February 17, 2017
There are three key ingredients for a game or pastime to become a sport: playing, competing and viewing. From the first large-scale video game competition in the 1970s to the present day, eSports have experienced a trajectory similar to offline sports. Indeed, the ability to play and compete are necessary steps in the transformation from game to sport. However, broadcasting and viewing are the crucial components to enable widespread adoption and popularity. Just as with offline sports, eSports require these elements. eSports represent a significant market opportunity for broadcasting companies. Tournament viewership is already surpassing that of some major offline sports. By 2020, global eSports are forecast to reach $5 billion in revenue. This is not surprising, given the fact that wherever consumers go, media and brands will follow. The eSports industry is reaching the inflection point that the NBA saw decades ago, and widespread viewership is providing the final step for this formerly niche activity to become a true sport.
February 17, 2017
The eSports industry has become like a pyramid. The top tier of professional players represents the top of the pyramid. Below that are the other 99 percent. Amateurs vie to become professionals. And below that are those who enjoy competing for fun. Each one of those tiers is an opportunity to make money. At the base of the pyramid are startups like Skillz, a platform which turns just about any mobile game into a competitive match. Casey Chafkin, founder of Skillz, said in a panel that I moderated that his company has run more than 100 million mobile eSports tournaments and awards more than $5 million in cash prizes to players every month. “A lot of mobile users don’t consider themselves gamers, but someone can be an expert at finger bowling and make a living at it,” Chafkin said. Mobile eSports are much earlier in their maturity, but it offers huge potential for players, spectators, and brands.
February 16, 2017
This year's [a]list summit focused almost entirely on the theme of eSports and competitive gaming. Mobile is a major force in the gaming industry, but its entry into eSports has been relatively slow in comparison to console and PC gaming. “Mobile gamers don’t see themselves as gamers. The average player on Skillz is playing 58 minutes a day and they are self-described as non-gamers, or casual gamers," said Casey Chafkin, CMO and co-founder of mobile eSports platform Skillz. "When we think about the maturity of the space and the audience, a lot of it has to do with where the audience sees themselves in their evolutionary history.” Skillz users are often playing games that people wouldn’t normally consider to be an eSport–like a finger bowling or bubble popping game—competitively. “I think this speaks to the idea that competition is intrinsic in gaming,” said Chafkin. Although some might see it as paradoxical, Chafkin explained that “mobile gamers don’t see themselves as part of the eSports ecosystem, even though they’re actively participating in competitions.” However, as mobile gaming continues to mature with more people playing competitively, Chafkin believes that they are becoming the base level of a healthy sports ecosystem, which is the amateur level of competition.
San Francisco Business Times
February 16, 2017
As eSports continue to boom, casual competitors are increasingly getting in on the action, driven in large part by technology from San Francisco-based startup Skillz. Skillz has grown by focusing on building out the infrastructure to bring professional gaming to the mobile space. Alongside its eSports business, Skillz has also grown its broadcasting arm. It’s patented its own video broadcasting technology as a way to build up brand recognition and gain users. Last year, the company aired more than 40 million minutes of competitive mobile gameplay, up from 8.5 million minutes the year before. Skillz has been able to compete by partnering with developers around the world, more than 3,000 at last count. For game developers, working with Skillz provides another revenue source, while also boosting engagement. Oakland-based mobile game developer Tether Studios said that their partnership with Skillz helped it to make more money. “Not only does the eSports system return more revenue per user, but it does so in a manner that aligns our interests with those of the players, which is really important to us as developers and gamers ourselves,” said Tether co-founder Tim O’Neil.
February 9, 2017
eSports, which are loosely defined as professional competitive gaming of any kind, are experiencing a meteoric, seemingly exponential rise in worldwide popularity. There's a growing, mobile-oriented competitive eSports scene that offers gamers of all skill and commitment levels the opportunity to monetize their abilities using a cell phone or tablet. There are competitions in massively popular, more intricate games like Vainglory and Clash Royale, but also in casual games like mini golf and bowling. "There are roughly 2.1 billion mobile gamers in the world, but as of right now there is such a tiny number of players participating in eSports," Skillz CEO Andrew Paradise told SI.com. Skillz is a platform for mobile eSports tournaments that has handed out more than $60 million in prize money. "To use a football analogy, right now there's only the NFL. What we're doing is building out these tiers—like pee-wee, pop warner, high school," Paradise said. "We are democratizing eSports." More than 10 million players across 180 countries participated in Skillz events last year, and the company's top game in terms of prize money was a bubble-popping game called Bubble Shooter. The platform's top earner, Alex Heitmann (gamertag: LLYW999), won more than $390,000 last year.
