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GosuGamers Weekly Business Review, 7/4 - 14/4

Posted by Tim "Fatal1tim" Masters at 14 April 2017 15:45

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.


Welcome to another week of business and eSports, and another week talking about the money we all know keeps the world going around. Whether it’s going in, out or being shaken all about, nothing happens without it these days, and our first story concerns a man with a lot of money who has recently come into eSports with largely positive results.

Since his arrival in the scene, it’s fair to say Rick Fox has had to take the rough with the smooth. Made to show his deference to team owners with far less experience and knowhow that he has, but equally revered in the fighting game community (FGC) for his support there, the former Lakers player has had to learn fast since he came to eSports. Now, though, it is fair to say he has clearly begun to find his feet in the industry.

In addition to Echo Fox, his team, the ex-NBA man this week invested in a group known as Vision Venture Partners, a VC firm that aims to ‘invest in high growth market segments including esports, digital entertainment, and lifestyle food and beverage’. That mishmash of mismatched words aside, it seems like Mr Fox is just trying to become more fantastic by expanding his area of investment, and the group certainly seem serious in their intent. The ESports Observer is reporting that ‘VVP has been setup in a 30,000 square foot Beverly Hills office, which includes its own esports training center and three production studios’.

This is another sign of the continued commitment made by high end investors into the scene, and also Fox’s faith in eSports as a long term source of income, but it does also take him into dangerous territory. More than one of the investors in the group are already involved with Echo Fox, and the potential conflicts of interest in multiple team ownership, or even stake holding are considerable and serious. Without knowing how VVP operate it is impossible to be sure, but with the likes of RFRSH and others already pushing the envelope to see what they can get away with, it is a touch worrying.

 

 

We saw CounterStrike having a big week this week, in the wake of some frankly amazing play from the teams involved in the event at the Palace of Arts ‘Ukraina’ in Kiev. While FaZe and Niko were battling the Danes from Astralis, the game was being prepped for launch in China within the next few weeks, possibly the most important development Valve has seen in some time.

Many outlets chose to focus on the anti-cheat system put in place, which is a sort of Orwellian way to make any transgression count against you in your real life using ‘sesame points’, and that’s not surprising. However, given that we are strictly focused on the dollars, yuan and euros here, it is the cost of the game that interests us the most, or maybe the lack of.

As reported on GG earlier this week, strong rumours are circulating that CS will be launched in China as a free to play game, and that would make a lot of sense when you consider it is launching right into the sights of the biggest FPS game ever made. Crossfire, a fairly blatant CS rip off that launched in China as a reaction to CS not initially being available, has more than 400m players at this point, more than any other game of it’s type, including the product it is aping.

Using the Dota 2 model of F2P with money back from skins, loot crates and the like would make some sense in that context, and it’s not as though Valve struggles to monetise their record breaking MOBA, but the rumour was still met with some scepticism by the public. If true, it would create an interesting division in the short term between those that have already bought the product and the lucky new players, and also open it up to many more potential users down the line.

With the eventual aim of Valve’s move almost certainly to open up China to the eSports market, rather than just selling a load of units, it will be fascinating to see how CS gets on against its monstrous offspring. The company are making all the right moves, and if the rumours reported here turn out to be true they will have a real chance of gaining a significant presence in that market.

 

One of the biggest eSports brands in the world has just announced another round of funding from their investors, with $7m being poured into Fnatic by their investors. That group includes the Raptor Group, who also own AS Roma and the Boston Celtics, as well as the likes of the Hersh Interactive Group and Hannes Wallin, CEO and Founder of Fractal Design, as impressive a list of backers as any organisation can boast.

That level of investment would be almost unheard of a few years ago, but with the rapid growth this move can be seen as preparation for an org that has some serious operating costs. Founded in 2004 by Sam and Anne Matthews, Fnatic has grown into one of the biggest brands in the space, and the continued faith shown by their investors is a sign that they expect 2017 to be even better than 2016 was.

 

Roundup

Digital Chaos make big changes in our GG exclusive

Cloud9 reshuffle Overwatch roster again

Renegades finalise their CS roster

 

Matches of the Weekend

The U.S. take on the Netherlands at the HGC in a must watch game

Overwatch Pit NA Grand finals see Rogue take on Liquid

The EU event sees Movistar take on eUnited

 

Events to catch

The Overwatch Monthly Melee features a qualifier for the first time

ECS S3 League online league play begins tonight

Starladder announce some season two invitees

 

ESports Careers

The Game Haus would like to find a production intern

SK need a European Dota 2 editor

ESL want to hire a software and data engineer

 

Giggles

CS has the action, the stars, the fans, and the meme-laden songs to go with it all

 

Image credit: https://www.vvpllc.com, fnatic.com

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