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Esports en route to becoming an Olympic sport $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:07 AM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
  • Alibaba is venturing out of e-commerce and further into esport
  • Company’s sports subsidiary, Alisports, has joined with the Olympic Council of Asia to bring esports to the Asian Games.

Esports will appear at next year’s Games in Indonesia as a “demonstration,” Alibaba said, but will be a medal sport in China’s 2022 Games. The Asian Games are recognised by the International Olympic Committee, meaning in 2022 esports will be an official Olympic sport.

Esports is a growing market that is expected to garner 191 million global enthusiasts by the year’s end, according to research firm Newzoo. As of last April, the industry was worth over $450 million — a number expected to grow to $1 billion by 2019.

That growth is manifesting in many ways. Not only is esports now technically an Olympic sport, the NBA will soon be creating its own esports league, and there are gaming schools to groom the next generation of pros.

Alibaba’s affinity with the market is not new. The company invested $150 million in the International e-Sports Federation last year and organised a worldwide tournament featuring a prize pool of more than $5.5 million.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/esports-olympic-games-asia/

The eSports competitive video gaming market continues to attract investors while growing revenues $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 4:40 PM on Monday, April 10th, 2017
  • Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to eSports today, and that number is growing rapidly
  • By 2020, that number will be closer to 500 million

What is eSports? History & Rise of Video Game Tournaments

Years ago, eSports was a community of video gamers who would gather at conventions to play Counter Strike, Call of Duty, or League of Legends.

These multiplayer video game competitions would determine League of Legends champions, the greatest shooters in Call of Duty, the cream of the crop of Street Fighter players, the elite Dota 2 competitors, and more.

But today, as the history of eSports continue to unfold, media giants such as ESPN and Turner are broadcasting eSports tournaments and competitions. And in 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, the live streaming video platform that has been and continues to be the leader in online gaming broadcasts. And YouTube also wanted to jump on the live streaming gaming community with the creation of YouTube Gaming.

eSports Market Growth Booming

To put in perspective how big eSports is becoming, a Google search for “lol” does not produce “laughing out loud” as the top result. Instead, it points to League of Legends, one of the most popular competitive games in existence. The game has spawned a worldwide community called the League of Legends Championship Series, more commonly known as LCS or LOL eSports.

What started as friends gathering in each other’s homes to host LAN parties and play into the night has become an official network of pro gaming tournaments and leagues with legitimate teams, some of which are even sponsored and have international reach. Organizations such as Denial, AHQ, and MLG have multiple eSports leagues.

And to really understand the scope of all this, consider that the prize pool for the latest Dota 2 tournament was more than $20 million.

Websites even exist for eSports live scores to let people track the competitions in real time if they are unable to watch. There are even fantasy eSports leagues similar to fantasy football, along with the large and growing scene of eSports betting and gambling.

So it’s understandable why traditional media companies would want to capitalize on this growing trend just before it floods into the mainstream. Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to eSports today, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2020, that number will be closer to 500 million.

eSports Industry Analysis – The Future of the Competitive Gaming Market

Financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.

And industry statistics are already backing this valuation and demonstrating the potential for massive earnings. To illustrate the market value, market growth, and potential earnings for eSports, consider Swedish media company Modern Times Group’s $87 million acquisition of Turtle Entertainment, the holding company for ESL. YouTube has made its biggest eSports investment to date by signing a multiyear broadcasting deal with Faceit to stream the latter’s Esports Championship Series. And the NBA will launch its own eSports league in 2018.

Of course, as with any growing phenomenon, the question becomes: How do advertisers capitalize? This is especially tricky for eSports because of its audience demographics, which is young, passionate, male-dominated, and digital-first. They live online and on social media, are avid ad-blockers, and don’t watch traditional TV or respond to conventional advertising.

So what will the future of eSports look like? How high can it climb? Could it reach the mainstream popularity of baseball or football? How will advertisers be able to reach an audience that does its best to shield itself from advertising?

Robert Elder, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled an unparalleled report on the eSports ecosystem that dissects the growing market for competitive gaming. This comprehensive, industry-defining report contains more than 30 charts and figures that forecast audience growth, average revenue per user, and revenue growth.

