06/29/23: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s battle with Microsoft continued this week

 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday June 29, 2023

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

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s battle with Microsoft continued this week, with both parties sparring over the legality of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. The proceedings have sparked a number of revelations, such as Sony’s move to make upcoming Bethesda title Starfield exclusive to PlayStation – leading to Microsoft buying the developer outright – and Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan admitting in an internal email that he didn’t see the acquisition as an “exclusivity play.”

Along the way, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer made a commitment under oath that Call of Duty would not become platform-exclusive and noted that the true prize for Microsoft might be the mobile gaming trove that is King Digital Entertainment, another publisher under the Activision brand that has Candy Crush Saga, Arena of Valor, and other high-grossing mobile titles under its umbrella.

The mission for both parties is clear: Microsoft is attempting to establish its message that it’s a distant third in the “console wars” between itself, Sony and Nintendo, and that the ABK acquisition would not dramatically shift the market. The FTC, meanwhile, aims to dispel that narrative and show how Microsoft’s advantage in cloud gaming, alongside scooping up the CoD, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch publisher, will tilt the gaming landscape too far in the favor of what is already a tech giant.

Proceedings will wrap up Friday, with the result determining whether an Aug. 2 injunction by the FTC has merit. If so, the acquisition will be put on hold past its July 18 deadline, which will trigger a $3 billion penalty payment for Microsoft to ABK for not closing the deal and a period of renegotiation between the two parties to see the deal done internally once again.

COMPETITION AND GAMING NEWS

Nintendo brought the heat during its latest Direct showcase, with announcements for multiple heavy hitters among its main IP, a remake of one of the popular Super Mario RPG and, yes, an elephant version of the titular hero in new title Super Mario Bros. Wonder. The at-times-whimsical, often surprising showcase also provided more details on two expansions for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, which are both scheduled to release in 2023, and a Nov. 17 release for Super Mario RPG’s long-awaited return stunned fans. Other highlights included a standalone game for Mario’s longtime love interest in Princess Peach (scheduled for 2024), a Detective Pikachu sequel (Oct. 6, 2023), a Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon port (late 2023) and more. Looks like the fall could be as busy as this summer, with top-tier IP competing in what’s been the best year for gaming fans in recent memory.

Final Fantasy XVI has sold 3 million units worldwide following its June 22 release date, according to developer Square Enix. The 16th mainline title in the storied role-playing game franchise was met with mixed reviews as it pivoted away from open-world exploration and some RPG elements in favor of a more action-adventure style, but the game managed to push Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom off the top of the boxed sales charts in the U.K.

FIBA has joined the NBA 2K League to provide international pathways to esports. The multiyear deal with the International Basketball Federation highlights the development of eFIBA events by opening doors for regional talent, establishing a national team competition system and offering eFIBA participants the chance to bridge their talents to NBA 2K League events or the NBA 2K League Draft. The calendar includes Qualifiers, four Regional Finals and the annual eFIBA World Finals.

Joseph “Jos x 10” Olmstead was crowned the EA Sports NHL 23 World Champion. After defeating North American and European competitors, including three of the world’s top CHEL players, Jos x 10 took home the $28k prize for the first time since 2019.

REV/XP PRESENTS
In this episode of REV/XP Presents, Senior Vice President Chris Mann is joined by XSET Co-Owner and Chief Culture Officer Erin Ashley Simon. Erin’s love and passion for video games, sports, music, and content have helped to shape who she is today, pushing the culture forward and breaking barriers as a female in the industry. Erin shares how XSET is driving culture in gaming and the unique brand opportunities the organization presents.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Fandom, Paramount+ and Electronic Arts are partnering to bring the Fandom Party back to San Diego Comic-Con for the sixth year. The partners, along with sponsors Z2 Comics and Pinfinity, will take over the Hard Rock Hotel on July 20, the opening day of the internationally renowned convention. Paramount+ will activate at the event with its Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Yellowjackets IP, while EA will bring to life Immortals of Aveum, a first-person shooter game published by EA that will also release on Day 1 of Comic-Con.

Saudi Esports Federation adds Razer as Gamers8 festival sponsor. The announcement of the continued partnership with the gaming peripherals company secures Razer as the gaming gear partner of Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, which will take place in Boulevard Riyadh City for eight weeks, starting July 6. The festival will feature esports tournaments, live concerts and other activities.

