Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and Gaming brief.
Google’s latest Search Lab product could spell disaster for a myriad of gaming organizations and industries
that rely on search engine optimization and Google’s current layout to drive traffic, generate programmatic revenue and ensure discoverability for their product. Generative AI is the hottest topic in tech right now, and rightly so: The ability to aggregate institutional knowledge from many places and put it in one spot can save time and create more efficient workflows for businesses. But after decades of organizations honing best practices to build an SEO-friendly site, Google’s latest design fills the first page of a search result with an AI-generated answer to queries, with only three web pages getting a tiny block of real estate on the right side of the page.
This is a massive problem for media, marketers and businesses that have KPIs contingent upon clicks – and most, if not all, companies have some element of their business that relies on discoverability. A search for “What is Counter-Strike 2” that returns an AI answer above the first scroll instead of the official webpage for CS2 isn’t just a bad user experience, it’s an bad product for developer Valve, who would typically be able to leverage that search into downloads of its product. That’s not to mention the media organizations, esports teams, product review websites and more that created content around CS2 and are now lost in the shuffle even more than before thanks to Google’s lack of transparency about how its search algorithm works.
To put it frankly, everyone loses if this product goes through – including Google, which will be relying on a relatively untested technology to provide the right answers every time despite sites being able to pay their way up the ranks. The “AI snapshot,” as Google is calling it, is transformative in all the wrong ways and could become another example of industry-wide hype inspiring a dramatic overcorrection and bad practices by big businesses.
| COMPETITION AND GAMING NEWS
Amazon Games is taking another stab at massive multiplayer online games and plans to work with Middle-earth Enterprises to produce a Lord of the Rings MMO. Amazon’s gaming efforts have been shaky so far; the company previously produced New World, an original IP MMO that received mixed reception and ultimately couldn’t break through in the hyper-competitive genre featuring titles like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV and more. The yet-untitled Lord of the Rings game is in early development, according to the studio.
A Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament has set the record for all-women tournament viewership with 1.37 million peak viewers of a recent event in Southeast Asia. The 32nd SEA Games brought together women’s teams from around the region to compete in one of the most-viewed esports in the world; MLBB, a mobile-only title, drew 4.27 million peak viewers for its world championship in January 2023, making it the most-watched event of the year in terms of peak viewership not including Chinese platforms. Indonesia vs. Philippines drew the record number, with the women’s tournament averaging around 305,000 viewers across almost 21 hours of play.
Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an early favorite for Game of the Year recognition, with the title being regarded as one of the most transformative games in recent memory. TotK drew nearly universal praise from critics, with 9/10 or 10/10 ratings abounding for Nintendo’s latest role-playing game hit. Nintendo announced it sold 10 million copies in the first three days since release, while GamesIndustry.biz reports the title is the second-biggest Nintendo release ever in the U.K. TotK also sold a record-setting 500,000 physical copies in France during its launch weekend, according to La Figaro.
South Korean and Chinese teams are once again dominating the League of Legends international stage at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, with South Korea’s T1 and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, regarded as the greatest League player of all time, showcasing some of their best international play in years. China’s JD Gaming has also torn through its competition to set up a showdown between the two organizations going into today. It appears that Europe and North America are once again well behind the competition, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
| SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION
Burger King has partnered with Chinese esports organization Weibo Gaming to make Burger King a sponsor for Weibo’s content, according to a report from The Esports Advocate. Weibo Gaming’s deal will give Burger King placement in content from its League of Legends Pro League squad, including social media activations (Weibo, the team’s parent company, is the No. 1 social platform in China), though the fast food chain will not get placement on Weibo Gaming’s jerseys, according to TEA.
Subway is getting in the game, too, via a partnership with 100 Thieves to become the “official sandwich” of the esports organization. Subway’s deal with 100 Thieves will make it a primary partner for the company’s League of Legends Championship Series team, and Subway will also work with 100 Thieves to refresh its LCS training facility in Culver City, California. Subway-branded jerseys will make their way to the 100 Thieves VALORANT and LCS teams as well.
Esports tournament organizer BLAST has launched a health-focused campaign alongside healthcare company Novo Nordisk to promote positive habits for gamers. Novo Nordisk, which focuses on pharmaceuticals for diabetes, obesity and other health concerns, partnered with BLAST for “Away From Keyboard,” which will feature event activations, a documentary series and other initiatives to promote healthy habits both during and after play.
