[Nowadays, the game market in China is no longer the same. Faced with an endless stream of new games, frequent players' interest in games, and the influx of gaming events, new challenges have been created for both established Blizzard and Bobby]
Bobby Kotick, the chief executive of Activision Blizzard, comes to China almost every quarter. As a member of Coca-Cola's board of directors, he became CEO of Activision in 1991. 2007 Vivendi acquisition of Activision, and its Blizzard subsidiary into one, Bobby continue to act as Blizzard CEO Activision, and become a player in the game industry, was once regarded as the nation's highest-paid CEO.
Mention Blizzard, perhaps a lot of people are not familiar with the name, but its production and distribution of the game is unknown to all, sought after by fans around the world, including "Warcraft", "StarCraft", "Hearthstone" And other classic game masterpiece. From the global game industry revenue ranking, Blizzard topped the list, is one of the gems in the United States gaming industry crown.
However, most recently Bobby came to China to talk about is the "watch vanguard" gaming league. "Watch vanguard" is a full e-gaming game, Blizzard tried to promote the "watch vanguard" gaming in the form of the North American professional alliance, which also bears the hope of veteran Blizzard Nuggets e-sports industry.
"The game is turning into a sport attraction with a wider appeal, and we are building a whole new sport model. "Bobby told First Financial News.
Bobby mentioned the new model is that to get rid of most of the previous escalation race system, the traditional sports events in the home and away games system into the gaming, so that the world's major cities have their own representative of the clan, the clan will each Seek your own local venue for use in future home and away games, with each team member having a decent and stable salary and benefits package.
The North American professional league has always been regarded as the benchmarking model for e-sports events. It is also considered a symbol of the real maturity of e-sports competitions. It includes game design and production, selection and training of e-sports players, event organization and packaging, content production and dissemination, , Tickets derivatives development and other sectors. However, no matter from the popularity of gaming, or e-sports industry chain, the degree of perfection, this is a new exploration.
NBA-style gaming league
"Overwatch is one of Blizzard's most successful games of all time and will continue its success in the future, especially with the launch of the Pioneer League. "For the" watch over the vanguard "gaming career, Bobby placed great hope, and" watch vanguard league "(hereinafter referred to as" OWL ") Blizzard can become the next profit growth point, bearing Bobby's expectations?
A group of fans outside the Burbank Studios in Los Angeles, USA, have started to line up and watch the Pioneer League at about 16:00 local time on January 10.
Burbank is known as the "Media Capital of the World," where the nation's richest media resources are gathered. The building was once part of the Burbank Studios where many famous television shows are recorded. Blizzard will now be transformed here, as Blizzard's exclusive gaming arena, the degree of emphasis is evident.
Surrounded by a huge electronic screen on three sides, placed two teams of game tables and chairs, 12 top configuration of the computer placed on it, the game can accommodate more than 450 spectators, while the first day of the game tickets already two days ago sold out.
Fans of the "watch the vanguard" at the competition site, holding the team's fluorescent signs in their hands and all kinds of cheering slogans, the team players played from the bottom of the channel, the fans collectively shouted the name of the team, and the clan team clap and cheer. If you are not in it, it is hard to believe that the charm of the game is so popular.
It's not easy to hold a game of this size. According to the site staff disclosed to the First Financial, broadcast an OWL need nearly 100 technical staff support, gaming league coverage and broadcast technology is also in line with traditional sports.
On the left side of the stage, four hosts will be introduced to the game, as well as players after the match interview. At the same time, there are also a number of explanation rooms in the scene, combined with the real-time operation of screen squadron players, in-depth analysis of those who change the game's exciting tactics and buzzer lore, so as to help the audience understand the exciting game and real-time progress.
Beside the narrator will also be equipped with data analysis to statistics on the performance of team members. The guide will guide the audience focus on the battlefield, allowing viewers to see the different players from a first perspective on the operation of the situation and the entire battlefield.