Companies and organizations mentioned in the report include: NFL, NBA, English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, NHL, Paris Saint-Germain, Ligue 1, Ligue de Football, Twitch, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, Electronic Arts, EA Sports, Valve, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, ESL, Turtle Entertainment, Dreamhack, Modern Times Group, Turner Broadcasting, TBS Network, Vivendi, Canal Plus, Dailymotion, Disney, BAMTech, Intel, Coca Cola, Red Bull, HTC, Mikonet

Here are some eSports industry facts and statistics from the report:

  • eSports is a still nascent industry filled with commercial opportunity.
  • There are a variety of revenue streams that companies can tap into.
  • The market is presently undervalued and has significant room to grow.
  • The dynamism of this market distinguishes it from traditional sports.
  • The audience is high-value and global, and its numbers are rising.
  • Brands can prosper in eSports by following the appropriate game plan.
  • Game publishers approach their Esport ecosystems in different ways.
  • Successful esport games are comprised of the same basic ingredients.
  • Digital streaming platforms are spearheading the popularity of eSports.
  • Legacy media are investing into eSports, and seeing encouraging results.
  • Traditional sports franchises have a clear opportunity to seize in eSports.
  • Virtual and augmented reality firms also stand to benefit from eSports.

In full, the report illuminates the business of eSports from four angles:

  • The gaming nucleus of eSports, including an overview of popular esport genres and games; the influence of game publishers, and the spectrum of strategies they adopt toward their respective esport scenes; the role of eSports event producers and the tournaments they operate.
  • The eSports audience profile, its size, global reach, and demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes; the underlying factors driving its growth; why they are an attractive target for brands and broadcasters; and the significant audience and commercial crossover with traditional sports.
  • eSports media broadcasters, including digital avant-garde like Twitch and YouTube, newer digital entrants like Facebook and traditional media outlets like Turner’s TBS Network, ESPN, and Canal Plus; their strategies and successes in this space; and the virtual reality opportunity.
  • eSports market economics, with a market sizing, growth forecasts, and regional analyses; an evaluation of the eSports spectacle and its revenue generators, some of which are idiosyncratic to this industry; strategic planning for brand marketers, with case studies; and an exploration of the infinite dynamism and immense potential of the eSports economy.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/esports-market-growth-ready-for-mainstream-2017-3

Gaming for a living? It’s a real thing $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 9:35 AM on Monday, April 10th, 2017
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was the challenge with $10,000 at stake as teams of four went head-to-head to work their way up the bracket
  • Infinite Warfare was the challenge with $10,000 at stake as teams of four went head-to-head to work their way up the bracket

For two days this past weekend, local video game aficionados were invited to bring their A-game to the Machine Shop for the first ever Sault Ste. Marie UMG Pro-Am tournament. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was the challenge with $10,000 at stake as teams of four went head-to-head to work their way up the bracket. The entire eSports event was broadcast on Twitch.tv and Microsoft’s new streaming platform, Beam.

“A lot of people identify video game tournaments with where they came from – college dormitories and things like that. Around 2010, we got the ability to broadcast tournaments and that’s really what’s made eSports the billion dollar industry that it is,” explained Cynn Smith, event lead at UMG. “In many way we emulate traditional sports – we have analysts, we have commentators, we have massive production needs.”

The world of eSports has grown very quickly, Smith said, and the players responsible for that surge are now gaming as professionals. While traditional sports recruit new talent from college, eSports recruitment is a bit more challenging.

“It’s actually rare for new teams to show up,” he said. “We’re looking at places like Sault Ste. Marie, and other places in Canada and around the world where we can find that new talent – getting them on stage, getting them on camera – so they can be noticed. We see ourselves as a stepping stone for their career just as much as a provider for entertainment.”

And gaming can definitely lead to a career. Upper echelon eSports teams can make a living at it, Smith said, but not from tournament prize money. The real money comes by way of corporate sponsorships.

“That’s way we keep our production and broadcast quality high,” he said. “We’re making these amateurs look like professionals, and that’s going to be the number one thing they need to get sponsors and to go full time. There’s a lot of teams that can and do this full time.”

While the majority of participating teams in the Sault Ste. Marie UMG Pro-Am tournament were local, a few traveled from out of town for the event including the reigning COD world champion SetToDestroyX. The Canadian team managed to live up to its title, taking home first place and $6,000 of the prize pool. 1 Hype placed second followed by PrimeTime Nation in third.

Source: https://www.sootoday.com/local-news/gaming-for-a-living-thats-a-thing-7-photos-584514

Joe Montana talks of esports: ‘We believe in the space’ $GMBL.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:31 AM on Friday, March 31st, 2017

Joe Montana said he doesn’t take losing well, and after getting beaten by his kids in video games he lost interest in playing. But investing in esports, however, is a whole different ballgame for the NFL Hall of Famer. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Cloud9 organization and its co-founder and CEO Jack Etienne are no strangers to winning, having won the North American LCS in its inaugural season in the summer of 2013.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and Hall of Famer Joe Montana is also no stranger to victory, just on a different playing field. He was named Super Bowl MVP three times in his career and lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy on four occasions in the 1980s and early ’90s.

