Warner Bros. opens New York office to support games like Injustice 2

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is setting up shop on the East Coast with WB Games New York to provide additional backend support for their online games.

The new branch is focused on cloud-based backend technology, which will allow Warner Bros.’s teams to implement new online content. There’s a big benefit to this, as it’ll be able to quickly add features such as the Wonder Woman gear that went live in the DC comics-based fighting game Injustice 2 shortly after the Wonder Woman movie debuted in theaters.

“We understand the importance of expanding the connected communities of players, and with WB Games New York, we will have a strong foundation to grow our player connectivity with our digitally…

Intel and ESL launch exclusive esports partnership at E3

Intel announced an exclusive partnership with Electronic Sports League (ESL) at its press briefing today ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, ESL partnered with Facebook and it’s been long-time partners with livestreaming platform Twitch. It’s set viewership records before; according to news site IGN, ESL’s ESL One CS:GO tournament in 2015 was the most-watched CS:GO tournament ever at the time with 27 million viewers.

ESL said that Intel will now power all its streaming and live operations, and the two are teaming up for the new…

Hundreds of thousands of people are watching esports instead of E3

Above: E3 is huge, but just as many people don’t care.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles is one of the biggest events of the year for the gaming industry, and yet a huge audience of hardcore gaming fans don’t care.

Earlier today as the Microsoft media event was starting, 500,000 people were watching E3-related livestreams on Twitch. At the same time, however, another 500,000 people were watching esports-related broadcasts for games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Overwatch. So while it might feel like everyone in the gaming world has their eyes on L.A., it’s more obvious than ever that video games are far bigger than what is happening at E3.

For esports fans, watching their game is always going to bring them…

Warner Bros., Eleague announce Injustice 2 World Championship finals

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment launched the Injustice 2 Championship Series last month with a $600,000 prize pool. The series is comprised of several smaller tournaments, and Warner Bros. has now announced the finals: the Eleague Injustice 2 World Championship in partnership with esports tournament brand Eleague.

Injustice 2 is a fighting game from NetherRealm Studios and features popular characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman from the DC comic book world. It’s a sequel to the original Injustice: Gods Among Us, which was a huge hit. It topped the charts when it was released in April 2013. Even folks who aren’t DC fans can appreciate Injustice’s high production values and cutting-edge graphics.

The biggest esports tournaments usually focus on…

PwC predicts moderate growth for U.S. video games, fast growth for VR and esports

Once a year, accounting and consulting firm PwC sorts out its predictions for games, technology, and entertainment. This year, it is predicting moderate growth of a 6.3 percent compound annual growth rate for U.S. console video games through 2021, but it believes that virtual reality and esports will grow at much faster rates.

Console game revenue was $21 billion in 2016, and it is expected to grow by a 6.3 percent CAGR to $28.5 billion in 2021 in the U.S. That doesn’t include PC games microtransaction revenue, which is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2016 to $4.2 billion in 2021 at a 7 percent CAGR. That growth is due to the ongoing success of free-to-play games, more subscription services, and a PC industry reinvigorated by esports.

Overall console revenues have been boosted by digital revenues, which are growing from $2.3 billion in 2016 to $3.7 billion in 2021, a CAGR of 9.8 percent. The social and casual game category will see revenue rise from $7.9 billion in 2016 to $12.1 billion in 2021, at a 9 percent CAGR. In 2017, PwC predicts that social and casual will…

Twitch’s deal with Optic Gaming is all about taking a shot at shooters

Livestreaming platform Twitch is a serious fan of esports and takes its esports fans seriously, too. After renewing its partnership with DreamHack in March for the ninth year in a row, it’s now announced an exclusive broadcasting partnership with professional esports team Optic Gaming.

While some might associate esports with multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm, Optic primarily plays first-person and third-person shooters. Founded in 2006, it’s made up of several smaller teams that specialize in playing more common esports games such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO), as well as competitive Halo and Gears of War.

Optic previously won Esports Team of the Year at The Game Awards in 2015, an award ceremony with advisers from industry fixtures such as Electronic Arts,…

Traditional sports have an esports problem

Professional sports leagues like the NFL and the NBA are about to face a major challenge called “the march of time.”

Young Americans, or “millennials,” (the generation that was born from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s) are split in terms of their loyalty to traditional sports and competitive video gaming, according to an LEK Consulting survey. While 18 percent are undecided, 40 percent of millennials prefer esports compared to 42 percent who still favor old-fashioned athletics. A variety of factors can explain this parity (such as the rise of smartphones, the free-to-play business model, or Twitch), but whatever the reasons, LEK points out that established sports leagues officially have a millennial problem.

