Video game publishers leverage high profile gamers to drive sales

Video game publishers leverage high profile gamers to drive sales

The gaming market is already dwarfing the movie box office and as we’ve seen in the social media space and year ago in the internet space, eyeballs drive revenue. This is leading gaming companies to recruit popular gamers to help drive awareness of their latest games much the way consumer product companies are utilizing social media stars on Instagram and YouTube to drive product awareness and sales via product placement. It’s a very different way to advertise but advertisers have a history of going where the eyeballs are.

In today’s Digitial Lifestyle, that means streaming video and gaming platforms, live gaming events and various social media platforms. This could mean an advertising business model is to be had in Apple’s Apple Arcade, Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s rumored streaming gaming platform.

The world’s biggest videogame publishers are paying popular gamers tens of thousands of dollars to play their latest releases live over the internet, hoping to break through to buyers in a crowded industry where dominant games like “Fortnite” cast a large shadow.

Electronic Arts Inc., EA -1.58%Activision Blizzard Inc., ATVI -2.28%Ubisoft Entertainment SA and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. are among the publishers making hefty payouts for the real-time broadcasts, or live streams. The amounts vary depending on the popularity of the “streamer,” and could go as high as $50,000 an hour for top celebrity gamers, according to talent and marketing agents.

Take-Two plans to pay streamers to play “Borderlands 3” when the comedic shooter game launches Sept. 13. Ubisoft, an early adopter of the live-streaming strategy, plans to use it again for the Oct. 4 release of its special-ops shooter game “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.”

“Having celebrity streamers play games is an important part of the business,” Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chief executive, said in an interview. “It is relatively new, but it has to be organic. The streamers have to believe in it.”

Source: Top ‘Live-Streamers’ Get $50,000 an Hour to Play New Videogames Online – WSJ

A live concert in Fortnite shows why Netflix is right to be worried

A live concert in Fortnite shows why Netflix is right to be worried

We recently published a Thematic Signal in which we discussed the comment from Netflix management why it isn’t so worried about HBO, but rather Fortnite. If there was any doubt it was put to rest in the form a recent live concert held inside Fortnite that drew “25 times as many people that attended Woodstock in 1969.”

According to reports, that four-day music event that spanned August 15-18, 1969 in the Catskill Mountains attracted more than 400,000 people. Some simple math suggests the live concert in Fortnite attracted roughly 10 million people.

10 million!

Watching a concert inside a game!

What were those 10 million people not doing?

Watching Netflix, HBO, Hulu or another streaming video service.

Yes, Netflix is right to be worried over competitive streaming services that take eyeballs away from its content.

This makes the much-rumored streaming gaming services from Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft even more interesting as it could alter the Digital LIfestyle market shares and make for an even more challenging landscape for the existing video streaming services as well as those that are forthcoming from Disney, NBC, and Apple.


The wildly popular video game “Fortnite” made history yesterday with a live show by EDM artist Marshmello that reportedly drew millions of viewers — which, for context, would be 25 times as many people as attended Woodstock in 1969.

“It truly felt like a glimpse into the future of interactive entertainment,” wrote Nick Statt for The Verge, “where the worlds of gaming, music, and celebrity combined to create a virtual experience we’ve never quite seen before.

Source: Live Concert Inside “Fortnite” Drew More Viewers Than Woodstock

Fortnite’s $1 billion revenue reveals where gaming is headed

Fortnite’s $1 billion revenue reveals where gaming is headed

The knee-jerk reaction when it comes to the fall of broadcast content is streaming service from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and others. While that is certainly putting a world of hurt on broadcasters and forcing advertisers to rethink where to spend their advertising dollars, it would be a mistake to overlook the growing influence that gaming-related content is having. That content has leaped to screens spawning TV and movie programming as well as related toy sales, a streaming network that allows gamers to watch other gamers, the rise of e-sports and tournament style play.

Fortnite may be the latest gaming craze, but odds are it won’t be the last. As more games adopt that streaming, multi-player model, expect it to drive bandwidth and processing power demand along with it.


Fortnite has become an insanely popular game and we heard last month that the title’s debut on iOS generated $100 million in revenue in just three months. Now, a new report says that the battle royale blockbuster has hit over $1 billion in sales across all platforms the popularity of the game continues to increase as the developer, Epic Games hit the billion dollar milestone for in-app purchases in less than a year.

While the majority of players are likely on a desktop version, iOS certainly helped to boost the awareness and revenue of the game. There’s also some pent-up demand as Android users eagerly await a release this summer.

The report also notes that the popularity of the game really took off thanks to well-known streamers and celebrities on Twitch.Twitch exposed a huge audience to Fortnite through prominent streamers like Ninja. Ninja’s stream with Drake hit 635K viewers, breaking the concurrent viewership record at the time.

Looking forward, Epic Games has a lot of potential to increase its revenue with Fortnite even further. The game could soon create more sales with vehicles skins, in-game gifting, and more.Notably, Epic Games has now partnered with Funko to create Fortnite collectibles. While details are slim for now, the collection could include the game’s characters as Funko Pop’s popular big-head figures, keychain accessories, and more.

Source: Fortnite has hit over $1 billion in revenue with in-app purchases | 9to5Mac

Fortnite is the harbinger of more pain for the already struggling toy industry

While it is rather clear to us why Toys R Us is filing bankruptcy and even Star Wars themed toy sales weren’t enough to help Mattel (MAT) this past holiday season, in-app purchases for the new iOS version of Fortnite are rather revealing. The recently launched gaming app, which sits at the center of our Connected Society and Content is King investing themes, typifies the shift toward gaming, and mobile gaming, in particular, that has changed the kinds of toys that children of all ages play with.

At Tematica we like to say confirming data points for our investment themes are all around us in everyday life. In this case, all one has to do is look at the kinds of “toys” being used by children, tweens and teens as well as some adult – smartphones and in some cases tablets to play games, read or even stream movies and TVs. With a nearly endless choice of games, books and video content, one has to wonder how long traditional toys, such as action figures and dolls, can survive? Perhaps they will in a limited form that powers licensable content to gaming and content producers much the way the struggling comic industry is being utilized at the movie box office.

That would mean companies like Mattel and Hasbro (HAS) understand what it takes to pivot and capture the benefits of our Asset-lite Business Model investing theme.


Though it launched on iOS as a limited “early release” last Thursday, Epic Games’ Fortnite is already sitting atop the App Store’s free app download charts and, according to fresh estimates from Sensor Tower, has grossed more than $1.5 million in worldwide in-app purchases.

Players spend real money to buy V-Bucks, which can be redeemed for skins, accessory modifications, character animations and more. Currently, V-Buck packs range from $9.99 for 1,000 currency units to $99.99 for 10,000 units. Larger purchases net additional in-game currency, for example the $99.99 tier comes with an extra 3,500 V-Bucks on top of the standard 10,000 units.

According to the report, $1 million of Epic’s total estimated earnings came in the first three days after in-app purchases were activated. The performance puts Fortnite well ahead of similar battle royale style games Knives Out and Rules of Survival, which earned approximately $57,000 and $39,000, respectively, when they debuted.

A separate report from Apptopia adds color to Epic’s release, noting the game now sits in the No. 1 overall App Store spot in 89 markets. Currently the second-highest grossing game in the U.S. behind App Store stalwart Candy Crush Saga, Fortnite appears in the top-ten highest grossing charts in 15 markets, the analytics firm says.


Source: Fortnite estimated to have grossed $1.5M in in-app purchases after 4 days on iOS App Store