Together, they both hope to continue their winning ways. Montana and his seed stage fund Liquid 2 Ventures invested in Cloud9 over the past week, along with other notable athletes such as Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants and Andrew Bogut of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For Montana, one of the winningest players in NFL history, the rapid growth of esports was an opportunity that he and his partners couldn’t pass up, even if his children continually beat him down in the world of video games.

“[My background] in video games has been very limited,” Montana said. “[It’s] because I hate to lose.”

Montana’s four children, in their mid-20s and early 30s, passed up the MVP quarterback when it came to video games, and made him a less-than-active participant. As an observer, however, Montana has already made moves to enter the video-game scene, helping create Montana 17, a mobile virtual reality football game for VR systems like the Samsung Gear.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Etienne has been in the esports scene for five years now, first a manager for Team SoloMid before co-founding Cloud9. Even during his days while working at Crunchyroll, the leading streaming anime service, the C9 CEO knew one day esports had the potential to be as big as it’s getting now.

“I did believe we were heading in this direction” Etienne said of his team’s growth over the past few years. Starting as just a League of Legends club, the organization has expanded across the esports landscape, having players and teams in such large competitive titles as Overwatch, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

With the added funding, Cloud9 is always on the search for the next big esport, and for Etienne, it’s the fans, not the game publisher or title itself, that interests the organization in terms of expanding.

“Twitch is a fantastic tool to find what people are watching,” Etienne said. “There is a lot of research you can do on Twitch. H1Z1 and games [in the same genre] are getting a lot of attention.”

In the day and age where every game publisher with a new multiplayer title wants to become an esport, Cloud9 believes in trusting what the fans support instead of simply backing the video game with the most marketing behind it. If the fans flock to a video game on Twitch, C9 takes notice.

With that being said, though, Etienne says that although the organization is looking to expand, the added investment will also be a boon toward its already established teams, giving them more funds to help them improve.

“We believe in the team. We believe in the space.”

Joe Montana

In the whirlwind of traditional sport owners and stars investing in esports over the past year, the NFL has seemingly lagged behind the competition. The NBA has had the biggest impact in competitive gaming, with stars and former stars like Rick Fox, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal becoming faces for various organizations. Montana, the biggest NFL name to attach himself to esports, says he believes there are a few factors for that.

“Part of it is the NFL, part of is coincidence,” Montana said. “On average, until recently at least, NBA players made more than players in the NFL. Also, NBA players are traveling all the time, and are on the road three-to-five days a week.”

In the NFL, players can have more of a stable home life. They play on the road only eight times a season, not counting the playoffs, and when you’re a family man, being able to play games is a luxury. NBA players, especially younger ones, bring their favorite consoles along for long road trips, playing with their teammates in the hotel to kill time while away from their families. Additionally, the NBA has fewer traditional owners compared to the NFL, so it’s not surprising why it’s now that the NFL and its representatives are discovering the potential of esports.

A similarity Montana found between esports and NFL is the newfound training regimens. When asked how he felt about esports moving away from the old stereotype of players sitting in a room guzzling Mountain Dew and devouring Doritos, Montana said, “Anything you do, you’re better when you’re healthier. That [stereotype] is what linemen used to be.”

As esports advances to match traditional sports in mental and health training, it also appears to be heading toward a franchising system. Blizzard, for example, announced the upcoming Overwatch League in North America would be built around geolocation and owners bidding where they would want their team to play.

Etienne sees this as the inevitable future of competitive gaming if it wants to reach its full potential. “I think for esports to evolve, these franchises need to happen,” he said. “Franchise models are critical.”

On the topic of fan support and the difference between esports fans primarily following teams because of personalities over any sort of allegiance with a city, Montana isn’t deterred. He cites a story about meeting a die-hard 49ers fan in the heart of Miami Dolphins country, so he says he believes fans can come in all different shapes. “To [esports] fans, it’s the same as a [traditional] sport to them. They’re crazy. It can survive the way it is.”

Montana knows that profits won’t come easy or right away. He and his group, especially when coming into a space so early, are aware of the risks and are confident that their investment in Cloud9, and esports in general, will bear fruit sooner rather than later.

