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Made with 🍺 by Franco
JULY 17 | EDITION #60
Happy Friday fam! This week:
  • Overwatch State of Mind.
  • Game investments in Q2 2020.
  • Amazon's big move on streaming.
  • Stats: League of Legends in Europe.
  • Gem of the Week: UFC Esports.

 🔥 Good Stuff

BEER TALK

Overwatch State of Mind

Sending Bitcoin to Elon or Obama must feel like investing in the Overwatch League. It's been a minute since the last time we talked about the OWL, let's dive in for a bit. 


Behind the all-in process

After a couple years into Riot Games' franchise structure, investors' taste buds went full waterfall mode. Publishers, esports veterans, pro players, big names from the sports industry... all of them were looking around for the next move.

League of Legends was the first proper franchise to be tested and immediately found potential for growth and monetization. No wonder mother f^ckers were desperate for a piece of the pie. In 2017 Riot Games sold 10 slots in North America for $10m each to existing teams and $13m to the new ones. 
 
Enter Overwatch in 2017. Great viewership, interesting engagement and hype, dirty amounts of money spent on in-game goods, big in the West and the East. Adding the fact that gaming was starting to explode with traditional media, it was a no brainer for them to be the next ones to do it.

But, every investment in a developing model comes with ambitions to make it bigger. League of Legends regular season was regional, the OWL said f^ck that, we're...
  • Creating a single global league.
  • Building stadiums and scheduling home and away games.
  • Paying a tasty min. salary to each player.
... at a humble franchise fee of $20m, each. They sold 12 slots, later on going up to 20. The majority of these investors (well-know funds, sports clubs owners) had proven success in every shit they touched, which propagated a sense of "we are finally going big" to the entire industry.


The problem that nobody wanted to hear

League of Legends live events made me fall in love with esports like crazy, so imagine how excited I was to see the OWL aiming for the promised land of sports structure experience. 

I decided to get involved with Overwatch, pick a team and be a fan. The first thing I thought was that the viewer experience learning curve was steeper than a f^cking mountain, and that never changed.

The OWL had problems like player fatigue, travel schedule, toxicity and others, but I think those were (and are) solvable problems, blinding the real issue... the game itself.

In the last couple of years, we saw several FPS games come and go, which didn't help the OWL because it brought to surface how easy is for the industry to come up with easier to watch, more connected with culture type of games. 
 
  • NBA, NFL players and artists are playing Call of Duty and Fortnite.
  • Riot's KDA and True Damage campaigns + their sponsors' content creativity puts the learning curve of the game in the background.

I haven't see anybody excited about the OWL for a while, other than their established community. People are more interested requesting Baby Joda as an emoji than watching the OWL.
 

The fine line between investing and gambling

Given the circumstances, investing in the OWL made sense. Team owners took the risk and brought stadiums, big sponsors, ESPN and traditional media into the talk that was never going to be there if it wasn't for them. It wasn't a 50-50 gamble. It was a long term vision, overlooking the idea of a game being easily replaced and aimed for a strong 2020 that was unexpectedly hit by a literal pandemic. What can you do?

It doesn't mean that the league will die, but they are in a rough spot. I hope the they can work closer than ever with the publisher to save the project. It was an ambitious vision in a uncertain environment, not quite like gambling but close enough. The thing is that most of these investors have their money everywhere in the scene, testing out what works and what doesn't. Respect.

---

Latest news out of the league: 2020 postseason format.
 

Playoffs & Finals

  • Playoffs: two weeks, starting Sep 3rd. 
  • Two regions. North America (13 teams), Asia Pacific (7 teams).
  • Top two from NA and two from APAC go to the next stage.
  • Double elimination bracket to get to the Grand Final.
  • $1.5 million to the champion. $4 million total playoffs prize pool.
  • Finals will be in Asia, but still online.


More info here.
 

MONEY STUFF
Credit: Sergei Evdokimov

Game investments in Q2 2020

Venture Beat released a post based on Sergei's collected data. Let's summarize the main points for the ones in the back. This is all open source data, which means that not every investment will be listed here since some of them aren't public.


Amount vs Value

The first quarter had more investments and acquisitions, but the deals' value from the second quarter was higher.
 

  • Q1 = 110 investments at $0.7b.
  • Q2 = 102 investments at $7.8b.

