Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and Gaming brief.
Saudi investment fund Savvy Games Group was the party behind a $2 billion deal with Embracer Group that crumbled earlier this year, according to a report from Axios. Savvy, which has made significant investments in the gaming space as the country continues to grow its footprint in the market and shift perceptions of Saudi Arabia, was set to take a stake in Embracer, an acquisition-focused company in its own right, in spring of this year.
However, the deal fell apart unexpectedly, sending Embracer Group — a Swedish company that owns the Lord of the Rings and Tomb Raider video game adaptation rights along with game developers Crystal Dynamics, THQ Nordic, Eidos-Montreal and more — into a period of layoffs and studio shutdowns.
Savvy first announced plans to invest $38 billion in the esports and video game space in early 2022, and it already has an 8% stake in Embracer Group as well as mobile publisher Scopely, esports conglomerate ESL FACEIT Group, with the Saudi Public Investment Fund also investing in Activision-Blizzard, Capcom, EA, Nintendo, Take-Two Interactive and more.
Axios did not report on the rationale behind Savvy’s last-minute decision to back out of the deal. However, it’s already had severe repercussions for Embracer Group, which trimmed its forecasted earnings for 2023 from by around $300 million following the announcement that a deal with a then-unnamed entity fell through. The news might make companies more skittish of Savvy investment, particularly given the public perception that the PIF undertook the Savvy Games Group initiative as a form of sports-washing to help Saudi Arabia draw attention away from the country’s history of human rights violations against women and LGBTQ+ persons.
GET INVOLVED IN TEMPEST
Looking to get involved in this year’s Tempest Esports & Gaming awards? We’re looking for professionals in the esports and gaming industry to join our judge’s panel. Email Carley Ashley by August 9th with a short blurb on why you would be a great judge. Know a company that deserves to be recognized? Submit your entry by visiting our website.
| COMPETITION AND GAMING NEWS
Team Vitality is your Rocket League World Champions following a sweep of Team BDS on Sunday in Düsseldorf, Germany. This is Vitality’s second Rocket League Championship Series world title, with the French organization also hoisting the trophy in 2019. Vitality took home $600,000 of the event’s $2.1 million prize pool, with Team Liquid and Karmine Corp rounding out the top four.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is now the best-reviewed PC game of all time on Metacritic after passing Disco Elysium for the honor. Beyond its stellar score of 97 out of 100 across hundreds of reviews, the role-playing title has also hit the top-10 in all-time concurrent players. The title’s success has made it a midyear favorite for Game of the Year despite an absolutely packed field of smash hits in 2023.
Luminosity Gaming won the Pokemon UNITE World Championship this weekend to earn the organization’s first-ever world title. Former world champions Odd Man Out finished as runners-up at the event in Yokohama, Japan, which also hosted the Pokémon Video Game Championship Series finale (Winner: Shohei Kimura of Japan), Pokémon Trading Card Game worlds, and the Pokémon GO World Championship.
Mobile game developer Zynga is launching its first blockchain game, Sugartown, a web3 title built on the Ethereum network. The game will include digital assets known as Oras, which, according to VentureBeat, will be able to be minted as NFTs later this year. Zynga is working with Forte, a blockchain game platform, to ensure regulatory compliance and that in-game assets are transferable between any future titles.
| SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION
Games journalists Jacob Wolf and Mikail Klimentov are launching a new media venture, as first reported by Digiday, and bringing their newsletters and Wolf’s podcast product, Visionaries, to crowdfunding platform Patreon. Wolf, known for his work at ESPN and Dot Esports, and Klimentov, an editor on the now-defunct Washington Post Launcher games vertical, will use the platform shift as a way to merge their communities and test the waters for a potential new vertical of their own. Wolf will join us at the Esports & Gaming Business Summit from Oct. 22-24 to discuss the next step in his career as well as the state of esports and games media. Register to attend EBS here.
A skin based off of Halo’s Master Chief is reportedly coming to Rainbow Six: Siege in the latest collaboration between the Xbox property and another game title. Master Chief has previously dropped into Fortnite, and the franchise has made cosmetic appearances in Brawlhalla, Among Us, Gears of War and other titles. Master Chief’s guest spot in Ubisoft’s title will reportedly come as a skin for the operator Sledge.
Esports organization Dignitas has partnered with noblechairs to make the furniture company its official gaming chair. The deal will see Dignitas branding land on noblechairs products, including a co-branded chair, headrest cushions and more.