As the traditional live sports live in general, everything in good order. This may be the Blizzard chose to fall in the electronic catalog Museum in the studio where the purpose of Burbank, the gaming to create a professional sports.
"Each team and players will have a certain assessment, the annual salary of 50,000 US dollars starting, in addition to each player will have additional health insurance and retirement protection plan. "Shanghai Dragon Team Manager Van told CBN.
In addition, the company will also provide players with free accommodation and training venues, after winning the game can be divided 50% of the bonuses to the team, you know the annual OWLS1 total prize pool of 3.5 million US dollars, and the champion Get at least $ 1 million in bonuses.
Shanghai Dragon Team is currently the only Chinese team in the OWL team behind the secret gold is NetEase, NetEase last July won the Shanghai team places, becoming China's first new team owner.
To build the league into an NBA-class event, naturally requires a lot of capital investment, as the NBA, NFL, behind the owner of the gaming team are well-known capital predators.
It is understood that you want to get a city seat, you need to pay 20 million US dollars in order to get the franchise, or about 130 million yuan, which does not include high operating expenses and team daily expenses.
For the city, Bobby said he will give more consideration to fan base and player base, and secondly consider the familiar clan owners, whether there are many well-known players under their command or whether they can provide the audience with the best game experience. Driven by the OWL start-up, the price of Activision Blizzard hit a record high, breaking the $ 70 mark.
Bobby's business talent has been revealed since reading. He grew up on Long Island, New York and ran the company during his studies. What is surprising is Bobby's career as a guide to Jobs.
While studying art and literature at the University of Michigan, Bobby founded his first company, which sells software used on Apple's second-generation PCs. Apple co-founder 1984 Steve? Steve Jobs went to school to meet with the team and said to them: "We can support you and why must we stay at school to learn any art history? "Because of this, Bobby abandoned the art profession, plunged into the gaming industry, and became the longest serving CEO in the video game industry.
Is this a good business?
Behind the rich are willing to pay for this, Bobby-driven NBA-style gaming is exactly what a business?
As the NBA reached 9 years 24 billion US dollars broadcast price agreement, broadcast and broadcast revenue is an important gaming channel for the gaming.
To OWL, for example, Twitch and Blizzard signed a contract of high price of 90 million U.S. dollars and won the exclusive rights to OWL for the next two years. This was also the largest contract ever signed by foreign media in the history of e-sports.
According to official OWL data, the opening day attracted an average of 408,000 viewers per minute. Over the four days of the opening week, more than 10 million people took the flag live via Twitch, MLG and Chinese streaming partners , NetEase CC live and Panda live watch the event.
E-sports revenue far more than that, but also top-level sponsor support, as well as in-game advertising, professional team sponsorship, tour title, commentary and cooperation.
Both Intel and Hewlett-Packard are OWL's longtime sponsors and as such, the team's hardware support for the games comes from both, such as the HP OMEN series of personal computer products and displays powered by Intel Core i7 CPUs.
The traditional big brands are also beginning to target advertising sponsorship budget gaming industry, car manufacturer Toyota and the "Watch Champions League" reached an agreement to become "OWL" founding season brand partners.
For these sponsors, embracing eSports means embracing the younger generation of consumers. For young people, gaming is more than just a game, it is a way of life, and this part of the audience a huge number of vertical depth.
Many millennials in the United States play video games from an early age, and their acceptance of gaming is higher than that of the previous generation of Americans. According to a survey report on the behavior of American gaming fans conducted by the Dutch market research company Newzoo, compared with the football fans, the gaming fans in the United States showed a clear trend of younger age. 56% of the football fans are over 35 years old. Watching Pioneer gaming fans, those aged 18 to 34 account for 68%.
"Localizing your operations on a city-by-city basis will create a new source of revenue." Local sites can attract more local sponsors as well as cultivate loyal fans of their teams based on their own circumstances. "Watch leader Pioneer league" NateNanzer pointed out.
