Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of August 3, 2020
Ninja makes a brief return to Twitch
TL;DR - Ninja streamed on Twitch this past week, for the first time since he left the platform nearly a year ago to stream exclusively on now defunct Mixer. Peaking at about 98K viewers, his stream was one of the most watched channels throughout the two hours he was live. He later tweeted that he was able to hit Affiliate off of his first stream alone, which was certainly no surprise to anyone. His stream wrapped with him saying he intends to get back to streaming more frequently soon, but hasn’t yet committed to a single platform.
Tencent reportedly planning to merge Huya and Douyu into streaming mega-platform
TL;DR - Tencent, which currently owns about one third of Douyu and is Huya’s biggest shareholder, is reportedly planning to merge the two platforms. In doing so, Tencent aims to become the largest shareholder of what would be the largest single platform in the burgeoning Chinese market. Once combined, it’s estimated the new platform will control roughly 80% of the market in China. There’s also potential Tencent will try to throw its own platform, eGame, into the mix as well. Huya, Douyu, and eGame are currently the number 1, 2, and 4 streaming platforms in the country, meaning this new platform would be an absolute behemoth. Plans are still in the very early stages according to sources close to the story.
Streamlabs set to launch multi-platform streaming functionality
TL;DR - Streamlabs announced this week that it will be incorporating multi-stream functionality into its platform, effectively allowing streamers to broadcast simultaneously across Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming. The feature will be available only to Streamlabs Prime members, a service which runs about $12/month.
Twitch intends to leverage the Music category to win over Asia-Pac
TL;DR - Esports may dominate in the Asia-Pacific market, but Twitch isn’t ignoring Music’s potential in the region. According to Twitch’s senior vice president of the region, Twitch is enjoying wider adoption in markets like South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan. Twitch is reportedly seeing major growth in the Music category, which makes sense given the numerous recent talent acquisitions it has made from Spotify in particular. Given these two developments, Twitch intends to double down on Music in the Asia-Pacific market, further developing the talent there in the process.
Facebook Gaming forced to push trimmed down iOS app by Apple
TL;DR - Facebook Gaming’s issues with the App Store stem from a tightening of rules and requirements implemented by Apple to clean up the marketplace. Apple has rejected Facebook Gaming’s mobile app repeatedly due to its rules against apps whose main purpose is game distribution. Facebook Gaming’s mobile app includes an integrated library of playable games on top of its more intuitive features like streaming and communities. In response, Facebook has stripped nearly all of these ancillary features from the app, leaving the fundamentals just mentioned instead in a bid to get approval from Apple. This leaves the iOS version of the app hollow in comparison to what Android users will experience.
The Doc has returned, but not to Twitch
TL;DR - DrDisRespect returned to streaming this week, after being permanently banned on Twitch over a month ago. In what he said was just a test stream, The Doc went live on YouTube and eventually surpassed 330K viewers after about one hour of being live. Since doing so, he’s also updated his Twitter bio to point to his YouTube channel, replacing what was once linking to his Twitch persona. He’s racked up 160K subscribers on YouTube as a result of the announcement, with nearly 1.5M views on the VoD as well.
President Trump’s Tencent ban may have spillover consequences for gaming
TL;DR - President Trump issued an executive order this week, making it illegal for Americans to transact with the Chinese company Tencent. Tencent happens to have an ownership stake in Riot Games, Epic Games, and Supercell just to name a few. The ban won’t go into effect until 45 days post-signature on the executive order. WeChat is specifically named in the release outlining the action, and the White House has since clarified that video game companies owned by Tencent are not covered and thus should be safe. The reasoning behind the order has to do with the amount and manner by which WeChat captures and stores its users’ data.
Epic Games pushes valuation past $17B after latest investment round
TL;DR - Epic Games has wrapped another investment round, this time pushing the Fortnite-developer’s valuation north of $17B - a 15% increase over its 2018 round. The final tally this time was $1.78B in the form of a corporate venture round, made up mainly of primary capital and secondary purchases from the company’s employee equity-holders. $250M came from Sony Corporation alone, with BlackRock, UK firm Baillie Gifford, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and several others contributing. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney remains the company’s largest shareholder, with Tencent coming in a close second.
Riot Games and Bilibili strike exclusive streaming deal for League of Legends in China
TL;DR - Riot and Chinese video sharing platform Bilibili have signed a deal that will grant Bilibili exclusive Chinese broadcasting rights to League of Legends esports. Beginning with Worlds 2020 and running through the 2023 MSI, the two companies will also be cooperating to produce esports documentaries and offline events exclusive for the Chinese market. The cost of the deal to Bilibili was $113M, and includes a documentary focused entirely on the LPL teams and their path to Worlds this year.
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