CYNOPSISeSPORTS & GAMING
It’s Thursday, July 21, 2016, and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.
ELeague opens up quarterfinal play today at 2p on Twitch with its Counter-Strike Global Offensive teams competing spots in Championship Weekend from July 29-30. Friday night’s primetime showcase on TBS will begin at 10p with Virtus Pro/Ninjas in Pyjamas. Championship Weekend then kicks off on July 29 at 5p on Twitch, followed by the second semifinal at 10p on TBS with the season one championship set for July 30 at 4p on TBS.
EA Chief Competitive Officer Peter Moore told Gamereactor that FIFA 17 is at the top of the company’s competitive gaming plans, noting "One thing we’ve learned is that we need to have more regular competitions, we need to have feeder systems feeding up all the way up until the FIFA Interactive World Cup, we need to make sure that we have something going on every weekend, that feels the more you play the better chance you have getting to the live tournaments and ultimately to those World Cup finals."
Lima Sky is launching an alternative eSports league dedicated to its Doodle Jump game, partnering with Skillz for the new tournament style gameplay. The game currently boasts 10 million active users a month. "There are three key elements for a game to become a sport: players, leagues and spectators." said Skillz CEO Andrew Paradise. "Doodle Jump already has hundreds of millions of players and a ravenous fan base. With Skillz, it will now have organized, broadcasted tournaments and competitive leagues to transform it into a full-fledged eSport."
Psyonix proclaimed via Twitter that Rocket League has toppled its previous player count of 14 million, and now claims 19 million players.
Capcom announced a Street Fighter V DLC as part of Evo that was designed help fund the Capcom Pro Tour’s prize pool. The addition included a Capcom Cup Collection for Chun-Li and Cammy for $6 each, with a third "mystery" costume to be revealed later this year. Meanwhile, a new Capcom Pro Tour-themed stage, Ring of Destiny, is also out for $10 that echoes the background seen on ESPN2’s coverage this past weekend. The prize pool for the Capcom Cup will be "based on the content download numbers," according to the publisher.
ESL is tackling gamescom in Cologne with the last Heroes of the Storm Europe Regional of the year, with team fighting for $100,000 and a slot in the Fall Championship at BlizzCon 2016.
The Halo Championship Series Pro League Summer 2016 Season Finals is now set to take place at KCON 2016 LA presented by Toyota, the world’s largest Korean culture convention and music festival from July 30-31 at The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live.
Bloomberg reports that at three NFL franchises say they’re considering signing top EA Madden NFL gamers to represent the teams in tournaments. EA Sports has met with the NFL about sponsoring gamers, according to Peter Moore, head of its competitive-gaming division, noting “It feels like a very small expense for what seems to get a large amount of publicity.”
ESL One Cologne 2016 saw the world’s largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event in title history, as over 14,000 people attended the company’s tournament on each of the main event days. Meanwhile, viewers on online platforms, including Twitch, Azubu, Hitbox and Yahoo!, consumed a total of 31 million hours of content from the event, spending an average of 155% more time in each of the 68.6 million sessions.
Superdata’s Spring 2016 eSports market report, which is projecting total eSports revenue to hit $892.8 million in 2016, forecasts year-over-year revenue growth to be driven by advertisers entering the market. That marks a 19% surge year-over-year, with Asia leading the current global eSports market with $328M in revenues, followed by North America ($275M) and Europe ($269M).
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
CYNOPSIS DIGITAL PRESENTS THE INAUGURAL
“It List” Awards
Who are we looking for?
The most innovative + freshest thinkers in digital media who excel in:
Digital Content | Marketing | Advertising | Social Media | Online Content
Deadline to Enter: August 4, 2016 | Awards Event: November 4, 2016
[START YOUR ENTRIES]
Winners will be honored at the Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards.
PUBLISHING & PLATFORMS
Microsoft revealed that the upcoming Xbox One S will see the 2TB Xbox One S launch edition hit the shelves of select regions on Aug. 2. The console is 40% smaller than the original Xbox One, and includes a built-in power supply while allowing consumers to watch Blu-ray movies and stream video in 4K Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range.
Ubisoft unveiled its first-quarter sales performance numbers for the period ending June 30, marking a year-over-year rise of 44%, with 75.3% of company sales coming from digital channels, which hit $115.4 million. Overall, total sales for the company reached $153.2 million. "The outlook for the video game industry has never been so promising," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement. "Our growth drivers going forward include the digital transformation, the strong momentum of the PC, console and mobile markets, expansion into new geographic regions (including Asia), the excellent potential of eSports and virtual reality and the extension of the group’s brands beyond video games. All of these factors will help us pursue our strong pace of value creation in the coming years."
Nintendo added to its recent headline bonanza with the announcement that the company will be releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, in stores on Nov. 11 at a suggested retail price of $59.99. The retro console returns as a near-identical, mini replica of of the original with 30 NES games built in, including classics like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Kirby’s Adventure.
