Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of September 30, 2019
Mixer co-founder announces departure from Microsoft
TL;DR - Mixer co-founder James Boehm is leaving Microsoft, the company that acquired his streaming start-up, Beam, in 2016. Boehm cited no ill-will towards Microsoft in his announcement, mentioning instead a desire to continue “to develop the industry and its communities” as the motivator, whatever that means. GamerGoo recently appointed Boehm to the company’s board, but aside from that involvement it’s unclear what he may be up to next.
Details emerge regarding Ninja’s motivations behind Twitch departure
TL;DR - Ninja’s wife and manager, Jessica Blevins, in a recent interview with Business Insider, shed some light on the driving factors behind the streaming superstar’s departure from Twitch. Despite earning a following of over 14M on the platform, the combination of a toxic chat and exceedingly long and frustrating contract negotiations was enough to push him to another venue. According to Blevins, the agreement Twitch was proposing would limit Ninja’s licensing opportunities - something untenable given the growth of his brand beyond just gaming.
Layoffs hit Discord as the company looks to right-size itself
TL;DR - According to the company, the layoffs mainly hit the company’s marketing department. And while an exact number remains undisclosed, the company did say the cuts were made in response to the growth of the company and the goals that lie ahead of it. Discord shut down its game store earlier this year and, just last month, decided to end the free games for Nitro subscribers program. Discord indeed!
Twitch taps former Rioter to drive its esports efforts
TL;DR - Mitch Rosenthal, previously the head senior manager or broadcast ops for Riot Games Esports, has joined Twitch to oversee esports production. Rosenthal’s experience includes his five year stint at Riot, and over fifteen years with the NFL and POPSUGAR. Rosenthal will work with Justin Dellario and Steve Flisler, specifically to boost the production quality of Twitch Rivals content.
CrowdQuest aims to boost viewer engagement through new QuestRewards program
TL;DR - CrowdQuest, the viewer/streamer engagement platform where viewers can propose quests for streamers to complete (both in/out of game) for monetary rewards, launched a rewards program at TwitchCon this weekend. Through QuestRewards, streamers can rank up based on the number of quests they complete for their audiences. As they progress, they’re able to earn more from each completed quest and share other rewards with their audiences. As an added incentive, streamers signing up for the program during TwitchCon were rewarded with immediate gold status.
Editor’s note: Viewer engagement is something we know is of prime importance for building and fostering a community. If applications like CrowdQuest can boost that engagement in a fun and rewarding way, the community as a whole will benefit.
Twitch continues to dominate overall viewership, despite Ninja’s departure
TL;DR - StreamElements and Arsenal.gg shared insights this week from their Q3 report on the live-streaming industry. Not surprisingly, Twitch remains firmly entrenched at the top with nearly 76% of all viewership hours from July - September. YouTube was a distant second, just shy of 18%, followed by Facebook Gaming and Mixer being nearly equal. StreamElements noted that viewership from August to September tends to drop noticeably across all platforms, likely due to the school season getting back into gear. But the big takeaway here is that Mixer seemed to get very little bump whatsoever from Ninja’s move from Twitch. Meanwhile, Facebook Gaming was the only platform to see growth in the third quarter, up 41% alone from August to September.
OWL Grand Finals viewership data points to a brighter future for the league
TL;DR - According to Nielsen data shared by the Overwatch League, its Grand Finals last week managed to attract a combined US audience of about 472K viewers. This represents a 41% increase over the prior year, and very encouraging news for the league. The San Francisco Shock captured this season’s title, playing to an audience of 12,000 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The audience breakdown was roughly 300K viewers on TV (ABC), with the remaining mainly represented by Twitch viewership. The league’s regular-season viewership was up as well, posting a gain of 34% in the US and 18% globally. Media broadcast rights for the league are currently up for renewal with Twitch, ABC, and ESPN this year, so the boost in viewership couldn’t have come at a better time for the league.
Epic Games sued in Canada over Fortnite’s supposed addictive nature
TL;DR - A Canadian law firm, at the behest of the parents of two minors aged 10 and 15, has filed suit against Epic Games for what it claims is the highly addictive nature of Fortnite. The World Health Organization has deemed video game addiction a disease, and therefore the firm is confident it has a winnable case. The primary basis for the case is a 2015 decision from the Quebec Superior Court against the tobacco industry. In that case, it was determined tobacco companies were aware of the addictive nature of their product but were negligent in warning customers. The plaintiff’s argument in the case against Epic Games is that Epic is aware of the risk of addiction posed by the game, especially considering the game’s younger demographic. Moneys sought in the case have not yet been disclosed.
WoW Classic’s streaming community organizing a $50K dueling league
TL;DR - The Classic Dueler’s League was announced last week via tipsoutbaby’s YouTube channel. It will feature a $50,000 prize pool, and open qualifiers are already under way. The league is open to all WoW Classic players, and includes monthly events which are ramping up immediately. WoW Classic Twitch streamer Asmongold revealed the CDL’s sponsors are also supporting speed-running events in conjunction with the dueling tournaments, with entirely separate prize pools. They’re truly aiming to address as much of the WoW Classic audience as possible which is very refreshing to see.
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