GosuGamers Weekly Business Review, 24/2 - 3/3
Welcome to the Gosu Money Review, where we take a look at the biggest, most interesting or sometimes just strangest stories to permeate the world of eSports business each week.
Right now, there are a few websites that eSports is inextricably tied to, amongst them Reddit, Twitter, and of course Twitch. None are more dedicated and reliant on the success of the industry than the latter, but as a broadcaster in an age where ad blockers are so very easy to find there is probably a challenge to actually turning their massive domination into hard cash, hence constant new attempts to open up revenue streams.
This week, the Amazon-owned giant announced a deal that would see users able to buy games directly through Twitch, using the Twitch launcher app. The app, which came out at roughly the same time as Amazon Prime, already allows customers to purchase indie games and titles published by other smaller developers, and will be the main platform for sales under this new initiative.
While there is no comprehensive list of companies that will be selling through the platform, the likes of Telltale Games, Ubisoft, Digital Extremes, Hi-Rez Studios, tinyBuild and Paradox Interactive have already been mentioned. If publishers like Activision could be drawn in, there is the potential for this to compete with Steam and provide another revenue stream for a company not exactly short of cash in the first place.
The deal will see developers get 70% of the value of the sale, with streamers earning a 5% take and the rest, we can only assume, goes to Twitch. There are a few potential pitfalls with the deal to be looked into, the first of which is the simple question: how many people will be watching a streamer play a game they don’t currently own?
For titles like CS:GO, Dota, FIFA or Halo, that won’t be a significant number, but outside of the eSports world the potential goes way up. New releases like Zelda, on the other hand, could prove to be a massive earner for the broadcaster, and even do very decent business for any streamer that can snag that tasty 5% cut of each sale they ‘make’.
Here we come to the second problem, that giving a streamer the chance to make money from such sales is naturally going to motivate at least some of that community to really ‘sell’ the product. As a result, it will become much harder for viewers to judge the quality of a game from the reaction of the streamer, which in turn could damage the overall value of the deal to Twitch. Full disclosure seems to be the bare minimum they need to provide on every sale to avoid accusations, but even then viewers may be put off.
Having said that, if there is one thing the last year has shown us it is that there are plenty of people on Twitch willing to do whatever it takes to make a quick buck, regardless of how many vulnerable people they have to exploit. Likewise there is a seemingly endless supply of people available for said exploitation, so something like this deal could prove to be a game changer for Twitch itself, although possibly not eSports.
ESports Twitter grows
Elsewhere, Twitter is set to continue their plan to expand into live streaming events by partnering with ESL and DreamHack to livestream content on their platform. Both ESL and DreamHack are owned by the Modern Times Group (MTG), an increasingly influential name in eSports production, and the deal is the latest in a long line aimed at increasing the profitability of Twitter as a platform.
Given that ESL have also recently signed a deal to stream exclusive ESL Pro League content on Youtube, and have now got into bed with another massive platform that isn’t Twitch, it signals a move away from the purple people eater by one of the biggest names in eSports. So far some of the streamed events Twitter have aired have produced somewhat underwhelming numbers, with Donald Trump’s inauguration the most successful to date with a 6.824m viewership.
It is no secret that the last year or so has been a challenging one for Twitch, who have faced pressure from both the left and the right to provide a platform that suits their needs, and deals to broadcast more traditional sports like golf, baseball and basketball are already in place. Whether this move will lead to an attempt to secure exclusive rights remains to be seen, but in 2017 and beyond media exclusivity is going to become more of an issue, and Twitter have made a strong opening move into a competitive market.
Watch what you drink
Finally, we have a little PSA/speculation about the future of eSports sponsorship. There are many stereotypes about gamers floating around, one of which is their love of Cheetos and Mountain Dew, but the modern eSports enthusiast is far more likely to be found with a can of Monster Energy or Red Bull at their side these days. Part of this is the obvious benefit of caffeine ingestion when playing for long periods, and also the excellent investment those two firms have made into the scene down the years.
However, these products do come with some health risks, and a few worrying tweets from Na’Vi superstar Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev about chest pains he considers to be caused by a heart issue have brought that into the spotlight. With a few nations already making Red Bull, or certain ingredients illegal, and the firm themselves recommending you drink no more than two cans a day, this is hopefully an issue that won’t escalate, but may still need addressing.
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Events to catch
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What else was it going to be? Turn it up, set the speed to 1.5 and enjoy Brode's masterpiece
Which platform can challenge Twitch?
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