PepsiCo also joins in for Gamers8. The beverage and food corporation will be the exclusive water, beverage and snacks partner for the upcoming Saudi Arabian festival. Brands such as Pepsi Zero Sugar and Doritos, as well as over 1.5 million bottles of Aquafina water, will be available onsite at the event.

STREAMHATCHET

XQC’S AVERAGE VIEWERSHIP 23% LESS ON KICK IN FIRST 10 DAYS

The newest live-streaming platform on the market, Kick, has been gaining traction among creators with their desirable 95/5 revenue split. Recently signing Twitch top creators, xQc and Amouranth, to non-exclusive deals has helped the platform gain considerable attention in recent weeks.

So far in his first 11 days post-Kick deal, xQc has streamed 10 of those days, both on Twitch and Kick. His average viewership on Twitch was 62.4K viewers, but in the same time period on Kick, his numbers were slightly depressed at 48.1K, a drop of 23%. His peak viewership hovered around the same metrics, with 88.2K on Twitch and 86.6K on Kick.

Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

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YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS

Which type of games to US teens play?

YouGov Teen Profiles data shows that well over half of American teenagers play video games for at least an hour each week – but which genres most catch their fancy? Nearly half of them play action/adventure titles (48%), giving it a comfortable lead over other genres in the popularity stakes. Roughly a third of them also play fighting titles (32%), while battle royale (31%) and FPS games (30%) follow closely.

TEAMS

Longtime Call of Duty pro Octane retires and becomes a content creator. With nine Championships under his belt and one ring, Sam ‘Octane’ Larew has played for some of the industry’s top teams, including OpTic Gaming and 100 Thieves, before the CDL. In his final year, the veteran helped secure the title of Team of the Year, ending with a 1.06 overall K/D. In the video announcement, he said, “Spending time with my family, going home, and having that personal thing I haven’t had my entire life” has become more of a priority.

MrBeast could join other content creators as an esports team owner. YouTube creator Jimmy ‘MrBeast’ Donaldson has expressed interest in joining the North American Challengers League scene, the second tier of North American League of Legends. MrBeast first revealed his interest last year, when discussing the possibility of buying a slot in the LCS. “Oh, yeah, 100 percent,” he said. “The question is when. When we do it, I want to have a team that makes it to a stage like this.”

INDUSTRY

Meta has launched a VR subscription service known as Meta+, the Facebook owner announced, with two titles each month for users at $7.99 per month or $59.99 per year. Players will get to keep the games they receive throughout their Meta+ subscription period, the company said, as Meta attempts to add more utility to its hardware and software offering through a service similar to traditional gaming companies like the Big 3 of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.

The Entertainment Software Association said it is exploring solutions for its E3 conference following information from the City of Los Angeles showing the gaming event is not on the city convention slate for 2024 or 2025. “We expect E3 to continue to be a part of ESA’s storytelling,” ESA said in an internal memo to members obtained by Axios, “and are currently in conversation with a number of stakeholders about what E3 2024 (and beyond) should look like to best serve the interactive entertainment industry.”

More than half of Roblox, The Sims and Among Us players identify as girls/women, according to data from consumer research firm Circana. The information, provided by Circana Executive Director & Video Game Industry Analyst on Twitter, also showed that the majority of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and Hogwarts Legacy players are women. The Roblox mention, given the game’s backbone of user generated content and metaverse-style activations, provides proof that women are not just engaging with but are part of the foundation of what could be the next iteration of gaming, while the demographic’s majority stake in several highly trafficked IPs reinforces that being a gamer is more gender-agnostic than ever despite the toxicity and other obstacles women often face within gaming communities.

Collegiate Sports Management Group and ESPORTSU, in collaboration with Esports Foundry, are launching the ACE (Accelerating College Esports) Program. The initiative focuses on three areas – Program 365 Build, Esports Development, and Scholastic Esports Commercialization – providing a holistic approach that caters to every aspect of gaming and esports programs for facilities in colleges nationwide. “With the ACE Program, colleges and universities can captivate, engage, and retain students by meeting the rising demand for gaming and esports on campus,” said Angela Bernhard Thomas, Chief Esports Officer for CSMG/ESPORTSU. “The true power of ACE lies in its ability to expand enrollment strategies within STEAM-related subjects, creating new pathways for students pursuing careers in these fields. Moreover, it invigorates student engagement and fosters active participation in campus life, shaping a compelling educational experience.”

