Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of September 16, 2019
Ads have finally arrived on Mixer
TL;DR - The long anticipated introduction of ads to Mixer has become a reality. Mixer hasn’t denied that it would eventually roll out an ad product, but as is typical with the platform, it’s been careful and methodical in how it handles changes to its services. Naturally, those with Mixer Pro will not see ads, nor will they see ads for any channels to which they’ve subscribed. It’s not clear yet how the ad revenue will be split between Mixer and its content creators, or which channels will see ads. Currently only certain Microsoft channels and partnered streamer channels have ads enabled. That said, Mixer and Microsoft both have stated there will eventually be a revenue-share with creators, most likely to come once the ad rollout is further along.
Twitch Prime users can now gift monthly loot to streamers
TL;DR - Loot Gifting is the latest perk available to Twitch Prime users. Certain in-game loot that users get month to month as part of the service can now be gifted by the original recipient to the streamer of their choice. From there, streamers can pass those gifts along to their audiences, regardless of if the recipient is a Twitch Prime member or not. Twitch is kicking off the new enhancement with loot from the game Dauntless, and announced plans to include World of Tanks and Rainbow Six Siege in the near future.
YouTube’s channel verification system is getting a complete overhaul
TL;DR - YouTube is rolling out a revamped set of qualifications for its channel verification system, beginning October 1. The checkmark for verified channels is also being replaced with a grey background to the channel’s name. The new system’s requirements seem to favor the channels of known celebrities and public figures, which isn’t sitting well with the “homegrown” YouTube creator community. The biggest rub is the need for “outside recognition”, which some argue unfairly challenges niche creators on the platform. In the initial announcement, YouTube shared it would be removing verification from a large number of channels. It has since backpedaled on that aspect of the update and has issued a response, stating currently verified channels will retain their verification post-update.
Unikrn partners with Unicorns of Love on $50k esports/streamer talent hunt
TL;DR - Esports betting platform Unikrn, and esports organization Unicorns of Love, have teamed up in search of fresh esports and streaming talent. The search is open to anyone interested, with the chosen individual receiving a $50,000, six month contract with Unicorns of Love. Interested applicants can apply on Unikrn’s website. The partnership also includes support from Unikrn for the organization’s players across the full range of titles in its roster. Those include CS:GO, PUBG Mobile, and SimRacing.
Mobcrush announces impressive US growth alongside over $5M in payouts to streamers
TL;DR - Mobile live-streaming service Mobcrush announced this week it has grown its US audience to over 84M unique monthly viewers, putting its overall global reach at over 2 billion. Through the viewership of that audience, it’s paid out over $5M in “ad sponsorship funds” to gaming pros, and gaming live-streamers since it kicked off in 2018. To date, over twenty esports orgs have inked deals with the platform, monetizing through its Go Live, Get Paid program. This connects the streamers with interested brands that pump sponsorship dollars into the platform, ultimately rewarding the streamers for their promotional efforts. Mobcrush users create videos on the platform and then publish them to other sites like Facebook, Twitch, Mixer, and others.
Up and coming entertainment network VENN secures $17M in funding
TL;DR - The Video Game Entertainment and News Network, or VENN, announced this week it closed a $17M seed round to get its channel ready for a 2020 launch. The company was founded by the former head of esports at Riot Games, Ariel Horn, and the former global director of new media at Vivendi Games, Ben Kusin. VENN will produce and broadcast esports events, reality shows, documentaries, game shows, and more across platforms like Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, and through services like Sling, Roku, and Apple TV. The channel will broadcast 24/7 during which it will air 55 hours of its own original programming. Among the early investors are Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime, and Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill.
French court’s decision forces Valve to allow reselling of Steam games
TL;DR - The District Court of Paris ruled this week, after four years of back and forth, that Steam users may resell the games they’ve downloaded on the platform. The French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir was behind the lawsuit against Steam’s owner, Valve. There were 14 additional claims raised in the lawsuit that the French court also deemed illegal. Among those is Valve’s policy on keeping users’ funds despite them leaving the platform. Naturally, Valve is appealing the case so don’t expect to see changes coming any time soon.
Discord has killed Nitro’s free games perk
TL;DR - According to a blog post, Discord cited community feedback and an overall lack of interest for its decision to remove the free games perk from its monthly subscription product, Discord Nitro. As of October 15th, the current wave of free games will expire and no new games will be added. The monthly price of a Nitro subscription will not change as part of this update, so it will be interesting to see what additional benefits Discord will bring to the table.
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