January 3, 2017
It's no secret eSports are set to become a billion dollar industry within the next few years. The top hardcore gamers are rising up to become celebrities in their own right and battling it out in packed stadiums for million dollar bounties. The exciting news is that mobile gaming is quickly following suit, which will allow the casual mobile gamer to compete against other people around the world for real money prize pools. In 2012, a San Francisco-based company called Skillz introduced their competition platform which allows mobile gamers to compete against each other not just for the highest score but for real money prizes too. The company has been seeing a lot of growth with more and more publishers signing up with them to incorporate their tournament system into their mobile game titles. Currently there are more than 2.1 billion people who play mobile games daily, which makes it the most popular gaming platform in the history of gaming. Companies like Skillz have successfully been able to embrace that opportunity with over $50 million in prizes awarded since it was founded a few years ago.
December 23, 2016
Skillz has announced that it will follow up its successful Thanksgiving Day ‘Turkey Trot’ tournament with an even larger mobile eSports tournament on Christmas Day to support Toys for Tots. For each entry during the tournament, Skillz will donate one dollar to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to help ensure that all children get to experience the joy of Christmas. Andrew Paradise, founder and CEO of Skillz, commented: “The ‘Turkey Trot’ tournament was our first foray into a live holiday charity tournament and it was a huge success. More than 1,700 participants in three Skillz-enabled games raised over $7,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Amnesty International, and The Humane Society. We’re thrilled that our players are enthusiastic about supporting these worthy causes, and during this holiday season we thought Toys for Tots would be the perfect choice.” Participants can win a total of $1,050 across all five games, which is twice as large as the prize pool in last month’s “Turkey Trot” tournament. Christmas is one of the times of year that it’s especially important to help charities like Toys for Tots if we can. Kudos to Skillz for doing just that.
December 20, 2016
Competitive gaming has taken a long journey from challenging a friend to a showdown to filling some of the largest stadiums in the world. eSports are officially taking the world by storm. As we look forward to a new year and gamers hone their skills for the next big match, let’s take a look at the trends and see where this monster industry is headed. More VR: with the launch of HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR this year, 2017 will see further exploration into streaming events in virtual reality. VR games will also get the eSports treatment, as Oculus has done with "The Unspoken." Mobile will also become a more serious contender in the competitive arena, as proven by "Clash Royale," Mobcrush and Skillz-hosted competitions. Skillz has run more than 100 million mobile eSports tournaments to date and now hosts over 500,000 tournaments every day, awarding over $5 million in cash prizes to players every month, and it shows no signs of slowing down. eSports prize pools continue to rise year-over-year, and "Dota 2" has broken its own record by offering over $20 million during The International this past August.
December 20, 2016
With 2016 coming to an end, SportTechie compiled insights from over 80 sports technology industry experts to look ahead to what technological innovations will continue to evolve the sports industry in the coming year. The experts who weighed in include leaders from eSports, virtual reality and player-tracking companies, as well as experts in social media, mobile, wearables and professional sports. Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz, predicts: “eSports have experienced tremendous growth in 2016, with no signs of slowing down. In 2017, I think that mobile will cement itself as a major medium in electronic sports. I expect the entire eSports industry to award over $250 million in prizes, with more than 50 percent coming from mobile. In addition, I predict that eSports will become more ubiquitous in broadcast TV. We’re already seeing this potential, but soon eSports will truly infiltrate mainstream television."
December 16, 2016
The Skillz platform allows typical mobile games such as "Bejeweled" to be turned into eSports, where players compete for prizes that include virtual currency or cash. Last June, the company announced that its annual run rate was $50 million and that it had grown by over 5x from the previous fiscal year (2015 vs. 2014). Skillz has run more than 100 million mobile eSports tournaments to date and now hosts over 500,000 tournaments every day, awarding over $5 million in cash prizes to players every month, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The company announced the inclusion of brand-sponsored tournaments in November, which is almost certain to help grow mobile eSports gaming as more non-endemic brands have the opportunities to become involved. Skillz founder and CEO, Andrew Paradise, recently spoke with [a]listdaily about how the brand-sponsored tournament system works and how the platform is already helping to make the mobile gaming experience better.