ESPORTS LIVE STREAMING TRENDS REPORT
Our latest quarterly report offers a detailed outlook into the past and current state of the esports live-streaming market, and its relevance to the popularity of streaming platforms, esports organizations, tournaments & creators. Key takeaways include:
* Esports live-streaming hours watched continue to grow year over year and are up 15% this quarter, despite a decline in overall live-streaming viewership.
* Twitch and YouTube continue to dominate the space for esports live-streaming viewership, making up 62% and 30% of the market, respectively.
Download the Full Report Here
|2023 Tempest Awards
Will you join us this November?
Cynopsis is thrilled to invite you, esports industry’s top innovator, to enter this year’s Tempest Awards and make your mark among the stars. What better way to ascertain a road of success in 2024 than to be judged and recognized by key members of the esports community for your outstanding achievements in production, talent, and technology? Your potential is limitless…
YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
Atlanta FaZe is the most popular CDL team
The 2021 Call of Duty League (CDL) winners – Atlanta Faze – are the most popular team among CDL fans in the US (based on data for seven participating teams). Nearly a fifth of CDL followers in the US say they are fans of Atlanta FaZe. Florida Mutineers (13%), New York Subliners (12%) and LA Guerillas (11%) follow, each of them supported by more than a tenth of CDL fans.
Riot Games has complied with North American League of Legends Championship Series teams’ requests to end the mandate that they field a Tier 2 organization as part of their participation in the LCS. The move could have a dramatic impact on the amateur scene in North America, known as the North American Challengers League, with the LCS Players Association claiming “as many as 70 players, coaches and manager will lose their jobs overnight” following the May 12 announcement. The LCS participants’ request to remove the NACL team stipulation, Riot said, will be effective for the Summer 2023 split and, teams hope, will “unlock more operational and financial flexibility” amid a bear market for esports organizations. Teams including TSM and Immortals have already cut ties to the NACL, while Team Liquid has reaffirmed its commitment to the Tier 2 scene and announced it will retain its roster.
FaZe Clan posted a $14 million net loss in Q1 of 2023, the gaming organization announced in its quarterly filing. FaZe, which has been in the news frequently since September for its woes since entering the public market, focused its shareholder letter on adjustments to the business in an effort to ease concerns and showcase its strategy for turning the organization around. The strategy, however, seems old hat and hinges on other businesses’ success rather than its own product. “We are focusing on community engagement and producing short-term content to capitalize on the resurgence of live events,” FaZe said in the letter. “Live competition has bounced back, and the industry is seizing on pent-up demand for live experiences. We believe we are well-positioned to benefit from this trend, thanks to our strategic efforts during the pandemic to maintain engagement and stay connected with our fans via key streaming platforms.”
European esports organization Heroic has sold to Norwegian investment fund Krow Bidco AS at a $5.25 million valuation after struggling to stay afloat throughout the past year. Despite the success of its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad, Heroic’s operational costs and a lack of sponsorship dollars cut into the organization’s capital in what’s becoming an all-too-familiar story for mid-sized esports organizations this year. Last week, another CS:GO stalwart, the Copenhagen Flames, announced it was ceasing operations because of a lack of funding and sponsorship interest as well.
XSET co-founder and chief business development officer Clinton Sparks has left the company, according to The Esports Advocate. The esports lifestyle organization has seen several executive departures this year and last, with XSET chief experience officer Rob Martin stepping down in January and former co-founder and chief operating officer Marco Mereu leaving in 2022 to start a new esports organization, M80 . XSET has not yet announced a replacement for Sparks.
About 23% of gamers play on mobile, PC and consoles, according to a report from Newzoo that shows more players than traditionally expected are platform-agnostic. PC and mobile have the most overlap, with 25% of players on one platform also engaging with the other, while PC and console players who don’t play on mobile are the least plentiful at only 6% of respondents. The report also showed geographic preferences for each platform, with PC being the preferred way to play in most of Europe, consoles controlling most of North and South America and mobile dominating the Southeast Asia market.
