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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

(WTF?!) Is The MBA Dead?

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Well, well, well, what do we have here.

So according to a (totally non-biased) press release from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) earlier this year, MBA grads are making more money than ever.

(Just for clarity, the GMAC is a “global association of leading graduate business schools.”)

Apparently, US employers plan to offer new MBA hires a starting salary of $115,000, the highest ever recorded in the US when adjusted for inflation.

Key words: PLAN. TO.

In spite of these lofty, non-scientific projections, the number of MBA applications—as a whole—is on the downslide. Here’s a chart from the otherwise very optimistic GMAC.

(Yes, the entire WealthLAB crew is MBAs, too. Jury’s still out whether that makes us marks or smart. 🙄)

And according to Forbes, this makes it the best time ever to pursue an Ivy League MBA.

So what does this all mean? Let’s unpack it for a second.

Top 10 programs are letting everyone in…

According to the various reports, some programs across the country have seen double-digit drops, with the top 10 business schools seeing serious declines. 

At the highly selective Yale University, the acceptance rate jumped by nearly 44%. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, another Top 10 program, admitted more than one in three of its applicants, a 48% increase in a single year.

Meanwhile its applications dropped by 22.5%.

“The joke among deans is that ‘flat is the new up,'” Andrew Ainslie, the dean of the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. “If we can just hold our numbers, that is an incredible achievement.”

Other Ivy League schools have dropped also, with Harvard measuring a fall of 4.5%. Meanwhile, big names like Stanford saw a bit more at 4.6% and UC-Berkeley Haas at a shaking 7.5%.

And outside the Top 10?

When these numbers are narrowed down to individual schools, like University of Michigan Ross School of Business, the picture gets worse. This university saw the biggest reduction, noting an 8.5% decline with just over 3,000 candidates applying. 

There are only a few reported exceptions to this overall decline, but the biggest business schools in the nation agree that there is a serious reduction in MBA interest. 

Ainslie says up to 20% of the top 100 MBA programs in the country are likely to close in the next few years. 

But why?

Uncertainty over work visas for international students, the strong US economy with decreasing job loss, and the rising costs of degrees are all noted as potential causes. 

The positive side to the story, as Ainslie pointed out, is that it’s going to spark new development in the design of existing MBA programs. One particular program has been built around entrepreneurship.

In addition, the prestigious post-MBA job paths—think investment banking and management consulting—have been replaced by jobs in the tech world and Silicon Valley.

Is entrepreneurship the new MBA?

“Tech has displaced consulting and finance as the preferred career path for top-tier college students,” says David Minnick, founder and CEO of Camino Data, and former president of beverage company, Purity Organic.

“When I started Princeton in 2003, it was still a big deal to get a MBA or JD/MBA after college,” he tells Forbes. “That was the thing to do.

“Four years later, when I graduated, we wanted to be more entrepreneurial. We saw people who had started successful tech businesses. We saw there were low barriers to entry, and that it was okay to fail.”

Image: Dunk The sum total of all human knowledge via @James_Kpatrick/ Flickr

Student debt vs. MVP?

There’s also the whole cost thing. Business school can run you $200,000, making it a cringe option for 20-somethings already riddled with debt. For founders, this is money better spent building an MVP.

(No, not Most Valuable Player. Minimum Viable Product.)

Not to mention the experience it brings.

“When I interviewed people with an MBA, or experience at a big beverage company like Coke or Pepsi,” says Minnick, :I was concerned that their personality type wouldn’t be the right fit for a young and growing company like ours.”

In his view, hustle, skills and culture fit are far better predictors of performance than a degree.

Ivy League MBA fire sale…🗑

Apparently this all means that IF you are one who’s always dreamed of an MBA from a prestigious school, there’s no better time than now.

“With an unprecedented decline in MBA application volume at many business schools – including iconic, top-tier programs – there’s definitely a ‘perfect storm’ happening for prospective applicants,” Alex Min, CEO of The MBA Exchange, a top admissions consulting firm, says.

“Deans and admissions committees are feeling strong pressure to fill available seats with qualified candidates, even if some of these individuals might not have been admitted in previous years when application volume was growing.”

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Business

How To Launch Your Business In 30 Days Or Less

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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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Business

The Art And Science Of How To Keep Talented People Around

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

The number one reason talented people leave their jobs is because of the failure of their direct managers. Businesses are defined by the strength of their people. Even in the most successful company (think Google, Amazon, etc.), a bad manager can drive talented employees out the door. So what is the true art and science of keeping talented people around?

SITUATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Successful managers apply targeted, dynamic coaching to each individual team member. There is not one management style that works for everyone or every situation. Managers need to adapt their approach to every situation and every team member. This is called situational leadership. This situational leadership model has been used across 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies and has received numerous accolades from training experts.

The model details how we learn new skills and the four stages of mastering new tasks. For every stage and task, managers need to adapt their approach to managing their report.

STAGE 1

When your team member approaches a new and unfamiliar task with a determination to master it, they see opportunity. They are complete beginners in execution, but they possess high motivation and low skill. In this step, the manager needs to take a highly directive approach, where they demonstrate how the task should be done, setting concrete goals and closely reviewing the report’s progress as well. You are not being a micromanager by supporting the growth and training of your team. Sometimes your team needs to use your expertise as training wheels.

STAGE 2

This stage is full of frustration. Why? Because it generally takes people more time to master a skill than they’d like. Discouragement will set it and their confidence will lower. While they have built up more skills, their confidence is at its lowest in this stage. In this stage, the manager needs to serve as a cheerleader and remind their team member of why they were chosen to do this task and remind them of how far they have already come.

STAGE 3

In the third stage, people have gained enough skill to complete the task but still maintain a mentality of imposter syndrome in which they are more skilled than their confidence allows them to believe. They may even still be discouraged. In this stage, managers need to do less guiding and allow their team member to perform while self-directly more consistently. These acts of trust can boost the team member’s confidence and their dependence on the manager will fade while their confidence increases.

STAGE 4

People reach stage four when their confidence is at the same level as their skill. They become veterans and will continue to boost their confidence and skill set. This is the stage in which the manager steps back and gives the employee the space to continue fostering growth. Check in every now and then and help as needed. Also be sure to recognize the team member for all of their accomplishments along the way.

Keeping talented people around is not hard. Managers just need to apply situational leadership and remember that every team member works and learns differently and need an environment in which they can thrive in. As the leader, you are building this environment, so make sure it is a healthy one.

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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