Rewired Talks

Will Its Acquisition See Rogue and Royal Ravens Go Deep Into The Metaverse?

In April 2022, the parent company of Esports teams Rogue and Royal Ravens — ReKTGlobal – was acquired by metaverse company Infinite Reality.

Rogue was founded in 2016 in Nevada, Las Vegas with a focus on Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. It was Overwatch that brought prominent music producer DJ Steve Aoki to the team. As a big gaming enthusiast and an avid player of Overwatch, Aoki was genuinely attracted to the team and become an early investor.

Rogue was one of the first teams to bring in a ‘celebrity’ esports investor, and Steve Aoki was followed up by investments from Imagine Dragons, Rudy Gobert, Nicky Romero, Nick Gross and Landon Collins.

Rogue was later acquired by ReKTGlobal, an Esports infrastructure company founded in 2017 by veterans Dave Bialek and Amish Shah, and quickly became an organization partner of the League of Legends European League Championship (LEC). In 2019 it announced its first debut on the LEC stage. Besides the CS:GO and Overwatch team already competing for European trophies, Rogue has launched a LoL team which is based in Europe and slowly expanded its influence in the esports space.

One of the things that made Rogue stand out in Europe is their influencer portfolio. In 2019 ReKTGlobal secured a collaboration with DrLupo, a streamer and Fortnite competitor who has over 4.5 million of followers. In 2020 Vikkstar, one of the biggest gaming influencers with 12 million followers joined the organization as a co-owner. As a Call of Duty: Warzone player, Vikkstar became responsible for the second esports team that ReKT Global owns, the London Royal Ravens.

Both DrLupo and Vikkstar explain their keen interest in Rogue as being thanks to its genuine approach to the gaming and family environment; and that influencer marketing had become very important in the Esports industry. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub,

“fielding a roster of YouTube or Twitch celebrities can help teams attract more sponsorship deals, which still make up a significant part of their bottom line. Influencers tend to have larger and more engaged audiences than individual athletes, entire teams, and even whole tournaments.”

At Rewired we are curious to see what changes the new owner Infinite Reality will bring. As Forbes points out, the metaverse company is still quite unknown, but believes that it will grow the esports teams owned by ReKTGlobal even further. Perhaps due to the nature of Infinite Reality, we can expect these esports teams to foray deeper into the metaverse?

Our key observations in the Newzoo Global Esports Report

Newzoo is the world’s most prominent platform that provides analytics and insights about the world of Esports and gaming. Each year Newzoo releases reports about the key analytics of this sector and each year, it demonstrates again that Esports is becoming a huge global phenomenon. In this blog post, we have gathered the facts that you should know from the latest Newzoo report that was released in December 2021.

Global Overview

Newzoo reported that out of the 7.7 billion people in the world, almost 1.9 billion are aware of Esports. Of these, 215 million are Esports enthusiasts — people who engage with Esports more than once a month.

Esports is becoming even more attractive for investors as it has generated revenue of $947.1M in 2021 and will exceed $1.6 billion by 2024, according to Newzoo. The biggest category of the revenue is due to sponsorships, however, with COVID restrictions subsiding, it is expected that other revenue streams such as merchandise and tickets will slowly recover.

Streaming platforms

Gaming and Esports were highly impacted by the circumstances of Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021. As many people were restricted by the measures implemented to fight the pandemic, for many, the only & safe way to connect with other people and socialise was through the online world.

Streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube and online gaming experienced a great boom during the lockdown. According to the Newzoo report, the global games live-streaming audience has hit 728.8 million in 2021. The Verge claims that even the hours spent on these platforms have gone up 80% during the year. Moreover, on Twitch, the “Just Chatting” category was the most viewed in 2020.

Live-events are returning

Even though many would expect that gaming and Esports did not struggle thanks to their online nature, in reality, the cancelled live events have negatively affected the industry as well. It led to the elimination of ticket revenues while it also limited the chance of selling merchandise.

However, we are glad to see that now in 2022 in-person events are returning and we could look forward to attending events like the 2022 Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) Championship in South America or the League of Legends World Championship 2022 in Mexico.

Traditional sports streaming into Esports

Unlike Esports which still could broadcast its matches online, traditional sports had no such opportunity. As they sought an alternative way to carry on with the matches or games, eventually the only way was through the online world. Newzoo points out that the interruption of physical sports events led to ‘traditional’ sports shifting more into Esports. For example, F1 teams held online races which gave the fans an opportunity to still watch their favourite F1 drivers. Some drivers like Lando Norris or George Russell have even broadcasted on Twitch playing other games than F1.

