High Profile Team Joins Forest Road in Pursuit of M&E Deals

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, Martin Luther King III, and former Disney executives Tom Staggs, Kevin Mayer and Salil Mehta are among those who have formed a new special-purpose acquisition company. SPACs, often dubbed blank check companies, are a popular financial tool to raise money and list a company publicly without having to file for an initial public offering. According to a Security and Exchange Commission filing, the SPAC, Forest Road Acquisition, plans to raise $250 million for new media and entertainment deals. Continue reading High Profile Team Joins Forest Road in Pursuit of M&E Deals

Facebook Bumps Up Release of Mobile App for Live Gaming

Facebook will release its free Facebook Gaming mobile app, moving up the original June launch as people are sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The app, tested in Southeast Asia and Latin America for 18 months, is designed for creating and watching live game play, a burgeoning sector of the $160 billion global games industry. Having invested in gaming to shed a once-drab reputation, Facebook stated that now 700+ million of its 2.5 billion monthly users engage in gaming. Its rivals in live gaming include Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft’s Mixer. Continue reading Facebook Bumps Up Release of Mobile App for Live Gaming

Founders of eSports and Gaming Network Speed Up Launch

Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin, co-founders of VENN (Video Game Entertainment & News Network), plan to launch their eSports, gaming and pop culture network in July, three months ahead of schedule. To do so, they are raising $40 million, building a Los Angeles studio, hiring, and setting up creators to program from home. The 24/7 linear network is aimed at the streaming generation, including hardcore eSports fans and casual gamers. VENN already raised $17 million from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Riot Games co-chair Marc Merrill and Blizzard Entertainment co-founder Mike Morhaime. Continue reading Founders of eSports and Gaming Network Speed Up Launch

Google Offers Free Access to Stadia, Limited Pro Tier Games

Google is offering free gaming on Stadia, which ordinarily costs $130 for a game controller, Chromecast streaming device and game access, opening access to millions of people in 14 countries. With most people now confined to their homes, gaming has shot up, and even the World Health Organization has gotten into it, supporting a game industry initiative dubbed #PlayApartTogether. By making Stadia free, Google may also gain ground in cloud gaming against its competitors Amazon, Microsoft and Nvidia. Continue reading Google Offers Free Access to Stadia, Limited Pro Tier Games

Facebook Provides Early Global Access to eSports Feature

Facebook Gaming is introducing worldwide early access to tournaments for eSports amateurs. Though the feature had been in development for some time, said Facebook Gaming head engineer Mina Abouseif, the company released it early to help people shut-in due to the coronavirus pandemic cope better with the isolation. The tournaments feature was originally designed for live gaming events, but Facebook shifted it to one that will help people stay connected to friends, family and communities via “friendly competition.” Continue reading Facebook Provides Early Global Access to eSports Feature

Even eSports Leagues Adapt to Online During the Pandemic

Video-game competitions are filling the void for many viewers who would ordinarily watch major professional sports. But even as traditional sports have had to go on hiatus, eSports leagues have also had to adapt and emphasize their “digital-first” nature. Every major eSports league, including the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), Call of Duty League (CDL), Overwatch League and ESL Pro League among others, have moved their competitions entirely online. Meanwhile, FOX Sports recently teamed with NASCAR for virtual racing and aired the celebrity Madden NFL Invitational tournament on Sunday. Continue reading Even eSports Leagues Adapt to Online During the Pandemic

With NASCAR, Formula One, Racing Becomes Virtual eSport

With the absence of live sports on TV during restrictions due to the coronavirus, FOX Sports and NASCAR together came up with the idea of virtual races. On March 22, the first ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race was a huge hit, drawing 903,000 viewers on FS1, making it the highest-rated eSports TV program to date as well as the most-watched broadcast on FS1 since the cancelation of live sports events and broadcasting. As a result, FOX Sports plans to simulcast the remainder of the NASCAR iRacing series on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Continue reading With NASCAR, Formula One, Racing Becomes Virtual eSport

