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ANALYSIS: Why The $1B eSports Industry Is Set To Explode

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The global gaming industry has seen significant changes over the last few decades. Ever since the first computer game called Nim was designed by American physicist Edward Condon in 1940, there’s no looking back for the industry.

The video game console was introduced in the 1970’s and this evolution was rapid over the next few years. As video game graphics improved, companies such as Electronic Arts [EA] and Activision Blizzard [ATVI] were found.

Heavyweights such as Sony [SNE] and Microsoft [MSFT] soon wanted a piece of the gaming pie and introduced popular consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox. The global gaming market has grown at a spectacular pace and is expected to reach $137.9B by the end of this year, according to Newzoo.

The growth of eSports

The latest growing trend in the gaming space is eSports. eSports is a multiplayer video game played competitively by professional gamers.

While video games were traditionally played for recreation, it has now become a viable career option for gamers. The inflow of funds into eSports is set to drive prize money and sponsorship deals higher.

Gaming research company, Newzoo expects eSports to reach $905.6M by the end of 2018, a rise of 38% year-over-year. Newzoo estimates brand contribution alone to account for 77% of the eSports market or $694M this year. Better yet, the global eSports audience is expected to cross 380 million this year.

Major video game companies have entered the eSports space

The eSports segment has attracted the attention of top gaming companies. Activision Blizzard is already a market leader with its hugely successful launch of the Overwatch League.

The first season of the Overwatch League garnered attention from sponsors as well as spectators. The global audience spent 160 million hours watching matches of this league.

Activision recently announced the sale of eight new franchise teams bringing the total number of teams to 20. The gaming giant aims to have a total of 28 teams for the Overwatch League. While the first 12 teams were sold for $20M each, the next round of franchise sales was between $30M and $60M, according to ESPN.

Activision signed broadcasting deals with Amazon’s [AMZN] Twitch to stream live matches. It has a content partnership with Twitter [TWTR]. The company also bagged sponsorship deals with Intel [INTC], HP [HPQ] and T-Mobile [TMUS]. The broadcast rights and sponsorship deals have generated over $100M for Activision.

The worldwide eSports audience is estimated to reach 580 million by 2021 and this will lead to an increase in eSports tournaments.

Gaming firm’s such as Electronic Arts [EA] organized The FIFA Interactive World Cup, an annual video gaming competition. Companies including MLG, AHQ and Denial have multiple sports leagues as well.

Key drivers for eSports growth

Research company Newzoo expects the eSports market to touch $1.65B in 2021.

The company estimates that the growing industry will bring in contributions from sponsors and advertisers. Companies such as Twitch and YouTube [GOOG] will also eye media rights and broadcasting deals. Gaming publishers are paid ‘Game Publisher Fees’ to host tournaments.

There are also tickets and merchandise revenue generated via ticket sales for eSports events. The industry’s sponsorship revenue rose 55% to $250M last year while Twitch paid $90M this year to broadcast the Overwatch League.

Increase in viewership data and prize money

Twitch is an online streaming platform and primarily focuses on broadcasting eSports competitions from around the world. It has managed to grow its viewership base at a compounded rate of 21.3% in the last three years.

In 2017, viewers tuned in to watch 6 billion hours of content on Twitch. Earlier this year, YouTube made its largest eSports investment to date and signed a multi-year broadcasting deal with Faceit.

These partnerships and deals have resulted in a substantial increase in prize money. The total prize pool for the Dota 2 tournament exceeded $20M.

The above chart shows the earnings of top gaming players. Japan’s Kuro Takhasomi leads the eSports earnings with a prize money of $3.74M to date.

Tencent expects China to lead the eSports market

Tencent is the leading global gaming company in terms of revenue. The company estimates China’s eSports sector to reach 350 million users by 2020 and generate annual revenue of $1.5B. If this happens, the country will account for 59% of total viewers.

What’s more, the total number of eSports viewers might exceed Tennis viewership in the United States. As per Newzoo estimates the most popular eSports team will have a Twitter following exceeding that of Golden State Warriors.

With the game-streaming content set to exceed 10B hours across major platforms, the world’s 10 biggest cities might just invest in a dedicated eSports stadium.

Business

How To Launch Your Business In Less Than 30 Days

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Got a great business idea that you think might be the next big thing? Despite the uncertainty and the risks tagged to becoming an entrepreneur, you wouldn’t know until you try. Besides, it takes less than a month to launch a product or service. Here’s how you make that happen.

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Millennials To Gen Z: 5 Ways They Differ In The Workplace

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(Editor’s Note: The following article is a guest post by superstar entrepreneur and tech investor Jonathan Schultz.) 

There has been plenty of focus on millennials in the past few years, but it’s now time to redirect our attention to Gen Z. Right now Gen Z is entering the workforce and are ready to become the face of corporate America.

While there are plenty of similarities between Gen Z and Millennials, let’s look at a few ways they differ.

Gen Z is more competitive

Millennials have been said to be collaborative and teamwork focused and want to operate in an environment where they feel included and part of something bigger. Gen Z is said to be more competitive and want to be judged based off of their individual performance.

Gen Z also understands that there is a need for consistent development in skills in order to compete. This generation will do whatever it takes but certainly wants to reap rewards for it.

Gen Z is highly idependent

Gen Z typically likes to work alone and many of them would rather have their own office space as opposed to working in open and collaborative environments. This generation also prefers to manage their own projects, so their unique skill sets can be exposed.

Gen Z does not want to depend on others to get things done.

Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication

Millennials love to communicate via email, text, and anything other than face-to-face. The Gen Z group are huge in-person interactors and prefer it over the less personal email or text.

Millennials have received a lot of “bad press” for being so attached to their phones and Gen Z wants to transition out of that shadow. This generation will want more in-person meetings to discuss projects, etc.

Gen Z knows technology

Gen Z has known nothing other than technology their entire lives. They grew up with Facebook, texting, etc. Millennials still grew up with landlines and dial-up internet.

While Millennials are tech-savvy, Gen Z has been living in a world of smartphones for as long as they can remember. This generations relationship to technology is almost instinctual rather than learned.

Gen Z expects the workplace to conform to their needs

Gen Z wants everything to be catered to their needs. This is why companies have had to re-think the amenities they offer and how they structure their offices in order to meet the needs of this young workforce.

Companies now have to appeal to this younger mindset and have a less cookie-cutter approach to the environment they create for their employees. While millennials also expect the workplace to conform to their needs, for Gen Z, it could mean the difference between accepting a job offer or not.

There are obviously very clear differences between these two generations. Yes, every member of a generation will have their own unique traits and characteristics, but overall you will see that Gen Z is a more independent and technologically-advanced group in comparison to Millennials.

Jonathan Schultz is an entrepreneur, real estate tech investor and influencer. He’s the co-founder of Onyx Equities, a leading private equity real estate firm, and has been voted one of the most powerful people in real estate. Follow Jon’s blog here

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GRAPH: 63 Fintech Startups That Are Targeting Millennials

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Many fintech startups are leveraging existing technologies already popular among young adults such as social networks and mobile messaging.

Project crowdfunding sites GoFundMe and Andreessen Horowitz-backed Tilt, for example, mirror or take advantage of social networks and are largely popular among college audiences. Google Ventures and General Catalyst-backed HelloDigit transfers money directly via text message.

The graphic below breaks down the set of primarily US-based fintech companies appealing to the millennial generation including RobinhoodAcornsWealthfrontEarnest and more. (As we’ve also highlighted separately, startups in the digital banking market have attracted more than $10B since 2010.)

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