Square Enix saw a 6% dip in sales year-over-year, according to its annual report, but expects a 5% increase this year thanks in part to the widely anticipated release of Final Fantasy XVI. Square Enix, known for that franchise as well as its expertise in role-playing games overall, had a touch-and-go year with both Octopath Traveler 2 and Forspoken, the latter of which was expected to be a marquee title for the developer, underperforming consumer expectations. Final Fantasy XVI, however, seems like a sure thing as the next piece of an internationally renowned franchise; the title will likely sell regardless of quality (to some extent).
The European Commission has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard and in doing so took some of the steam out of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority for its prior ruling that the deal was anti-competitive. In its decision, the EC noted that cloud gaming exclusivity, which the CMA cited as the primary reason for its choice to reject the deal, is neither as developed as suggested by the CMA nor dramatically affected by the merger. Microsoft’s promise of a decade of free licensing for its cloud service assuaged any concerns the EC might have had about a cloud gaming monopoly. “The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation,” the EC said in a statement. The CMA fired back in a surprising statement defending its decision. “Microsoft’s proposals, accepted by the European Commission today, would allow Microsoft to set the terms and conditions for this market for the next 10 years,” the U.K. watchdog said. “While we recognise and respect that the European Commission is entitled to take a different view, the CMA stands by its decision.”
Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent announced his retirement after 14 years with the game publisher. Laurent, who spent the last six years as CEO of the company, said his departure will allow him to focus on family and relocate to France, his native country. Riot global president A. Dylan Jadeja will take on the top position at Riot after a transition that will take “a few months,” Laurent said. “I’ve been here for more than 12 years, and in many ways, Riot is my home; a home I’m deeply invested in, fiercely protective of, and grateful for every single day,” Jadeja added. “It would be disingenuous for me to suggest that I have all the answers and an action plan already defined. In fact, I’d argue that this would be inauthentic to who I am and how I work. Over the next few months, my intention is to use this transition window to listen and (re)learn. … I’d like to take stock of where we are and get a deeper understanding of what’s working and what we can do better.”
|Esports Gaming & Business Summit
66% of MOBA American gamers acquire new games through online video game shops
In a recent study released by YouGov, 66% of American gamers (specifically those who play MOBA games) look to acquire new titles through online video game shops like Steam. With previous Summit-attending companies including PlayStation and Nintendo driving these numbers, EBS is a must-attend event to connect with the likes of industry-driving leaders.
I’M INTERESTED IN ATTENDING
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has come up a lot lately, so let’s see what you know about it. What is the name of the developer of MLBB? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to our last trivia question
What holiday takes place on May 14? Answer: Mother’s Day. Kudos: Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California; Creed Heilskov | ImOn Communications, Cedar Rapids; Michael Goodman | Radio One Atlanta, Atlanta; Barb Throm | Stealth Creative, St. Louis, Missouri
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/BOCA RATON FL: Determine best news stories for the program and create daily rundown. Work with show host in program preparation and execution. Identify compelling news stories. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to producers, associate producers, and casting producers. 3+ years executive producing experience or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE
STAGE MANAGER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/WASHINGTON DC: Works with Production management to maintains cast and crew lists and manages local rehearsal and show calendar. Oversee daily technical run-throughs directly prior to shows. Willing and able to work shifts between 12noon to 11pm and occasional Weekends and some longer hours during election and special events. Full info HERE
BROADCAST ENGINEER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/WASHINGTON DC: Troubleshooting, repair, and preventative maintenance of television broadcast equipment, computers, and broadcast computer networks in a 24x7x365 environment. Serve as E.I.C. during live and taped shows. Electrical Engineering, or other technical degree preferred. 5+ yrs as broadcast engineer, or equivalent knowledge. 5+ yrs in live TV production. Full info HERE