Video Game Usage Soaring as People Are Confined to Home

In the wake of the coronavirus and subsequent school closures and remote working policies, more Americans are gaming than ever before. According to third-party database SteamDB, Steam — the most popular PC gaming marketplace — drew a record-breaking 20,313,451 concurrent users. The top game was “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” released by Valve in 2012, which broke its own peak numbers on Sunday with 1,023,2290 concurrent players. Verizon also reported that game traffic soared 75 percent from the previous week. Continue reading Video Game Usage Soaring as People Are Confined to Home

Newzoo Predicts Global eSports Revenue to Top $1B in 2020

Newzoo reports that, for the first time, eSports revenue will surpass $1 billion this year, even without including broadcasting platform revenues. By revenue, China is the largest market ($385.1 million), with North America coming in second, with $252.8 million. Although Newzoo has been criticized for hyping eSports, the research company said it has re-evaluated the size of the market with better methodologies. It stated that the total global eSports audience will grow to 495 million in 2020. Continue reading Newzoo Predicts Global eSports Revenue to Top $1B in 2020

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Immersive Media Challenge Explained

ETC’s immersive media head Phil Lelyveld presented a session describing the organization’s third Immersive Media Challenge — this one with a 5G twist. “The challenge is to ask students and recent graduates to come up with an idea for an engaging experience that is impossible to build now that should be possible to build in three to five years,” he said. “It’s not a hackathon. If you can build it in three to five years, you should probably start building it now. If it’s longer than five years, it’s Fantasyland.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Immersive Media Challenge Explained

YouTube Signs Activision Blizzard’s Major eSports Leagues

Google’s YouTube will exclusively stream Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports, which had previously been on the Twitch streaming platform. The news came just before the Call of Duty League’s inaugural match. In 2018, Twitch inked exclusive Overwatch League streaming rights for a reported $90 million. Additionally, Google Cloud will host Activision Blizzard’s library of games. YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt reported that talks over the rights had been ongoing since last year. Continue reading YouTube Signs Activision Blizzard’s Major eSports Leagues

DreamlandXR Festival Brings the XR Community Together

If you were looking for a break from CES this week, DreamlandXR offered a wide range of social and professional events with a focus on immersive entertainment, music and eSports. The festival included an insightful two-day conference of immersive media panels and demos at the Alexis Park Resort. Industry leaders discussed the logistics, management, business models and marketing of XR experiences in location-based entertainment, casino spaces, VR theaters, and more. We were told that videos of all panels will be posted on the DreamlandXR site in the near future. Continue reading DreamlandXR Festival Brings the XR Community Together

SuperData: Game Industry Generated $120.1 Billion in 2019

Market research company SuperData reported that, in 2019, the game industry grew 3 percent to $120.1 billion, of which Epic’s “Fortnite” accounted for $1.8 billion, making it the biggest game for the year. The 2019 revenue for “Fortnite” was a 25 percent drop from the previous year’s record-breaking $2.4 billion. Noting that game industry growth is cooling off, SuperData estimated that it will rise 4 percent to $124.8 billion in 2020. The data includes augmented reality, console games, eSports, mobile, PC and virtual reality platforms. Continue reading SuperData: Game Industry Generated $120.1 Billion in 2019

CES 2020: The Next Decade Brings the Intelligence of Things

At Sunday’s opening CES event, CTA’s VP of research Steve Koenig and director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh revealed trends for CES 2020, as we move “into the data age.” “In the previous decade, we could describe the dynamic in hardware, software, apps and even content as IoT, the Internet of Things,” said Koenig. “In the new decade, we’ll be increasingly confronted with a new IoT: the Intelligence of Things. This new IoT bears testimony to the fact that AI is permeating commerce and culture.” Continue reading CES 2020: The Next Decade Brings the Intelligence of Things

CTA Reveals Compelling New Stats for Gaming and eSports

According to a study on “2019 Future of Gaming” from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), 70 percent of Americans aged 13 to 64, an estimated 192 million people, currently play electronic games. This significant demographic shift over the last ten years has largely been sparked by the introduction of live game streaming services, which have added a social and connected experience. The study defined gamers as those who played video games at least one hour over the past three months. CTA published a second report on the growth of eSports. Continue reading CTA Reveals Compelling New Stats for Gaming and eSports

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