Video game maker Activision Blizzard wants to make e-sports mainstream by bringing video game competitions not to television, but to the world s largest social media company.The California-based company s Media Networks unit announced this month a trio of plans intended to increase awareness of e-sports, hooking viewers with specially formatted videos and smarter statistics.Photo: AFPClosing the gap will be crucial to attracting advertisers, which eSports teams, organisers and companies such as Activision Blizzard expect to be a top source of income for the fledgling industry.But Mike Sepso, senior vice-president of Activision Blizzard Media Networks, says his team will focus on Facebook, as video viewing there has skyrocketed.The size of the audience and the rapid pace of video consumption on Facebook has a lot of advertisers interested in it, he says.Match broadcasts should get a new look in the coming weeks as Activision Blizzard rolls out a new tool that automatically analyses statistical databases and pops findings onto the screen.
They are imminent, though.On October 6, 2016 the German supreme court will hold a hearing regarding a legal battle between the World of Warcraft publisher Acitivision Blizzard and Bossland GmbH, which produces Honorbuddy.This software can automate movements and actions for characters in World of Warcraft.Programs like Honorbuddy are known as bots, which handle actions and can play even entire matches for gamers, and many game publishers frown upon their use in their products.Activision Blizzard tries to prevent the development and distribution of so-called bot software for many years and in various countries.While Activision Blizzard was able to successfully sue Bossland in the United States, most notably for its Glider-Software, it fails to do the same in Germany.Many court hearings later, some being successful for Bossland, some being in Blizzard s favor, the supreme court now will decide several open legal questions in the German jurisdiction regarding one of the bots, Honorbody, for World of Warcraft.Some of the questions that may come up during the hearing include:These questions have never been clearly discussed and decided by the German supreme court or even the European Court of Justice.Additionally, the legal questions are pertinent to neighboring fields of business.Are German copyright and unfair competition laws, which favor the growth of competition, a threat or a blessing to the global publishing and distributed development business?
The restaurant chain expects to spend roughly $5 million this year on e-sports and other videogame-related marketing.This is where the future is, said Rob Lynch, Arby s marketing chief.Anheuser-Busch InBev NV plans to promote its Bud Light brand at tournaments this year.About 115 million people world-wide watched e-sports online or in person at least once a month in 2015, nearly double the number in 2012, according to Newzoo BV, a research firm.Since getting into e-sports, he puts $30 to $60 a month into a few titles he follows on the pro circuit, such as Valve Corp. s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.The space is at an inflection point, said Mike Sepso, a senior vice president at Activision Blizzard and co-founder of MLG.
Skylanders established the $4 billion toys-to-life business, and parent company Activision Blizzard leads the $1.2 billion digital card game market with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.So it s natural that it s mixing the two together.Today, Activision launches Skylanders Battlecast, a free-to-play card game for iOS, Android, and Amazon s Fire line.This one works a little differently than Hearthstone, Hex, and a host of other games on the market — along with buying booster packs online, you can also purchase card packs in retail stores.This is a twist for the $34.6 billion mobile gaming market, and it shows Activision still has confidence in business models that mix physical and digital goods despite Disney shutting down its Infinity toys-to-life franchise last week.To bring the cards into Battlecast, you scan them with your mobile device s camera.You can play solo or against others, as well as in ranked or casual modes.Battlecast launches with 300 cards some of which are nicer-looking alternative known as foils consisting of characters, spells, gear, and Relics, or items you can add to the battleground.Our mobile card game offers players not only a collectible experience but also augmented reality, player-versus-player , and an exciting single-player campaign.
Overwatch - a first-person shooter - also marks the first time the studio has launched a title worldwide on PC and consoles simultaneously."Blizzard has a huge following on a global basis and is one of the best renowned publishers," said Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at the IHS Technology consultancy.Thomas Tippl, chief operating officer at Activision Blizzard, said Overwatch would be "Blizzard's biggest launch since Diablo 3 in 2012" and hoped it would "resonate well in e-sports".If it captures the attention of e-sports competitors, it could have a very profitable future."We value the input of the community and we have been changing things here and there, addressing player concerns.""There was a victory pose that we felt like we could make better and more exemplified the character.