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TRIVIA
Last week aside, it’s been a while since a mainline Final Fantasy game came out. When was Final Fantasy XV released? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Which players make up the new Big 3 for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns? Answer: Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. Kudos: Travis Wacker | ESPN Chicago/Good Karma Brands, Chicago; Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California; Jim Himmel | TCB Media, San Clemente, California

Cynopsis Team

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Editorial Director
@Lynn_Leahey
 

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CynopsisJobs
Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day

TV/VIDEO SPONSORSHIP-PRODUCT INTEGRATION SALES REPRESENTATIVE >>
GAME ON MEDIA SOLUTIONS/Remote: Game On Media Solutions is looking for an independent business development oriented sponsorship sales representative. Focus will be on TV/Streaming project opportunities for brands that include product integration and placement. This is an Independent Contractor performance compensated opening. Attractive fees can be earned for closed deals. Full info HERE

BRAND ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/NYC: Full-service communication, strategy, and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, brand, entertainment, and nonprofit sectors, is seeking a Brand Assistant to join the Brand team in our New York office. The Assistant will play an integral role in supporting accounts for a wide variety of Fashion, Beauty, CPG and Lifestyle clients. Full info HERE

TALENT ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/LA: Full-service strategy, communications and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, entertainment and nonprofit sectors. We are looking for a Talent Assistant to a Talent Publicist in Los Angeles. We are seeking enthusiastic candidates who can work in a fast-paced environment, are driven & have strong communication and writing skills. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR NATIONAL POLITICAL SHOW >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC: Develop and oversee the production of a daily or weekly national political show that covers the most important political news and events of the day. Develop and execute strategies to increase the show’s audience and engagement. At least 5 years of experience as an executive producer for a political show or similar program. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF NEWS/ENTERTAINMENT >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC:
Oversee all editorial and entertainment content, news production and presentation. Responsible for day-to-day operations of the show: producing, writing, and guiding creative. Develop content for the News @ TEN, plan, assign and create production schedules. 7 years of experience as executive producer or show producer. Network experience preferred. Full info HERE

SR. DIRECTOR, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT >>
SHOUT! FACTORY/LOS ANGELES: P&L responsibility, ownership over all aspects of a project, standalone releases or a licensed library of titles. Works w/production, publicity, creative services, distribution/sales, digital, finance, legal, acquisitions & licensors to best position the project for success. 7+ yrs of exp. in marketing, business development, or product management. Full info HERE

SALES OPERATIONS MANAGER >>
SHOUT! FACTORY/LOS ANGELES: Prepare accurate reports using data from internal & external sources for sales planning & analysis. Communicate w/our distributor on a regular basis with an understanding of their systems & deadlines. Announce release date, pricing confirmation & metadata for staff & distributor. 3+Yrs exp. in Sales Planning & Analysis/Finance Administration. Full info HERE

SENIOR CONTENT PRODUCER
INTERACTIVE ONE
NYC

Oversee video/creative production team thru ideation, production planning, crew/talent hiring, & budget/project management. Shepherd campaigns from development, pre-production, & production thru editing & delivery. Help w/shoots as well as postproduction team. 5+ yrs exp. spanning editorial, design, advertising agency, film, branded entertainment. Full info HERE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
INTERACTIVE ONE
NYC

Respond to both RFPs and direct-to-client assignments from brands and agencies. Examine client brief and lead ideation or adapt pre-existing creative. Identify innovative storytelling and emerging video formats. Minimum of 7 yrs exp. producing compelling video, television and digital media content across multiple channels and platforms. Full info HERE

AD SALES PLANNER >>
SINCLAIR BROADCASTING GROUP/NYC, Hybrid:
Responsible for creating, analyzing & communicating sales proposals to the Sales team for presentation to advertising agencies and/or clients. Collaborate w/all media platforms & departments to create proposals, execute campaigns, manage stewardship & pacing of linear & digital deals. Point of contact post sale & provide excellent client services. Full info HERE