Rewired’s thoughts

As Esports and gaming are one of the fastest-growing industries it is no wonder that the figures are increasing each year. With other sectors shifting into the esports sphere and the constant announcements of new esports sponsorships with endemic and non-endemic brands, the world of esports and gaming remains fascinating and full of surprises. We can’t wait to see what the year 2022 will bring us.

How fashion brands have entered into the esports and gaming sector

This week, Team Vitality released version V.03 of its Adidas sneakers, which have been inspired by 1990s cereal campaigns. So we thought it might be interesting to discuss the emergence of fashion within esports and competitive gaming, especially how big luxury brands such as Luis Vuitton, Gucci and Ralph Lauren have got involved in the sector.

One of the reasons why esports has caught the attention of the fashion industry is undoubtedly its’ increasing popularity and growing audience. With over 200 million of fans engaging with esports on regular basis worldwide, 73% of whom are aged under 35, it is no wonder that many brands see an opportunity to reach a younger demographic through esports.

Some esports companies are collaborating with fashion brands to promote gaming as a part of lifestyle. Fashion is a great medium to showcase such perception. Esports fans are increasingly able to purchase branded apparel or in-game fashion items that are related to their hobby and which make them feel more involved with their favourite teams.

High fashion brands in Esports? Really?!

Brands including Nike, Adidas and Puma have been furnishing esports teams with jerseys and sportswear for their athletes since almost the beginning of the industry. But in recent years, high fashion brands have also entered into the world of esports and gaming. Here is a list of three successful collaborations that will prove you wrong.

Luis Vuitton x League of Legends 2019

Luis Vuitton x League of Legends 2019 Qiyana Skin

According to the Washington Post, LV Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière worked alongside Riot’s artists to produce prestige in-game cosmetics and a physical capsule collection of bracelets, boots and bubble skirts. One of the League of Legends champions who received the high fashion treatment was Qiyana, a melee assassin whose circular blade was adorned with LV’s famous monogram. Whilst the in-game skin was sold only for $10, in the physical ‘real world’ shoes that the in-game items drew attention to were priced at $350.

Gucci x Fnatic 2020

Gucci has collaborated with Fnatic to create a limited edition watch that showed the teams initials. The production was limited to 100 watches at a price of £1,150 each. The watches sold out in less than 48 hours after the launch.

Former Fnatic athlete Martin “Rekkles” Larsson wearing the limited edition Gucci x Fnatic watch

G2 x Ralph Lauren 2021

The G2 and Ralph Lauren partnership marked as the first time in esports that a luxury fashion brand clothed a whole team on a long-term basis. Alice Delahunt, the Chief Digital & Content Officer of Ralph Lauren said that the collaboration:

“underlines our commitment to engage new consumers — including a generation of digital-natives who participate in gaming as a world-class sport and for entertainment.”

Unlike the other partnerships above, G2 did not create any customised fashion items with Ralph Lauren. The partnership is allegedly based on the shared value of the two companies and that is “sharing a pursuit of excellence.”

Our Conclusion?

The fact that high fashion has entered esports and competitive gaming only affirm the growing economic, cultural and social importance of esports. Looking at the successes of the partnerships between fashion brands and Esports teams, we are excited to see what is about to come next.

What other industries will get involved in esports?

Switzerland vies to become Europe’s AI hub

With approximately 8.6 million people and four official languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh), Switzerland is uniquely at the heart of Europe but without being a member of the European Union.  In global terms, Switzerland does not even enter the top five as an ‘AI leader’.  But when it comes to Europe and its place in the AI race, Switzerland has a claim to be Europe’s number one European AI hub (when excluding the UK).

Europe’s place in the global AI race

History is a good predictor of the future. In the Eighteenth Century, the industrial revolution led to technological, socio-economic and cultural changes that eventually transformed not just our quality of life, but also our expectations from life. The early adopters of technological change have compounded their progress ever since, and the earliest industrialized nations continue to hold substantial wealth per capita.

7 weird and wonderful applications of artificial intelligence

The Rewired investment fund focuses on enabling the technologies of the AI revolution by investing across five verticals including machine learning, robotics, bionics, sensors, mapping and localisation. Backed by technology investors including Tej Kohli, we believe that AI has the potential to positively impact every segment of economic activity and to improve every aspect of human life. Here we reveal seven weird and wonderful applications of artificial intelligence, some successful, and some…not so much…

How AI is transforming drug discovery

12 June 2007 marked a day in history that grow in significance in the coming decades. On that day a robot named ‘Adam’ ended the monopoly of humans over the discovery of scientific knowledge by identifying the function of a yeast gene. By searching through public databases, Adam generated hypotheses about the genetic codes for key enzymes that catalyse reactions in yeast called “Saccharomyces cerevisiae.”