Now that Microsoft has officially purchased esports tournament and events organizing company Smash.gg, Daniel Litwin, Host, Voice of B2B wanted to gain some insight on this industry shift. Litwin had the opportunity to chat about these recent changes with Chris Mann, SVP Gaming and Esports Division, REV/XP. So what exactly were the main motivators for Microsoft to get in on the live eSports and eSports action?
Mann feels that it makes a lot of sense for Microsoft to get involved in the space for a variety of reasons. “There are a ton of gamers out there, we know globally over 2.5 billion gamers,” Mann explained. He also noted that these numbers are likely to increase due to the pandemic requiring more people to find at home entertainment sources. “I think this is a great move by them. I think that there’s a ton of opportunity, both in operating events, but additionally the surrounding opportunity around the content that they’ll be able to generate and then broadcast out over their platforms,” Mann said.
This acquisition comes off news from earlier this year, where Microsoft ended their proprietary video game streaming platform Mixer, which started off with major moves like securing top eSports athlete Ninja for an exclusive streaming deal. All of that has now fallen through, so why would Microsoft invest in live gaming events over digital game streaming, especially after the short-lived Mixer? “I think there were a lot of key learnings they had for Mixer. I think that goes back to having to pay talent,” Mann noted while explaining that the rumored amounts some Mixer creators were paid were extremely high, which may have increased Microsoft’s overhead too much. By acquiring Smash.gg, Microsoft won’t have to pay to program all of the content, instead they’re more of organizing the content through already establishing credible sources, which may be a more cost effective solution.
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