DoorDash is bringing back its Battle of the Brands to PAX West on Sept. 2 with an eight-hour event merging restaurant companies with Fortnite streamers and a grand final Sept. 3. Burger King, Del Taco, Jack in the Box, KFC, Little Caesars, McDonald’s, Popeyes and Taco Bell will each be represented by an individual streamer, which features a $25,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers for the PAX West event begin Friday. DoorDash is one of nine brands joining us at EBS for our Brand Camp track, which will feature best-in-class activations between endemic esports and gaming organizations and their non-endemic partners. Make sure to register for EBS here and join us in Las Vegas from Oct. 22-24.
How Street Fighter 6 and EVO Are Boosting Fighting Games Viewership
EVO, or Evolution Championships Series, has seen considerable growth over the years. First started in 1996 as a Street Fighter tournament, EVO has morphed into one of the biggest fighting games esports tournaments in the world.
This year’s EVO event saw a 106% growth in hours watched from 2022, and a 972% increase from 2017. The event also hit its highest-ever peak viewership of over 399K viewers. This peak is also the highest peak viewership for the entire fighting games genre across live-streaming platforms in 2023 as a whole.
Street Fighter 6’s June release plus hyped announcements for new games like Project L, Mortal Kombat 11, and Tekken 7 helped EVO’s growth, and show a promising future for fighting games in the industry.
Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.
|2023 Esports & Gaming Business Summit
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Tickets to the Esports & Gaming Business Summit on October 22-24 in Las Vegas are limited, and the price increases in one week aka August 24 at 11:59pm EST. Purchase your spot today to secure the lower price!
YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
Examining the most popular gaming genres among current-gen console gamers
Leading the charge is the Action/Adventure genre, capturing 63% of PlayStation 5 users, 59% of Xbox Series X users, 53% of Series S users, and 56% of Nintendo Switch enthusiasts. Racing maintains a strong foothold with 42% engagement on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and 45% on Series S. First Person Shooters also make a mark, accounting for 40-42% across platforms. One of the interesting observations is that Series X gamers show a higher preference for action/adventure titles relative to Series S users (59% vs 53%). PlayStation 5 users take a comfortable lead in sports games (38% vs 34% of Series X; 33% of Series S; 19% of Switch gamers).
FaZe Clan lost $14.4 million in Q2 of 2023, the company announced in a letter to shareholders this week. With the company still adrift on the Nasdaq after hitting an all-time low of $0.30 per share at end of day on Aug. 11, the news of a decline of more than $7 million in revenue year-over-year is another blow to FaZe’s future, with companies such as GameSquare reportedly considering an acquisition of the beleaguered gaming lifestyle organization.
Speaking of GameSquare, the Complexity Gaming owner hit a record high in revenues in Q2, though it incurred a net loss of nearly $4.1 million for the period. The company drew $14.2 million in net revenue, more than doubling its results in Q2 2022, while also looking to become a leaner organization. CEO Justin Kenna said GameSquare aims for “at least $8 million of total annualized cost savings by the end of the year” to firm up the organization’s position.
Former FlyQuest RED coach Viktor “flashie” Tamás Bea has signed with Natus Vincere as an analyst, Na’Vi announced Tuesday, bringing the longtime women’s team coach into the fold of one of the most recognized Counter-Strike: Global Offensive organizations in the world. Flashie had coached FlyQuest RED for two years prior to this week’s transition, including the team’s tenure with Counter Logic Gaming as CLG Red.
Counter-Strike legend Robin “flusha” Rönnquist is retiring following a 14-year career in the esport. The 30-year-old, who most recently played for EYEBALLERS, is a three-time Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major winner. He is best-known for his time with Fnatic, where he won Intel Extreme Masters World Championships in 2016 and 2018.
Netflix has launched its cloud gaming service in early beta in Canada and the U.K. Games will be available on Netflix TVs to “a small number of members,” Netflix VP of Games Mike Verdu said in a statement, with support coming to PCs and Macs in the coming weeks in both countries. “This limited beta is meant to test our game streaming technology and controller, and to improve the member experience over time,” Verdu said. “ … While we’re still very early in our games journey, we’re excited to bring joy to members with games. We look forward to hearing feedback from our beta testers and sharing more as we continue on the road ahead.”
Former Ubisoft esports director Wei Yue has joined Amazon Games to head up its competition and esports initiatives. Yue, who spearheaded Rainbow Six: Siege esports for four years, is joining Amazon as it presumably prepares to dive into the competitive space. “I am more than excited to have this unique opportunity to engrain the competitive vision and its esports features directly into the DNA of a game that is still in early development,” Yue said in a statement on X.
