001 – June 7, 2020
From the keyboard to the boardroom, this is the Business of Esports Minute! Every single week, I, Paul Dawalibi, the prophet of esports, will be bringing you my hottest takes from the week, basically everything you need to know about the business of esports all in about one minute. Let’s go.
This week, Riot Games officially launched their second title ever, Valorant, to the public. The launch was full of hype with the streaming platforms dominated by Valorant gameplay. However, initial reviews of the game are pretty negative. While that doesn’t bode well for a normal game, Riot’s brand will surely be able to prop up Valorant for the next few years. My prophecy is that Valorant follows a similar trajectory to Overwatch, and does not have the staying power of a CS:GO.
We also saw the announcement of Tyler Blevins (aka Ninja’s) new Fortnite competition, starring 60 of the world’s best Fortnite players and biggest Fortnite personalities. Blevins is calling the tournament Ninja Battles Featuring Fortnite which leads us to believe that more Ninja Battles brand tournaments could be coming in the future. It’s also a stark reminder of the power of Ninja’s brand when Fortnite is playing second fiddle here. It will be interesting to see if Mixer capitalizes on their star’s move to the fullest.
Finally, South Korean online game developer Nexon announced that it plans to invest $1.5 billion in other listed entertainment companies. Nexon, like many other gaming companies, has been riding a wave of increased demand for online entertainment in a time of social distancing. Their shares have hit record levels, up 60% so far this year, boosting the net worth of its founder, Kim Jung-ju to $9.3 billion. While this new investment strategy may be an efficient use of cash, it remains to be seen if Nexon can deliver on a vision of creating and sustaining more and stronger franchises and intellectual properties.
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