During the early days of eSports, games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike dominated the industry due to their massive global player bases. The two are similarly structured in terms of competitiveness, which leads to their widespread popularity. Specifically, both games revolve around the idea of an Elo system, which rewards players based on their in-game performance. It is also important to note that League of Legends and Counter-Strike are both heavily team-based games, which require a tremendous amount of teamwork and coordination. Consequently, players began to band together and create teams to face off against one another. At first, the competitive scene may have been underwhelming for most players, but nowadays, eSports have created viable careers for many gamers around the world. For instance, the first League of Legends World Champion in 2011 offered a prize pool of USD 99,500, which was split among 8 different teams. In 2018, the League of Legends World Champion boasted a prize pool of USD 6.45 Million. Professional eSports organization, Invictus Gaming took home the grand prize of USD 2.41 Million in 2018. In comparison, during the first World Championship, Fnatic took home USD 50,000. Generally, over the past several years, the eSports industry has rapidly evolved and has even pushed itself into mainstream media. And as the industry continues to gain popularity, prize pools can be expected to grow even larger. According to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets, the global eSports market was valued at USD 926.3 Million in 2018. By 2023, the market is projected to reach USD 2.17 Billion while registering a CAGR of 18.61% from 2018 to 2023. UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO)
The massive growth of the eSports industry has even created multi-million dollar organizations. Notably, teams such as Team Solomid (TSM), Team Liquid, and Cloud9 are among the most valuable franchises. And these teams remain at the top of the leaderboards in large part because of the funds they possess. Predominantly, most of the funds are accumulated through sponsorships, advertising, ticket sales, merchandising, media rights fees, and tournament winnings, according to TrueBridge Capital. For instance, Cloud9 is one of the most valuable teams in the eSports marketplace because of its success across a diverse list of games. As a result, Cloud9 was able to secure a USD 50 Million Series B funding round last year, pushing its valuation to USD 310 Million, according to Forbes. Cloud9 attributes its success to the prevalence of social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. By engaging on the platforms, Cloud9 was able to grow a loyal fanbase. In return, the large fanbase drives its merchandising revenue as well as viewership, which then attracts sponsors. Cloud9 has received sponsorships from various companies such as Red Bull, AT&T, BMW, HP, and even the U.S. Airforce. In 2017, there was an estimated total of 335 million viewers, who either watched frequently or occasionally. By 2021, market research firm Newzoo expects viewership to increase by 14%, reaching 557 million total viewers worldwide. Overall, the rapid rise in audience numbers is expected to heavily impact the eSports industry, leading to more player signings and sponsorship deals.
UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT) in partnership with GFUEL, Scuf Gaming and VIPbets, announced yesterday the, "Gears of War 5 launch event. This event is a one of a kind event being broadcast live from UMG's studio. For 48 hours, starting at 9PM on September 5, UMG will transform it's streaming studio into a live events destination. This event will feature pro players and personalities from Gears of War esports in a format that hasn't yet been done in the Gears of War community.
Gears of War 5 releases on Friday and UMG plans to be at the forefront of the launch with their broadcast and online platform competition offerings. UMG is operating a 48-hour live broadcast with a mix of professional players and influencers playing the game and working to climb the leaderboards as they rush to hit the highest level possible in the 48-hour timeframe. Along with this main broadcast, UMG will be running a secondary stream with those players practicing and having a more direct line to communicate with fans and competitors new to the Gears of War community.
The partners, influencers and professionals attending include FraNChiS, Soto, Ribs and have a total social following of over 6,000,000. To coincide with the broadcasts, UMG is running dozens of tournament offerings with multiple game-type options to give all levels of players a fantastic opportunity to compete.
UMG continues to add original broadcast content to it existing schedule of events. GFUEL, Scuf Gaming and VIPbets, see the tremendous value in the UMG broadcast viewer demographic, the much sought after millennials. ,"Our team is excited to be part of the launch of Gears of War 5 and bring a new activation to the GoW world that hasn't yet been done for their community. This is just another example of our commitment to growing the UMG player base and expanding the Gears of War competitive scene." said UMG CEO, Dave Antony. "The Gears of War 5 Launch event will provide yet another opportunity for UMG to capitalize on its ability to broadcast and distribute unique content to its engaged users."