In response to these urban features, when the gaming teams are labeled as cities, a localized fan circle is formed, which creates the possibility for the gaming to take place at the C-side. During the OWL league skin is also in the game on the line, 12 teams have their own theme color, buy the entire team of 26 heroes need to spend 628 yuan, because each of the league skin symbol of the clan's home city and star players, there Many fans to buy.
With the expansion of cities, we can break the competition in Shanghai, Beijing, the status quo of individual cities, attracting fans from different cities to visit the local line competition, organizing fan activities, the game culture experience, the future of Bobby's plan in Hangzhou, Beijing and other cities Perhaps also have their own city team.
New revenue from localized operations is also seen in Burbank Studios. For example, the Arena has set up "Blizzard Equipment" stores in the surrounding area of the official stores, expensive peripheral products are popular, payment lines lined up in long lines.
"Just as you watch sporting events, you will find sports fans going to support their team, offline games will bring new fans, fans and consumer motivation." "Nate told CBN.
While much of Activision Blizzard's revenue comes from games, Bobby's goal goes beyond that, in which he mentioned that he hopes to turn the most profitable gaming company of today into the most profitable entertainment company in the world, A series of layout of the industrial chain can also glimpse his ambitions.
Was the game delayed the Wizards
How to highlight the competitive game design, rich gameplay at the same time ensure the fairness of the game, which must be traced back to the gaming upstream & mdash; game design and development links, "Watch Pioneer," the game also experienced a tire Death to the Phoenix Nirvana process.
After creating "World of Warcraft," Blizzard ambitious brewing mysterious "Titan" plan, R & D seven years after the original idea is still biased, Blizzard faced with two choices, devoted more resources to try to correct the error , Or warrior broken wrist restart the stove.
The Titan project was eventually canceled, as Jeff Kaplan, the game's director of watch over the vantage point, used "devastating blows" to describe the total destruction of confidence as a game genius for customary tasting.
"Launching a new game IP is a big deal and must be treated with caution. "Bobby said, this is Blizzard has always been the game R & D attitude. "If the game is not selling well, sometimes it's not as good as expected, and some failures are even more important, like failing to meet user expectations." & rdquo;
In encouraging business innovation, Blizzard has always believed in a guideline "Learning from Failure." Bobby thinks the most important thing is to give people the freedom to fail, and you can pinpoint the failure and turn it into a source of different approaches. They decided to set up a small team to rethink the way out, and "watch over the vanguard" of inspiration from the Titan legacy.
Unlike the previous Blizzard Diablo, World of Warcraft, Star series is different, "Watch Pioneer" this game has created a new positive outlook on the world. After the Golden Age of economic development, the intelligent machines developed by mankind began to try to rebel against the ruling world. The United Nations set up a watchful-guard team composed of various soldiers and scientists to protect humanity and guard the peace.
When Jeff Kaplan first showed Bobby "Glory" with a slide show, Bobby slowed him down and asked for a second look at Toby's original, a Swedish engineer with a forging hammer, Bobby feeling This is the most eye-catching figure he has ever seen, and from time to time he often tries to play the game.
Ten years to do the game, nine years to do CG (game animation), Blizzard was ridiculed in the industry as a fan of movie studios, but ran to the game.
In order to enhance the sense of immersion, drive players to resonate, the game production team filmed a beautiful CG about the relationship between characters, they are different in character, have different abilities and skills, each character has its own story and personality.
Jeff Kaplan told CBN, "Because stories take place on Earth, they have different histories, cultures and geographical experiences. Fans can easily find their own shadow in the characters and resonate with these characters, which is the" watch over the vanguard " An important reason for success. & rdquo;
In order to enhance the competitive, the game is set to 6V6 team game, as of now there are a total of 26 heroes in the game, each hero has 3 to 5 skills, they are offensive, defensive and teammates provide treatment and special abilities Auxiliary Hero, etc., players must cooperate to win the game, which means that the team must combine the characteristics of each hero to develop tactics, change the hero mix and tactics at any time.
