News Digest 43: Top Gaming News This Week

18 June, 2020 | By Anzu

Esports continues to dominate the gaming industry news with one of the biggest competitions going completely online! And games are giving back, too. Hear how one top game is supporting local businesses in light of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and try to guess which big energy drink brand is getting one more partnership in the gaming sphere. Read on for the latest news.

Tencent Games announced plans for a “Season Zero” of the new PUBG MOBILE World League – the next stage of the game’s 2020 esports ecosystem plan. Forty teams across the world will be divided into two regions, East and West, to compete for an $850K USD prize pool, the largest single-event prize pool in PUBG MOBILE history. As the name implies, Season Zero is considered a unique season adapted to the state of international esports competition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entirety of the event will take place online, and although the majority of esports have fully canceled their official international competitions due to the difficulty of creating lag-free environments online across long distances, Tencent Games has been running tests and creating infrastructure specifically to achieve this goal, reports the Esports Observer. Moreover, according to the same 2020 ecosystem plan, PUBG MOBILE will host a world championship later this year, which will also award a large prize pool – part of the $5M committed by Tencent for the 2020 season.

Fortnite’s oft-delayed season-ending “Device” event finally took place this week, dotting the map with explosions before submerging it beneath the ocean. Over two million viewers tuned in on Twitch to watch the sea consume all, meaning that Fortnite now once again holds the all-time record for most concurrent viewers on Twitch -- but with an asterisk. Kotaku quotes Epic Games saying that they had to limit the in-game space and capped the total player number at 12 million “for stability,” forcing many fans to watch the event unfold on streaming platforms which led to some of them accusing the developer of juicing its Twitch and Youtube numbers.

Niantic has announced it will be offering 1,000 small and locally-owned businesses a year of free promotion in Pokemon Go as in-game locations through a new Local Business Recovery Initiative. The offer extends to businesses in the US, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico, with businesses selected appearing in the game as a PokeStop or Gym, reports To be included, businesses must be nominated by players during a period ending July 31 -- with each player being able to submit one location. Niantic expects to be able to begin onboarding selected businesses as early as September. This announcement comes alongside a reveal of new details about Pokemon Go Fest 2020, Niantic's global, digital running event planned for July 25-26.

The Spanish organization Vodafone Giants has welcomed the energy drink brand Red Bull to the roster of its partners, which already include Nike, Chupa Chups, and Font Vella. The deal will be promoted across social media and broadcasts, centering around fighting games. Acting as Vodafone Giants’ official energy drink, Red Bull is also a partner of the Giants Fighter Dojo – the organization’s headquarters in Barcelona, Spain that opened earlier this year in February. Find more details on Esports Insider.

Rumor has it that Epic Games is set to raise USD$750m in a funding round which would raise its valuation to USD$17bn. According to sources speaking to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity, the round will be financed by existing investors such as KKR & Co., along with new supporters including T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Baillie Gifford. Let’s see whether the funding will be confirmed as outlined. is an in-game advertising platform that brings real-world brand ads to video gaming and esports. Backed by BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, WPP, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, Anzu redefines digital advertising through seamless integration of non-intrusive ads into the gameplay. Bringing real-time data and programmatic to the video gaming world, the platform promises native advertising, brand safety and ad viewability. Follow Anzu on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.