DIRECTOR, PRODUCTION LIFETIME/LMN MARKETING PRODUCTION OPERATIONS
A+E NETWORKS
Remote

Lead campaign planning & production oversight, ensuring best-in-class creative. Direct Campaign Planning rollouts & ensure production readiness of marketing initiatives. Oversee production on high-end graphics/design/editorial projects. 7+ yrs working in a fast-paced, highly collaborative team, with relevant work exp. in production management. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/NYC: Determine best news stories for the program and create daily rundown. Work with show host in program preparation and execution. Identify compelling news stories. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to producers, associate producers, and casting producers. 3+ years executive producing experience or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE

STAGE MANAGER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/WASHINGTON DC: Works with Production management to maintains cast and crew lists and manages local rehearsal and show calendar. Oversee daily technical run-throughs directly prior to shows. Willing and able to work shifts between 12noon to 11pm and occasional Weekends and some longer hours during election and special events. Full info HERE

BROADCAST ENGINEER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/WASHINGTON DC: Troubleshooting, repair, and preventative maintenance of television broadcast equipment, computers, and broadcast computer networks in a 24x7x365 environment. Serve as E.I.C. during live and taped shows. Electrical Engineering, or other technical degree preferred. 5+ yrs as broadcast engineer, or equivalent knowledge. 5+ yrs in live TV production. Full info HERE

PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/NEW YORK: Generate story ideas through research of news reports, social media, websites & contacts. Strong understanding of Newsmax brand & talent. Identify impactful news stories that result in provocative, compelling television. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to associate producers, assignment editors & video editors. Bachelor’s degree preferred. Full info HERE

DIRECTOR, GENERAL AUDIENCE PUBLICITY >>
PBS/ARLINGTON VA, Hybrid:
Leads the strategy, development & implementation of external communications to support PBS’s general audience content & provide support for PBS’s reputation & executive visibility. Manage relationships w/notable on-camera talent, producers – including partner agencies, managers, or agents supporting their programs. 8+ yrs of public relations exp. Full info HERE

AD SALES COORDINATOR, DIRECT RESPONSE
TV ONE
NYC, Hybrid, Remote

Work with account executives & sales planners utilizing internal computer system to fulfill sales orders through the execution of client schedules. Serve as the primary point of contact for ad agencies & TV One to resolve discrepancies, confirm schedule changes & distribute post & pre-logs. Bachelor’s degree or 2 yrs of exp. in advertising sales. Full info HERE

MANAGER OF ENTERPRISE CONTENT, WTKR
SCRIPPS NETWORKS
NORFOLK, VA

Collaborates w/other newsroom managers to leverage the Scripps content strategy as the foundation for market-specific local content strategy. Leading a team of people to regularly & reliably produce targeted enterprise & investigative stories of impact & importance to our community. 3 yrs of exp. in digital media, journalism, broadcast preferred. Full info HERE

SR. DIRECTOR, DIGITAL PLATFORMS AND PARTNERSHIPS
TV ONE
SILVER SPRING MD, NYC, Hybrid Remote

Develop, cultivate, and socialize vision, mission, and strategy for Digital Business, Programming Visibility, Content Creation and Content Partnerships & Data Governance. Lead and facilitate cross-functional and cross-company project teams. 12 yrs in the media & emerging platform landscape with building digital platforms and vMVPD growth strategy. Full info HERE

VP OF BROADCAST ENGINEERING >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA, INC./NYC, NEW YORK: Oversee the planning, management, installation & maintenance of the networks technical infrastructure: studios, transmitters, digital production platforms & automated systems. Ability to deploy in the field to coordinate special events. 8+ yrs of broadcast troubleshooting in a television network environment, preferably in a network News environment. Full info HERE

MEDIA RESEARCH MANAGER
CIRCLE MEDIA
NASHVILLE, TN

Evaluate programming for our linear and FAST channel schedules to provide insights for content strategy and audience growth. Analyze & interpret media research for programming, ad sales, marketing, and affiliate sales. Research, & preferably Nielsen background is a strongly preferred. Media Research with linear, or similar platforms, is required. Full info HERE

SCHEDULING ASSISTANT- PROGRAMMING DEPARTMENT
CIRCLE MEDIA
NASHVILLE, TN

Partner with the Programming Director to perform scheduling tasks for our Linear and FAST Channels. This includes data entry and distributing weekly schedules. Strong attention to detail and love for data entry/meta data is a plus. This role is ideal for someone looking to break into the media world. Full info HERE

