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.
041 – March 21, 2021
In this week’s Business of Esports Minute: Huawei Esports, Andbox Lifeline, and Blizzard Tragedy.
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.
Huawei announced it was integrating scores, results, and news for esports leagues and tournaments around the world directly into their phones. Huawei is showing true leadership here and I love this move from them. It is incredibly smart to be integrating esports updates directly into their phones, and I hope that manufacturers like Apple, Google, or Samsung follow suit. While many users may not be looking for esports scores, the fact that this data would be surfaced and presented could potentially result in building curiosity and mainstream mindshare.
In other news, NBA superstar Kevin Durant announced that his company, Thirty Five Ventures, will invest in Andbox, an esports organization based in New York City. Durant reportedly plans to work with the company on several gaming initiatives. It’s no secret that Andbox has been trying to raise money for months now. It’s also no secret that virtually every investor turned them away, given the poor management, lack of any tangible results, no ownership of the NY market, inflated valuation, and an apparel strategy that is confusing at best (who wants to wear Andbox hoodies?). Maybe Kevin Durant is the savior they need. Clearly, his money will keep their business afloat for a while longer. But unless he has a major impact and they fundamentally change their management team and how they operate, Andbox is destined for the failure bin.
Finally, it was reported that Activision Blizzard fired at least 50 employees last week. The move comes after the company reportedly decided to shift its focus away from live events. Layoffs are always very unfortunate and we hope that everyone involved lands on their feet. This is just infuriating though because the shortcomings of Activision Blizzard’s management in esports have been clear for years now. The problems are at the top. Unfortunately, it’s the good people below that paid the price for years of bad management decisions. When will Activision Blizzard acknowledge their management of the esports business, while generating millions for them in the short term, has left them in a place with no chance of long-term success? If I’m an Overwatch League or Call of Duty League team owner right now, I would be losing a lot of sleep. The company sold me on a future that looks just like the NFL or MLB, with stadiums and home games, etc. That was a flawed vision, but owners bought into it nonetheless. Now Activision Blizzard says they’re shifting away from live events, with no clear plan B, and the team owners will likely be left holding the stinking bag of failure.
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