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Business of Esports Minute 026: Ninja’s E-Lympics, OGN Shutdown, Roblox Secret Plans

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.

026 – December 6, 2020

In this week’s business of esports minute, ninja’s esports Olympics, OGN shutdown, and Roblox’s secret plan.

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, Ninja was in the news because of what he said in a piece for GQ Australia. In that interview, Ninja expressed his views that gaming does have the potential to be a part of the Olympics, but that it made more sense to create an esports Olympics or e-lympics as he called it. Ninja believes that if the die hard Olympics fans and organizers don’t want esports then we don’t need them and can go create our own. While the Olympics does hold a certain cachet, esports often falls into the trap of emulating traditional sports. In my opinion, esports can be so much more because of its digital nature, and therefore we don’t need the validation of the Olympics. What we do need more of is innovation in the audience experience and courageous entrepreneurs to pull the industry away from traditional sports. 

In more unfortunate news, Korean esports broadcasting station OGN is set to close its doors indefinitely. OGN has produced content for a huge plethora of games for many years, and made a massive mark on esports. My take on this is simple. Esports content is hotter than ever and more in demand than ever. For OGN to close, one of a few possible scenarios must have taken place. It could just be a case of inexperienced management. Many of the original esports companies were started by passionate gamers with little to no actual business experience. The second possibility is that like Venn and other content creators, they spent lavishly on sets and equipment and costs far exceeded revenue. Either way, companies like the Business of Esports will be around to fill the content void and satisfy esports enthusiasts appetite. 

Finally, Roblox announced this week that they had acquired the IP assets of cognitive assessment startup Imbellus to sharpen their recruitment practices before their planned IPO. While it’s unusual for a company to make an acquisition after they’ve already filed their S1 and made their intentions to go public clear, this one seems harmless enough at face value. It’s a simple IP asset purchase to bolster their HR department. However, there could be a lot more to this. The combination of Imbellus technology and Roblox’s platform could make for a powerful education and assessment platform masquerading as a game. Given Roblox’s young audience, that could be a very lucrative way for them to drive even more growth. 

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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