Mobvista added GameAnalytics to its family, acquiring the behavioral analytics platform for game developers. The move comes after picking up NativeX in the US last March. “Acquiring GameAnalytics in Europe, like NativeX in the U.S., is helping us to rapidly develop a multi-dimensional, global ecosystem of mobile traffic,” said Robin Duan, founder and CEO of Mobvista. “We’re confident that GameAnalytics’ best-in-class technology and 20,000-strong developer community will increase our mobile marketing solution’s effectiveness to the benefit of both the supply and demand sides.”
Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix announced plans to celebrate 20 years of Lara Croft with Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration hitting PlayStation 4 on Oct. 11. The title will include the game, a new story chapter entitled “Blood Ties”, new co-op Endurance gameplay, PlayStation VR support for “Blood Ties”, and all of the previously released DLC, as well as more outfits, weapons, and Expedition Cards. The Limited Edition of the game will also feature a limited edition art book. “The studio is celebrating with all Tomb Raider® fans, thanking them for being on Lara’s 20 year journey with us,” said Scot Amos, co-Head of Studio at Crystal Dynamics. “The team has packed in surprises, new story, and the top-requested special features into this 20 Year Celebration edition.”
Square Enix also proclaimed that Final Fantasy XIV has reeled in over six million cumulative players globally–excluding free trialin under three years. The milestone coincides with the release of Patch 3.35 and the announcement of a free login campaign period that will run globally from July 25-Aug. 30.
EA Tiburon launched its Madden NFL 17 ratings reveal, with the top five quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers getting their honors over the next few days and culminating on Aug. 4 and 5, with full team and player ratings. EA Access* members can try Madden NFL 17 before it’s released for a limited time starting August 18, as part of a Play First Trial, only on Xbox One.
Bandai Namco will release Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One in September, with features that include a Score Attack mode and a new Adventure mode. The game will be playable at this week’s San Diego Comic-Con 2016.
Google is playing host to the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco this fall. Set to take place on Sept. 24, the event will showcase indie game developers, offering the chance to feature their title “to the public, increase your network, and compete to win great prizes, such as Tango devices, free tickets for Google I/O 2017 and Google ad campaign support.” Admission will be free and players will get the chance to play and vote on their favorites. "If you’re an indie game developer, you know that games are a powerful medium of expression of art. Being on Google Play can help you reach over a billion users and build a successful, global business. That’s why to further celebrate and showcase the passion and innovation of indie game developers, we’ll host an Indie Games Festival in San Francisco, on Saturday September 24."
MARKETING & PROMOTION
Xbox takes on San Diego Comic-Con this year with two locations for fans, taking on both the booth at the San Diego Convention Center as well as The New Children’s Museum. Activations include: meeting the developers of Gears of War 4 from The Coalition and get hands-on with Dodgeball at Nerd HQ; panels dedicated to Sea of Thieves, Gears of War 4, video game comics, Halo Wars 2, pop culture influence in zombie video games, and more.
Meanwhile, Nintendo hits San Diego with the Play Nintendo Family Lounge with games tournaments, and pics with iconic characters from the likes of Splatoon, Mario Kart and Pokemon. Activations include a YO-KAI WATCH Voice Actor Event, a Pokemon Fan Gathering Area.
Square Enix will invade San Diego Comic-Con 2016 with the Square Enix Experience, a themed outdoor area that includes Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – The Icarus Dash, Final Fantasy XV – The Royal Race and a Rise of the Tomb Raider Glacier Climb. The company will also offer the Square Enix Arcade hosting kiosks featuring Square Enix’s premier games and Turtle Beach’s Ear Force PX24 gaming headsets located at 7th Avenue and Market Street. Panels will include “20 Years of Tomb Raider: Lara Croft’s Multimedia Empire” and “Kingsglave: Final Fantasy XV.” Check out our Q&A with Square Enix below for more info.
RIP to professional extreme skier Matilda Rapaport who passed away after being caught in an avalanche while shooting a promo for Ubisoft’s new game Steep. Rapaport’s sponsor Red Bull told The Guardian that the avalanche occurred in Chile last week. "Matilda was an extraordinary athlete, traveling the world to find her passion, ride steep terrain, and share her bright smile," the company said.
GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines told CNBC that Pokemon GO is helping stores score a 100% rise in sales thanks to nearby PokeStop and PokeGym locations “We surveyed our stores, and we had 462 stores just this past weekend that are PokeStops or PokrGyms,” he said. “So we did some family events, and our sales were up 100 percent in those stores and, of course, our Pokemon merchandise is up significantly across the board. We’re very happy to see all this excitement around Pokémon in what is traditionally a slower time of the year for video gaming.”
LICENSING & EXTENSIONS
Overwatch is invading Dark Horse Comics, which announced a deal with Blizzard Entertainment for a new Overwatch graphic novel and an art book. According to IGN, the deal begins with the company republishing Blizzard’s 8-page digital Overwatch comics through their own digital comics service. This will be followed by a 100-page Overwatch graphic novel in April 2017 and The Art of Overwatch in Summer 2017.