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/NEW YORK: Generate story ideas through research of news reports, social media, websites & contacts. Strong understanding of Newsmax brand & talent. Identify impactful news stories that result in provocative, compelling television. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to associate producers, assignment editors & video editors. Bachelor’s degree preferred. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR, GENERAL AUDIENCE PUBLICITY >>
PBS/ARLINGTON VA, Hybrid: Leads the strategy, development & implementation of external communications to support PBS’s general audience content & provide support for PBS’s reputation & executive visibility. Manage relationships w/notable on-camera talent, producers – including partner agencies, managers, or agents supporting their programs. 8+ yrs of public relations exp. Full info HERE
AD SALES COORDINATOR, DIRECT RESPONSE
NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Work with account executives & sales planners utilizing internal computer system to fulfill sales orders through the execution of client schedules. Serve as the primary point of contact for ad agencies & TV One to resolve discrepancies, confirm schedule changes & distribute post & pre-logs. Bachelor’s degree or 2 yrs of exp. in advertising sales. Full info HERE
MANAGER OF ENTERPRISE CONTENT, WTKR
Collaborates w/other newsroom managers to leverage the Scripps content strategy as the foundation for market-specific local content strategy. Leading a team of people to regularly & reliably produce targeted enterprise & investigative stories of impact & importance to our community. 3 yrs of exp. in digital media, journalism, broadcast preferred. Full info HERE
SR. DIRECTOR, DIGITAL PLATFORMS AND PARTNERSHIPS
SILVERSIDE MD, NYC, Hybrid Remote
Develop, cultivate, and socialize vision, mission, and strategy for Digital Business, Programming Visibility, Content Creation and Content Partnerships & Data Governance. Lead and facilitate cross-functional and cross-company project teams. 12 yrs in the media & emerging platform landscape with building digital platforms and vMVPD growth strategy. Full info HERE
VP OF BROADCAST ENGINEERING >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA, INC./NYC, NEW YORK: Oversee the planning, management, installation & maintenance of the networks technical infrastructure: studios, transmitters, digital production platforms & automated systems. Ability to deploy in the field to coordinate special events. 8+ yrs of broadcast troubleshooting in a television network environment, preferably in a network News environment. Full info HERE
MEDIA RESEARCH MANAGER
Evaluate programming for our linear and FAST channel schedules to provide insights for content strategy and audience growth. Analyze & interpret media research for programming, ad sales, marketing, and affiliate sales. Research, & preferably Nielsen background is a strongly preferred. Media Research with linear, or similar platforms, is required. Full info HERE
SCHEDULING ASSISTANT- PROGRAMMING DEPARTMENT
Partner with the Programming Director to perform scheduling tasks for our Linear and FAST Channels. This includes data entry and distributing weekly schedules. Strong attention to detail and love for data entry/meta data is a plus. This role is ideal for someone looking to break into the media world. Full info HERE
TRAFFIC ASSISTANT- AD SALES METADATA ENTRY
Performing a variety of administrative tasks to provide support to the Traffic Department. The majority of this role will focus on metadata entry and must have strong attention to detail. This role will also assist team members with projects and serve as an idea source during team meetings. Full info HERE
VIDEO EDITOR- MOTION GRAPHICS
Responsible for editing a variety of content, including but not limited to: network promos, show promos, sponsor ads and graphics. The ideal candidate is highly skilled in the Adobe editing suite and is highly motivated and organized. After Effects/Motion graphics skills are needed and coding is preferred, but not required. Full info HERE
VICE PRESIDENT, COMPENSATION
NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Review current compensation programs to identify changes needed for a true best in class compensation approach. Develop simple tools that can be used by recruiters, candidates, & employees to effectively communicate all aspects of a compensation package. Minimum of 10 + years of experience in compensation. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR OF SALES
Leader of the Sales Team. Drive new business & digital sales development. Manage inventory, rates, political sales processes & revenue forecasting. Develop and execute integrated marketing packages and projects to increase stations’ revenue. Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service. Min. 5 years’ exp. in Television Sales Management. Full info HERE
NETWORK ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
WEIGEL BROADCASTING CO.