“We believe in the team,” Montana said. “We believe in the space.”

Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/esports/story/_/id/19027086/joe-montana-esports-believe-space

Route Mobile founder to invest $10m in eSports, launch online league $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 2:59 PM on Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
  • Ronnie Screwvala and Nazara Games, the founder of Route Mobile Rajdip Gupta is planning his eSports venture – COBX Gaming – that will invest $10 million to promote eSports in India
  • COBX will launch an online domestic league, and an international league besides building an Indian team for international eSports championships

MUMBAI: 2017 is turning out to be a watershed year for India’s eSports industry as three companies have announced plans to put big money to launch their respective leagues in the country.

After Ronnie Screwvala and Nazara Games, the founder of Route Mobile Rajdip Gupta is planning his eSports venture – COBX Gaming – that will invest $10 million to promote eSports in India. COBX will launch an online domestic league, and an international league besides building an Indian team for international eSports championships.

According to the Netherlands-based market intelligence company Newzoo, eSports is a $99.6 billion industry globally, as of 2016. Led by China, the Asia Pacific region controls 47% of the total market and 58% of the growth in the global games market comes from the Asia-Pacific region.

Gupta, who recently sold 10% stake in Route Mobile for $23 million, told ETthat COBX wants to create awareness and give an opportunity and a platform to Indian players. “This is the right time to invest in eSports, and it could not have been better. There are other people trying different things in this space, but I want to create awareness and make eSports a career option for serious players,” Gupta said.

His plan is to launch an online league in the second half of April, inviting participation from any team in India. “We have kept the total prize money of `10 lakh for the online championship, which may not sound big, but will surely attract gamers. The idea is to get the right talent and create a team that will take part in International majors,” he added.

COBX will also launch the first international eSports league in India by the end of this year. “We are focused on getting teams from 16 different countries in December for the international league, which will have a prize money of $300,000,” he added.

Meet PSG’s latest signings – an esports team $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:36 AM on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
  • Predicted to become a £1bn industry by 2020

With esports – organised, competitive computer gaming – predicted to become a £1bn industry by 2020, traditional sports clubs are looking to get involved in this fast-emerging world.

As part of a BBC State of Sport week examining different topics and issues across sport, meet Paris St-Germain’s League of Legends team, who are representing the club in online tournaments.

They live in Berlin, practise 14 hours a day and prepare like professional sportsmen.

READ MORE: Esports ‘to double audience by 2020′.

READ MORE: What is esports?

Source: http://www.bbc.com/sport/39331794

eSports revenues estimated to reach $3.5bn by 2021$GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:24 AM on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
  • Rapid rise in consumption of eSports and streamed games content will drive $3.5 billion (€3.29bn) in revenues by 2021, up from $1.8 billion in 2017

A study from Juniper Research has found that a rapid rise in consumption of eSports and streamed games content will drive $3.5 billion (€3.29bn) in revenues by 2021, up from $1.8 billion in 2017.

Juniper’s report found that whilst the subscription model, as seen on platforms such as Twitch, will contribute significant revenues to the industry, it will be advertisers who reap rewards; with almost 90 per cent of eSports & ‘Let’s Play’ viewers also watching ad-supported casual games streams in 2021.

Alongside eSports viewership, the popularity of casual ‘Let’s Plays’ (commentary on streams of the playing of videogames) has accelerated dramatically.

The research found that much of this relates to viewers seeking to improve their own gameplay, alongside a dedicated following of individual broadcasters on platforms including Twitch and YouTube. It argued that companies seeking to cash-in on the trend should either work with a streamer who aligns with their values, or closely monitor content which is to be published in public.

Research author Lauren Foye explained: “As we saw following PewDiePie’s recent controversial videos, a breach of a sponsor’s values can result in the termination of lucrative partnerships. Nevertheless, a rise in PewDiePie’s channel engagement following the scandal highlights a quandary sponsors are facing.”

Whilst advertising, and increasingly tips, are dominant in the viewership of casual games streaming, eSports content has begun to be monetised through alternative means. Juniper believes that the sale of merchandise, time-limited content (such as in-game items), and access passes, will form part of a wider trend to drive the industry forwards. As we saw with DOTA 2’s 2016 ‘The International’ tournament, sales of additional content boosted the prize pool by $18 million.

