HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Road to VR is featuring a guest article this week by Alvin Wang Graylin, China president of Vive at HTC, who sings the praises of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel Ready Player One. The story depicts an existence in which “VR is intertwined into every aspect of our daily lives,” writes Graylin. He believes there are positive lessons to be learned from such a “VR-First future.” The book details tech “that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world,” which is why he makes sure every member of his China Vive team has a copy. In his article, Graylin outlines what he sees as the 16 key takeaways from Ready Player One.

Continue reading HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Microsoft Rebrands and Upgrades Game Streaming Platform

Microsoft is rolling out new features to its Beam live-streaming game service, along with a new name: Mixer. With a renewed focus on social interactivity, the company will face competition from Amazon’s Twitch, Alphabet’s YouTube and, now, Facebook, which has signed e-sports streaming deals. Microsoft joins the growing live social streaming sector armed with its popular gaming console, the Xbox. Although Microsoft stopped reporting Xbox sales in 2014, it noted last month that its Xbox Live gaming service had 52 million users in the quarter ending March 31. Continue reading Microsoft Rebrands and Upgrades Game Streaming Platform

Sony PlayStation Vue and ESL Ink Deal for E-Sports Channel

Sony’s PlayStation Vue TV service is adding a channel devoted to e-sports, becoming the first such 24-hour linear TV network in the U.S. The channel, esportsTV, comes from competitive-gaming event producer ESL. PlayStation Vue’s Elite ($55 per month) and Ultra ($75 per month) levels will have access to esportsTV. It’s got plenty of competition, with free gaming on Twitch, YouTube and other platforms. Last month, ESL also signed a non-exclusive deal with Twitter to livestream about 1,500 hours of e-sports programming in 2017. Continue reading Sony PlayStation Vue and ESL Ink Deal for E-Sports Channel

Casinos Face Decline in Gambling Revenue, Turn to E-Sports

MGM Resorts International is getting into the e-sports business, converting a shuttered nightclub into a permanent venue for e-sports competitions beginning next year. It’s not alone, as several U.S. casinos are turning to e-sports as a way to attract younger tourists and pump up growth. Downtown Grand in Las Vegas and Caesars in Atlantic City are two others that are opening up e-sports attractions. Other casinos on the Las Vegas strip are looking to restaurants and entertainment to jumpstart revenue growth. Continue reading Casinos Face Decline in Gambling Revenue, Turn to E-Sports

NBA, Take-Two Establish First Professional Sports E-League

The National Basketball Association and videogame publisher Take-Two Interactive Software inked a joint venture to establish a professional videogame league, with NBA franchises creating teams for Take-Two’s “NBA 2K” videogame, beginning next year. The NBA 2K e-league is the first to be operated by a major U.S. sports league, although both teams and athletes have bought or invested in e-sports teams before. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Arby’s Restaurant Group and other major advertisers have also gravitated to e-sports. Continue reading NBA, Take-Two Establish First Professional Sports E-League

Global Game Industry Earned $91 Billion in Revenues in 2016

According to SuperData Research, games were a $91 billion global market in 2016, with mobile games accounting for $41 billion (about 18 percent). In second and third place, retail games were valued at $26 billion, and free online games at $19 billion. SuperData also noted virtual reality, e-sports and gaming video content, all of which were characterized as small but growing fast, thus promising for 2017. “Monster Strike,” “Pokémon Go” and “Clash Royale” were among the blockbuster hits that made mobile games a winning category. Continue reading Global Game Industry Earned $91 Billion in Revenues in 2016

Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

Activision Blizzard, the biggest videogame company in the U.S. by market value, is taking steps to create an e-sports league that more closely resembles a traditional sports league. The company is in conversation with more than 100 e-sports and traditional sports teams to drum up interest in a league for its game “Overwatch” that would function like the National Football League. Competitive videogaming has gained in popularity and viewership, heading towards an estimated 10 percent of all U.S. sports viewing by 2020. Continue reading Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

