CYNOPSISeSPORTS & GAMING
It’s Thursday, January 19, 2017, and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.
The Collegiate StarLeague is adding consoles to the equation, announcing that the company is working with Electronic Arts to host and facilitate Challenger Events within the Madden Championship Series that will see student gamers have a shot to represent their school and compete for $10,000 in prize money. The event will be hosted on CStarleague.com with the winners advancing to the inaugural Midwest Campus Clash at Columbia College in Missouri on April 8. League play begins Feb. 11 and marks CSL’s first foray into offering gamers the opportunity to play console games. “We’re so excited to be adding EA Sports Madden NFL 17 to CSL’s offering of competitive leagues and tournaments. It’s one of the most popular titles not only on campus, but around the world and we listened to the community to add it as our first console game,” says Duran Parsi, CEO of the Collegiate StarLeague.
Next Generation Esports announced that the Overwatch Winter Premiere Live Finals are heading to PAX Arena in partnership with Twitch. The event will take place across the first two days of PAX Arena at PAX South 2017 in San Antonio. The Overwatch Winter Premiere live finals will take place at PAX Arena on January 27.
London’s Gfinity CoD World League event is being expanded from a two-day affair to four days with 16 European teams competing starting Jan. 28. The talent roster will include Alan ‘Bricetacular’ Brice, Oliver ‘ReL’ Whitfield, Philip ‘Momo’ Whitfield, Chris Tunn, Jonas ‘Oxygen’ Ferry, Jack ‘Courage’ Dunlop and Matthew “Mr X” Morello.
Riot Games is moving the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Finals to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver with play running April 22-23. The move shifts the event from Toronto, where it was held last year.
Our awards are now open! Get in your nominees to determine who dominated esports in 2016 for the following categories: eSports Event of the Year; eSports Sponsor Activation; eSports Production of the Year; Ambassador Award for Personality of the Year. Who will walk away the champ? Don’t miss your opportunity to shine in front of our readers on April 12 at the Cynopsis World eSports Summit by entering here.
Dutch soccer league Eredivisie is launching a FIFA 17 league, announcing a partnership with EA Sports that will showcase competitors representing all 18 teams currently in the soccer league. The FIFA league will act as a qualifier for EA Sports’ official worldwide Ultimate Team competition, as the best competitors will be sent to the European championships for a chance to advance to the World Finals.
Skillz revealed its top mobile eSports winners of 2016, with the top finisher, known as LLYW999, pulling in $390,323. California served as the most represented area, with three of the top ten players hailing from the state. On average, the top ten players competed in 16 different Skillz-powered games during the year, and played at least one tournament 275 days out of the year.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba locked in a deal with Singapore-based social networking firm YuuZoo to run the firm’s esports events in China, including the AliSports World Electronic Sport Games, according to Yahoo. The event begins at the end of April and which will offer a total of $5.5 million in prize money. The report states that AliSports will spend $15.4 million alone for the WESG — which will be run by YuuZoo’s Chinese venture YuuGames featuring Dota 2, CSGO, StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone.
ELeague unveiled its talent lineup for 2017’s first Major, set to take place in Atlanta starting Jan. 22. Richard Lewis will host, with analysts Duncan Shields and Jason O’Toole. Caster teams are set to include Anders "Anders" Blume with Auguste Massonnat along with James Bardolph and Daniel Kapadia as well as Henry Greer and Matthew Trivett. Sue Lee and Chris Puckett will serve as reporters.
As expected, YouTube Gaming continued its investment into esports tournaments, locking in a deal with the ESL Pro League to serve as the exclusive broadcasting partner for Seasons 5 and 6. “YouTube is happy to announce our partnership with WESA to distribute the upcoming seasons of the ESL Pro League,” said Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming Content at YouTube. “Entering their 5th Season, ESL’s ability to continue to produce the highest quality content at the pinnacle level of competitive play is unrivaled. Professional Counter-Strike fans and viewership has been growing at such an explosive rate and we are excited to continue sharing this passion with our gaming viewers.” Starting on Feb. 7, fans can watch live ESL Pro League action every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at www.youtube.com/ESLCS.
360-degree VR platform SLIVER.tv locked in a 2017 partnership with ESL and DreamHack that will reel in ESL mega events like ESL One and the Intel Extreme Masters series, DreamHack’s DreamLeague, DreamHack ASTRO Open and DreamHack Masters. SLIVER.tv has been Beta testing its VR Live Cast tournament platform for the past three months in collaboration with ESL, with the new stream enabling spectators to experience top esports games in fully immersive 360º virtual reality.
League of Legends saw over a billion hours of content viewers in 2016, almost double its closest competitor. Gamoloco data in partnership with PVP Live ranked the year’s top games on Twitch with the Riot title easily claiming the top spot, followed by CS:GO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Minecraft, Destiny and H1Z1.
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Misfits continue to bolster their roster, announced the acquisition of the former Team SoloMid Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. The roster will compete in ESL Pro League Season 4 after its recent qualification. In addition, the team fresh from its new partnership with the Miami Head – picked up Super Smash Bros. Melee player Ryan Coker-Welch for the team’s fighting division.
Hammers Esports announced the acquisition of “-bird noises-” (BN) for its 2017 Hammers Overwatch roster.
Ubisoft formed a collaboration with Amazon and Twitch to launch a 30-minute, original, live-action promotional video set in the world of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. The program will debut on Feb. 16 with War Within The Cartel spotlighting the Santa Blanca cartel and streamed on Ubisoft’s Twitch channel. “Ubisoft is committed to providing top-tier entertainment across the board, in games, movies and other media,” said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Ubisoft. “War Within The Cartel adds even more depth to the already expansive world of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands and we are very excited to be working with Amazon, Twitch and Legion of Creatives on this project.”
