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Business of Esports Minute 029: Riot MMO, Discord Future, Fire Fortnite

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.

029 – December 27, 2020

In this week’s business of esports minute, Riot MMO, Discord Future, and Fire Fortnite. 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 announced that they are making an MMORPG set in the League of Legends universe. Riot’s vice president of intellectual property and entertainment, Greg Street, said on Twitter that his “recent job at Riot has been to help develop the League universe” and was the one to confirm the MMO rumor. While no specific details were given, Greg did spend 5 years at Blizzard as a lead systems designer for World of Warcraft from 2008 until 2013, so he has experience with the MMORPG scene. World of Warcraft has been untouchable for 15 years, with every competitor failing to take down Blizzard’s masterpiece. Riot is in a unique position with its massive League and Valorant playerbase, and it might be the only company with the resources to finally beat WoW. Also working in Riot’s favor is the continued mismanagement at Blizzard and the massive talent exodus that took place there, so it’s unlikely they will have a response for the Riot MMO.

Discord confirmed their latest financing round this week, raising a $100M series H at a $7B valuation. The round was led by Greenoaks Capital with Index Ventures participating. The company’s valuation has doubled since their last round, when they raised $100M back in July. Their monthly active users have also doubled to 140M from just a year ago. The growth has been explosive with the app getting 800,000 downloads a day. Discord has massive potential. This round is likely the company’s last before an IPO. However, if Google or Amazon were smart, they would buy Discord immediately. Both have complementary gaming assets. And both could use Discord as a real contender in the collaboration/work from home software space. The $27B Slack acquisition makes Discord look like a relative bargain.

Finally, Epic continues to go after Apple with their latest Free Fortnite campaign. Tim Sweeney has made this a personal crusade of greed and continues to push one of the most ill-advised legal battles of all time. Apple has won, convincingly. For Fortnite to be free, it’s likely Tim would have to step down at this point and enjoy his billions. I don’t see Apple settling any other way, as unfortunately for Epic, they don’t need Fortnite. Saddest of all is that this distraction has caused Fortnite to miss the true metaverse opportunity and are now just another game in slow decline.

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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