12/05/19: Soulcalibur goes on Tour; Rainbow prepares for refresh; Taking aim at Hearthstone Battlegrounds

Thursday, December 5, 2019
For additional longer-form esports news plus jobs, a team directory, glossary, calendar and data, check out our new esports hub updated daily: http://cynopsisesports.com
Bandai Namco announced the launch of the Soulcalibur VI World Tour 2020, a slate of tournament events that will kick off at EVO Japan and run Jan 24-26 in Tokyo. Top placing Players at each tournament event will earn points toward the Worldwide Rankings to help determine the list of players invited to compete and the bracket seeding in the Finals Championship Event. Other stops for the tour will be released at a later date.

Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Pro League has a start date for Season XI, with the company announcing that competition will begin on Jan. 6 next month. Meanwhile, the USN Finals are set to take place in Las Vegas from Dec. 13-15 for the title of Team USA and a prize pool of $140,000. Jackie Jing is set to Stage Host, along with Bil “Jump” Carter as Analyst Desk Host, and a lineup of commentators that include John “Blu” Mullen, Samuel “Stoax” Stewart, Parker “Interro” Mackay, and Devin “mzo” Becker; and analysts Loviel “Velly” Cardwell and Alexander “z1ronic” Dalgaard-Hansen.
For the second year running, WorldGaming Network will be hosting the Forza Motorsport 7 WGN Championship driven by Pfaff, live at the Canadian International AutoShow this year crowning a North American Champion. The live Grand Finals event on February 23, 2020 will pit the final 16 racers across US and Canada. “Esports is the fastest growing attraction in sports entertainment and last year’s Pfaff Forza Motorsport 7 WorldGaming Network championship was one of most popular features,” says David McClean, Director of Marketing for the Canadian International AutoShow. “The action in the WGN room was furious all week, and we are looking forward to another intense competition at the 2020 AutoShow.”
Riot Games will host a three-day League of Legends event based in the Middle East. Dubbed The Nexus, the event will run Dec. 5-7 in Saudi Arabia and feature a prize pool of $850,000, pitting eight teams from Middle Eastern countries, such as Kuwait, Lebanon, and Morocco.
Meanwhile Riot’s League of Legends All-Star event is locked and loaded for this week’s action, starting Dec. 5 out of Las Vegas and serving up a platter of Rift Rival tournaments, Ultra Rapid Fire mode, 1v1s, and competitive team matches, in addition to Teamfight Tactics events across the three days. Overall, 64 “All-Stars” will compete, including two pros from each esports region, six pro players chosen by Riot after fan-voting ends, League Partners that include streamers and prominent members, and more. In addition, Riot Games revealed the official theme song for the League of Legends All-Star Event 2019, “Start It Up” featuring Prblm Chld and new.wav.
Tencent continues to shore up its competitive plans for PUBG Mobile, detailing its 2020 esports plans with the close of the PUBG Mobile Club Open 2019 Fall Split Global Finals. An overall prize pool that will top $5 million next year; prizes will be split within the slate of amateur, semi-pro and professional leagues around the world, marking a 100% spike over this year’s purse. Overall, the esports ecosystem will offer a pyramid structure, with the Campus Championship at the bottom for amateur players, followed by the PUBG Mobile Club Open and Pro League at the country-level, leading to the PUBG Mobile World Championship 2020.
The Premier League announced that the prize pool for the second season of the ePremier League will top $50,000. The season will see fans compete to win the title of 2019/20 ePL Champion for their Premier League club, with the winner walking away with the ePL Trophy and half of the total prize money. Registrations will be open until Dec. 22.
Save the date and get in early to claim your spot! Be a part of the 2020 Esports Upfront, taking place this year on April 21, 2020 at CNVS New York. Last year saw some participants score millions in new business as a result of presenting, so don’t miss your opportunity to lay out your plans in front of an invitation-only audience of leading brands and agencies. Contact [email protected] for details.