Building and managing relationships with existing and potential new clients and agencies through routine communication; actively grow industry relationships to gain marketplace intelligence. Generate revenue for the networks & meet monthly goals through effective outside sales techniques. 5 yrs of National Network selling and sales development exp. Full info HERE
AD SALES PLANNER >>
SINCLAIR BROADCASTING GROUP/NYC, Hybrid: Responsible for creating, analyzing & communicating sales proposals to the Sales team for presentation to advertising agencies and/or clients. Collaborate w/all media platforms & departments to create proposals, execute campaigns, manage stewardship & pacing of linear & digital deals. Point of contact post sale & provide excellent client services. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR OF SALES >>
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP WKRN -TV (ABC)/NASHVILLE TN: Being a Leader of the Sales Team and owning the position. Driving new business development. Managing inventory, rates, political sales processes & revenue forecasting. Developing and executing sales packages and projects to increase stations’ revenue. Performing other duties as assigned. Minimum five yrs experience in Television Station Management. Full info HERE
MANAGER, RIGHTS CLEARANCES, STANDARDS & PRACTICES
SILVER SPRING MD, Hybrid, Remote
Pre-screen broadcast programs, commercials and other content to ensure compliance with TV One’s current Content Standards, Federal Trade Commission/Federal Communications Commission regulations. Assign parental ratings to all TV One programming based on content review. 3+ yrs exp. in a rights clearances and standards and practices is preferred. Full info HERE
RESEARCH ANALYST >>
REELZ, NYC: 2+ years exp generating & analyzing competitive viewing & advertiser information. Support sales, programming, marketing and finance. Working knowledge of NPower, StarMedia, iSpot TV and MRI. Expertise in Excel & PowerPoint. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR OF AD SALES – PLATFORM PARTNER
BBC GLOBAL DIGITAL NEWS & STREAMING
BBC Global Digital News & Streaming is looking for a highly skilled, NY based, Director of Ad Sales – Platform Partner. The purpose of the role is to launch BBC Studios Youtube and social advertising proposition across the Americas, deliver advertising revenues across the BBC Studios global portfolio and build a best in market Partner Sales team. Full info HERE
LOG EDITOR, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
CHICAGO, IL, NEW YORK, NY – Hybrid, Remote
Prepare and update the daily assigned program log for TV One or Cleo TV. Manage the placement of key clients by using detailed instructions to ensure correct placement as ordered by the Advertising Sales team. Bachelor’s degree in a related field or 2+ years of experience in Broadcast Cable Log Operations. Full info HERE
SR. PROMO EDITOR
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid, Remote
Video editing, with primary responsibility in marketing and digital media. Work with creative marketing teams to complete their production assignments. Contribute creative ideas that will help elevate the brand. Organize, Manage and Archive Avid Media Projects and files. 10 years of video editing exp. including 5 years of promo editing exp. Full info HERE
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/CHICAGO Remote: Strategically sells linear & digital properties to drive Ad Sales revenue. Works with agencies & clients to develop unique advertising solutions for their brands. Requires 5-10 years of sales experience with established agency & client relationships. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong negotiation, communication & presentation skills. Full info HERE
SALES PLANNER – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/NEW YORK, Hybrid/Remote: Works with Account Executives to service clients daily. Builds sales plans, maintains media schedules & handles client requests such as stewardship, liability, and traffic concerns. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong communication, problem-solving & time management skills. Must have 1+ year of planning experience. Full info HERE
MOTION GRAPHIC DESIGNER >>
LONG STORY SHORT MEDIA/WASHINGTON, DC: Bring creative concepts to life through design and animation. Motion Designer will work in a team environment to share fresh design perspectives and create engaging high-quality content for a variety of subjects and media. Full Info HERE
|OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST
Provide mentorship, performance evaluation, and career development support and opportunities for members of the team
UI/UX Technical Lead
Recognize proper mesh topology as well as repair and/or give feedback to the Modeling Department or outsourcing.
Senior Technical Artist – Rigging – XDefiant
Configuration and ongoing Security Monitoring of SIEM Platform.
Security Engineer II
Ensure data quality and integrity within our products as well as our teams.
VP, Data Science
Design and implement game features that span both the server and game client.
Senior Game and Server Programmer
Write and maintain production-quality C++ code focused on addressing core loop moment-to-moment gameplay.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Code and architecture reviews of second / third party titles.
Systems Development Engineer
Provide written descriptions of non-graphical user interfaces, such as mouse, keyboard, and gamepad controls.
Senior UI/UX Designer
Redwood City CA
Analyzing and improving performance bottlenecks.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Redwood City CA
Work with designers and other engineers to tether systems and UI together.
San Diego CA
Ensure feature request requirements are clear, consistent, and achievable.
Lead Engineer, Outsourcing
San Diego CA
Own the research for projects/games in their entirety, serving as a game team’s primary point of contact to overseeing research strategy for a project.
Senior User Research
San Diego CA
Researching and introducing new technologies to all engineers and management.
Gameplay Software Engineer
San Diego CA
Configure, test, and maintain LAN/WAN/Edge network equipment and related services across multiple geographies.
Senior Network Engineer
San Diego CA
Collaborate with Game Design, Live Ops, Marketing, and Strategy to transform bold concepts into refined, well-scoped features.
Senior Product Manager, Platform Technology
San Diego CA