November 30, 2016
Skillz today launched a service that allows brands to easily sponsor and host mobile eSports tournaments for any game titles that they like, as long as they are already part of the Skillz platform. As we’ve previously reported, Skillz enables developers to turn mobile games into tournament-playable titles without writing a ton of new code. Its technology operates as a kind of digital referee, making sure competitors of like skill are matched in competition, and that players face equal challenges. Skillz executives say that making mobile games into competitive ones will help developers generate more revenue, but also generate excitement and longer-term engagement in use of their entertaining products. Besides launching their brand sponsorships feature today, Skillz was recently granted two new patents, bringing the company’s patent wins to four total. The Skillz news comes as publicly traded companies like Activision, Electronic Arts, Amazon and even Facebook and Google are all making a push into eSports.
November 30, 2016
Skillz has launched brand-sponsored tournaments, which enables marketers to fund competitions for any games that run the company’s eSports platform. This provides an avenue for brands that want to reach an audience of engaged gamers on mobile. eSports are traditionally for professional players on PC and sometimes consoles, but Skillz brings competitive gaming and a chance to win cash prizes to a variety of apps on smartphones and tablets. These kinds of tournaments can attract a large player base who will return to a game more regularly than they otherwise would, and this is potentially worth a lot to marketers. Through Skillz, brands can sponsor specific tournaments or an entire game. The companies can even host live in-person events now. These deals should lead to more prize money for Skillz competitors, and it should also lead to more growth in the eSports market.
November 30, 2016
Skillz is one of the leaders in mobile eSports and recently announced that it has awarded over $50 million in prizes since launching in 2012. It was also stated that the company would broadcast 40 million minutes of competitive mobile gameplay this year, making for a notable increase from 8.5 million minutes in 2015. With Amazon set to make big moves into mobile eSports, and Facebook toying with it too if reports are to be believed, we thought it was time to sit down with Skillz CEO Andrew Paradise for a chat. Through partnering with Skillz, developers can reach an audience that is larger and more diverse than the traditional eSports market. The Skillz user base is 49% female, as opposed to just 19% for the industry as a whole. Mobile helps to make eSports accessible to everyone, and there’s a huge opportunity for continued growth to span a more diverse group of players than any other platform in history.
November 23, 2016
The Skillz CEO and founder, Andrew Paradise, pens a guest post for TechCrunch. According to Activate's recent Tech & Media Outlook for 2017, annual revenue for eSports is projected to exceed $5 billion by 2020. For comparison, that's more than the National Hockey League’s (NHL) $3.7 billion in average revenue and the $4.8 billion from the National Basketball Association (NBA). eSports events are filling existing sports stadiums that house professional sports teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings. Tens of thousands of people and arenas dedicated to eSports are starting to pop up everywhere. While the entrance of eSports into the mainstream – including broadcasts on large media networks such as ESPN, TBS and Yahoo! – may seem recent, eSports have been around for more than four decades. In order to understand eSports, it’s important to learn the history surrounding this industry and why this surge has been in the making for a long time.
November 10, 2016
Skillz is out to redefine what people imagine when they think of eSports on mobile devices. The platform is basically a tournament system that provides fair, carefully matched, multiplayer experiences for single-player mobile games. Additionally, players can compete for either virtual currency or cash. The company also recently revealed that as of last June, its annual run rate was $50 million and its annual growth for the previous fiscal year (2015 vs. 2014) was 5.1x. As a result, the mobile game tournament platform accounted for a large portion of the predicted revenues for the industry as a whole. Skillz also announced that it has awarded over $50 million in prizes since being founded in 2012, and accounted for more than 30 percent of all eSports prizes in 2016, a significant increase from 21 percent in 2015 and 8.4 percent in 2014. The Skillz CPO, Bill Mooney, spoke with [a]listdaily about how Skillz helps create engaging competitive experiences with mobile games, and how brands can take advantage of this growing sector.
November 10, 2016
Mobile eSports company Skillz continues to shore up resources even as audiences multiply five-fold. The company was recently granted two new patents: one of which enables Skillz to evaluate how much of the outcome of a given game depends on skill vs. chance, while the other allows developers to implement the Skillz Tournament Management System entirely through self service. Cynopsis eSports spoke with company CEO Andrew Paradise about its growth, mobile trends and its recent revelation that game developer partners are achieving more than eight times the mobile gaming industry’s average revenue per daily active user. Paradise says: "We see that developing an eSports infrastructure can be one of the most powerful tools you can have for enhancing engagement, retention and revenue. Recently we announced that Skillz’ developer partners are achieving about eight times the mobile gaming industry’s average. In terms of engagement, we are seeing about twice the average time spent in game. Those are both pretty incredible numbers. If you put a game in that competition system and in the broadcasting system, even an older piece of content can be refreshed by enabling it as an eSport."