“Though they represent a large and increasingly integral segment of the U.S. sports fan base, millennials bring to the table a unique challenge,” LEK managing directors Alex Evans and Gil Moran write in the survey. “Unlike their Baby Boomer and Gen X predecessors, millennials follow a much broader range of both traditional and alternative sports as adults, and despite having less time on their hands, have a far greater selection of viewing alternatives.”

LEK is measuring interest in sports and esports, but this doesn’t suddenly mean that competitive gaming is as large as the NFL. Pro gaming events will generate $696 million worldwide this year, according to an estimate from industry-intelligence firm Newzoo. That’s a fraction of the billions that the NFL, the NBA, and the MLB make, but esports revenues could catch up quickly as the Millennial generation overtakes older demographic segments as the biggest spenders over the next two decades.

“In terms of both composition and dollars spent, individuals 35 and older continue to dominate the country’s consumer base,”…

Europe’s booming esports scene getting major boost from big telecom sponsors

Above: Members of Movistar Riders ESports team train ‘League of Legends’ video game at Movistar ESports Center in Madrid, Spain, May 31, 2017. Picture taken May 31, 2017.

MADRID (By Andrés González, Reuters) – Marcos Ochoa has just landed the dream job for many young Europeans: he is being paid to play video games.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, whose internet nickname is “Aeroz”, is a rising star of the Esports, or video games competitions that are played online or even in sports arenas.

With championships watched by crowds of fans similar to traditional events like the NBA basketball finals or soccer World Cup, telecoms firms see Esports as a way to lure younger clients and brand themselves as digital companies rather than merely providers of phone services.

In April, Ochoa and four teammates signed a deal to become Vodafone’s official squad in Counter Strike, a game where the player can tackle terrorists trying to take hostages or carry out a bombing.

Vodafone, along with European rivals Telefonica and Orange, are investing in building up the industry by creating teams, TV channels or leagues.

With global revenues of $500 million in 2016, Esports remain financially tiny compared with the combined $450 billion income of the film, television series and sports industries in which those firms already compete for the best distribution rights.

Ochoa earns in a month what a top soccer player might make in an hour, and the telecom firms still need to build a business model able to bring in significant revenue from young people accustomed to consuming online products largely for free.

But according to data compiled by JP Morgan, the number of Esports fans is forecast to grow more than 50 percent by 2019 to 500 million people globally, generating revenues of $1 billion. Industry experts see a potential for a $10-20 billion market eventually.

Already numbers are expected to challenge audiences even for American Football’s premier event, consultancy Deloitte said.

“This year, an Esports event could get more audience than the Super Bowl and in a near future land more revenue for image rights,” Deloitte said in a report published last month.

Spain is a leading market in Europe, offering more of the fast fiber optic connections which video gamers and spectators demand than Britain, Germany and France combined as well as easy access to millions of players in Latin America.

Its Liga de Videojuegos Profesionales (LVP), or League of Professional Video Gamers…

League of Legends gets its first million-dollar pro: Faker

Arguably the best player in one of the world’s most popular games has just surpassed a huge benchmark in tournament earnings.

Lee “Faker” Sang Hyeok has won over $1 million playing League of Legends competitively, according to data-tracking site Esports Earnings. Faker is the first pro League player to surpass that barrier. Now, after 35 tournaments, the 21-year-old South Korean superstar has racked up a total of $1.047 million after splitting up prizes with his teammates.

This is a major milestone for the League of Legends pro scene. Faker, who typically dominates the mid lane (the busy center of the League map) with an overwhelmingly aggressive style. Many fans consider him the best player ever, and he’s one of the biggest draws on sites like…

Zenway acquires Heroes of the Storm esports team DeadlyKittens

With hopes of growing the esports scene in Southeast Asia, events management company Zenway Productions announced that it has acquired DeadlyKittens, a team that specializes in Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm.

Last year, esports generated a revenue of $892.4 million worldwide according to market research firm SuperData, with Asia in the lead bringing in $328 million. SuperData also predicts that the industry will hit $1.23 billion by 2019, though the growth has slowed somewhat. This hasn’t stopped some NBA team owners from buying stakes in esports teams the Immortals and Team Dignitas. What has followed has been discussion about the similarities between esports and traditional sports, as well as the different challenges. One difference is that esports fans aren’t “city by city”, but rather follow teams on the global stage.

Zenway’s acquisition of DeadlyKittens…