Cynopsis Esports 11/09/23: Zelda movie revealed; more changes at 100 Thieves; Embracer COO resigns

Medias First Morning Read

 

Thursday November 9, 2023

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and Gaming brief.
The Legend of Zelda franchise is the latest game series to take up the big-screen trend. Nintendo and Sony are collaborating on a live-action movie for The Legend of Zelda, the companies announced, with legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and former Marvel Studios CEO and founder Avi Arad producing the film. Wes Ball, who is known for his adaptations of novels to live entertainment and his work on the recent live Spider-Man Marvel film series and animated Spider-Man feature films, will direct the new take on the Zelda universe.

The Legend of Zelda film is the latest in a line of both animated and live adaptations of high-profile video game franchises, including Nintendo’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie earlier this year and the HBO series of The Last of Us, which was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Both IPs generated were smash hits for series fans and the casual audience alike, as was the most recent game-to-big-screen success, Five Nights at Freddy’s.

The trend shows just how passionate gamers are about the series they love and their appetite for exploring fandom beyond the games they play. Whether The Legend of Zelda’s theater debut is another hit or a dud, expect studios and brands to continue to capitalize on the crossover between games and entertainment – and the near-constant success that blending has had in the past few years.

COMPETITION AND GAMING NEWS

The League of Legends World Championship is down to its final four teams, with three Chinese squads and South Korean powerhouse T1 still in the running. The tournament will continue this weekend at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea, with T1 and League of Legends GOAT Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok hoping to continue their run toward a fourth Worlds title with a win over JD Gaming, which will aim to make it an all-League of Legends Pro League final. LPL rivals Bilibili Gaming and Weibo Gaming will also square off for a spot in the final, which will take place at a Korean Baseball Organization stadium, the Gocheok Sky Dome, on Nov. 19.

Nearly 45 million people flocked to Fortnite late last week as developer Epic Games brought back the original map for the battle royale title, prompting an en masse nostalgic return to one of the biggest video games in the world. Over the weekend, the title reportedly drew 6.2 million concurrent players, resulting in 44.7 million users and 102 million hours of gameplay by the end of the day Sunday. The move has been hailed as one of the most successful re-engagement campaigns in the history of video games, and it’s another feather in the cap for the franchise that helped bring gaming and esports into the mainstream zeitgeist.

Miles Morales will be the primary Spider-Man video game protagonist in Insomniac titles moving forward, the game developer announced, with Peter Parker handing over the reins entirely in-game. Morales is the main protagonist of the animated “Into the Spiderverse” saga that smashed box office expectations in 2018 and continued to do so with this year’s “Across the Spiderverse” release. He was also the primary character in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of the first PlayStation 5 releases, though Parker also made appearances in that title.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

NRG and used car retailer Carvana have announced the Carvana | NRG Combine, a scouting event for Rocket League pro talent. Along with the Combine collaboration, Carvana has provided NRG with a team content hub with a twist: The Dub Wagon, a custom-wrapped SUV, will give NRG the opportunity to hit the road and produce content as well as take esports competitors to tournaments and events. “Our goal is to help find the next pro Rocket League player and help them reach the next level of their career as an esports athlete, but we also wanted to help team NRG level up in a cool, interactive way that reflected our new partnership” Ryan Keeton, Carvana co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, said in a statement. “We’re excited to see the trove of new content that comes from team NRG in the Dub Wagon.”

Esports and gaming personality Britanni Johnson has launched a new talent platform, TVRN, to help casters, analysts, and hosts find work in the industry. TVRN will serve as a liaison between its talent and event organizers to connect fresh faces and veterans with opportunities that line up with their interests and skillsets. Johnson, who has a decade of experience as a broadcaster at the cross-section of gaming, esports and entertainment, said companies including Brag House, Epic Games and Red Bull are already onboard on the events side.

M80, an esports entertainment organization, has partnered with recently launched gaming platform Forge to drive attention and new opportunities to reward its fans for casual and competitive play. Forge, which recently announced an $11 million seed funding round, provides players with a place to connect all of their in-game accounts and social platforms. Forge users can earn rewards like in-game currency and cosmetics by playing games on their linked accounts. M80’s support of the platform will include Forge branding on team jerseys as well as bringing its players to Forge as both users and ambassadors.

Brag House announced its partnership with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s will continue, with the collegiate-focused esports platform expanding its reach following the success of series run at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as in regional markets. Included in the announcement was the reveal of the Golden Royale Cup, which began last weekend as an open competition for college players in Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Southern California, and Washington. The event runs through Nov. 18, with the winner earning $5,000 in scholarship funding. The runners-up will earn $3,000, and third-place finishers will take home $1,000.

