It’s Thursday, June 09, 2016, and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.

Twitter released new research on its gaming enthusiasts, who sent a collective 84 million gaming Tweets in 2015, according to Crimson Hexagon. Overall, the company revealed that 65% of people on the platform say they play video games, while 55% of those users say they regularly play console games. Overall, 85% of Twitter gamers spend money on video games, up over 76% of non-Twitter gamers, according to the study, and are 1.25 times as likely to spend over $100 on video games per year as non-Twitter gamers. Interestingly, 78% of them researched a game or console as a result of following a gaming handle.

As a result, Twitter announced best practices to connect with gamers on the platform: build anticipation prior to trailer drops; tap into and drive the conversation between trailer drops and game releases; use a conversational tone; leverage game play for your content; and amplify your TV campaign with Twitter.


Now on its third week, ELeague announced that  through two weeks  the league has reeled in over 276 million gross minutes of video consumption on Twitch and TBS, averaging over 50K concurrent streams on Twitch. The tournament notched average primetime delivery of more than 500,000 viewers on TBS for each of its first two Friday night telecasts, including 516,000 total viewers last Friday, for a 0.3 rating and 386,000 total viewers for the night, up 53% and 51% over the previous week. Through two weeks, ELeague on TBS has generated double-digit increases in all core male demos (including Men 18-34) over the network’s comparable delivery in the telecast window over the previous month.

ESL saw double-digit gains across all viewership metrics for the third season of the ESL CS:GO Pro League, ranking as the product’s most successful cycle to date. The tournament series saw a 40% spike globally in season viewership, reaching more than 61 million online sessions with over 1.2 million unique viewers tuning in for the final day of the tournament alone. Throughout the season finals in London, content shared through Facebook drew a total of 5.3 million views while a combined total of over 39 million impressions were recorded on ESL-owned social media.

The Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) and One Nation of Gamers (ONOG) are launching an eSports competition dedicated to raising awareness about “the challenges competitive gamers face when applying for P1 visas.” Dubbed, the VGVN/ONOG Overwatch Invitational 2 will be streamed live on Twitch beginning Saturday while VGVN collects signatures from viewers that will be delivered to the government at the end of the event. “P1 visas ensure that the best athletes in the world are able to compete in the U.S. regardless of which sport they play, and eSports competitors should be treated the same,” said Rich Taylor, SVP of the Entertainment Software Association. “This tournament will rally the video game community to help lawmakers understand that all eSports should be taken seriously.”

Microsoft and Turn 10 are launching a new eSports Forza Racing Championship that will launch this summer and made available from within the Forza Motorsport 6 Xbox One racing game. The eSports tournament will feature more than 600 fully detailed Forzavista cars with players able to win “real-world prizes and ultimate glory.”

Valencia CF became the first La Liga club to have their own eSports team, announcing the sister squad yesterday. “This is a very interesting project and a challenge for Valencia CF to enter a sports sector with such a marked growth,” said Valencia CF Marketing director Peter Draper. “It puts Valencia CF in the vanguard of the sector that is causing most interest throughout Europe.”

The NA LCS Summer Finals are now slated to take place in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on August 27-28. The winner will take home the championship title and earn a spot to represent North America at the 2016 World Championship.

StarLadder is hosting a CS:GO Female Stars Championship exclusively for female players. The championship rounds will span July 16-17 held in St.Petersburg during the festival of VK FEST and feature two divisions featuring Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Team YP is taking on League of Legends, announcing an all-female LoL team whose members were previously sponsored or part of various notable organizations including: gBots Club, LDLC, Team Acer and Xenodragons. The group stated that “Team YP believes in equal opportunity for all, which is why our organization is ecstatic to support the female LoL scene by forming its own roster, consisting of some top female talents active on the EU West & EU Nordic and East servers.”


Redefining the stereotype of a gamer, the AARP and ESA unveiled a new study this week exploring the gaming habits of people aged 50-plus, studying their habits, where and when they play, types of games and more. Overall, close to four in ten adults in the age bracket were categorized as gamers, with three-quarters of gamers playing video games weekly, while four in ten said they play video games every day. For more info, click here.


Mojang has broken the 100 million mark for Minecraft. The studio announced this week that is has now sold a total of 106,859,714 copies of the game and has been selling an average of 53,000 copies every day so far in 2016. The community now includes every country and territory on the planet, including Antarctica. “We’d like to offer our heartfelt thanks to every one of you who’s bought Minecraft over the past few years, no matter which platform you play on. We’re constantly in awe of our community and the amazing things you achieve together. You really are the best.”

Blizzard Entertainment is turning to Facebook to offer gamers around the world “new ways to connect and share their gaming experiences, while bringing more high-demand entertainment content to Facebook’s global platform.” Their collaboration begins later this month with the integration of Facebook Login in Blizzard’s PC games, allowing players to sign up for and log in to games such as World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Overwatch and more. According to Blizzard, adding Facebook Login opens the door for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook’s capabilities as a platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content.