G2 Esports locked in a partnership with HyperX to serve the official SSD and memory partner of the outfit throughout 2017. “HyperX is proud to continue our commitment to the eSports community and welcome G2 to the HyperX family,” said Daniel Kelley, director of corporate marketing, HyperX. “G2 has a great track record of success, and we’re looking forward to supporting them with elite HyperX gaming gear to compete at the highest possible level.”
Last week saw Nintendo formally lay out plans for the upcoming Nintendo Switch, with the console launching worldwide on March 3 for a suggested retail price of $299.99 in the US. Allowing players to “enjoy a full home-console experience anytime, anywhere” by connecting to a TV and transforming into an on-the-go handheld. In addition, Nintendo Switch offers features such as a Capture Button that players can press to take instant screenshots of gameplay to share with friends on social media and will be supported by world-class third-party publishers including Activision Publishing Inc., Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and other Japanese publisher with publishers, such as Bethesda Softworks, joining Nintendo for the first time. First party games are set to include the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 1-2-Switch, ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and Snipperclips Cut it out, together!.
Prodigy Sports, one of the country’s top search and recruitment firms solely dedicated to the business of sports, is plugging in to esports. The company is launching a practice dedicated to sourcing, identifying and placing senior executives in the industry with the practice based out of the firm’s New Jersey office. “We have such a wide number of clients in professional sports…teams, management, agencies, technology companies, governing bodies…who have called and asked about a path to growth in eSports as they start to get into this relatively new business, so we are pleased to be one of the first firms to devote time, effort and manpower to matching opportunities and personnel in the space,” said Prodigy Sports founder/CEO Scott Carmichael.
EA laid out details for EA PLAY 2017, which will be held from June 10-12 at the Hollywood Palladium. The event will be showcased live to the world on EA.com. The event will offer hands-on gameplay, live entertainment and more.
Pokemon Go ended 2016 with the most worldwide iOS/Google Play downloads according to App Annie, although the popular game fell short in overall revenue. According to the report, the game reeled in over $950 million in consumer spending during that period, behind Monster Strike and Clash of Clans.
Angry Birds studio Rovio unveiled the creation of a new development arm focused on massively multiplayer online games. The new branch will be based in London and work on a new IP.
Microsoft announced the recent acquisition of Simplygon, known for creating 3D optimization technology used both by triple-A game developers and independent studios. “Simplygon’s technology and talent will strengthen our position in 3D creation, making it easier to capture, create and share in 3D,” explained a Microsoft representative in a blog post about the deal.
Oculus announced that the company will now use International Age Rating Coalition for all Oculus experiences. All titles in the Oculus Store will now need to show age and content ratings assigned through the IARC rating process in a move to make it easier for developers to get age and content ratings for their app across multiple territories simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft added FreeStyle Games to its portfolio. The studio behind Guitar Hero Live and the DJ Hero series was previously owned by Activision. FreeStyle Games will now be known as Ubisoft Leamington.
POWER PLAYERS Fnatic
After grabbing headlines worldwide in December for taking esports outreach to new levels with its pop-up show BUNKR, industry pillar Fnatic is looking to take its popularity beyond the gaming core and into global waters. As the team looks to expand its brand, Cynopsis spoke with Benoit Pagotto, the franchise’s Marketing Director, about its consumer outreach.
In 2016 goals: As esports continues to grow, we wanted to capitalize on the fact that we are one of esports’ biggest legacies and one of the industry’s biggest brands around the world so we wanted to start to leverage our brand more. This saw us strengthen our look and design both at competitive events as well as in the general public, where we did our first pop-up store in London. It was time for us to start thinking of ways to extend our brand as well as how to think of the broader audience to move the industry forward to bring it to a broader audience in 2017.
On opening the pop up shop: The genesis of the shop was that we had done very well in retail at our competitive events and thought it was time to bring this concept outside. We just wanted to try it and see what kind of response we had, and create a space where people can come and hang with us and engage with the players. By bringing the esports experience into a cool space with a lot of traffic, we ended up getting a reaction that was bigger than we expected. We did our League of Legends announcement live from there and it allowed us to have our partners and sponsors there with us to help them gain more exposure. Everyone ended up being very happy and we think it was a big success not only from a PR and brand exposure point of view, but also for lead generation.
On content strategy: We have our own Fnatic channels and some of our players are really big on social media. Think that Twitch is a very great platform for us because we centralize every stream of our players on our channels. We produce a lot of content for it through events and interviews and we have recently started experimenting a bit more with live content and announcements, as well as hosting questions and answers with the community. In 2017, there are two main things we are planning. The first one is to train our players on social media and have them schedule their content with their fanbase. The second is to do more live content with more Twitch live streaming, not only for gameplay but also for Q&As.
ON THIS DAY in 1983: Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIe.
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Name the game pictured last week. Answer: Minecraft. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Bill Domeika-ESL/NY; Danny Araque/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Ray Hughes-Food Network/NY; Christian Perilla-Fusion/Miami; Glen Ross/DC; Adam Leston-Weigel Broadcasting/Milwaukee; Daniel Hanson-Gamestop/Denver; Greg Dudsic/Venice.
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The post 01/19/17: CSL’s Maddening new competition; Nintendo Switches gears; Fnatic’s pop culture appeared first on Cynopsis Media.