September 4, 2020

Today’s Industry Updates

GAMING
  • Super Mario 35th Anniversary event brings Mario classics and new games to Nintendo Switch – Nintendo announced a plethora of Super Mario re-releases, new games and other products during a Nintendo Direct presentation Thursday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario. The 16-minute video event, which was posted Thursday morning, announced a limited-time Super Mario battle royale-style game titled Super Mario 35; Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a Nintendo Switch collection including Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy; a Mario Kart alternate reality experience; and more. Super Mario 3D All-Stars capped off the event and was the highlight of the experience for fans of the previous generations’ 3D platformers.
  • Modern Times Group Appoints Former CFO Maria Redin as President and CEO – ESL and DreamHack parent Modern Times Group has appointed Maria Redin as group president and CEO effective immediately. Redin joined MTG in 2004 as a management trainee and most recently served as CFO. She has also previously held the position of CEO for Bet24, a former MTG gaming entertainment company. Her appointment follows the resignation of former CEO Jorgen Madsen Lindemann in July. According to a release, Lindemann will continue to act as an adviser to the company until the end of his notice period. With Redin’s appointment, MTG has also announced that current EVP, communications & investor relations Lars Torstensson will assume the CFO role, combining it with his current responsibilities.
  • Madden NFL 21 sells 20% more copies in first week than last year’s game – Madden NFL 21 has topped last year’s version of the flagship football simulation at kickoff, as Electronic Arts today reported this year’s game sold through 20% more copies in its opening week than its predecessor did. It’s not like Madden NFL 20 was a down year for the franchise, either. While the stats released for NFL 20 in its opening week victory lap were somewhat limited — it had the highest final week of preorders in franchise history — EA said today that game went on to break franchise records for unique players and engagement. “After the most successful year in franchise history, fans are now playing more Madden than ever before. In the last weeks, players have shown their passion for Madden with a lot of great feedback and stellar engagement in Madden NFL 21,” said executive producer Seann Graddy.

CONTENT CREATORS & INFLUENCERS
  • TikTok reportedly forced to weigh new options for U.S. sale after China’s latest restrictions – A deal for TikTok’s U.S. business is facing new hurdles as Washington’s deadline for a sale approaches, putting the app in danger of facing an effective ban. An announcement of a deal had been expected as soon as Tuesday, CNBC previously reported, but that day came and went with no news of a transaction. On Friday, Chinese officials introduced new restrictions on technology exports that could require Chinese approval for TikTok to sell its algorithm, which is part of the core value of the app. As of Monday, Oracle and a joint bid from Microsoft and Walmart were the top contenders for the sale, but The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that China’s new restrictions had complicated and extended the talks.
  • The Twitch Viewers Who Dedicate Their Days To Trolling The Army And Navy – Sam is a 20 year-old college student who says he felt deceived by military recruitment efforts at his own high school. Recently, he found a way to push back. He and dozens of others, spread across a couple of Discords, spend chunks of their day trolling the military on Twitch. They harbor no delusions. They do not believe that branches of the United States military are going to suddenly upend their esports operation and go home. But nearly every night of the week, they still spend hours poking and prodding at the twin bears that are America’s Army and Navy. The biggest threat to the Army and Navy’s gaming-centric recruitment effort has passed.
  • Twitch’s top Fall Guys streamers – Mediatonic’s last-man-standing obstacle racing game Fall Guys has quickly become one of the top titles on Twitch because of its ability to attract viewers and streamers from a variety of demographics. The light-hearted game has all of the elements of an easy-going party game, but its sinister undertones that come in the form of multiplayer griefing have the potential to generate highly entertaining content. While the game is still in its youth, there are a few content creators in particular who have stood out above the rest since the summer introduced the world to Fall Guys. Each streamer’s reputation with the game differs, but all of them are fun to watch in their own right.

ESPORTS
  • Quake Pro League to Feature Over $500K Combined Prize Pool – PGL Esports has announced that it will host the next season of the Quake Pro League, which will feature a total prize pool exceeding $500K USD. The 2020-2021 season will be split into three stages consisting of regional competition culminating in an international finals. The first two stage finals are planned to be hosted at PGL Studio in Bucharest, Romania, while Stage 3’s finals will serve as the Quake World Championship to take place at QuakeCon 2021. The announcement does note that these plans will be adjusted based on safety protocols regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Prizing will be distributed throughout the season.
  • ESL Premiership announces Kappa partnership – ESL UK has welcomed Italian sportswear brand Kappa as the latest sponsor of its upcoming ESL Premiership. As per a tweet from the company, the deal will see Kappa serve as the apparel supplier for the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive portion of the competition. Kappa has been steadily increasing its involvement in esports, especially in the United Kingdom, over the past year. After establishing a deal with Vexed Gaming last August, it has entered three-year partnerships with other UK organisations Diabolus and Demise – as well as announcing alliances with Spanish brand MAD Lions and Chinese organisation Royal Never Give Up.
  • XSET brings on PUBG Mobile team as game is banned in India – In the early days, esports’ only consistent involvement with politics was the occasional visa issue or scapegoating by an ill-informed politician. But this summer, esports and politics seem to be running in lockstep. There’s the antitrust lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple, a bill put into the US House of Representatives regulating the US Army’s Twitch channel, and the backlash to BLAST and the LEC’s NEOM sponsorships. Well, the hits keep on coming. On Wednesday, September 1st, India banned 118 apps with ties to China as tensions rise over a border dispute between the two countries. Included among them was PUBG Mobile, the more accessible version of the original battle royale title that was extremely popular in India.

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