Over 355,000 public visitors and 30,700 trade visitors from 106 countries flocked to Cologne in August to visit Gamescom 2017, propelling it into the record books as the world’s largest ever video game event.
Mishcon de Reya’s video game and esports team recap what they took from Gamescom 2017.
Exclusive Licences on a ‘Galactic’ Scale
EA delivered a once in a lifetime experience for fans to play the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2 inside an Imperial star destroyer with a full scale X–Wing fighter suspended overhead and a TIE fighter in close proximity.
EA’s exclusive rights to make Star Wars games is a great example of the kind of the value a licence agreement can bring to both video game publishers and third parties.
Bluehole, the publishers for Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the Battle Royal style video game that has taken Steam by storm, partnered with partnered with ESL to hold the PUBG Invitational live at Gamescom.
With over 80 contestants and USD$350k up for grabs, the competition was fierce. We were especially impressed with BreaK’s 11 kill round, which resembled a self-directed frag movie rather than an esport tournament at times. On the flip side, our hearts bled for JaredFPS’ motorbike death, which had to be the most disappointing exit of any player in the tournament.
The PUBG Gamescom invitational was also a roaring success online. Over 8.7 million unique viewers’ tuned in across the globe to watch the tournament and PUBG overtook Counter Strike,Global Offensive and Dota 2 to become the most played game on Steam.
What impressed us most about the PUBG Invitational was the tremendous effort by Bluehole, ESL and their partners who together ensured that all the behind the scenes detail, from stage management and staffing to vision mixing and broadcasting came together perfectly. Hosting a major esports event combines all the challenges that come with events management, people management, technology, video games and international broadcasting. Getting this right from a contractual perspective is no easy matter.
PUBG’s success has not gone unnoticed and rival studios have announced their own Battle Royal style video games, shining a light once again on the importance of protecting your IP when developing content.
Esports meets science.
Tucked away in one of the (relatively) quiet corners of Gamescom, Logitech was showing off its University of Limerick esports research team. They have been tasked with investigating key neuropsychological and neurophysiological performance indicators in elite esports players, in layman’s terms; to discover what it takes to make it as a professional esports player.
While there is plenty of debate around whether esports titles are capable of being legally recognised as a sports, Logitech clearly believes that performing at the top level takes skill and they are wasting no time in acquiring a scientific lead over their esports competition.
Sponsorship and regulation.
Sponsorship is increasingly vital for brands looking to make their presence felt in the video game industry. From high end graphics cards to the latest must-have gaming chair, exhibits at Gamescom were inundated with sponsored gaming hardware.
Video games provide an unrivalled opportunity to advertise to sometimes hard to reach consumers through in-game promotions, esports events and content creation contests. More brands than ever are sponsoring esports teams, esports players and high profile YouTube and Twitch personalities.
Endorsement for a product from a consumer’s top esports organisation, favourite YouTuber or Twitch streamer can often be the deciding factor in the decision to buy the product over that of a competitor.
However in this constantly evolving digital market it is sometimes difficult to know all the rules and regulations surrounding sponsorship and advertising. The Advertising Standards Association has been taking a keen interest in video game and esports industry and increasing regulation is sure to follow. Keep watching this space.