Putting Israeli eSports startups on the map

Cloud gaming is on fire ??? Google unveiled Stadia, the company’s cloud gaming solution, Stadia reduces the need for expensive hardware to play high quality games and offers one click streaming, highly integrated into YouTube. Microsoft tried to beat Google to the punch a week earlier with a demo of its Project xCloud streaming service and last week Apple announced Apple Arcade, a new game subscription for iOS, Mac and Apple TV. Rumours about Amazon’s secret new cloud gaming service keep surfacing and we continue to learn about new entrants in this space almost daily – from Snapchat to Walmart.

The growth in cloud gaming presents a big opportunity for startups. Until now, the main benefactors of free-to-play Battle Royale games like Fortnite or Apex Legends were the studios (Epic Games, EA, etc.) or the platforms (like Twitch, YouTube, Caffeine, etc.) as well as the advertising platforms, who drove traffic to these games initially. With the growth in the gamer and viewer population, the dollars are pouring in from gamers (for skins, and in-game purchases), brands and media companies (who otherwise struggle to reach this demographic). Couple that growth with new tech developments (AI, computer vision, real time streaming with zero latency, streaming overlays, etc) and it’s clear to see new opportunities emerging for for startups in ‘game enablers’ or ‘game enhancers’.

We (Remagine Ventures) wrote about the nascent Israeli startup scene in eSports back in November, and since then announced our investment in Novos, a player development platform leveraging the best practices of coaching and online education in an innovative way to train gamers.

Last month we hosted Remagine eSports at the beautiful new Google for Startups Campus in Tel Aviv. The event was sold out with more than 200 registered guests, and was rich in insights from both startups innovating in the space and the corporates who are moving in swiftly.

Our short intro deck shines a light on the growth of eSports as a segment and the Israeli startups active in the space (most or all were in the room). From Overwolf and StreamElements to Anzu (advertising in games) and Simplay (a cloud gaming solution for game publishers), Israeli startups are bringing their tech expertise into this growing field of eSports.

eSports is widely defined, from the professional level all the way to the recreative gamer, and has a lot of growing up to do. The industry itself broke a lot of records in 2018 in terms of prize money available and flashy sold out events, but as Kevin Hovestad puts it on VentureBeat:

In 2019 and beyond, the accessibility of esports to wider, more mature audiences will matter. Fans need to reject toxicity and push players, talent, teams, organizers, developers, and publishers to be more accountable. If esports is to thrive, rather than merely survive, these are the difficult, long-term challenges that must be addressed.

Esports needs more than growth in 2019, January 2019

We will continue to explore how technology will impact eSports and are excited to work with cutting edge startups in the space. Next week (April 8th) you can find us at the Twitch Developer Tour in Tel Aviv. You can expect technical demos from the developer relations team and learn how to engage the Twitch community via extensions and interactive experiences. The event is nearly sold out, but you can request a ticket here.

Eze Vidra

Eze is managing partner of Remagine Ventures, a seed fund investing in ambitious founders at the intersection of tech, media, data and commerce. We are backed by some of the world's leading media companies. I'm a former general partner at google ventures, head of Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe and founding head of Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups. I'm also the founder of Techbikers, a non-profit bringing together the startup ecosystem on cycling challenges in support of Room to Read. Since inception in 2012 we've built 8 schools and 31 libraries in the developing world.

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