TRAFFIC ASSISTANT- AD SALES METADATA ENTRY
CIRCLE MEDIA
NASHVILLE, TN

Performing a variety of administrative tasks to provide support to the Traffic Department. The majority of this role will focus on metadata entry and must have strong attention to detail. This role will also assist team members with projects and serve as an idea source during team meetings. Full info HERE

VIDEO EDITOR- MOTION GRAPHICS
CIRCLE MEDIA
NASHVILLE, TN

Responsible for editing a variety of content, including but not limited to: network promos, show promos, sponsor ads and graphics. The ideal candidate is highly skilled in the Adobe editing suite and is highly motivated and organized. After Effects/Motion graphics skills are needed and coding is preferred, but not required. Full info HERE

VICE PRESIDENT, COMPENSATION
A+E NETWORKS
NYC, Hybrid, Remote

Review current compensation programs to identify changes needed for a true best in class compensation approach. Develop simple tools that can be used by recruiters, candidates, & employees to effectively communicate all aspects of a compensation package. Minimum of 10 + years of experience in compensation. Full info HERE

OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST

Understand and navigate through existing legacy code, identifying and implementing necessary improvements.
Senior Software Engineer/Backend Python
Humble Bundle
Remote

https://jobs.jobvite.com/humble-bundle

To enhance and maintain the Gameplay part of PCF Framework (built on Unreal Engine 5).
Senior Gameplay Programmer
People Can Fly
Remote

https://peoplecanfly.com/career/

Oversee development process improvement for the studio.
Studio Head
People Can Fly
Remote

https://peoplecanfly.com/career/

Provide deep domain expertise to form technical strategies with engineering partners.
Technical Program Manager, Game Developer Experience
Netflix Games Studios
Remote

https://jobs.netflix.com/team?slug=netflix-games-studio

Provides guidance and participates in all aspects of the proposed service end-to-end, including design, implementation, support and developer interaction.
Director of Engineering
WB Games
NYC

https://careers.wbd.com/global/en/wb-games-jobs

Work as a team with programmers, animators, artists, and other technical artists.
Senior Technical Artist
WB Games
NYC

https://careers.wbd.com/global/en/wb-games-jobs

Work closely with the Art and Design teams to ensure the highest quality assets are implemented.
Principal Visual Effects
Meta Quest – Pixel Games
Austin TX

https://www.metacareers.com/areas-of-work/oculus/?p[divisions][0]=Oculus&divisions[0]=Oculus

Monitor app store reviews for games and respond to issues arising on the store surface in parallel to active ticket management
Player Support Lead, Netflix Games Studio
Netflix Games Studio
Los Gatos CA

https://jobs.netflix.com/team?slug=netflix-games-studio

Technical delivery on hardest architectural problems in early phase concept development (ensuring translation of marketing requirements to product).
Lead Systems Engineer HW
Meta Quest
Sunnyvale CA

https://www.metacareers.com/areas-of-work/oculus/?p[divisions][0]=Oculus&divisions[0]=Oculus

You will be expected to be customer first and high quality in your technical and creative solutions.
Experienced Senior Engineer
Paradox Interactive
Berkeley CA

https://career.paradoxplaza.com/jobs

Work with the game engine in setting up character assets.
Technical Animator
Paradox Interactive
Berkeley CA

https://career.paradoxplaza.com/jobs

Apply industry knowledge to come up with analytical approaches to analyze data and make project and studio improvements based on statistical methods.
Lead Data Analyst
Jam City
Carlsbad CA

https://jobs.lever.co/jamcity?location=Carlsbad%2C%20CA

Analyze data, build automated reports, and work with the Analytics team to make informed business decisions.
Senior Product Manager
Jam City
Carlsbad CA

https://jobs.lever.co/jamcity?location=Carlsbad%2C%20CA

Use cutting-edge web technologies to create rich user interfaces and experiences.
Software Development Engineer II – Creator Growth
Twitch
San Francisco CA

https://www.twitch.tv/jobs/en/careers/

Develop a team of dedicated and experienced User Experience Designers.
Director, UX Design
Twitch
San Francisco CA

https://www.twitch.tv/jobs/en/careers/

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