The auto battler genre (akin to a turn-based MOBA for a more casual experience) has been in a lull lately as Auto Chess and Teamfight Tactics have dominated the space. Activision Blizzard couldn’t sit back and watch other publishers soak up all of the market share so they released their version of an auto battler within their strategy card game Hearthstone. This week, Stream Hatchet investigates the impact Activision Blizzard’s new auto battler “Hearthstone Battlegrounds” had on Twitch.

  • Viewership was concentrated on early access: Hearthstone tripled its hours watched and average CCV on Twitch during the Hearthstone Battlegrounds early access week compared to pre-launch viewership.
  • Battlegrounds responsible for lift in hours watched: Hearthstone generated 13.7 million hours watched between the early access and first open beta weeks of Battlegrounds on Twitch.
  • Hearthstone claimed sizeable market share on Twitch: During its early access week, Battlegrounds helped Hearthstone reach the 6th most popular game on Twitch and had a 3.7% market share of all content on the site; the game’s highest ranking since April.
For more information about Hearthstone Battlegrounds and other streaming data, contact [email protected].

Collegiate StarLeague is polishing its championship presentation, announcing that it would be hosting the CSL 2020 Grand Finals at the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor. HyperX has signed on as the Exclusive Peripheral and Internals Sponsor for the 2019-2020 season. The peripheral manufacturer will bring its gear to more than 60 CSL events over the course of the year, including on-campus LAN events, meetups, and CSL’s Fighting Game Collegiate Circuit. HyperX will also be the Presenting Sponsor of the CSL 2020 Grand Finals at the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor and will be providing product prizing for weekly and monthly tournaments as CSL’s Prizing Sponsor.
Audio equipment brand Astro Gaming is once again partnering with Gears of War esports through the 2020 season, signing on as the official audio partner for its official tournaments with the four primary majors using the new Astro TR Main Stage audio system. In addition, Astro Gaming will launch its own league alongside Gears 5 official Majors.
RedPeg is playing duos with Susan G. Komen to launch a “first-of-its-kind” video game based philanthropic campaign to raise support for the fight against breast cancer in the Ribbon Race. The digital race against the clock (speedrun) is set within a custom-built Fortnite Creative map and launched with the help of gaming influencers BrookeAB, Symfuhny, SypherPK, and TheFortniteGuy who took on the map while live-streaming to followers on Twitch and YouTube. Each influencer will actively share their experience and challenge the gaming community to donate, beat their time, and join in the fight against breast cancer.

Live streaming platform Bilibili acquired exclusive Chinese broadcast rights for the League of Legends World Championship, according to the Beijing News, in a three-year deal worth over $113 million. China is set to host the 10th annual world championship for Riot Games’ MOBA title in 2020.
Facebook continues to add streaming talent to its roster, this time signing Super Smash Bros. staple Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios to an exclusive content deal, according to ESPN. ZeRo announced the deal Monday and makes the platform jump after boasting an audience of more than 520,000 followers on Twitch as well as 820,000 subscribers on YouTube. He will continue to produce content for YouTube but will stream on Facebook beginning Monday.
Audience intelligence and data-management platform Tru Optik announced a partnership with Anzu.io, a blended in-game advertising platform that brings real-world ads into video gaming and esports, to make first and third-party data for enhanced audience targeting available for in-game advertising on gaming consoles. Game studios and advertisers that use Anzu’s programmatic blended in-game advertising platform can leverage Tru Optik’s Household Graph T of more than 80 million homes, representing nearly 95 percent of U.S. consumers of ad-supported OTT, streaming audio and gaming content.
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OverActive Media is officially rebranding Splyce, which will now be known as MAD Lions, complete with a new look and logo for the premier European League of Legends competition in 2020. “This is an exciting day for our organization, as we take another substantial step forward in growing OverActive Media globally,” said Chris Overholt, President and CEO of OverActive Media. “We want to thank our Splyce fans and invite them to join all of us as we head into an exciting new era in the LEC.”
Callisto Gaming, an all-female esports organization based in Southeast Asia, announced that it has raised funding of $500k with an eye to close its seed round soon. “By providing women gamers a safe space with increased opportunities to excel in what they love (gaming), we wish to encourage more women to see professional gaming as a viable route to take and also to build up an international supportive community of women gamers,” explained Min Ying, CEO of Callisto, per Reuters.