The Pokémon Company International is donating $200,000 to disaster relief in Hawaii as the islands continue to deal with the fallout of wildfires that have ravaged the area. The donation came along with The Pokémon Company International’s announcement that it will host its world championship events in Honolulu in 2024.
Newzoo veteran Emma McDonald has been promoted to COO of the gaming data and analytics company. McDonald, the former director of marketing for Newzoo, has been with the company for nearly 11 years, beginning as a junior data analyst in October 2012. Former COO and Newzoo co-founder Thijs Hagoort will move to an advisory role with the company.
|Cynopsis Conferences & Awards Programs
Use the code LABORDAYCYN for $150 off a conference ticket or $100 off an awards ceremony ticket – valid through 9/5. Which will you choose?
VIEW 2023 CYNOPSIS EVENTS
The storied Armored Core franchise is getting a new release at the end of this month! What is the official title of the upcoming game? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Who did the USA lose to in the Women’s World Cup, marking the earliest the U.S. has ever been eliminated from the event? Answer: Sweden. Kudos: Creed Heilskov | ImOn Communications, Cedar Rapids; Benjamin (B.J.) Robinson | D50 Media, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; Jim Himmel | TCB Media, San Clemente, California; Michael Goodman | Radio One Atlanta; Daniel Hauptman, Denver; Jonathan Ruffin | NCS4, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Gabe Acosta | Pixability, New York City; Lorrie Shilling, El Segundo, California; Phyllis McQuillan | MSG Networks, New York; Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California
Represent FETV & FMC to media community via ongoing communications & relationship building. Maintain & develop strong working relationships w/both agencies & internal departments in support of sales efforts. Work w/sales management, pricing & planning to achieve quarterly revenue goals. 5+ yrs media sales exp. preferably in cable TV- agency exp. +. Full info HERE
SENIOR DESIGNER, MOTION GRAPHICS & DIGITAL >>
REELZ/ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Strong graphic design foundation including – typography, color, composition & concepts & stays up to date with motion design trends & visual effects. Expert level experience w/After Effects, Photoshop & Illustrator is req. Knowledge of InDesign & 3D design software is a +. Exp. in greenscreen keying, tracking & rotoscoping techniques are also a +. Full info HERE
BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS AND DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Proactively identify, research, and develop new opportunities for our family-friendly programming blocks on ABC, CBS, NBC, The CW, Telemundo, & other media & digital/social outlets. Support creation and present strategic, cross-media concepts to multiple stakeholder groups that meet our client’s business objectives. 8 + yrs of business dev. exp. Full info HERE
SENIOR MANAGER, AD SALES MARKETING
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP, INC.
Manage the pre-sale client facing pitch process and post-sale activation of cross-platform television, streaming, digital & social media integrated marketing programs. Write & create compelling sales presentations, one-sheets & cross-platform sponsorship opportunities. 5+ yrs exp. with ad sales marketing, integrated marketing, brand advertising. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP, INC.
NYC or LOS ANGELES
Manage messaging, vision and strategy in the marketplace and internally. Responsible for helping to build, execute and enhance ad sales brand reputation and to raise awareness of the organization both internally and externally. 10+ years’ related media experience and experience with an ad sales organization. Full info HERE
HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR >>
BIG FISH ENTERTAINMENT/NYC/NJ: Coordinating onboarding for all new hires.
Administering the benefits and payroll changes for employees accurately.