November 1, 2016
Microsoft is expanding its offering by allowing players to create their own competitive tournaments via Xbox Live. The news is part of a growing industry trend toward making eSports widely available to anyone in the gaming community, especially on mobile. Andrew Paradise, Chief Executive Officer of Skillz — a leading mobile eSports company — recently commented about the changing gaming landscape. He said that making mobile accessible to anyone is based on a few key factors, including the global expansion of mobile gaming, the social effects of competition and the arrival of streaming. Since its founding in 2012, Skillz has continued to improve the platform to enable eSports in any game, connecting consumers, developers and hosts (streamers/venues) in a fully integrated gaming ecosystem. Earlier this year, Skillz launched the first cross-platform eSports multiplayer platform for mobile games while it also built the first eSports live events system that allows anyone to organize and live stream mobile video game competitions. Over nearly the last five years, its network has grown to include thousands of developers and millions of eSports tournaments.
October 27, 2016
You don't have to look far to get a sense of the incredible growth in eSports. Can the Switch help Nintendo boost its eSports presence? We had the opportunity to ask Andrew Paradise, the CEO and Founder of Skillz. The company, which had its approach compared to media services like Netflix, puts its focus on expanding eSports for mobile games. Speaking to Andrew and learning about Skillz, our perspective on eSports shifted to consider two distinct areas that are fundamentally different in how they operate. There's the eSports we all know about, with fighting games, real-time strategy, shooters and sports titles. Then there's the mobile eSports arena which, evidently, makes companies like Skillz and some mobile publishers a decent amount of money - rarely covered in mainstream media, this sector attracts a lot of players but over a significant and broad range of more 'casual' games, making the previous Netflix comparison rather apt. Profit through variety and volume, rather than selling out stadiums for half a dozen big-name titles. For Skillz, its business is in mobile, but its interest in Switch is due to the system's hybrid nature, its blend of home console gaming with on-the-go flexibility and functionality.
October 19, 2016
Skillz has revealed that as of June, its annual run rate is $50 million and that its annual growth for the previous fiscal year (2015 vs. 2014) is 5.1x. As such, the mobile eSports company is responsible for a large portion of the predicted revenues for the industry as a whole. Additionally, Skillz announced that it has awarded over $50 million in eSports prizes since being founded in 2012. It claims to have accounted for more than 30% of all eSports prizes in 2016, an increase from 21% in 2015 and 8.4% in 2014. The growth of eSports has been recognized by many. The opportunity in the realm of mobile eSports appears to be successfully exploited by Skillz. Meanwhile, not all companies in the mobile eSports are enjoying the same success as Skillz. A competitor, Cashplay, recently informed its users that the company will be ending operations by the end of October.
October 19, 2016
Mobile eSports company Skillz has awarded more than $50 million in prizes since it was founded in 2012, accounting for over 30% of all eSports prize money in 2016. Last year Skillz accounted for 21% of all eSports prize money, and in 2014 it was 8.4%, showing a rapid growth for the company over the last three years, especially considering this year's awards so far amount to $30 million, whereas from 2012 to 2015 together it amounted to $20 million. To put these figures into perspective, League of Legends tournaments have generated around $30.9 million as a whole. "More than 2.1 billion people play mobile games daily, making mobile the most popular gaming platform in history," Andrew Paradise, founder and CEO of Skillz, commented. "Despite such a large market opportunity, it wasn't possible for game developers to easily implement fun, interactive and rewarding competition before Skillz. We're dedicated to building the multiplayer social fabric that enables mobile eSports for everyone."
Application Resource Center
October 8, 2016
There is little doubt that the world of competitive gaming is only going to get bigger. According to San Francisco-based mobile eSports hosting platform Skillz, it is the variety of tournaments and genres that will help make competitive gaming a multi-billion dollar industry within the next two years. Skillz said that its game developer partners are receiving more than eight times the mobile gaming industry’s average revenue per daily active user thanks to competitive gaming. Skillz runs around 150,000 tournaments everyday through its mobile app and up to 1,000 people can compete in a tournament at the same time. The only sporting event that even comes close to that amount of people taking part together would probably be marathon running. The competitive element will be the reason that eSports get more popular.
October 7, 2016
When you think of eSports, games like Call of Duty or League of Legends probably come to mind, but what about mobile bowling? Skillz is a company that allows any mobile game developer to integrate competition into its business model, allowing gamers to compete for real money at any skill level. Skillz announced that its developer partners are generating $0.92 in average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU), which is over eight times the industry average of $0.11. The ARPDAU of top games using the Skillz platform is as high as $1.59. In addition to revenue, Skillz also reports that adding eSports to an app results in longer time spend in-game. Skillz players spend an average of 58 minutes a day competing in tournaments, the company said, adding that this figure is nearly double the 33-minute casual mobile gaming industry average. Adding eSports to a mobile game is a proven method that’s growing in popularity worldwide.