In order to make the game more universal, Jeff Kaplan told reporters team as much as possible to make heroes easier to use, so that players have not played shooting games can also try.
Addicted to the game "Bad Student"
A computer, a mouse, a pair of headphones, kept operating the keyboard, in the eyes of the previous generation "not learn without surgery" "game fans", now turned "gaming player" r Millions of millions at every turn.
On the polarization of e-sports player awareness, but also reflects the changes in the gaming industry environment. Unlike public awareness, "playing games," Van told FirstFinance that these players train for 12 hours a day, six days a week, and the entire off-season is only about 10 days away. The dragon team on the first day of the competition was not performing well. The team members and coaches night after night repeated the problems that arose in the competition, discussed new tactics and ideas, and adjusted their training plans.
E-sportscasters are generally younger in age. An interesting episode is that during the Blizzard Gala dinner almost all the clan players can not participate because they are under the US drinking age (21) and OWL requires the clan's age Must be at least 18 years of age, which also leaves many outstanding freelancers outside.
Professional gaming is also a youth meal, the player's golden age is only 5 to 8 years (18 years old to 25 years old), the emergence of the league system for the e-sports player career planning to provide more choices.
"The establishment of the league system is also hoping that each team member will do the league in a business-oriented manner. Like traditional sports, athletes may choose to be coaches, commenters or gaming operators after your sports career is over. Van told reporters.
In Nate's opinion, home and away matchmaking is more conducive to the commercial development of e-sports events. "When creating a brand new gaming league, it's important to provide a sense of stability and security to fans, teams and the sponsors behind them." & rdquo;
Although the relegation and promotion matchmaking competition more intense, but the team's instability tends to induce some quick success and development models, such as the team crazy snatch experienced veteran, newcomers difficult to succeed, reflected in the C-side, the enthusiasm of fans also Will be frustrated. A more immediate impact is that sponsors rarely sign long-term contracts with the team in order to evade the risk posed by team downgrades.
Nate believes that "once this stability has been reached, the decision will be based on the league as a whole, taking into account the most favorable direction in the game, and the starting point will change." Shanghai Team Roshan team player Roshan plans to become a tournament after retiring planners or to join the teams to help work.
Surprisingly, these players showed maturity that did not match their age and were clear about their career choices. Roshan believes that choosing e-sports to lose yourself the chance to get a steady job and getting into school as you go further is a risk that you have to shoulder, "and to meet the 18-year-old's decision And responsible, no matter success or failure, should not have others pay for it. "Roshan said.
Roshan's gaming as his own career, in his opinion "If you get their own love of career, every day full of energy, both physically and mentally will not feel tired. "With the success of the competition and the signing of work contracts, parents' perception of the gaming industry is changing.
"In fact, like traditional athletes playing football basketball, we have no difference in the competition on the computer. "Dragon Team esports player Fiveking told CBM," It takes time to accept. At first, parents do not know what is the industry of e-sports. But through the network and offline contacts, parents now support us work. & rdquo;
Roshan became a professional eSports player, surrounded by friends and classmates cast his envious eyes to him, in the past, it seems that parents and children to avoid playing the game this topic, but now New Year family dinner, gaming has become a topic . "If one day, gaming can be like a man discussing football, women discuss the same drama, then the gaming industry has really matured. "Roshan said.
As early as the early 90s of last century, Bobby first came to China. He admitted that he is very much in love with Chinese culture and architecture. He is also enjoying the time spent in China and is fortunate enough to participate in such a prosperous market in China.
Nowadays, the game market in China is no longer the same. Faced with an endless stream of new games, players' frequent game interest changes and the rush of e-sports events are new challenges for veteran Blizzard and Bobby.