Speaking of Blizzard, the company’s Overwatch saw over 7 million players in its first week, logging over 119 million hours of gameplay time. "Over the months and weeks leading up to release we saw a lot of love and support for Overwatch – from Blizzard gamers, FPS fans, and people who’d never picked up a game like this before, and we’re very grateful for everyone’s incredible passion and enthusiasm,” Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime said.

Don’t miss out on the Cynopsis eSports Conference, taking place on June 23 in NY. Newly announced speakers include Ninjas in Pyjamas CEO Hicham Chahine, MLG’s Josh Cella and Ultimate Media Ventures’ Nate Eckman. Click here for tickets now!

Vivendi, after grabbing headlines when it announced that it had picked up 61.71% of Gameloft’s shares and at least 55.61% of its voting rights on May 31, is now poised to add to that tally. The WSJ broke the news this week that the founding family of French mobile-gaming company will reluctantly sell the majority of its 21.7% stake in the company as part of the “hostile” takeover. "The family maintains that Vivendi’s hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams," they said in a statement. Earlier this month Bloomberg wrote that Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot was resigning due to the takeover.

EA unveiled the full feature set coming to EA Sports NHL 17 this Fall on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The game will now introduce three new modes to connect players to the sport: Draft Champions mode  offering a fantasy draft with fast rounds of superstar picks; World Cup of Hockey game mode; and the next generation of Be a GM now offers Franchise Mode “where you answer directly to the owner and take total control of the team and the business, from fan concessions to promotional nights to the arena and city you compete in.” Other new features include a new Net Battle system, and an improved hitting, passing, puck pick-ups and skating.

Digitimes reports that the first production for Nintendo NX components has been pushed to early 2017, with their sources, in a move to “enhance” the integrated handheld as well as add VR to the mix.


On to E3. Doritos detailed its plans for E3 Live, announcing plans to offer “the world’s largest arcade game with a never-before-seen mix of music and gaming,” dubbed Doritos Mix. The six-story retro arcade game that will be controlled by both fans onsite and watching on Twitch, with performances from the likes of DJ Steve Aoki, rapper Wiz Khalifa, Big Boi of Outkast and more. Fans at the shows will be able to control elements of the gaming experience and music performances using custom LED wristbands, including bonus content to launching special effects.

Meanwhile, EA offered the latest details about EA Play, showcasing the press conference and games that will be playable at the show. EA will broadcast its press conference live across Los Angeles and London June 12 at 1p PT to launch the events of EA Play LA at The Novo in L.A. Live and EA Play London at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith. Following the press conference in both locations, the event will be open with upcoming titles Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, as well as the likes of FIFA 17, Madden NFL 17 and NHL 17. Activities for fans will include live competitive gaming events including the Madden Championship, creating custom Battlefield 1 dog tags reflective of the WW1 era, collecting six special event pins and experiencing the new Samsung curved screen gaming monitors.

As for Xbox, the company announced this week that the Xbox E3 2016 Briefing takes place on June 13 at 9:30a PT, offering “everything from in-depth looks at previously-announced games to trailers for our unannounced titles coming in 2016 and beyond.” The company is bringing back its news show Xbox Daily: Live @ E3, hosted by Larry Hryb, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, and Graeme Boyd, Xbox Live’s AceyBongos, running on Tuesday and Wednesday at4p. , and will include a variety of guest stars and prominent industry figures. Xbox Daily: LIVE @ E3 will air on Tuesday, June 14 and Wednesday, June 15 from 4-5p.

Activision is setting up Call of Duty XP, described as “the biggest gathering of the global Call of Duty community,” at the Los Angeles Forum from September 2-4. The event will serve as host of the Call of Duty World League Championship and will also be the world premiere of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered multiplayer. Throughout the weekend, attendees will have the opportunity to win prizes, take part in PlayStation VR Experience, offer dedicated Call of Duty developer Panels and Q&As from Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games, view an onsite Call of Duty armory and franchise museum and more.

Nintendo launches the Play Nintendo Tour on June 17 at Westfield Culver City in LA as the opening stop of a 12-city tour that will visit malls and other locations across the country. The experience will offer playable Nintendo 3DS games, as well as contests, prizes and photo opportunities on its run through Sept. 5. Other cities are set to include: Glendale, AZ; Broomfield, CO, Bloomington, MN; san Diego, CA; Houston; Schaumburg, IL; Braintree, MA; Tysons Corner, VA; and Alpharetta, GA.


Cynopsis eSports Conference
6/23 | NYC | Register here


With the growth of eSports, it’s becoming more important for brands to understand who these fans are, how they behave as consumers and how to engage with them. This brief presentation presented by Michael Flamberg (VP/GM, Nielsen Games) will review new data that will help brands + advertisers get a high level overview of the eSports fans, where & how can they be reached, and their purchasing habits.