STREAMHATCHET
Fortnite Hits Highest Live-Streaming Viewership #s Since 2019 With Release of Original Map

With the original map returning to the Fortnite servers last week, Epic Games was able to tap into nostalgia and generate excitement from gamers and streamers alike.

In its first day back with the OG season, Fortnite generated 14.4 million hours watched across major live-streaming platforms. This was the highest daily viewership for the game since October 2019!

The game also hit 1.6 million peak viewers on its first day back, the highest since December 2022. 255K unique channels also streamed the game on November 3rd, the most since December of 2020, during the height of the pandemic.

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Cynopsis’ 2024 event lineup covers both annual and brand new programs – such as none other than our First Look 2024: Political Ad Spend Virtual Conference (coming soon). Take your pick and mark your calendar!

YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
Analyzing PC gamer sentiment towards processor brands in the US

Among PC gamers in the US, Intel has generated widespread positive sentiment with a significant 67% approval rating, underlining its strong reputation. AMD, a formidable competitor with a strong presence in both CPU and GPU markets, maintains a favorable image, with 54% expressing positive sentiment towards the brand. Nvidia, a leading GPU manufacturer, secures a commendable 58% positive sentiment. While Intel’s positive to negative perception ratio is enviable, what’s even more commendable perhaps is its brand recognition with only 2% of PC gamers saying they haven’t heard of the brand. In contrast, 13% say they haven’t heard of Nvidia and nearly a quarter 24% say the same about AMD.

TEAMS

Esports organization 100 Thieves has undergone layoffs and spun off two business units as it looks to “refocus on our core business,” president and COO John Robinson said in a statement. As part of the restructuring, 100 Thieves has spun off its drink product, Juvee, and its game studio to put esports, content creation, and apparel back at the forefront of the company’s efforts. “100 Thieves is committed to making esports sustainable,” Robinson said. “These changes will help 100 Thieves become a healthier company and ensure that we’re focusing our money and attention on the most important part of our business.”

Soccer star Lionel Messi is now an esports team owner with a stake in KRÜ Esports, the team and 2023 Ballon D’or winner announced. KRÜ, an Argentinian organization formed in 2020, also features former teammate Sergio Agüero as a founder, though the Messi move holds additional weight amidst a difficult financial period for esports organizations. “I’m happy to share a club with Leo, of course now in a new stage and with other challenges,” Agüero said. “It’s an honor to have him as a part of KRÜ. He’s the best footballer in history, and he’s also a great friend.”

Luminosity Gaming is returning to Rocket League with the signing of former OpTic Gaming players Slater “Retals” Thomas and Christopher “MaJicBear” Acevedo, the team announced. The organization plans to announce its third player in the coming weeks. “We have been waiting on the sidelines to find the right team to return to Rocket League, and we couldn’t be more excited that two of the most sought after talents of the off-season, Retals and MaJicBear, have decided to join Luminosity,” Head of Luminosity Gaming Alex Gonzalez said in a statement. “Our new roster is sure to be a fan favorite and positions us well to win championships.”

Esports organization KOI is ending its strategic partnership with Infinite Reality, a metaverse-focused company, the parties announced. KOI, a popular Spanish organization with teams in VALORANT, League of Legends and more, will retain its ownership of its League of Legends SuperLiga spot and its franchise slot for the VALORANT Champions Tour Europe/Middle East/Africa circuit along with its football esports squad. Meanwhile, ReKTGlobal, the esports company under the Infinite Reality brand, will hold onto the formerly shared League of Legends EMEA Championship franchise spot and its Call of Duty League franchise position as well as ReKTGlobal’s affiliated Rainbow Six Siege and Rocket League squads.

INDUSTRY

Embracer Group COO Egil Strunke has resigned amid a difficult year for the gaming conglomerate, which missed out on an expected $2 billion in investment heading into 2023. Embracer has undergone layoffs and studio closures throughout the year in the fallout from the final-hour disruption of that investment. Strunke is moving on to an individual project, Strunke games, but expects Embracer can still turn things around as it exits investment mode and focuses on right-sizing the business. ““Although the last year has been rough,” Strunke said in a statement. “… I am positive that Embracer will come out stronger and with a long, bright future ahead of them.”

The entire staff of gaming publication The Escapist have left the outlet following the firing of its editor-in-chief Nick Calandra by parent company GAMURS Group. The surprise move by GAMURS, which laid off around 50 employees earlier this year, came “for ‘not achieving goals’ that were never properly set out for us, and a lack of understanding of our audience and the team that built that audience.” The story is a familiar one amongst GAMURS employees, but this is the largest disruption for the parent company as a result of those decisions with the rest of The Escapist’s staff also opting to leave to support Calandra’s new project, Second Wind. The video-focused team had reached more than 40,000 subscribers without posting a single video as of Wednesday morning.

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