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Kliuless? Gaming Industry ICYMI #4

Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share with other Rioters, including Riot’s senior leadership. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.

Kenneth Liu, Blogger

September 21, 2018

5 Min Read

Hi, my name is Kenny Liu, and I work in Revenue Strategy at Riot Games. Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share with other Rioters, including Riot’s senior leadership. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.

See more or subscribe at: https://tinyletter.com/kliuless

Kliu's Corner: Entertainment's Convergence on Gaming

  • John Riccitiello Q&A: How Unity CEO views Epic’s Fortnite success

    • "There are no billion-dollar movies anymore. There are no billion-dollar books or TV series or radio stations. There are no billion-dollar billboard companies. The top 10 games are all over a billion dollars. To start with, if you want to be in any form of content, by far the largest business you could fantasize, that you could ever achieve something in, is games. It’s the world’s biggest revenue source for IP today"

    • "Today, a whole list of things is happening. The movie industry has fully embraced Unity. Disney’s produced a three-episode series of shorts in Unity. Most every major motion picture company is experimenting with the benefits of instant real time 3D as opposed to waiting two weeks to see a daily when there’s a special effect involved. The movie industry is clearly going to be disrupted by Unity"

  • Whenever someone asks me to simply explain the gaming industry to them, I always default to saying that it is really the intersection of two very different industries: technology (left-brained) and entertainment (right-brained)

  • Straddling this left and right brain divide is very hard, and there is no proven formula to consistently pump out blockbuster games

  • However, game developers have found success walking down paths that either lean to the left or right:

    • Left: Epic Games, for instance, has invested heavily in their Unreal Engine over the years, and have been able to both monetize their underlying tech as well as build amazing games on top of it

    • Right: Other successful game developers, like Blizzard as an example, deeply invest in and benefit from highly resonant IPs to drive game sales

  • As film and TV industry revenue growth stagnates generally, it is only natural for entertainment companies to leverage their already amazing IPs to establish beachheads in the rapidly growing gaming sector, and Unity is but one of the types of landing crafts they will use to ferry across

  • Related: Spider-Man sells 3.3M+ in 3 days, claiming title of "fastest-selling first-party PS4 game" from God of War

Revenue Strategy



  • Fortnite has 78.3M monthly players

  • Every Nintendo Direct trailer

  • Take-Two CEO: Game streaming’s latency problems will be over in a few years

    • [KL: Opinions on streaming have varied between Activision BlizzardEAMicrosoft, and Ubisoft. Even if streaming is enabled by technology in the near future, the more important factor likely will be how soon Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony would pivot away from their current plans. Only two years after the PS3 released, Sony began concepting the PS4, which was eventually released in 2013. Fast forward five years to today, and one can assume that both Sony & Microsoft would likely have incurred significant sunk costs in developing their respective next-gen consoles. Given Microsoft's current market position though, they would be the most likely to accelerate streaming R&D]

  • Following GTA V's successful multiplayer model, Rockstar confirms Red Dead Online to launch in public beta in November, free for owners of Red Dead Redemption 2



  • Sony Patents VR Headset That Combats Simulation Sickness With Eye-Tracking And More

  • Porsche leads $80M investment in WayRay to bring holographic AR displays to cars


  • China's console market might be small, but it's starting to take shape

  • Tencent and LEGO unveil mobile open-sandbox game LEGO Cube for China

  • Tencent releases open platform to help drive AI projects at other companies


  • Google partners with Unity for open-source matchmaking tool Open Match

  • Bezos Unbound: Forbes' Interview With The Amazon Founder On What He Plans To Conquer Next

  • Netflix’s Next Gen paints an Americanized vision of China

    • [KL: Another interesting example of China's transition to an innovation economy, but in film]

    • "Next Gen isn’t an American film. But you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s American. It’s from China, based on a comic from a Chinese forum, produced by Alibaba Pictures and Wanda Media. And yet… it doesn’t quite feel like a Chinese film. It looks like something out of Pixar. It features a bunch of well-known American actors like John Krasinski and Michael Pena. Its main character has a Chinese name... but it’s pronounced wrong. The film is even debuting in the US before China"


  • Podcast: The Present and the Future of Esports

  • Pitch documents for the original Pokemon games

  • The story of Turkey's video game pioneers

  • Sony is launching a PlayStation Classic console this December loaded with 20 games

  • Fortnite to blame in 5% of UK divorces this year

  • IKEA designs future autonomous cars that work as hotels, stores, and meeting rooms

  • Pinduoduo: China’s hottest online shopping startup

  • How China’s 84M elderly use the internet

See more or subscribe at: https://tinyletter.com/kliuless

Twitter: @kliuless
LinkedIn: @kliuless

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