Sponsors: Magid Sports + rEvXP


Ultimate Media Ventures, the VC backed eSports innovation company, is launching its first product from ULT, a dedicated eSports lifestyle apparel brand. The first line out of the apparel will be the "Kills" collection, offering premium design and limited edition products with contemporary LA aesthetics. The line will be showcased on opening night of E3 to a reception of gaming and mainstream media, eSports pro teams, streamers, LA streetwear influencers and a few fans. The ULT eSports official website will also go live and product will be available for the first time to the public. The next products to be released will be a collection of technical training and competitive gear for the players, teams and leagues, while a line of custom suits and ties called "Caster Couture" will cater to wearables and accessories suitable for casters, coaches and team owners.

Variety reports that Jake Gyllenhaal and Ubisoft are reuniting, where he will star in and produce a film based on Tom Clancy’s The Division. The project adds to Ubisoft’s collection of feature films, which have included Prince of Persia and the Assassin’s Creed film starring Michael Fassbender this December. The company has also reportedly also been working on films for Far Cry, Watch Dogs, Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell.

Washington’s Sound Brewery is launching a line of beer dedicated to Mortal Kombat X characters. Gamespot writes that the lineup of beverages will include a Sub-Zero Imperial IPA, Raiden Imperial Saison and Scorpion Imperial Stout.


Monty Kerr is joining Zynga as SVP of Games. GamesBeat writes that Kerr, a cofounder of  PlayStudios and will work alongside Zynga social casino game chiefs Joe Kaminkow and Lincoln Brown.

Blizzard game director Jay Wilson tweeted that he is departing the industry to take up a writing career. “Sad to say after 10 of the best years of my life this will be my last week at Blizzard, and in the games industry,” he posted.

Wargaming named Juuso Myllyrinne as Head of Global Marketing & PR. In his role, he will lead the company’s global communications and marketing strategies.

Supermassive Games added three to its VR team at its Guildford studio in Steve Brown, Audio Director; Gary Napper, Game Director; and Ian Palmer, Art Director.

POWER PLAYERS: Michael Flamberg-Nielsen Games

Earlier this year, Nielsen unveiled its 360 Gaming Report, noting that “the growing popularity of eSports and the introduction of virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) devices to the category are making gamers even more of an interesting and attractive market.” With our Cynopsis eSports Conference now two weeks away, we chatted with Michael Flamberg, VP/GM of Nielsen Games and a presenter at the event, about the state of eSports in the gaming world and the big mistake brands make when looking to enter the space.

On Nielsen’s gaming research: We cover all aspects of gaming as it relates to our clients’ needs which now include eSports. What we are seeing among US consumers is that while eSports is still niche, it is definitely growing. Fans are really loyal to specific titles. The drivers that keep people watching eSports aren’t that different from traditional sports. They love the competition, the games and the teams. Gaming is one of those categories that is always trying to find new ways to innovate and grow.

On eSports fans: Right now, eSports are primarily male and Millennial with higher incomes than the typical gamer or consumer. One interesting thing is that there are some fans of eSports who don’t really play videogames themselves and instead enjoy the competition and atmosphere.

On sponsor mistakes: Sponsors need to remember that not all eSports fans are the same. I’ve heard some people talk about wanting to get into eSports as a sponsor. But just like traditional sports, these people have different tastes by game, genre or by league. It is the same thing in traditional sports. A lot of people think that they just like gaming, but in reality in traditional sports, some people like the NFL while other like the NBA or MLB. It is the same thing here where fans like different leagues and games. So, like traditional sports, fans are different for each game. You shouldn’t go into it thinking I want to do eSports. Instead, you should figure out who your consumer is and who the audiences are for each of these leagues or genres and base you decisions off of that.

On brands: Since most of these consumers are male and millennial, snack foods, beverages and energy drinks are certainly very strong at reaching these consumers. These are also brands that consumers recall seeing. They remember that Doritos, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, Coke and Taco Bell were advertisers. But we are also seeing other brands that they think fit well in the space: tech brands, telecomm, beer, apparel, automotive, personal healthcare, and others.

GAMING SPOTLIGHT- Trailers that struck a chord.

EA Sports kicked off hype for FIFA 17, with the latest version powered by Frostbite in a move to deliver "authentic, true-to-life action, takes players to new football worlds, and introduces fans to characters full of depth and emotion." The game, out on Sept. 27, will be detailed at E3 but features four new football ambassadors James Rodriguez of Real Madrid C.F., Anthony Martial of Manchester United, Eden Hazard of Chelsea FC, and Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund. The trailer looks back at the games evolution through the years with a peek at what’s to come. Click here to see the action.

ON THIS DAY in 2013: Animal Crossing: New Leaf released for Nintendo 3DS.


In what classic game does Jumpman need to save Pauline from her beastly captor? (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What famed musician was a playable character in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock? Answer: Slash. Kudos: Danny Araque/NY; Mike Antolini-Tiger Woods Foundation/Boston; Glen Ross/DC; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Susan Goldberg-The Second Screen Company/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Brandon Mims-Palisades Mediagroup/Santa Monica; Matthew Allen-Fandom.com/San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | eSports @VegasandVine


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