Skin betting sites received a cease-and-desist letter from Valve as part of the company’s move to eliminate gambling via CS:GO and Dota 2 skins. Among the platforms shutting down, at least temporarily, was CSGOBig, which announced via Twitter that is will be disabling deposits and will be shutting down temporarily to comply with Valve.
HyperX unveiled its second official Xbox licensed gaming headset, CloudX Revolver Gears of War. The headset is co-designed with Microsoft and The Coalitionand offers additional compatibility for Windows, letting “you hear your opponent more accurately from further away, making it ideal for FPS and open environment gameplay.” Fans attending Comic-Con International: San Diego will get a first look at the headset starting Preview Night, July 20, at the Xbox (Booth 100) and at the NERD HQ event being held at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego.
Playdead co-founder and CEO Dino Patti announced that he was departing the company, selling his shares to business partner Arnt Jensen.
POWER PLAYERS: Square Enix’ Mike Silbowitz
With the Tomb Raider franchise hitting 20, Square Enix is unleashing an assault on San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that includes a marketing blitz not only for its iconic adventure title featuring Lara Croft as well as for the likes of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV and Deus Ex: Mankind. Cynopsis spoke with Mike Silbowitz, Sr. Director of Marketing at the company, about the company’s investment in experiential marketing, the rise of Lara Croft, and what we can expect in San Diego.
Silbowitz on Comic-Con vs E3: Comic-Con has become one of the biggest entertainment events for us, bar none. E3 is huge for us, but this is where we truly get to be with our fans. Last year was our first year partaking in an experience of that level in San Diego outside of the convention center and it was such a massive success. The thing that excited us the most was the engagement we had directly with the consumers so we thought we would have to do it even bigger this year.
On the experience: This year the experience is at 7th and Market. Last year, we had half the parking lot and this year we’ve taken the whole shebang. Our three tentpoles will be Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Final Fantasy XV, and Rise of the Tomb Raider, which we just announced for PS4. For Deux Ex: Mankind Divided, we will offer the Icarus Dash a huge inflatable that will put a bungee cord tied to your back when you start it. Rise of the Tomb Raider: Glacial Climb is a climbing wall you get to scale with real snow at the top. We will also be having zombies walking around the activation as well as all of Comic-Con to celebrate the zombie mode within the game. We will also have a little title by the name of Final Fantasy XV, a really cool go-kart race experience where you get to see and experience all the different worlds of Final Fantasy XV, inclusive of being able to smell what’s going on in all these different worlds. The nice addition is that we incorporated a full arcade within the experience this year, which is being brought to them by Turtle Beach, along with a biergarten.
On how experiential activations are evolving: We’ve seen a huge change in our approach that has worked really well for us. Because of social media, this stuff doesn’t just stay at the event. We’ve made these big investments and with the thousands upon thousands of people who attend in participate and participate, it is amazing to see how they share their experience and it has garnered us some amazing exposure to people who are not in San Diego.
On the 20th anniversary of Lara Croft and her marketability: The version of the product we are releasing is a true love letter to Lara and her fans who have been her over the past 20 years. It will culminate with big surprises we have with the campaign leading up to the launch and beyond. We’ll be hosting a 20 Years of Tomb Raider panel at Comic-Con discussing Lara’s multi-media empire. There are going to be pretty exciting activations that will pretty much be non-stop over the next three months. It opens up a lot of opportunities to have something so iconic as Lara Croft in our portfolio.
GAMING SPOTLIGHT- Trailers that struck a chord. “Batman The Telltale Series” pays homage to comics.
Telltale unveiled the world premiere trailer for Batman – The Telltale Series, with the first of five episodes in the season available digitally worldwide starting Aug. 2. Rendered to look like a “living, breathing comic book,” players enter the fractured psyche of Bruce Wayne and make choices and discoveries “that will shatter Bruce Wayne’s world, and the already fragile stability of a corrupt Gotham City.” Click here to watch.
ON THIS DAY in 2004: ESPN NFL 2K5 released for Xbox and PlayStation 2.
Trivia: Who is your first opponent in the original Punch-Out? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the name of the pictures Pokemon? Answer: Charizard. Kudos: Abby Hosonitz-Fox News/NY; Ted Dresdner-Viacom/NY; Ray Hughes-AMC Networks/NY; Brendan Helldorfer-OMD/NY; Joshua Paris-Santana-Screenvision Media/NY; Michelle Tran-NBC Sports/NY; Cristian Delgado-NBCUniversal/NY; Jason Robert-Columbia University/NY; Lauren Haley-Viacom/NY; Matthew Wilson-FOTOfwd/NY; Dan Ditusa-MLB/Secaucus; Erin Allen-Turner Entertainment/Atlanta; Amanda Thornton-Red Arrow Industries/Knoxville; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Phil Ranta-Studio71 US/LA; Brandon Lu-Initiative/LA; Tenley Murdock-Fox Networks/LA.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | eSports @VegasandVine
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The post 07/21/16: ELeague hits the home stretch; Publishers prepare for Comic-Con; Square Enix discusses the power of Lara Croft appeared first on Cynopsis Media.