Overwatch Passes 30 Million Players
Blizzard Entertainment announced this week that Overwatch, its team-based shooter, has passed 30 million players since its launch a year ago. They recently announced hitting the 25 million mark in January. There is no clear delineation on what percentage of these players are on PC or Xbox One or PlayStation 4. But Blizzard has clearly capitalized on Overwatch’s growth very successfully through esports and has helped support teams based in cities.
Tencent will launch a dedicated eSports TV channel in China
Riot Games, owned by Tencent, and Perfect World will be partnering with Tencent and IPTV, a TV broadcaster, to create an esports channel specifically for China. It will be known as ESPTV and it will launch as soon as 2018. Note that Tencent signed a partnership with ESPN in 2016.
Netflix’s iQiyi Licensing Deal
Netflix previously has licensed content to LeEco but they have attempted a new means to an end through iQiyi, a subsidiary of Baidu. This does not allow Chinese citizens full access to Netflix’s libraries but it does enable the distribution of content into the region. Tencent Video and Alibaba’s Youku Tudou, however, present competitive challenges to iQiyi’s turf and they just raised $1.53 billion in new funds to compete with domestic rivals.
The Video Game Bar Association’s Annual Game Business & Legal Affairs Conference
Niko Partners will be presenting at this year’s VGBA Legal Affairs Summit taking place on May 15th and May 16th at the UCLA School of Law. Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners, will be on a n International Roundup panel with Greg Pilarowski, Bill Wang and Steve Gray on May 16th. Pillar Legal, in partnership with Niko Partners, released the China Digital Games Regulations Primer.
Pikachu is Selling KFC in China
Kentucky Fried Chicken (one of the leading fast food franchises in China) has launched a campaign with none other than Pokemon’s Pikachu. If you buy a meal deal, you get a collectible Pikachu figurine. This is particularly interesting from an advertising and marketing perspective, because Pokemon Go is unavailable in China and Nintendo does not distribute its consoles there either, including the Switch or portable 3DS – though these popular devices can be found on the grey market. We noted mid-last year the rise of Pokemon’s licensing deals after the hit AR game Pokemon Go, despite the fact that it isl unavailable in China. However, the latest portable games (Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon) did feature Chinese as a language option for the very first time in the series’ history.