ePlay Digital CEO: How Esports Companies Generate Revenue - Investment News Network
ePlay Digital has built an esports app that is focused on the NBA basketball league. The company has also previously built games for the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Time Warner Cable.
The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with Doerksen about real-time data in apps, volumetric scanning and how ePlay generates revenue. Read on to learn his thoughts. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
INN: ePlay Digital is the esports company that has produced the Big Shot basketball game. Can you tell me more about how it applies real-time data to its app and other features that it offers?
TD: The best way to describe the real-time database is that, when LeBron (James) or (Kawhi) Leonard or (Stephen) Curry score (in real life), you score in the game. First, though, you have to find the NBA player. That’s part of the discovery of the Pokemon Go style of game. It’s a location-based mobile game.
You have to find the NBA player, you draft them, you build your team and then their real on-court performance contributes to how you do in the game. A core part of the game is based on real-time NBA data.
INN: You’ve built an app platform that has clients including ESPN, Sony (NYSE:SNE), Intel and Cineplex (TSX:CGX). Can you tell me more about these partnerships?
TD: Traditionally, until recently, we were a fee for service company. We built an app for ESPN named ESPN Sync. We built a game for the Lakers and Time Warner Cable. These games always had a sponsor and they always had a client.
INN: Interesting. I saw that you also partnered with Next Joy and that was a major partnership in addition to Big Shot Bob Horry and Lindsay McCormick. ePlay also reported that it is generating positive, active, average daily user revenue in addition to in-app revenue. How does that work?
TD: It’s probably the most important question. Everything else is really cool. The first thing you do, you got to get downloads. Celebrities are important. Partners are important. Next Joy has 100 million users on its platform. The parent company, Shanghai Media Group, is the NBA broadcast rights holder in China. If they choose to, they could promote a game like Big Shot for free because they own the rights. They have ad inventory. They could take up their own inventory either in a stadium that they own or on the broadcast that they own or on their other platforms that they own to talk about Big Shot.
INN: How are the celebrities integrated in the game?
TD: Lindsay McCormick is a 3D avatar. Players can get advice from Lindsay in the game. With Lindsay talking about Big Shot in the real world, it helps lead to downloads of the mobile (version) of Big Shot.
One of our partners, which we haven’t announced yet, has a clothing product line. She sells hoodies and sweaters. They have t-shirts and so on. She sells those physical, real-world versions of hoodies.
INN: Brick and mortar.
TD: Exactly. In Big Shot, she’ll sell the digital version of the same. The profits will be basically 100 percent. There are no shipping costs or manufacturing costs. There’s no commission. We share the revenue with these partners from the digital merch we sell on the game (and) skins in the game with our partners.
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