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Business of Esports Minute 019: OWL Personnel Change, Razer Credit Card, Riot Leaves Oceania

A week of news covering the intersection of business and gaming / esports, all in about one minute – everything you need to know from the “profit of esports” himself.

019 – October 11, 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, Activision Blizzard found themselves in more unfortunate Overwatch League and Call of Duty League news. First, they fired Pete Vlastelica from his role as commissioner of the Overwatch League. Second, they have extended the mandate of Joahana Faries (who is commissioner of the Call of Duty League) to now include Overwatch. This means she will be stretched thin and none of the Overwatch League’s problems will likely be resolved. Noticeably absent from all these personnel changes is any mention of their new hire from Major League Baseball. Maybe he’s shopping around for new hot dog suppliers. 

Razer quietly dropped a brilliant new product this week with the launch of their new prepaid credit card. The unique twist is that the credit card lights up when you make payments. While this might seem silly or trivial, credit cards are often perceived as status symbols. Consumers go nuts for metal cards, personalized cards, and other “luxury” features. A card that lights up takes this trend to the next level, and will not only appeal to Razer’s core gamer audience, but to the mainstream as well. It’s a great new product category for the company, and very unique execution that should bring new customers to the brand. Right now, the card is only planned to launch in Singapore, but you can bet I’ll be picking it up when it hits the US. 

Finally, Riot dissolved their Oceanic Pro League for League of Legends. While the decision represents a significant setback for Australian esports, it’s likely that the market was just too small and insignificant to justify Riot’s continued support. Riot stated that the Australian operation failed to meet key metrics despite 5 years of investment. This kind of news highlights an often-overlooked risk of operating or investing in esports teams – they operate at the pleasure and whims of the game publishers and have very little power of their own. 

For far more detailed insight and discussion into the business of esports, as well as the most exceptional line-up of guests, please tune in every week to the Business of Esports podcast and every Wednesday evening into the Business of Esports after-show livestream. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter @bizesports and on YouTube at The Business of Esports. 

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