GosuGamers Weekly Business Review, 10/3 - 17/3
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.
For what seemed like years there was only one option in eSports if you wanted to broadcast your event to the world, and that option came in purple. Twitch, a company now owned by Amazon after the deal that changed eSports, were able to achieve their success through innovation and intelligent work, but 2017 has seen a number of challenges to their supremacy so far.
Probably the biggest challenge Twitch faces today is from rival platforms that have arisen in the last few months. While the likes of Azubu and Hitbox are doing deals to try and stay afloat and maybe compete, they have been totally usurped by genuinely huge firms like Facebook, Twitter and particularly Youtube, all of whom would love to take a slice of the steaming pie from the purple giant.
Recently ESL Pro League announced that both seasons five and six of their English language broadcast would be streamed exclusively on Youtube, and this week the news broke that FACEIT would also be selling their Esports Championship Series to Youtube as well. The deal is apparently a multi-year affair that sees the series exclusively tied into one broadcaster, and a press release on the topic was gushing on the advantages users can enjoy with the new deal.
Of all the reasons to go with Youtube, there was probably a giant number with a dollar sign in front of it that eventually led to the deal, but others include ‘key features including high bitrate 1080p 60fps live video, instant playback to relive those unforgettable moments, and advanced future integrations’. If all that doesn’t excite you, keep in mind that most of it compares very favourably to what Twitch can offer, meaning your experience should improve as a spectator.
However, with ESL and ECS both signing exclusive deals, and this latest one being “over multiple years and it's more than just two” according to Ryan Wyatt, Youtube’s global head of gaming it seems like there is a concerted push into the area happening. Politically speaking Twitch themselves have had some serious issues with CS, as detailed in previous posts, and it may be that this is also partly happening due to their deciding not to fight as a result, but that remains speculation.
The challenge for Youtube will be monetising the content, but the exclusivity and nature of their reach means that probably won’t be all that hard, especially with CS seeing unprecedented levels of popularity in the last few months. Wyatt stated in the interview that there are more deals in the pipeline, but the migration of two of the major players in one elite eSports to this platform is worth watching as 2017 unfolds.
A report this week by Juniper Research caught the headlines, with a suggestion that the industry could be worth $3.5bn by 2021, but there is a slight caveat to their theory. For some reason, the group has decided to lump eSports in with the wider world of online gaming, titling the study ‘eSports & ‘Let’s Play’ Revenues to Reach $3.5 Billion by 2021, Driven by Surge in Ad-Spend”.
In the research, games like CSGO and League of Legends are lumped in to the same rough group as the likes of Pewdiepie, with the subtitle being: ‘Streamers such as PewDiePie Integral to Industry, as Personalities Propel Growth’. That may or may not be true, but this is hardly the best time to be banking on that sort of area seeing growth with a number of the personalities under some form of attack.
Obviously Pewdiepie’s fallout with Disney, via the Wall Street Journal was well documented, but another person from that area has also been brought down a rung or two, albeit by different means. Jon Jafari, better known as Jontron on Youtube, is a personality in roughly the same area that this week decided to appear on another stream to debate politics, immigration and other such issues.
Ironically the stream was run by Steven ‘Destiny’ Bonnell II, a former Starcraft personality who has himself experienced public shaming. Over the course of two hours or so, Jafari made a number of pronouncements on immigration, Trump, tribalism and race that in retrospect he probably regrets, and which subsequently went on their merry travels across the internet.
Regardless of how you personally feel about his comments, Jafari represents a problem that firms will have more and more as they try to extract some of that $3.5bn in 2021 or before, that being internet culture. For a long time eSports existed in a bubble, one that smelled faintly of male virgins, sweat and sweet carbonated beverages, but as it emerges into the mainstream some of the more unsettling details are coming to light.
To put it plainly, there is a preponderance of a certain type of person in eSports, and that type is not exactly compatible with the wider world. Pewdiepie’s humour, which is actually far tamer than some of the stuff Channel 4 would broadcast in the UK, was enough to see him dropped, and Jafari certainly let his mouth get far enough away from him that it may well result in financial penalty at some point. As for the $3.5bn, it may well still be true, or even lower than the reality, but there are a lot of people who are going to need some basic PR training if they want to still be part of the scene in 2021 or beyond.
It’s rare we get to talk about the PEA’s and WESA’s of this world in a positive way, but today is one of those days and we’re going to enjoy it. A story on The Esports Observer reported that the group is set to adopt a series of regulations and guidelines to help the scene remain clean and free of conflicts of interest, and that is surely nothing but a good more.
In particular the plan to remove the possibility for individuals to own or have stakes in multiple teams is something to praise, especially with the extra focus on this topic and the RFRSH group. The main challenge for WESA is more likely going to be convincing the wider world of eSports that we need WESA, as the need for regulation and transparency has long been obvious too all involved.
NiP make CSGO roster changes
Na'Vi part ways with coach starix
Team Secret Dota receive direct invite to Manila Masters
Trump (not that one) joins Tempo Storm
Matches of the Weekend
Stats v Ryung in the Global Starcraft League should be a lot of fun
EG take on Onyx at Betway Arena KOTH
Events to catch
HGC Eastern Clash, running over the weekend
Alienware Overwatch Monthly Melee is back
ESForce want to hire a lawyer, which is interesting
ESForce Holding need an account manager
Challengermode have some casting opportunities
IRL Overwatch griefing hits schools hard
Is Hanzo main the worst thing you can call a person?
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