The Swedish gaming company Paradox Interactive going public on Tuesday. We believe that Tencent will mean a lot for the Paradox in the short and long term, said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox, in a written statement. Analysis company Niko Partners, focusing on the gaming market in China, expects revenue from the gaming industry in the country will reach 26 billion in 2016. This is equivalent to 217 billion at today's exchange rate on what may be the largest national gaming market in the world. Tencent is working with well-known titles online as League of Legends, Dungeon & Fighter, Call of Duty Online, FIFA and Need for Speed. Tencent has a collaboration agreement with Activision Blizzard, which owns the Swedish King, and helps in the distribution of the game in China.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III players will be able to buy three exclusive animated calling cards in the game that support the Call of Duty Endowment.The Valor Calling Card Set depicts epic scenes from military action the sea, air, and land.It will sell for $4 and all gross proceeds received by Activision will be donated to the Endowment, which will use all funds to help veterans secure quality careers after their military service.The Endowment is a non-profit, public benefit corporation founded in 2009 by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.With a mission to identify and fund the best and most effective employment-focused veteran-serving organizations, the Endowment has funded nearly 23,000 job placements to date, at an average cost-per-placement of less than $600 and with a six-month retention rate of 89 percent.To date, the Call of Duty community has contributed over $1 million to our efforts to help veterans through the in-game program, said the Endowment s Executive Director Dan Goldenberg, in a statement.We are grateful for their continued support.Treyarch strongly supports the Call of Duty Endowment s mission, said Treyarch Studio Head, Mark Lamia, in a statement.
Success Games like Candy Crush Saga, Minecraft, and Star Wars Battlefront sold in millions of copies. Read also: Mojangs president speaks out: We are by definition a one-hit-wonder King, somköptes of American Activision Blizzard autumn 2015, leading the league with a sales turnover of 17 billion last year. Carl Armfelt, fund manager of Swedbank Robur's fund for new technologies, however, that Starbreeze has a different business model that runs counter to the short cycles Johanna Nylander talking about. Starbreeze has proven for all other game developers in the world that can drive a brand that game Payday four years and for a long time to have a pretty good profitability. Read also: Swedbank Robur great deal in Starbreeze - becoming the second largest shareholder Swedbank Robur's fund for new technologies has invested in both Starbreeze, Stillfront and Paradox Interactive, which is listed on First North on Tuesday. There will always be a team of four people in a basement doing something from scratch, but in the future it will be the largest companies that are good at it.
Now he focuses on esports and runs Media Networks, a division devoted to creating the best esports experiences for fans across games, platforms and geographies at one of the world s largest video game companies.Sepso played a key role at MLG, focusing on strategy, key partnerships, corporate development, and product and technology development.Our theme is The platform awakens: A new hope for the game industry.That s August 1, and it leads into our traditional GamesBeat fare.Our ninth annual GamesBeat event takes place at the Terranea Resort on August 1 to August 3 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.He has secured licenses with Hollywood studios such as Disney, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Paramount, and Warner Brothers for games based on some of the world s most beloved movie franchises.Last year, Chou launched a multipartner effort to take Marvel: Contest of Champions into the Chinese market.1 game in downloads in China.Roy Taylor, corporate vice president of alliances at AMDTaylor is a seasoned veteran of the video game and semiconductor industries.He previously held senior positions at Rightware, MasterIMage 3D, and Nvidia.Jason Rubin, head of Oculus StudiosRubin runs the team at Facebook s Oculus division that creates, funds, and works with developers to build first party games and experiences for the Oculus Rift VR headset and the Samsung Gear VR.He is responsible for expanding Lionsgate s content creation into video games and other interactive ventures, including incubation of new properties, investment in existing games and digital media vehicles and leveraging Lionsgate s franchises and other branded properties into the gaming space.It s no accident that Lionsgate has announced a bunch of game-related deals, such as planting the seeds for an esports TV show and backing Hong Kong game studio Fifth Journey.
Vivendi s hostile bid for the French mobile games maker Gameloft has won majority shareholder backing, which means the deal looks like being as good as done.In February Gameloft rejected a takeover offer from Vivendi, which is expanding its games portfolio.However, the move clearly strengthens its attempts to acquire Ubisoft, which created the global hit Assassin s Creed among other assets , now a major Hollywood movie franchise.Gameloft and Ubisoft compete with market giants Activision Blizzard Inc. and Electronics Arts Inc.Vivendi is clearly moving from a pretty unfocused ownership strategy to becoming more of an integrated media company across France and Southern Europe — and increasingly internationally.It recently acquired a large stake in Telecom Italia, the pay TV business of Italy s Mediaset, a Paris TV studio and a majority stake in DailyMotion, which Yahoo tried and failed you acquire after the French government blocked the deal.Vivendi could also create some synergies with Gameloft because of its strength in advertising via its Havas media agency, given the growth of advertising inside mobile games.
