Thursday December 21, 2023
Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and Gaming brief.
To better capture the trends you truly care about, the Cynopsis Esports and Gaming Brief is moving to a monthly cadence, with a focus on covering the stories behind the news and providing actionable intel about the industry, its stakeholders and emerging opportunities.
This new approach will allow us to provide you with the big picture and the most important moments in esports and gaming rather than industry news that doesn’t mean much in isolation.
The monthly edition will hit your inbox on the third Thursday of each month, and we think it’ll be better than ever with richer reporting, compelling interviews, thoughtful commentary and more. And of course, feel free to share your feedback and what you want to see from the evolution of the Esports and Gaming Brief with us at the email addresses in our trivia section.
|COMPETITION AND GAMING NEWS
Chinese team Wolves took home the Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship to become the mobile title’s second-ever world champion on Sunday during DreamHack Atlanta. Wolves, which finished fourth in 2022, took down India’s GodLike Esports to claim $400,000 of the event’s $1 million prize pool. The tournament was the most-watched Call of Duty: Mobile esports competition of all time, with more than 50,000 peak viewers and almost 535,000 watch hours over the course of the three-day event.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will step down Dec. 29 following the game publisher’s acquisition by Microsoft, according to The Verge. Remaining Activision Blizzard leadership will report to Microsoft game content and studios president Matt Booty, The Verge reports, following Booty’s promotion to that role earlier this year. More change is expected for Activision Blizzard next year as well, with other members of the C-suite for ATVI departing Microsoft in January and March of 2024.
The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’s M5 World Championship drew more than 5 million peak viewers, according to Esports Charts, making it the biggest MLBB event of all time and the fourth-largest in terms of peak viewership ever. The event ensured mobile gaming will hold three of the top-5 events in peak viewership for the foreseeable future, unless the League of Legends World Championship (at No. 1 and No. 3 on the list) has another massive year; the 2023 edition of Worlds drew 6.4 million peak viewers, nearly 1 million more than the No. 2 event, the 2021 Free Fire World Series.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s final 2023 DLC, The Indigo Disk, received a lukewarm reaction following its Dec. 14 release, with performance issues still affecting Nintendo’s latest mainline Pokemon title. The Indigo Disk, the second in a two-part DLC for Scarlet and Violet, completed the reintroduction of the entirety of the game’s roster for the series, with 1,025 monsters available to catch, battle and trade, but the returns on nostalgia are noticeably decreasing as fans look for more premier experiences. The Pokemon series is at an interesting inflection point, with a massive generation of fans that grew up on the series hoping for improved quality, storytelling, and creativity, while its primary audience and opportunity for growth continues to be children.
The final episode of 2023 features the entire rEv/XP team: Julia, Theo, Ben, Tony and Chris. The team talks best activations, big moments and more to recap 2023. They also share what they are most looking forward to in the gaming biz in 2024.
|SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION
South Korean esports team Liiv Sandbox has rebranded to FearX following the conclusion of its title sponsorship agreement with KB Kookmin Bank. The new logo features a yellow fox head and the name of FearX’s ownership group, 4By4. The rebrand will have no impact on the suite of teams that FearX fields, including its flagship League of Legends organization.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is giving New Years celebrations another try alongside Domino’s with a New Years Eve stream event on Dec. 31. The multi-platform content creator will air a live show on Twitch, TikTok and YouTube featuring guest stars, giveaways and party games, he announced, with Ninja’s New Years Eve hoping to make up for the star’s failed attempt to get a New York City crowd to do the flossing dance during a NYE countdown event in 2018.
The Global Esports Federation and International Esports Federation will work together under a new memorandum of understanding signed at the Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games in Saudi Arabia. The event aligns the IESF, which recently named Saudi Esports Federation president Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud as the IESF president, with another global organization to “combine their expertise and resources across a set of key areas, enhancing cross-federation ties and knowledge exchange while supporting key initiatives alongside various national esports federations,” according to a statement.
