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VIRTUAL INSANITY:
GAMING & MORE

Boasting a massive, highly engaged userbase that continues to grow with livestreaming and esports, the gaming market is the next logical step for outside content players and platforms to venture into. The natural intersection of gaming, music and tech is creating investments and expansions all over the world.

Sony isn’t alone making moves into the virtual space—last week it was announced the company had invested $250m into Epic Games (Fortnite).TikTok parent ByteDance recently hired a former Alibaba executive who'd overseen the World Electronic Sports Games, an international esports tournament in China. As virtual events like Travis Scott’s Astronomical Fortnite concert and events within online games Roblox and Minecraft generate millions of attendees and millions of dollars, top talent and content apps are jumping on the trend.

Twitch just announced its first exclusive contract with a musician. Visionary/Def Jam’s Logic revealed on Monday that he'd signed a seven-figure deal with the livestreamer and has already set up streaming sessions to promote his new album dropping at the end of the week.

While musicians and next-gen apps make inroads in the virtual live stream and gaming world, Spotify and SiriusXM/Pandora are investing and competing in the less-sexy, now-traditional medium, podcasts. The once-almighty YouTube is facing stiff competition among a new generation, as TikTok and Twitch dominate viewership and reach.

And as ByteDance continues global expansion, opposition increases against TikTok. The President’s smear campaign against the Chinese conglomerate now includes ads running on Facebook (another TikTok foe) demanding support for the banning of TikTok in the U.S.

Many speculate ByteDance/TikTok’s next play would be to integrate esports and livestream into their platforms, adding Amazon’s Twitch to their competitor list that already includes Facebook, YouTube and global music investor Tencent, which already has plenty of strategic investments in gaming, including Riot Games (100%), Epic Games (40%) and Activision Blizzard, among others.

How will Apple and Spotify figure into the gaming and livestream market? Will Trump and Zuck succeed is getting TikTok banned? Do you have a preference about who steals and sells your data? Stay tuned...

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