eSPORTS EXPLODES

In 2016, eSports revenues were almost $500M—some sources put it at close to $900M!  And they will no doubt reach a billion and a half by 2020.

League of Legends is an undeniable presence in eSports, with more than a hundred million players around the globe.  Tournaments regularly sell out entire stadiums.  The average annual salary of a North American League of Legends championship series player?  Over $100K!

Digital sports is here to stay.  Teenagers loudly cheer their favorite eAthletes, and those same players will soon organize to bargain collectively.

What’s at work here?  Why is this thing catching on so quickly?

Here’s why:  The audience plays the game.  So they’re more involved than ordinary sports fans.

Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, says they’re not just passengers, they’re full-on participants.  Guber told CNBC he thinks eSports “has all the tools to really go the distance and become something powerful.”  Guber is also co-owner of the L.A. Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors.

Chris Rossbach, Chief Investment Officer at J. Stern & Company in London, says eSports is the future for investors, surpassing pro sports.  And Newzoo, an expert in video game data, predicts the audience for eSports will grow to nearly 400 million Earthlings in 2017.

Investors, take notice:  eSports viewership is doubling year-over-year.  Plus new and better gaming equipment is on the way, making the games faster and more compelling.

  • Fact 1:  the International Federation of eSports has applied to the International Olympic Committee.  They want to be part of the Olympics!
  • Fact 2:  Universities are starting to offer eSports scholarships.
  • Fact 3:  Professional sports teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Manchester United are buying out prominent eSports teams.

What’s the downside, with regard to the mainstream?  The games can be hard to follow.  Some say they’re too complicated or too violent or both.

by Fred Bailey

eSports is front & center at the 2nd annual Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival, Nov. 9-11. 

To find out more, visit us at: www.HETFest.com

AI TAKES OVER

Written by Fred Bailey

Artificial Intelligence could be the most significant technology to hit Hollywood.  Ever.

According to a recent report in the Hollywood Reporter, AI can substitute for editors, CG artists, costume designers, continuity supervisors, and even actors.

For example, let’s say an actor in a franchise series dies on a big budget production before shooting is wrapped.

AI takes over to fill in the gaps by ingesting all of the actor’s previous screen roles, then building a digital performance for the missing scenes.

AI could construct a new actor from thin air.  An actor who “doesn’t know he’s not real.”  It’s already being done in Japan, where some of the most widely admired pop singers are non-human inventions.

AI could do a lot more on the set of just about any movie.  It could put together the first rough cut of a feature film, before the human editor lays hands on it.  Production accountants wouldn’t be necessary, since that’s the kind of work AI could handle easily, with no threat of fraud or error.  Storyboard artists, sound designers, color timers—all could find their jobs in jeopardy.

AI will have the most profound impact in animation and animated features.

All told, such technology will have an enormous effect on what production executives worry about the most:  budgets and schedules.  Production timelines would be abbreviated, and costs would be lowered.

The simple fact is that AI is going to eliminate jobs usually performed by humans.

Says one respected AI expert:  “It’s all over by 2045—we are no longer running the show.”

 

Artificial Intelligence is on the menu at the 2nd annual Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival, Nov. 9-11.  To find out more, visit us at:  www.HETFest.com

VR SPINE-TINGLER

Written by Fred Bailey

 

A family theme park in Japan near Nagasaki has unveiled a new VR roller coaster that’s knocked the living socks off its riders with 150 seconds of pure kinetic excitement.

Taking its world premiere bow on August 1, the VR-King will give you an eye-popping thrill like no other, plummeting 900 feet at something like 160 miles an hour, with all the appropriate hair-raising, bone-crunching sound effects.

You get into a standard-looking roller-coaster gondola with about twenty other riders and put on a headset.  Next thing you know you’re zooming through the sky, swooping down at unimaginable speeds around buildings, through forests and even into a cave.

The seats in the gondola swerve and bump, moving in perfect conjunction with what’s happening in the six-degrees-of-freedom images you’re watching.

The proprietor, Huis Ten Bosch Park in Sasebo—it’s a miniature Europe modeled after Holland in the middle ages—says its VR ride is the most powerful roller coaster in the world:  “The Highest, The Fastest, The Longest.”

The park offers a variety of other VR experiences, including a disco, a bungee jump, other video combat and horror games, and even a VR love simulation!  Which isn’t what it sounds like.  Recommended for females, you get a once-in-a-lifetime proposal from your favorite handsome man.

As for the roller coaster, there’s no mention of people getting motion sickness, which sometimes can be a potent factor in VR experiences.

But then again, visitors to amusement parks have to deal with the possibility of motion sickness in real-life, non-VR roller coasters.  So, in the final analysis, what’s the difference?

To do the VR-King, you buy a day pass to the park, which entitles you to one ride on the King.  Additional rides cost an extra US$5 or so.

 

 

VR and theme parks are both in the mix of panel discussions at the 2nd annual Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival, Nov. 9-11.  To find out more, visit us at:  

www.HETFest.com