Following Vivendi's shareholder-backed hostile takeover bid for mobile gaming developer Gameloft, Ubisoft co-founder and Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot may be about to resign."A person familiar with the matter" has confirmed Guillemot's pending resignation to Bloomberg, saying that Guillemot will join his brother and Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in protecting Ubisoft from a similar Vivendi takeover.Ubisoft–which remains a family run business—called the moves "unsolicited and unwelcome" at the time, but Vivendi continued undeterred, purchasing 30 percent of sister company Gameloft.Activision Blizzard launched an $8.17 billion £6 billion buyback of most of Vivendi's shares just six years after its merger with Vivendi in 2007."We are going in to a very competitive part of the console cycle and despite Ubisoft's efforts to expand like Activision and EA have, the company is still heavily dependent on hits," Christine Arrington of IHS Technology told Eurogamer.In a rapidly-evolving market, your company, which needs industrial and financial backing to develop, will be able to count on our full support and commitment."
Activision Blizzard has another blockbuster success.Overwatch reached 7 million players worldwide, Blizzard Entertainment said today.For comparison, Ubisoft revealed earlier this month that its shooter The Division has 9.5 million registered players, and that was after more than two months on the market.Overwatch, which is a class-based team shooter that GamesBeat adores, is ensuring that stays true.In a canned statement, Blizzard chief executive officer Mike Morhaime noted that the company was aware of the anticipation for Overwatch following the open beta that attracted millions of players.While Blizzard s public relations team obviously picked these figures cause they sound impressive, it s likely that the internal team at the company are more concerned about engagement and how many people are paying for in-app purchases.While Overwatch is a $40 game on PC and $60 on console, it also has an option to spend money to speed up your progression and unlock cosmetic items, which is something GamesBeat tested out already.Blizzard is expecting this will continue to bring in money for the next several years.Blizzard is also not going to give Overwatch the chance to grow stale over the summer.The company has already announced plans to update the shooter with a new competitive mode by the end of this month, and you can probably bet that gamers will see some new character skins and emotes before too long as well.For now, however, 7 million people are probably enjoying one of the best games of the year so far.
It is the model for others to copy, and, as part of Activision Blizzard since 2008, it has made the transition into the modern video game era.And it is doing it again with Overwatch, the third-person shooter game that pits a team of six players against another team in multiplayer mayhem.But I raised my eyebrows when Blizzard announced that its open beta drew 9.7 million players.This is particularly important when you are taking and holding ground so that your team can hold territory and win the round.With Overwatch, it s obvious how you can find your niche.You open loot crates and collect them in a grandiose fashion.Blizzard canceled its sci-fi massively multiplayer online game, Titan, in 2013.But it s delightful that I ve been able to play four outstanding games: Quantum Break, Uncharted 4:  A Thief s End, Doom, and Overwatch all in such a short time span.
It grew to become a multibillion-dollar category, but then it got too crowded last year.But Jia Shen, CEO and founder of PowerCore, thinks that the toys-to-life space is just getting started.Many of these titles have hordes of loyal followers, so it makes sense to create toys and other merchandise that can integrate with the games, Shen said in an interview with me.They were doing limited editions with very quick turnaround.Shen: The costs are all over the board, depending.It s designed around an application program interface concept, basically.The interaction with the game itself … I forget how many monsters they have.The digital reward part of it is entirely managed on the fly.
For Activision Blizzard, the move could give its Blizzard PC games—many of which are popular on the competitive-gaming circuit—wider exposure on the world s biggest social-media network.That s key as the company has recently been investing heavily in e-sports.In e-sports, top digital athletes compete in tournaments across the globe for millions of dollars in prize money.Another way Activision Blizzard is looking to raise its profile in e-sports through Facebook is by soon allowing its Blizzard PC customers to live-stream gaming sessions on the social network.For its part, Facebook has been ramping up efforts to compete against rivals such as Amazon Inc. AMZN 0.16 % s Twitch and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL -0.79 % s YouTube.It has started promoting live video in its news feed and, in some cases, paid content creators to produce live video.
