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06/22/23: Two of the biggest streamers in the world


Medias First Morning Read
Thursday June 22, 2023

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and Gaming brief.

Two of the biggest streamers in the world, Félix “xQc” Lengyel, and Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa, have signed with Kick in the latest coup for the rising streaming platform. Kick, which is owned by the founders of cryptocurrency casino Stake, offered xQc a non-exclusive deal worth $70 million over two years, with a potential value of up to $100 million if he hits contract incentives. Details of Amouranth’s deal were not provided, but xQc revealed following the announcement that he received equity in Kick as part of the deal.

The former Twitch stars will still be present on the platform thanks to the non-exclusivity of their deals, but the majority of their time will be spent on Kick. According to The New York Times, which broke the xQc news, Kick CEO Ed Craven said he expects Kick to operate at a loss – and he must expect it to be a significant loss, too, with these mega deals and 95% of all streamer subscription revenue on Kick going back to its streamers.

The creator-friendly deals, both for big-time stars like Amouranth and xQc and newcomers, are a boon for the people in front of the screens. And the timing is auspicious for Kick, with Twitch struggling through a recent controversy around its advertising regulations that were quickly retracted and complaints about revenue splits on that platform thanks to better splits, like Kick and YouTube, being out there.


A demo version of Final Fantasy XVI has primed it for a release that’ll rival Diablo IV and Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The demo, which was a couple of hours long, showed off combat that takes the action role-playing game’s fast-paced fighting in Final Fantasy XV and brings it to a different level. Square Enix’s latest project releases today, amid a packed summer schedule that could have killed off hype for even one of the largest franchises in the world. However, it looks like players will have another marquee title to add to their lineup and, hopefully, get a good taste of before the next game we’re going to talk about.

The New York Subliners are your Call of Duty League champions following a hard-fought tournament that ended in a 5-0 sweep of the Toronto Ultra. New York took home $1 million of the nearly $2.4 million prize pool and Matthew “KiSMET” Tinsley taking home MVP honors. The Subliners took home two stage playoff titles this season, one in the first stage of the year and another in Stage 5, just ahead of Champs. New York didn’t have it easy for most of the tournament, including a 3-0 loss to Toronto in the winners bracket final before battling back for a dominant grand final performance.

Xbox has struggled so far this year, but an early look at Starfield helped dispel some concerns as the game publisher approaches what could be a make-or-break release for the current console generation. The space exploration role-playing game will feature hundreds of solar systems and around 1,000 planets for players to explore, along with many of the world-building staples that Bethesda titles are known for (albeit on a much, much bigger scale this time around). The game is expected to operate at 30 FPS on console, in part because of the scale of the game, though some gaming purists bristled at the idea of a title being below 60 FPS on a next-gen console. Starfield will land in September, which gives it some room to breathe compared to the hottest summer releases, but its success could have much bigger implications than any of these titles on the producing studio and its publisher.

The League of Legends Championship Series drew just over 100,000 peak viewers on opening weekend, according to data from Esports Charts, with the first match of the split picking up fewer than 100,000 peak viewers for the first time in LCS history. The North American league was coming off a two-week delay to the start of the season due to a player walkout, but the historically low numbers don’t seem to be a product of the since-resolved conflict. Only Team Liquid vs. 100 Thieves, which had 106K at its peak, drew six-digit viewership, with the opening game of the split bringing in just under 83,000.


Esports organization Gen.G will collaborate with soccer club Manchester City to bring together their audiences and create a new pathway for Man City to grow its esports footprint. Manchester City already sponsors Fortnite and FIFA pros, and the connection with Gen.G will give it a link to a South Korean powerhouse with Tier 1 teams in League of Legends, VALORANT, the Overwatch League and more. The “GEN CITY” partnership “??will further establish an opportunity for both organizations to activate and maximize the club’s presence in Asia,” according to a statement.

PSG Talon will work with AMD to promote the hardware provider’s latest processor, the partners announced late last week. As part of the deal, PSG Talon players will use Ryzen 9 7950X3D desktop processors in competition, and the brand will also create bespoke promotions of the AMD products and add the brand to its jersey.

Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends has partnered with Coca Cola, and the Brazilian Tier 1 League of Legends competition will promote a larger activation between Coca Cola and League of Legends overall. Riot Games and Coca Cola came together to produce a limited-time flavor for the soft drink brand, and CBLoL will play a role in driving awareness of the drink for its Brazilian audience through its broadcasts and social media platforms.


The Creator Mental Health Report

Our team at Stream Hatchet has partnered with Healthy Gamer to produce “The Creator Mental Health Report,” which investigates the impact that mental health resources and support can have on digital creators’ productivity and well-being.

Read the report to learn more from Healthy Gamer and Stream Hatchet about the mental health challenges digital influencers and live-streaming creators face. As well as how a mental health and burnout coaching program for esports players, influencers, and other digital creators can lead to better productivity and higher quality content.