New data from the Consumer Technology Association states that the video games industry is transitioning from individual entertainment to a social experience. The 2019 Future of Gaming Study found that more than 60% of gamers now play games with or against others online. Other highlights show that: 70% of consumers 13 to 64 are gamers; 44% consider gaming rewards, such as “points” or virtual currency, as a feature adding to their experience; and 50% of gamers want a remote cloud gaming service like Stadia.
A report from the Telegraph states that ESL will be placing its focus on its offices in Germany and Poland with changes set for its arms in Spain, the UK and France, that will mean some lost jobs. “The main goal of this is to refocus our entities on local growth, while supporting the global ESL brand,” read a memo obtained by the publication. “Spain and France will be affected immediately, whereas the UK office is currently under assessment and roles have been put at risk. This has been a very difficult process and we are trying to secure as many jobs as possible.”
Riot Games agreed to pay at least $10 million to former female employees as part of a settlement stemming from a gender discrimination lawsuit, according to the LA Times. The settlement has been agreed upon by the plaintiffs and defendant, but it still needs to be approved by the court. Court documents indicate that the approximately 1,000 self-identified women involved in the suit will receive a portion of the settlement amount, with tenured and full-time employees receiving more than others.
New Wave Esports Corp. entered into a definitive share purchase agreement to fully acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Even Matchup Gaming Inc. New Wave doesn’t currently own. EMG is an esports event production and broadcast company based in Toronto, Ontario. “We are excited to join the New Wave Esports team through the acquisition of EMG,” said Joe Cribari, CEO of Even Matchup Gaming. “We have been actively building our local and national fighting game communities for years and this opportunity will allow us to continue to support them with incredible events for many more years to come. Through our partnership with New Wave Esports, we look forward to further developing the size and quality of the tournaments we produce, and expanding our operations throughout North America.”
A trio of companies are merging to form Engine Media Holdings, a platform dedicated to live news, sports and esports, with an eye toward driving gaming competitions. Engine combines Torque, formerly Millennial Esports Corp. with Frankly and WinView. Engine will be co-led by Torque Esports CEO Darren Cox and Frankly CEO Lou Schwartz, while WinView Executive Chairman Tom Rogers, who also serves as chairman of Frankly, is the new company’s executive chairman. The three companies forming Engine currently manage or reach across news, esports, and sports gaming over 100 million monthly consumer touch points. Together, they will create an integrated platform to help the media industry quickly develop revenue sources that will support all forms of live event programming.
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ON THIS DAY in 2002
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is released.
Handsome Jack is a primary villain win which game franchise? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Name the classic game pictured in the last issue. Answer: Dig Dug. Kudos: Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Brian Traynor-Endeavor/NY; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Rick Dascher-Turner Studios/Atlanta Norman Lee-WFLD-TV/Chicago; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Warren Chornohus-Belden/Valencia; Greg Dudsic/Venice
For more news and coverage, check out:  http://cynopsisesports.com (updated daily).
Later ~ Chris
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San Diego CA
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Senior Animator
Hi-Rez Studios
Alpharetta GA
Facilitates accurate and efficient communication between English and Japanese speakers through native-level translation and interpretation of business-critical subject matters.
Sr. Technical Translator
Redmond WA
We are seeking a Lead Multiplayer Systems Designer who has achieved excellence in engaging online multiplayer gameplay for our Crystal Northwest Studio in Bellevue, WA.
Lead Multiplayer Systems Designer
Crystal Northwest
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We are looking for a talented Lead Animator to help bring our characters to life in our newly announced AAA title, Back 4 Blood!
Lead Animator
Turtle Rock Studios
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Leads software design process at Retro Studios.
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Hi-Rez Studios is looking for a games-loving Business Development Specialist to work at one of our locations in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Business Development Specialist
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A highly driven Senior Data Warehouse Engineer to help manage and analyze and our current data pipeline.
Senior Data Warehouse Engineer
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Manager of Analytics
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