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.
046 – April 25, 2021
In this week’s Business of Esports Minute: Discord Rejection, Bilibili OWL Rights, and Ubisoft TV.
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.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Discord is ending talks to sell itself to Microsoft or any other company at this time. In March, there were rumors that Microsoft was attempting to buy the gaming chat firm for about $10 billion. Bloomberg says Discord reportedly rejected a $12 billion offer from Microsoft according to the publication’s sources that are close to the matter. No surprise that these talks broke down. In the context of recent gaming IPOs, Discord surely knew they were worth a lot more than $12B. It was my view that if Microsoft got Discord for $12B, it would go down as one of the best acquisitions of all time for them. I suspect Discord will go the IPO route, and likely command a $20B+ valuation.
Recently, Bilibili Esports reportedly signed an exclusive broadcast deal with Activision Blizzard for the exclusive rights to air the Overwatch League (OWL) in China. Financial details have not been disclosed at this time. The fact that anyone is paying upfront for Overwatch League media rights at this point is a miracle. However, Bilibili seems to have decided that, given they are the smaller streaming player in China, they need to buy up media rights for franchised esports leagues. They scooped League of Legends media rights for China previously. Now Overwatch League. I can almost guarantee the sum paid was small because it was not disclosed. There’s just no evidence yet that paying for media rights will be the winning strategy for streaming platforms but competition is sure to heat up.
Finally, video game giant Ubisoft officially launched a new online channel called gTV. gTV will stream on several platforms including Twitch, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The channel will feature original programming that focuses on the world of esports. It will also showcase teams and players while giving behind-the-scenes looks at some of the biggest gaming events of the year. Content continues to be a huge driver of growth in the gaming space. Developers increasingly are starting to throw their hat in the content ring. I’m not convinced Ubisoft really knows what they’re doing here though which is probably why they have outsourced this new media business. The “people-story-focused” approach is differentiated and I am curious to see if there is an audience for this type of gaming content. However, the “gTV by Ubisoft” branding is terrible. It’s too close to G4TV and it feels like they weren’t sure if they wanted this to be a Ubisoft product or not.
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