Nintendo Rolls Out Switch, its New Hybrid Videogame System

Nintendo just debuted Switch, a console/handheld hybrid that is the company’s next videogame platform. The system, which has been in development since March 2015 and will be available for sale March 2017, can be used for TV gaming or as a portable gaming system, depending on the configuration of its tablet-like device and dock. Minus the tablet, the system becomes portable, with mini joysticks that can be wireless or attached to the sides. Nintendo also says it will soon reveal titles, game demos, and prices. Continue reading Nintendo Rolls Out Switch, its New Hybrid Videogame System

Disney Accelerator Supports Nine Startups for Mutual Benefit

Disney founded its own accelerator a few years ago, providing financial and logistical support to a range of startups from Hanson Robotics, which makes lifelike robots, to Jaunt and its VR cameras. Disney chooses the startups it supports wisely, selecting companies that are creating things that could potentially align with Disney’s media and business pursuits. Take virtual reality for example; Disney isn’t likely to build its own camera, but it can certainly benefit from supporting a company with the expertise to do so. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Supports Nine Startups for Mutual Benefit

Amazon’s New ‘Breakaway’ Integrates Twitch and AWS Cloud

Amazon Game Studios recently unveiled its first big-budget video game, the multiplayer online battle game “Breakaway,” described as street basketball played in a mythological world where athletes are armed. With the game, Amazon integrates live streaming app Twitch, which it bought for nearly $1 billion, and also incorporates Lumberyard, its cross-platform, 3D game engine. Lumberyard, free to game developers, connects to its Amazon Web Services cloud storage. The game is available for free, indefinitely, as Amazon works out the bugs. Continue reading Amazon’s New ‘Breakaway’ Integrates Twitch and AWS Cloud

Activision to Open Film/TV Studio to Repurpose Game Library

Gaming company Activision Blizzard is creating an internal film/TV studio, headed by former Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk, to produce content based on its 1,000-title library. The first production is animated TV series “Skylanders Academy,” based on the “Skylanders” game that’s earned $3+ billion since its 2011 launch. The first film is likely to be based on “Call of Duty.” This move comes on the heels of Activision’s stated intent to acquire King Digital Entertainment, creator of “Candy Crush,” for $5.9 billion. Continue reading Activision to Open Film/TV Studio to Repurpose Game Library

TBS and WME/IMG Plan to Bring Video Games to Primetime

Video games are coming to primetime TV next year, as Turner Broadcasting System partners with talent agency WME/IMG to create a league for players and fans. The currently unnamed league will broadcast gaming competitions live on Friday nights, with the hope it will draw in young male viewers on a night that is traditionally difficult to program. This first year, the league, which will broadcast 20 weeks a year, will focus competition in the game “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” published by Valve Corp. Continue reading TBS and WME/IMG Plan to Bring Video Games to Primetime

The Rise of E-Sports: Videogame Coaching is a New Profession

With the rise in popularity of e-sports, videogame coaching as a profession is also on the rise. Coaches can make from $30,000 to $50,000 a year, a salary that matches that of minor league baseball coaches. Coaches study gameplay, oversee practice sessions and provide feedback to e-sport competitors, many of whom can earn up to $120,000 a year. As tournament fans are quickly turning videogame competitions into a popular spectator sport, e-sports now generate more than $600 million in global revenue. Continue reading The Rise of E-Sports: Videogame Coaching is a New Profession

With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

AltspaceVR, a virtual reality chat room and communication platform, just raised $10.3 million, which it will use to work towards a business plan that could include paid virtual gatherings with celebrities. Founded in 2013, Altspace launched its VR chat room in June. Its global user base spends time on the site chatting, browsing, playing games or watching videos; the software runs on Oculus, Mac and PC desktops and 3D TVs. Users can add a Leap Motion or Kinect motion sensor to add gestures to their robot avatars. Continue reading With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

Eventbrite Study Provides Breakdown of E-Sports Demographics

In an attempt to improve its understanding of e-sports enthusiasts, Eventbrite conducted a survey of those that used its site to purchase tickets for live multiplayer video game competitions. The company discovered that e-sports fans are generally male, between the ages of 18 and 34, as well as active gamers themselves. E-sports are typically held in large arenas and draw thousands of fans who typically attend as an opportunity to be part of the larger gaming community. Continue reading Eventbrite Study Provides Breakdown of E-Sports Demographics

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