former top laner Rayan “Sniper” Shoura takes a break from competitive play. Darshan, 28, last competed professionally for Cloud9’s Academy roster in late 2022. The veteran has experience on the Tier 1 stage as well as a mainstay on Counter Logic Gaming’s roster, where he competed from the Spring Split in 2015 to the end of the 2019 Spring Split.

INDUSTRY

Former Blizzard game design gurus Jay Wilson and Julian Love have launched a new studio, Gas Giant Games, with former THQ senior vice president of business development Dan Kelly as a co-founder. Wilson, the former game director of Diablo III and lead designer for World of Warcraft: Legion, will be Gas Giant’s design director, while Love, the principal combat designer for Diablo IV and lead technical artist for Diablo III, will be the creative director for the studio. Kelly, whose former studio created titles such as Saints Row, Destroy All Humans! and Darksiders, will serve as the chairman of Gas Giant Games. Given their experiences, it’s no surprise Gas Giant will pursue an action role-playing game, with a first look available for publishers and potential investors at the Game Developers Conference from March 20-24.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has finalized its penalty for Epic Games; the Fortnite creator will be required to pay $245 million to players for allegedly using dark patterns and allowing children to make in-game purchases without any restrictions. The FTC settled with Epic following claims in December that the company used “a variety of design tricks” that led to unintended purchases by consumers. The $245 million will go toward refunds for customers, and the FTC also ordered Epic to be more transparent in marketing its microtransactions and not block consumers from accessing their accounts while disputing charges.

Overwatch Vice President and Commercial Leader Jon Spector is leaving Activision-Blizzard, the former Overwatch League head announced. Spector, who joined the company in 2017 prior to the Overwatch League’s launch and was at the helm for the league in 2020, plans to vacate his role in March. “Working on Overwatch has been the highlight of my career,” Spector said on Twitter. “There are so many exciting things coming to Overwatch that I can’t wait to see as a player. I’ve worked closely with the rest of the leadership team on this transition, and I know the franchise is in great hands.”

Sports Illustrated parent company Arena Group and Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group have revealed Esports Illustrated, a new esports and gaming publication. Esports Illustrated is currently focusing its coverage on Apex Legends, Call of Duty, League of Legends and VALORANT, and Sports Illustrated hopes to use the vertical to dive into digital competition and “expand its reach,” said Chris Pirrone, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sports Illustrated.

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TRIVIA
A remake of Resident Evil 4 is coming out March 24. What’s the name of the main protagonist in that game? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
What is the nickname for the NCAA basketball tournament taking place this month? Answer: March Madness. Kudos: David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California; Michael Goodman | Radio One Atlanta, Atlanta; Matt Deprey | C-SPAN, Washington, D.C.; Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; Creed Heilskov | ImOn Communications, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Barb Throm | Stealth Media, St. Louis, Missouri; Lorrie Shilling, El Segundo, California

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