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Business of Esports Minute 031: Roblox $520M Funding, Esports Mega-Venue, Chess Challenges Esports

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.

031 – January 10, 2021

In this week’s business of esports minute, Roblox Funding, Esports Mega-Venue, and Chess Esports.

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, Roblox raised $520M led by Altimeter Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group. This was officially a Series H funding round that values the company at $29.5B. With over 30M active users and a metaverse platform strategy, the valuation is no surprise and in line with comparables like Unity. This is also effectively Roblox’s IPO as they plan to go public through a direct listing. The huge takeaway here is the quality of investors putting money into gaming. And they certainly won’t make just one bet – Roblox is guaranteed part of a bigger sector strategy for Altimeter and Dragoneer. That’s incredibly exciting for the gaming industry as a whole. 

If you thought that $520M story wasn’t big enough, then Supergen Group is here to satisfy. Supergen Group’s subsidiary company, Edward Gaming (aka EDG), announced they would build a $1.5B International Cultural and Creative Esports Center in Shanghai. Included in this center will be a 6k seat esports venue, a 5-star esports hotel, and many other attractions. The park plans to host 300 esports competitions yearly, with a capacity of 10k visitors daily. They also expect to attract hundreds of esports companies. The jury is out if these esports mega-venues can generate the consistent occupancy necessary to make them profitable, but the more they spend, the higher the bar. With sufficient government funding and support, this might be a winner, but the headline is good for the industry nonetheless. 

Finally, chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen topped the esports prize money rankings for 2020. Chess has seen a huge rise in popularity on Twitch and is now discussed as a legitimate esport. Defining esports has been a challenge for many years, and chess most definitely pushes the envelope. I have consistently said that the big opportunity for investors and business is in the broad gaming market, and that the definition of esports has always been too artificially strict. 

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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