Source: http://advanced-television.com/2017/03/14/esports-revenues-to-reach-3-5bn-by-2021/

Intel talk IEM esports and why that matters for VR to eSports Pro $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:09 AM on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

  • First of all it’s the viewership,” said Woo.”Last year we had 256 million viewers watching this stuff. That’s supposed to grow to 345 million by 2019. So there’s a huge growth opportunity there.
  • You’ve got the communities, the competitions are getting better, more digital platforms like Facebook Live and Twitter – this is all spurring the growth of eSports. And then tech companies like ourselves – we’re learning too.

    Intel “in the leadership spot right now” when it comes to eSports VR

    In an interview with Intel’s esports marketing manager George Woo, our sister site eSports Pro has talked about how Intel’s IEM esports events could be leading towards better adoption for VR

    The IEM is a collaboration between esports outfit ESL and the tech giant, and Intel are using this event to talk about their plans for virtual reality.

    “First of all it’s the viewership,” said Woo.”Last year we had 256 million viewers watching this stuff. That’s supposed to grow to 345 million by 2019. So there’s a huge growth opportunity there.

    You’ve got the communities, the competitions are getting better, more digital platforms like Facebook Live and Twitter – this is all spurring the growth of eSports. And then tech companies like ourselves – we’re learning too. We’re learning how to address those audiences and create those amazing experiences, pushing the boundaries of innovation. And this year is all about VR.

    We are going to continue to be that leader in VR. Are we going to say we’re going to have eSports in VR next year? No. But what we want to do is get this top of mind, get people experienced with the head units, start with the experience showcases, and the next iteration is broadcast – in which we did League of Legends and CS:GO with Sliver.TV.

    If people didn’t have the head sets, they can still see in 360. It’s just getting that option rate higher and faster. The more that happens you get AAA titles, titles that might be more conducive towards eSports that the community gets behind, and so on. And we want to be at the forefront of that. Because we believe that IEM delivers the best VR Gaming streaming content in the world, and you need that with the whole suite of Intel products. It’s a natural fit. That’s why we want to continue to do this.”

    Intel could be a powerful advocate for virtual reality, even if they admit in the interview — which you can read here — that Intel are mostly interested in it so they can ride the hardware wave that increased interest in virtual reality can give, but a rising wind lifts all ships, and developers looking to develop in virtual reality could also benefit from Intel’s efforts.

Source: http://www.develop-online.net/news/intel-talk-iem-esports-and-why-that-matters-for-vr-to-esports-pro/0230387

 

Nazara Games will invest $20 million to build Indian esports league $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 9:28 AM on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Games.
  • Nazara said it will invest the $20 million over the next five years in the league, which will be a subsidiary of Nazara Technologies

Nazara Games is announcing it will invest $20 million in a new esports league in India.

While Nazara Games is a mobile game publisher, the initial sports in the league will include PC-based games such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Nazara said it will invest the $20 million over the next five years in the league, which will be a subsidiary of Nazara Technologies.

Nazara Games recently reported a revenue of Rs 220 crore, or $26 million, and 40 percent compound annual growth rate for sales over the past four years. The company said it plans to build the “most vibrant and all-encompassing ecosystem for eSports in India, which can produce Indian teams capable of winning in global eSports competitions across different games.”

Nitish Mittersain, founder and managing director of Nazara Games, said in a statement, “Esports has become a cultural phenomenon in the last few years. Countries in Europe, Korea, China and US have seen massive growth in the number of players and spectators. Asia-Pacific accounts for 44 percent of the audience and is the fastest growing region globally. Given, improving internet connectivity in India today, launching an eSports league seemed the perfect way to reach out to the large group of esports enthusiasts in India.”

The league will have two seasons per year and will feature six teams that will be selected through open and free online qualifier tournaments. All players and teams from India are welcome to join this qualification process by following the online registration once the website has been launched. The progress of all players in the qualification tournament and their progress beyond can be tracked by the entire Indian esports community through live web programs.

Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Games, said in a statement, “We are excited to provide Indian eSports enthusiasts with a solid and player/community orientated eSports ecosystem, in which players can thrive, improve their skills and become top competitors at an international level. The eSports league will not only be great for Indian players but also for fans. This platform will provide very extensive and exciting coverage of the Indian eSports landscape and will allow fans to track the careers and professional achievements of their eSport idols on a daily basis.”

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2017/02/13/nazara-games-will-invest-20-million-to-build-indias-esports-league/

VIDEO – NBA Commissioner On eSports “It’s A Whole New Parallel Universe” $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM at 2:10 PM on Thursday, February 9th, 2017

The eSports Wagering and Entertainment Company That Investors Can Grow With GMBL:OTCQB