About UMG: UMG Media Ltd. ("UMG") is a premier esports company in North America, offering live gaming entertainment events and online play. UMG provides online and live tournaments as well as the creation and distribution of original esports content. For more information about UMG visit www.umggaming.com."
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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corporation recently announced that the two companies will partner on new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions. Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties, the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure data center-based solutions for Sony's game and content-streaming services. By working together, the companies aim to deliver more enhanced entertainment experiences for their worldwide customers. These efforts will also include building better development platforms for the content creator community. "Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation," said Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft. "Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers."
Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. Recently, EA SPORTS Madden NFL 20 took the sports world by storm, turning players into stars with some long-awaited football action. Over 70% of players dove into Face of the Franchise: QB1 during the game's first week in a bid to become the next great quarterback. The new mode shows 80% growth over last year's Longshot 2, demonstrating just how eager Madden NFL 20 players are to put themselves in the game and become stars. Fans couldn't wait to get their hands on the game, as Madden NFL 20 had the highest final week of pre-orders in franchise history. Also, well over half of week one sell-through units were digital, a first-ever milestone for the franchise. Additionally, the head-to-head action in the game has been intense -- the number of games played in-game in the first week is up by double-digit percentages over last year. The superstars of the Madden NFL community have also been shining during launch, creating nearly 2,000 videos which have been viewed over 63 million times. This year's features are striking a chord with Madden NFL players, with the highest positive sentiment ever measured on social channels for the franchise. Additionally, the fun factor of Madden NFL 20 is resonating with major media outlets, with Complex calling it the "Best Madden game in years." IGN applauds the on-field action, stating, "Playing as an X-Factor player is the stuff dreams are made of."
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), a leader in the semiconductor industry, is shaping the data-centric future with computing and communications technology that is the foundation of the world's innovations. Recently, Intel officially launched 11 new, highly integrated 10th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) processors designed for remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops. The processors bring high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, feature new Intel(R) Iris(R) Plus graphics for stunning entertainment and enable the best connectivity1 with Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt(TM) 3. Systems are expected from PC manufacturers for the holiday season. 10th Gen Intel Core processors are foundational to Intel's journey in enabling uncompromising and workload-optimized PC platforms with performance leadership across all vectors of computing. In addition to performance and responsiveness gains, AI, graphics, connectivity and I/O are optimized on the SoC for a solution that delivers a feature-rich suite of capabilities for OEMs to create laptops for people to watch, game and create more. "These 10th Gen Intel Core processors shift the paradigm for what it means to deliver leadership in mobile PC platforms. With broad-scale AI for the first time on PCs, an all-new graphics architecture, best-in-class Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 - all integrated onto the SoC, thanks to Intel's 10nm process technology and architecture design - we're opening the door to an entirely new range of experiences and innovations for the laptop," said Chris Walker, Intel Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Client Platforms in Client Computing Group
Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide technology leader that has been making the Internet work since 1984. BlizzCon, the annual two-day eSports extravaganza, recently took place this year in Anaheim, California, and brought together gaming enthusiasts and the eSports community alike. Here, superfans learned all about new characters and product launches, played games not yet released and watched live some of the biggest gaming tournaments of the year. Cisco brought its networking expertise to the convention, and provided the network to flawlessly power the event. Cisco's network provided the connectivity for the employees that complements the quick speeds attendees need onsite. With the Cisco network, gamers at BlizzCon improved their download time, and decreased things like lag and packet loss. Cisco routers and switches helped PCs run, wireless hotspots helped employees communicate during the hectic two days, and the servers ran the games. With the amount of online social sharing, game playing, and demonstrations of brand new content, the show could not go on without the network. In addition to bringing smooth and flawless connectivity to the machines and people at the event, equipment must be set up and taken down quickly. "BlizzCon is a critical event with die-hard Blizzard fans that requires a robust network infrastructure to support," said Systems Engineer Josh Dahl, "There are over 250 Catalyst switches, ASR 9000 border routers, 3800 Access Points, Nexus 9000 data center fabric, and Webex Teams coupled with API integration for collaboration. All of this was set up with automation within a two-week timeframe."
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