Shikenso Analytics continued its run in the esports partnership space by securing an extension with the newly formed GIANTX, a conglomeration of EXCEL Esports and Giants Gaming. Shikenso, a data analytics solution, previously worked with EXCEL under an agreement from 2022 and will support GIANTX as it looks to bring together Giants’ Spanish audience and EXCEL’s longstanding competitive history in Europe.
|Cynopsis Sports Media Awards 2024
The annual Sports Media Awards returns for 2024 with new categories. The program recognizes the best across production, marketing and technology in the industry – do you know a game-changing campaign or company contender?
Enter them into the running below!
YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
Gaming accessory ownership among PlayStation and Xbox users
Gaming headsets are the most popular gaming accessory, with nearly two thirds of Xbox Series X players saying they own one (64%), and over a half of PlayStation 5 (55%) and Series S (53%) gamers also say they own one. Gaming chairs are the next most popular accessory, although Series S (29%) owners are markedly less likely to own one compared to PlayStation 5 (38%) and Series X (37%) gamers. On the other hand, Series S owners (24%) are slightly more likely than owners of the other two to have a gaming steering wheel in their household.
Evil Geniuses has sold its BLAST Premier slot to fellow North American organization Cloud9 as EG continues to cut back amid an uncertain future for the club. Evil Geniuses, which also gave up its League of Legends Championship Series spot earlier this year, is shifting its sights away from Counter-Strike as well despite the opportunities presented by this year’s launch of Counter-Strike 2. With an exit from two premier titles, it’s unclear what the future could hold for EG outside of VALORANT, where it still fields a Champions Tour roster.
Apex Legends pro Jacob “HisWattson” McMillin is exiting retirement after announcing he was exiting the scene in July. HisWattson will return to Brazilian esports organization FURIA following a few months as a content creator. HisWattson will hope to lead FURIA back to the pinnacle of the Apex Legends Global Series after FURIA’s runner-up finish in the ALGS in 2022 and a disappointing year for the organization following HisWattson’s early exit in July. “Matured and learned a lot about myself in the past few months and am excited to play again,” the 21-year-old said on X, formerly known as Twitter, when announcing the news.
Now for a bit more on that GIANTX deal: EXCEL Esports and Giants Gaming are merging and bringing together their esports rosters across the League EMEA Championship (EXCEL’s operation) and VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA circuit (Giants). The company will feature two offices, with EXCEL’s former home base in London and Giants’ position in Madrid remaining intact after the merger along with EXCEL CEO Tim Reichert and Giants CEO Jose Diaz taking on the role of co-CEOs. The merger brings the teams’ audiences under one banner but also follows one of the key trends of 2023: consolidation for survival, or to put it more optimistically, sustainability.
Real Madrid winger Vinícius Júnior is following in Messi’s footsteps and taking on co-ownership of an esports team, with the La Liga star investing in Brazilian organization LOUD. Júnior, a native of Brazil, will produce content for LOUD at the intersection of gaming and sports alongside LOUD’s extensive creator network. The move follows Lionel Messi’s investment in KRU Esports earlier this year, a club founded by former teammate and fellow soccer legend Sergio Aguero.
The PlayStation 5 has eclipsed 50 million in sales, according to a report from Reuters, backed by a record Black Friday for a PlayStation system. Sony, which set its sights on 25 million in PS5 sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, is “still pushing really hard” to meet that goal, Eric Lempel, the senior vice president for global marketing, sales and business operations at Sony Interactive Entertainment, told Reuters. “I think we will have a record-breaking year no matter where we end up,” he added.
In case you missed it, Twitch is shutting down in South Korea, a hallmark of the differences in streaming culture and content consumption abroad. Costs of operating in the country, Twitch said in a statement, were nearly 10 times as high as most of its regular operating areas, with Twitch “operating in Korea at a significant loss” while competing with domestic products such as AfreecaTV. The move left not just Twitch creators in the country looking for answers but also produced some obstacles for brands such as League Champions Korea, the League of Legends domestic league in the nation.
