GAME's 20m swoop for Multiplay can transform eSports in the UK, say leading industry execs.
The retail giant acquired the events organiser – famous for the Insomnia festivals – this week, and Multiplay's founder Craig Fletcher told MCV that the deal will drive eSports success across Britain.
The backing of GAME allows us to turbocharge growth and be the driving force behind this emerging and exciting market,” he said.
A number of games industry figures have also praised the move.
Competitive gaming is a rapidly-growing entertainment experience that gives millions around the world a new way to play, engage and compete with each other,” said Activision Blizzard's SVP of Europe Steve Young. GAME and Multiplay are well-placed to foster the growth of competitive gaming and deliver great experiences.”
Jeremy Dale, Microsoft's corporate VP of retail sales and marketing, added: It's great to see one of our key retail partners expand into thegrowing eSports market. Bringing new experiences to consumers is always at the forefront of our minds – and we can realise this by work closely with partners such as GAME.”
The acquisition comes at a critical time for GAME, whichissued a profit warning in January following aggressive discounting over Christmas. The firm also faced demotion from the FTSE 250.
It's a very smart move,” said Sega's senior VP for commercial publishing John Clark. The games business is more than a transactional model. This move underpins GAME's commitment to driving community relationships and extending its brand.
eSports continue to grow in importance to the industry and GAME's involvement can only enhance that.”
IHS analyst Piers Harding-Rolls added: For GAME to invest in eSports is a natural evolution for the company as it seeks to diversify its business away from pure retail.
Multiplay has been acquired at a time when eSports is starting to develop in the UK, but also whencompetition within the sector is stronger than ever. The acquisition shows that GAME is willing to make strategically significant bets to foster longer-term growth.”
PlayStation UK boss Fergal Gara also feels it is a smart move: "This is an interesting move for GAME and helps bring to life its stated intention of creating the most valuable community of gamers by engaging with their customers in even more ways," he said.
"This may be a sign of how game retail is changing from a world whereby gamers bought consoles and discs to one whereby they now also buy into digital services and engage in events. Through this move, GAME is reaching beyond the core transactional relationship with their customers to a deeper engagement, in many ways illustrating specialist credentials."