Download the full report here

2023 Tempest Awards

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Consideration for Bud Light show signs of recovery among gamers and esports fans

While the share of Americans considering buying from Bud Light when they are next in the market for a beer has remained depressed after the Dylan Mulvaney saga, recovery seems afoot among gamers and esports fans respectively. Consideration among gamers has rebounded from 9.9 at one stage to 15.0 as of June 13. Among esports fans, the score has recovered from a low of 12.9 to 19.1 on June 13.


100 Thieves had to field its coach during the opening week of the LCS due to visa issues delaying highly touted South Korean mid lane prospect Lim “Quid” Hyeon-seung’s transition to North America. Quid missed all of Week 1, while coach and former pro mid laner Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm took to Summoner’s Rift for his team. Nukeduck played professionally in Europe throughout his career before transitioning to a coaching role for 100 Thieves ahead of the 2023 season, where he’s grown from a position coach to an assistant and then head coach – though it appears to have gone full-circle for Nukeduck until this 19-year-old Gen.G prodigy makes his way overseas.

Sentinels has removed substitute player Hunter “SicK” Mims from its roster following months of controversy surrounding the player, including multiple arrests and concerns about his mental health. Mims was taken in by police on March 4 on the charge of criminal trespassing and on May 8 for the same charge. Sentinels CEO Rob Moore said the organization stuck by the player to try to help him work through mental health issues, including paying for Mims to begin therapy. Neither Mims nor Sentinels publicly addressed the roster change, which Dexerto reported following his removal from Riot Games’ Global Contract Database for VALORANT.

A Call of Duty League Challengers player was banned in the middle of Challengers Champs for allegedly cheating. Bryan “Jimbo” Sabman, a former Call of Duty League pro with the then-Paris Legion in 2022, was competing for Orbit during group play in the LAN event when he received his ban. Orbit was eventually disqualified from the tournament, and both Activision and administrators for the Challengers tournament confirmed to Esports Illustrated that the move was because Jimbo was hacking. OMiT, the team Orbit was playing against when Jimbo was kicked from the game, went on to win Challengers Champs.

Team Liquid’s Counter-Strike roster is in flux as the team reportedly looks to sell Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and reorient itself as a European roster. Counter-Strike news organization reported this week could be a decisive moment for Team Liquid and decide its future as either a North American or European Counter-Strike organization, with the planned signings of European players Aleks “Rainwaker” Petrov and Robert “Patsi” Isyanov a crucial piece of the puzzle. The in-the-works regional transition comes as Counter-Strike pros and teams prepare to transition from competing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Counter-Strike 2 in the coming months.


The U.S. games and esports market grew 2.4% year-over-year to $54.1 billion in revenue, according to a report from PwC, the lowest growth rate for the industry in the past five years. The esports market in the U.S. accounted for $455 million overall figure, and PwC expects competitive gaming will grow to $622 million in 2027. Interestingly, PwC’s projection likely sees league operators shifting to a more traditional model of event broadcasting, with media rights becoming the primary driver of revenue in the esports industry by 2027.

Newzoo’s latest Global Gamer Study indicates nearly 80% of gamers play on mobile and nearly half of players consume games on multiple platforms. While the majority of gamers (52%) still stick to one way of gaming, overlap is trending toward becoming the norm in the industry, particularly as cloud gaming becomes more commonplace. Mobile remains by far the most widely used medium, with 79% of gamers using mobile platforms and 35% of the 74,000 respondents only playing on mobile. Newzoo also identified how highly engaged this audience is beyond being increasingly multi-platform; 54% of respondents said they consume gaming content beyond their own gameplay.

An AI video game development tool has raised $1.74 million in pre-seed funding to move forward with what could be a consumer-focused game dev platform, according to a report from The new venture, Versed, is looking at “creating a new medium for storytelling that puts the creative direction of role-playing games in the hands of those who play them.” The tool, backed by funding round leader Gradient Ventures, plans to take creator prompts on combat, dialogue and other world-building information to create the user-generated titles.

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The NBA’s Phoenix Suns made some blockbuster moves this week as it aims to make a 2024 title run. Which players make up the team’s new Big 3? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city). (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
The Denver Nuggets took down the Miami Heat on Monday to win the NBA title. How many championships had the Nuggets won prior to this one? Answer: Zero. Kudos: Travis Wacker | ESPN Chicago/Good Karma Brands, Chicago; Creed Heilskov | ImOn Communications, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California; Jim Himmel | TCB Media, San Clemente, California; Michael Goodman | Radio One Atlanta, Atlanta; David Hauptman | Denver; Rob Casalaina | ITN, New York; Dory Petsrillo | CoxReps, Dallas; Lorrie Shilling | El Segundo, California

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