Mobile Gaming is Hot

Hotter than Zac Efron in his new Netflix documentary, yes I said it. The mobile scene has their own decent pie chart section.
 
  • Q1 = 31 investments at $1b.
  • Q2 = 28 investments at $2.6b.

Biggest Moves

Despite Coronavirus f^cking up traveling, business meetings and networking Q2's deals are still up, thanks to a couple wealthy players.
 
  • Q2 = NetEase secondary public listing: $2.7b.
  • Q2 = Zynga's purchase of Turkish mobile company Peek Games: $1.85b.
  • Q1 = Embracer Group's purchase of Saber Interactive: $525m.

VC Hallway Gossip

AT&T is considering selling Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) for about $2b. Potential buyers include Activision Blizzard, EA, Microsoft and others.

 

 🔍 What else is there?

🔴 DrDisrespect is back after a month, on Youtube.

🏟  OverActive Media will build a 7-10k seats arena for their teams in Toronto.

👕  100 Thieves' No Camping Collection comes out tomorrow. StockX resale price will be 4x at least, buy your shit while you can.

💬  Tencent move: Chinese Nintendo Switch users can add friends from WeChat.

🙌  Amazon Web Services launched a new product, IVS. It pretty much let you create a streaming platform as an individual or a team.

🥋  Dota 2 joins the list of esports for 2021 Asia Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

🤝  
Behind Gary Vaynerchuk's new gaming agency and signing Bugha.

📢  The best of Ubisoft Forward's announcements.

📀  Bill Gates selling the first copy of Halo 3 at a Best Buy in 2007.

💸  PUBG has sold over 70 million copies worldwide.

📽  Echoes of 2019 is out, dope af fragmovie for your quarantined weekend.
 

 💰 VC Land & Partnerships

  • DreamHack to produce Rocket League´s RLCS X.
  • Getty Images partners with League of Legends Global Events.
  • TinyBuild acquires Hello Neighbor and plans to invest $15m.
  • The e-Open partners with Mastercard and Topgolf.
  • Team Heretics teams up with UNICEF Spain.
  • Erste Group partners with the LEC.
  • VGames raises over $30m for Israel and Eastern Europe fund.
  • GG.bet signs deal with ESL tournaments.
  • Guangzhou Charge partners with Herbalife Nutrition.
  • Carbonated raises $8.5 in seed funding.
  • Tilting Point acquires Plamee Studios and FTX Games assets.

📈 Stats

LEC: Mid-Summer viewership
Recap: cs_summit 6

POWERED BY ESPORTS CHARTS

 🍿 Esports Highlights

League of Legends

Spring Split / Rank 1 Teams

Cloud9 (LCS)
Rogue (LEC)
🔺 DragonX (LCK)
Top Esports (LPL)

 
Call of Duty League

Week 10 / Rank 1 Team

Atlanta FaZe 

New York Home Series Final / HLs

🥇Subliners | 3 - 0 | Huntsmen


 
Overwatch League

Week 23 / Rank 1 Teams

Shanghai Dragons (Pacific)
Philadelphia Fusion (Atlantic)


 
Valorant

Ignition Series Vitality EU Open / HLs

🥇G2 Esports | 3 - 1 | Prodigy 
NBA 2K League

Week 10 / Rank 1 Team

Raptors Uprising GC


 




 

💎 Gem of the Week 

UFC 4: Cover & Video, via EA.
 

😂 F^ckery of the Week 

The 2 Type of Gamers, via Reddit.
 

 🗓 Upcoming Events

July 8, 15-16, 22-23 / Twitch Rivals: Rift Series Spirit Blossom
July 15-19 / We Play! Valorant Invitational
July 17-19 / CDL London Ravens Home Series
July 17-26 / DreamHack Open feat. Fortnite
July 23 / Xbox Games Showcase
July 30 / GameIndustry.biz Live: State of Play

Aug 8-16 / DreamHack Open Summer NA & EU

These are all online events.
 

📣 Cool Jobs

Creative Designer — SecretLab
🇸🇬 Singapore
Full-Time
Full Stack Engineer — Fnatic
🇬🇧 London, UK

Full Time
Social Media Manager (LCS) — Team Liquid
🇺🇸 Los Angeles, USA
Full-Time

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