Vivendi made an unsolicited takeover approach for the games editor earlier this year.The Guillemot family held 21.7% of Gameloft s capital on April 4.It reopened its bid for Gameloft until June 15 on the same terms to the €8 $9 per share offer it made last month, valuing the company at around €700 million, and said that it would appoint a majority of Gameloft s board of directors on June 29 to reflect the results of its tender offer.Gameloft was founded by Michel Guillemot and his four brothers in 1999 and counts Despicable Me: Minion Rush and Dragon Mania Legends among its best-known games.Vivendi owns 17.7% of Ubisoft and is seeking board representation, but said in a stock market filing on April 29 that it has no plans to seek control of Ubisoft or submit a public offer for its shares for the next six months.In 2013, Vivendi sold most of its controlling stake in videogames giant Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI 1.27 % as part of a number of asset sales to boost a sagging share price, leaving it to focus on the TV and music side of its business at the time.
The Guillemot family is giving up on the inevitable in its battle with Vivendi.The family said it would sell the majority of its shares in mobile game publisher Gameloft to Vivendi, which  has been waging a months-long campaign to take over Gameloft.It recently said it controlled the majority of shares.Michel Guillemot is chief executive Gameloft and a member of the family that also founded Ubisoft , and he and his family held about 21.7 percent of Gameloft s stock.Vivendi controls 56 percent of Gameloft s voting rights, and the French media conglomerate said it planned to appoint a majority of new directors to the mobile game publisher s board at its June 29 annual meeting.Vivendi, which used to own a big stake in Activision Blizzard, wants to get back in the games business.The family maintains that Vivendi s hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams, the Guillemot family said in a statement.Vivendi now owns 17.7 percent of Ubisoft and is seeking board representation.In a positive development for Ubisoft, its Hungry Shark World mobile game — the sort of title you would expect to come from Gameloft — has taken off and given Ubisoft a foothold in the modern mobile gaming business.
Activision announced today that it will hold its second-ever Call of Duty XP fan event on September 2 and September 3.The event will include the finals for the Call of Duty World League, an esports event with more than $2 million in prizes.This will be the second time that the company has held a major Call of Duty fan event, and the last one was in 2011.This explains in part why Activision Blizzard dropped its booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 , the big game trade show in Los Angeles next week.Tickets go on sale on June 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific time.There will be more than 500 game stations for fans to play.Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launches on November 4.The festivities will center around something that didn t happen in 2011: the Call of Duty World League Championship, the culmination of the inaugural season of the Call of Duty World League CWL .Thirty-two of the top teams worldwide will compete for the $2 million in prizes.Fans can watch the excitement unfold on the Live Event Viewer in Black Ops III on PlayStation 4, MLG.tv on the web and mobile devices, and at www.callofduty.com.
Tencent is reportedly in talks to purchase a majority stake in Finnish video game company Supercell, the developer of the popular "Clash of Clans" game.Bloomberg reports that Tencent has its eye on SoftBank's majority stake in the developer, which it acquired in 2013.It could mean that the Finnish company is valued at $9 billion £6.2 billion - much higher than the $770 million £532 million the company was valued at in 2015.The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the talks were happening, but that they are still at an early stage.Supercell is one of Europe's video game success stories, often mentioned alongside "Candy Crush" developer King, which sold to Activision Blizzard in 2015 for $5.9 billion £4 billion .The hit game that made Supercell successful is "Clash of Clans," a strategy game that encourages players to keep returning and spending more money.
The videogame industry s bid to better embrace online-savvy gamers with live events will play out at the annual E3 trade show.E3 s organizer aims to keep consumers amped up anyway by showering them with more attention while still catering to the 45,000 industry insiders expected on the trade show s floors.The Entertainment Software Association is creating a side event for 20,000 fans, particularly those who have followed E3 online for years and are gravitating to other consumer-friendly conferences.The players will get access to as-yet unreleased games, interact with developers and mingle with gaming celebrities in a party-like atmosphere.Activision Blizzard is opting for private meetings and will run game demos in Sony s booth.To help amplify the party mood, the ESA for a second-consecutive year is admitting about 5,000 professional consumers with vast social-media followings.
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