The California Civil Rights Department and Activision Blizzard have reached a $54 million settlement agreement following a lawsuit from the CRD claiming game publisher discriminated against women at the company. The settlement, which followed a two-year investigation by the CRD, “sought relief on behalf of the State of California and a class of women employees and contract workers who allegedly experienced discrimination in compensation, promotions, and other aspects of Activision Blizzard’s workplace.” Around $45 million of the settlement will be put in a settlement fund for affected workers, and Activision Blizzard will be required to keep on independent consultancy to monitor and provide recommendations for the company’s policies for promotions, compensation and training.
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READ THE Q&A’S
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is getting an epilogue in early 2024 as well. When is that capstone to the DLC expansions scheduled to release? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
What is the name of the title that won Game of the Year at The Game Awards this year? Answer: Baldur’s Gate 3. Kudos: Michelle Bergmann | Mediassociates, Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Dom Pasquarella | Mediassociates, Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Jesse Dolan | B.A.S.S. LLC, Birmingham, Alabama; Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California
|ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE DIRECT RESPONSE >>
Seeking an energetic achiever with excellent written & organizational skills for role to assist in growing revenue for dynamic Direct Response Team: required: BA Degree, Min 2 yrs DR Experience. Bilingual (English/Spanish) Wide Orbit Exp a +. Fully info HEREMEDIA COORDIATOR DIRECT RESPONSE >>
Seeking an energetic achiever with excellent written & organizational skills for role to assist in growing revenue for dynamic Direct Response Team: required: BA Degree, Bilingual (English/Spanish) Wide Orbit Exp a +. Full info HERE
Grow in billings, income, and experience on a team that continues to lead our industry. Take your career to the next level with a company that is transforming cities and delivering on our promises to our clients and to our long-standing Municipal and Transit Authority partners. Full info HEREACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Grow in billings, income, and experience on a team that continues to lead our industry. Take your career to the next level with a company that is transforming cities and delivering on our promises to our clients and to our long-standing Municipal and Transit Authority partners. Full info HEREACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, AD SALES >>
FUSE MEDIA/NEW YORK, NY: Support the Ad Sales team by prospecting, selling and expanding the Company’s advertising revenue base. The candidate will have a strong media sales background with a network of industry clients and prospects as well as establish a book of business and exceed pre-established activity and sales quota utilizing CRM tools to document sales activity. Full info HERE
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, EAST COAST ADVERTISING SALES
THE ALLEN MEDIA GROUP
Responsible for coverage of assigned advertising agencies and clients specifically dedicated to representing AMG linear, digital and streaming platforms. Also grow and maintain existing clients as well as prospect and close new business. Work closely with clients and advertising holding companies ensuring AMG is a ‘must-buy’ for advertisers. Full info HERE
TV ONE NETWORK
Communicate the value and brand strength of the Network to advertisers and agencies as well as create compelling presentations that convey the benefits and features of TV One programming and the TV One viewing audience. Full info HERECOPY COORDINATOR
TV ONE NETWORK
Manage the delivery and arrival of commercial content working closely with Manager of Commercial Operations to resolve conflicting traffic instructions as well as oversee maintenance of E-faxes and storage of client files. Responsible for entering original account data and revisions into the traffic system. Full info HERE
AD SALES COORDINATOR
TV ONE NETWORK
Establish business relationships with agency counterparts and internal departments including: Pricing and planning, inventory management, marketing, traffic and billing, also fulfill advertiser allocations requests, ensure stewardship delivery in accordance to deal guarantees, send commercial airing times, and update clients of programming. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Execute communications objectives and develop strategies to elevate Hallmark Media, its workforce, and business entities. Evaluate existing communications program in the context of its ability to support strategic planning and operating objectives. Minimum of 10+ years progressive PR/Communications Industry Experience. Full info HERE
Represent Future Today, selling an expansive portfolio of O&O CTV apps, inclusive of HappyKids, Fawesome, The LEGO Channel, FilmRise, Blippi. 5+years selling linear/streaming/OLV exp req. Biz dev position inclusive of direct, pmp/pg. Solid relationships; agency & client. Full info HERE
NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Communicate the value & brand strength of Urban One Networks to advertisers & agencies. Create compelling presentations that convey the benefits & features of our programming and the viewing audiences. Proactively keep clients informed of pertinent account and network information. Min. 4+ yrs national advertising sales or equivalent sales exp. Full info HERE
VP/HEAD OF ADVERTISING SALES
Lead, manage, develop, and grow Ad Sales teams. Attract and retain the best talent. Work with leadership team to set, achieve, and grow revenue targets across OOH, Digital and Experiential. Instrumental in driving the team to exceed all expectations and goals. 15+ years’ experience in advertising, media, and relevant sales management roles. Full info HERE
Achieve revenue and growth targets across linear and digital. Identify and execute strategies which result in exceeding revenue targets. Develop and execute effective sales strategies that showcase as well as maximize overall revenues for the overarching National Sales division. 7-10 yrs exp. in advertising, media & relevant sales management roles. Full info HERE
SENIOR AUDIO/VIDEO PROMOTION PRODUCER >>
WHYY/PHILADELPHIA: Produce best-in-class promotional spots, accurately reflecting WHYY’s brand mission, from strategy through management approvals. Write killer scripts for audio and video to engage audiences. Organize promotional spot production schedule for video and audio spots needed for TV, FM, digital and social platforms. 10-15+ years’ experience. Full info HERE
DIGITAL DIRECTOR, NEWS >>
WHYY/PHILADELPHIA: Develop a cogent strategy for developing and publishing WHYY news content across social media and emerging digital platforms. Convey and create SEO, social media and digital best practices in concert with the digital staff with the focus of informing and developing the newsroom’s digital muscles. Five or more years of journalism experience. Full info HERE
SENIOR STUDIO TECHNICAL MANAGER
Technical manager for live, studio, productions/events. Provides technical oversight, support, solutions, troubleshooting, and in-house technical resource. Functions as Studio and Tech Manager for Studio and Tech Manager for remote productions, on-site and off-site corporate events. Requires 5-7 years production technical management experience. Full info HERE
SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CONTENT LICENSING
Negotiate, draft & review agreements for owned & operated platforms/services, third-party platform. Exp. in digital media, content licensing (domestic/international), linear & on-demand rights & distribution, Privacy & Data Security preferred. Min 5 yrs of exp. supporting digital media at media company or streaming platform. Full info HERE
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT TV
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
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
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
|OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST
Actively contribute across various project phases, including design, building, testing, implementation, and live operation.
Advanced Web Programmer
Oversee motion capture system setup, calibration, and operation during shooting.
Motion Capture Stage Technician (Animation)
San Mateo, CA
Be sole point of contact for establishing business relationships with third party and cloud hosting providers, customer support, quality assurance, NOC and localization.
Head of Game Operations
Orange County, CA
Create high quality mood paintings and sketches to inspire and guide environment artists and game designers.
Lead Concept Artist
Orange County, CA
Champion content and feature development by working with Leads and the rest of the Production team on maintaining a clear project schedule and tracking team capacity.
Orange County, CA
Scale our Edge Data Center and hardware infrastructure at a time of incredible growth for our business.
Technical Lead, Edge Operations
Work with multiple engineering teams (Scripting, Rendering, Platform, Builder Tools, Game Engine) to create industry-leading quality assurance and test coverage for the Game Engine.
Senior QA Engineer
San Mateo, CA
Collaborate with the Art Director, Artists, and Designers to define the look of our projects by working to establish a consistent visual direction for environments, props, effects, and mood using all art tools available.
Serves as an expert in instructional design and emerging delivery methods, continuing to identify ways to deliver courses and consulting offerings that are both engaging and delivered in an efficient manner and drive the right learning outcomes.
Senior Talent Management Partner
Develop new features and protocols, perform performance analysis, optimize systems, maintain existing systems, and diagnose failures.
Senior Software Engineer
Develop innovative, complex, and visually stunning visual effects and work closely with our designer, animators, and programmers to implement effects.
Senior Real-Time FX Artist
Coordinate, track, and manage the activities of project resources to ensure that project tasks are completed on time, within scope, and at acceptable quality.
Project Manager, Technical Operations
San Diego, CA