Maintaining an efficient filing system—paper and electronic, for employee and company records related to their job functions. Building a successful bridge between management and employees. 7 yrs entertainment exp. preferred. Full Info HERE
DIRECTOR, MEDIA SUPPLY CHAIN OPERATIONS >>
PBS DISTRIBUTION/ARLINGTON VA, Hybrid: Oversee media systems operations, including daily operations as well as development and implementation of overall media supply chain. Work with external vendors and internal stakeholders on design and implementation of hardware and software solutions for media systems. 7+ yrs of work exp. in the areas of television, media, or consumer products. Full info HERE
TV/VIDEO SPONSORSHIP-PRODUCT INTEGRATION SALES REPRESENTATIVE >>
GAME ON MEDIA SOLUTIONS/Remote: Game On Media Solutions is looking for an independent business development oriented sponsorship sales representative. Focus will be on TV/Streaming project opportunities for brands that include product integration and placement. This is an Independent Contractor performance compensated opening. Attractive fees can be earned for closed deals. Full info HERE
BRAND ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/NYC: Full-service communication, strategy, and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, brand, entertainment, and nonprofit sectors, is seeking a Brand Assistant to join the Brand team in our New York office. The Assistant will play an integral role in supporting accounts for a wide variety of Fashion, Beauty, CPG and Lifestyle clients. Full info HERE
TALENT ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/LA: Full-service strategy, communications and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, entertainment and nonprofit sectors. We are looking for a Talent Assistant to a Talent Publicist in Los Angeles. We are seeking enthusiastic candidates who can work in a fast-paced environment, are driven & have strong communication and writing skills. Full info HERE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR NATIONAL POLITICAL SHOW >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC: Develop and oversee the production of a daily or weekly national political show that covers the most important political news and events of the day. Develop and execute strategies to increase the show’s audience and engagement. At least 5 years of experience as an executive producer for a political show or similar program. Full info HERE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF NEWS/ENTERTAINMENT >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC: Oversee all editorial and entertainment content, news production and presentation. Responsible for day-to-day operations of the show: producing, writing, and guiding creative. Develop content for the News @ TEN, plan, assign and create production schedules. 7 years of experience as executive producer or show producer. Network experience preferred. Full info HERE
SR. DIRECTOR, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT >>
SHOUT! FACTORY/LOS ANGELES: P&L responsibility, ownership over all aspects of a project, standalone releases or a licensed library of titles. Works w/production, publicity, creative services, distribution/sales, digital, finance, legal, acquisitions & licensors to best position the project for success. 7+ yrs of exp. in marketing, business development, or product management. Full info HERE
SALES OPERATIONS MANAGER >>
SHOUT! FACTORY/LOS ANGELES: Prepare accurate reports using data from internal & external sources for sales planning & analysis. Communicate w/our distributor on a regular basis with an understanding of their systems & deadlines. Announce release date, pricing confirmation & metadata for staff & distributor. 3+Yrs exp. in Sales Planning & Analysis/Finance Administration. Full info HERE
SENIOR CONTENT PRODUCER
Oversee video/creative production team thru ideation, production planning, crew/talent hiring, & budget/project management. Shepherd campaigns from development, pre-production, & production thru editing & delivery. Help w/shoots as well as postproduction team. 5+ yrs exp. spanning editorial, design, advertising agency, film, branded entertainment. Full info HERE
Respond to both RFPs and direct-to-client assignments from brands and agencies. Examine client brief and lead ideation or adapt pre-existing creative. Identify innovative storytelling and emerging video formats. Minimum of 7 yrs exp. producing compelling video, television and digital media content across multiple channels and platforms. 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, PRODUCTION LIFETIME/LMN MARKETING PRODUCTION OPERATIONS
Lead campaign planning & production oversight, ensuring best-in-class creative. Direct Campaign Planning rollouts & ensure production readiness of marketing initiatives. Oversee production on high-end graphics/design/editorial projects. 7+ yrs working in a fast-paced, highly collaborative team, with relevant work exp. in production management. Full info HERE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/NYC: 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
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
SILVER SPRING 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
|OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST
Work with the Creative Director to conceptualize, execute, and iterate on compositions for deployment across digital marketing channels.
Lead Graphic Designer
You will be part of the Information Security team, reporting to the Director of Product and Application security.
Director of Infrastructure Security
Design and architect new backend applications/services running in AWS.
Senior Software Engineer
Responsible for all corporate Infrastructure, including but not limited to all Hardware, Network, and other connected systems at the studio.
Systems Engineer: Infrastructure
Provide clear and helpful answers to developer inquiries via forums and email.
Works with art leadership to help visualize and develop visual targets.
Senior Artist II
Investigate new ways to identify content on the Roblox platform that does not conform with our standards of safety and civility.
Senior Data Scientist, Trust & Safety
San Mateo CA
Works closely with IT to develop and deploy technology solutions to facilitate existing and new business processes.
Director, Reverse Logistics
Perform brand research — Run quantitative and qualitative research to utilize data to make informed decisions about the strategy and execution of brand assets.
Creative Brand Manager
Competitive product analysis – US market share tracking, reporting & analysis.
Senior Product Evangelist
They have the agility to manage projects on their own and understand how they work in a fast evolving, data driven company.
Senior Product Manager
Responsible for providing both reactive and original insight at a project and studio level
Lead Data Analyst
Implement new core technologies necessary to realize the vision of our games.
Senior Engine Programmer
Work with Design Leadership to take maps from paper design to 3D blockouts.
Senior Level Designer
Los Angeles CA
Work with and lead a Multiplayer Engineering team to craft development of innovative Multiplayer content systems & experiences.
Lead Gameplay Engineer
Los Angeles CA