eSports' Growing Infrastructure is Helping Reshape the Video Game Industry

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Esports is a relatively new and fast-growing industry. In recent years, major developments in the how video games and esports competitions are being organized have occurred. More investors have been attracted towards this young market, and at this point, it is considered a mainstream industry. According to Grand View Research, in previous years, limited tournament infrastructure and a lower number of organizations have restricted the market growth. Such limitations resulted in fewer revenue streams for players and team owners. However, in 2017, Riot Games created the League of Legends for North America and Europe region, giving a structured format to the tournament. Later, in 2018, Activision Blizzard, Inc. launched Overwatch league, creating requisite infrastructure and monetization of the esports tournaments. Overall, the changing gaming landscape has further fueled its market growth. FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTC: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), HUYA Inc. (NYSE: HUYA), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO)

This segment also features gambling and betting features associated with it, thus resembling the online sports betting segment. Furthermore, an increasing number of events with large prize pools are expected to create new opportunities for players and betters alike. Just recently, a former Electronic Arts, Disney and Midway executive Michael Rubinelli was appointed as the new CEO of the online esports platform Mogul. "Video Gaming revenue has the very real potential to be a trillion dollar business over the next ten years," said Rubinelli in a statement according to The Hollywood Reporter. "One of those drivers of growth is esports. Interactive gaming is the largest entertainment revenue generating vertical in the world earning more than box office and music sales combined."

FansUnite Entertainment Inc. (OTC: FUNFF) (CSE: FANS) announced yesterday breaking news that, "acquisition target Askott Entertainment Inc. ("Askott") has reached an agreement with The Ear Platform to integrate their Casino Aggregator hub onto Askott's Chameleon Gaming Platform.

The Askott Chameleon Gaming Platform was recently shortlisted for EGR Esports Provider of the Year Award. Until now, the platform served as a tool for Askott partners to launch their very own esports betting platforms. The B2B Chameleon Platform will now offer partners additional revenue streams through The Ear's Casino Aggregator hub by giving them access to over 6,000 casino games through a single integration. This will enhance Askott partners' offering and more importantly provide bettors with more entertainment options to choose from.

'As a leading provider of B2B betting solutions in the esports market, we are pleased to announce this integration with The Ear Platform which will serve as an additional revenue stream for our partners and a highly scalable channel partner for us,' said Scott Burton, CEO of Askott Entertainment. 'With the addition of 6,000 casino games, our partners are now in a position to provide additional betting options for their customers while providing a larger product offering to increase customer retention and the lifetime value of each unique user.'

'By plugging in our aggregator hub with an esports focused betting platform we have opened up an additional channel to distribute thousands of casino games to a growing and new demographic,' said Andrei Siomela, Commercial Director, The Ear Platform. 'We look forward to developing this partnership with Askott and engaging their customers further with the addition of new betting options.'

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Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) and Seattle-based studio Final Strike Games announced last month that Rocket Arena, an explosive 3v3 shooter where rockets control everything, is now available with cross-play support on PlayStation®4, Xbox One and PC via Origin(TM) and Steam. Featuring a diverse roster of 10 playable heroes, customizable playstyles and highly competitive action, Rocket Arena offers visceral fast-paced combat that breaks genre conventions to be unlike any other hero shooter in its category. "Our game is a truly unique hero shooter that's unlike anything players have experienced. At the surface, the fun and frantic combat is quick to grasp, but behind the curtain there is a robust, deep game that's highly competitive, full of rockets, and challenging to master," said Kevin Franklin, Co-Founder of Final Strike Games. "Our EA partnership has allowed our team to realize an uncompromised vision of Rocket Arena. With their support, we've crafted a deep multiplayer game, rich world and IP that we are incredibly proud of. We already have tons of free post-launch content in the works and can't wait to share what else we have in store for all our players."

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, two leading global, city-based esports organizations, and Sportradar, a worldwide market leader in integrity services across both traditional sports and esports, announced on May 7th, an agreement for a comprehensive integrity program to protect both leagues from betting-related corruption. "Call of Duty League and Overwatch League have long taken steps to safeguard the integrity of matches, and working with Sportradar is a step to further reinforce the importance of fair play," said Jason Hahn, Head of Strategic Initiatives at Activision Blizzard Esports. "As our esports activities continue to grow and as fans increasingly engage with wagering on matches, we need to ensure we are doing as much as we can to proactively protect our ecosystem. Working with Sportradar, an industry leader, is important in protecting our players, teams and matches and giving fans the best experience they deserve. We look forward to establishing this relationship with Sportradar and continued expansion of our work together."

HUYA Inc. (NYSE: HUYA), a leading game live streaming platform in China, announced on May 20th, its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020. Total net revenues for the first quarter of 2020 increased by 47.8% to RMB2,411.9 million (US$340.6 million), from RMB1,631.5 million for the same period of 2019. Net income attributable to HUYA Inc. was RMB171.2 million (US$24.2 million) for the first quarter of 2020, representing an increase of 169.8% from RMB63.5 million for the same period of 2019. Average mobile MAUs of Huya Live in the first quarter of 2020 reached 74.7 million, representing an increase of 38.6% from 53.9 million in the first quarter of 2019. Average MAUs of Huya Live in the first quarter of 2020 reached 151.3 million, representing an increase of 22.2% from 123.8 million in the first quarter of 2019. Total number of paying users of Huya Live in the first quarter of 2020 reached 6.1 million, representing an increase of 13.0% from 5.4 million in the first quarter of 2019. "Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to achieve fast user growth," said Mr. Rongjie Dong, Chief Executive Officer of Huya. "Our mobile MAUs increased 38.6% year-over-year in the first quarter, reaching 74.7 million. This is a record high that further demonstrates the vitality and engaging nature of our ecosystem. I am exceptionally proud of our team, and their ability to work through this stressful period to help people stay connected and provide them with rich online entertainment content."

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), 2k announced last year, partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and ESL, the world's largest eSports company, to create the NBA 2K20 Global Championship. Featuring more than $100,000 in prizes, the NBA 2K20 Global Championship is a new competitive tournament designed for aspiring NBA 2K20 players worldwide. The global tournament will feature head-to-head competition in a series of online and offline events that took place from October 2019 to February 2020, culminating in a final event in the United States to crown the first-ever NBA 2K20 global champion. "The global scale of the tournament reflects the incredible growth of basketball around the world," said Matthew Holt, NBA Senior Vice President, Consumer Products & Gaming Partnerships. "TheNBA 2K20 Global Championship offers a chance for anyone in the world to compete." "We are thrilled to be working with these partners in creating this milestone event in gaming," said Josh Goodstadt, EVP of Licensing for the NBPI, the commercial arm of the NBPA. "Our players come from all over the world and this is a unique experience which will allow fans from every corner of the globe to engage and compete with them through NBA 2K."

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