ACG's Middle Market Magazine
Co-founded in March 2012 with Casey Chafkin, AisleBuyer's former VP of business development, Skillz aims to democratize the world of e-sports. E-sports involves competitive video games that usually require plenty of strategy and weaponry (like Halo or League of Legends), along with an audience--and an elite group of players. Competition is accessible to about 1 percent of players, says Paradise, who serves as CEO, adding: "People complain about this a lot." That's changing with Skillz, which allows casual mobile game players to compete in tournaments. It's a business idea grounded in the company's trademarked phrase: "eSports for Everyone."
July 18, 2016
How about some mobile games news that isn’t about Pokémon Go? Lima Sky has committed to launching an eSports league and new edition of their wildly popular Doodle Jump mobile game, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Turetzky. Skillz’s technology acts as something of a digital referee, ensuring players of like skill are matched up on level digital playing fields. Turetzky believes that increasingly, gamers who play titles in every genre are seeking skill-based matching, not just to play friends and family. And they want to play for prizes, recognition and to broadcast their game playing activity live on platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
July 18, 2016
Developer Lima Sky has done an excellent job of building a global audience for its Android and iOS single-player game, Doodle Jump. The game has been downloaded over 200 million times since it launched in 2009, it currently has 10 million monthly players, and it has its own merchandise line. Now Lima Sky has partnered with Skillz to develop a multiplayer version of the game, which will launch this fall in tandem with a competitive mobile eSports league. Andrew Paradise, CEO of Skillz, explains why this is the game his company has been waiting for to make a legitimate push into eSports in this interview with [a]listdaily.
June 16, 2016
With E3 kicking off in Los Angeles this week, gamers are abuzz with talk of the newest revolutions in the most entertaining medium out there. From unique and affordable consoles that rival the big three to virtual reality setups that put you in full control, there is no shortage of innovation on this list of video game startups.
June 15, 2016
The very mention of e-sports tends to conjure up titles like Bethesda’s Quake, the arena shooter, or Valve’s Dota 2 and Riot’s League of Legends, both arena battle games, which are played by professionals for piles of cash with prize pools in the millions of dollars. But a San Francisco startup called Skillz paid out 21% of last year’s e-sports prizes worldwide, and is on target to pay out 38% of e-sports prize money won in 2016 tournaments...
May 27, 2016
A San Francisco startup whose technology can turn any video game into a tournament played for cash prizes, Skillz, has a new Chief Product Officer, ex-Electronic Arts’ mobile vice president Bill Mooney. Skillz quietly brought Mooney on in February this year. Earlier, at EA Mobile, he managed teams that were responsible for games in the Simpsons and Star Wars franchise. And before that, he worked at Zynga and Lucas Arts’ games divisions. Mooney spoke with TechCrunch about his vision for Skillz, and why e-sports is changing everything about video games.
May 3, 2016
Competitive gaming and the growing eSports industry has grabbed much of the gaming world's attention over the past few years, with countless studios trying to recreate the success of PC-based titles like League of Legends. But what about mobile eSports? Skillz, a company that specializes in organizing mobile eSports tournaments, maintains that casual games can be just as popular – and there's still plenty of opportunity for developers to reshape that market. Last year, Skillz alone awarded 20 percent of all eSports prizes to mobile gamers, so there’s no question as to whether mobile eSports will be a major driver for the industry. The question that everyone should really be asking is: “How long will it be until mobile eSports are bigger than the NFL?”
Gaming Business Review
April 23, 2016
Skillz seems to be in a unique position, one that benefits mass market democratization of competitive gaming, either for virtual status, virtual currency or real money. We think their strongest competitor for adoption right now is likely a game developer building similar features into their game or game engine directly. However, since they have an early-to-market SDK that works with Unity and other popular game engines, this will certainly reduce that resource requirement for the many mobile developers using these engines to develop their games, further lifting Skillz adoption.
Application Resource Center
April 18, 2016
As consoles, smartphones and tablets have changed the way we conduct our lives, they have changed the way we game. According to the founder and CEO of mobile eSports company Skillz Andrew Paradise, eSports is the future of human competition. “First you have gameplay, then you have competitive gameplay and then that transcends to sport when you build out an audience,” Paradise said. San Francisco-based Skillz runs around 150,000 tournaments every day through its mobile app—with 5% of those offering “real world rewards” in the form of cash—which can host anywhere up 1,000 players. Try and imagine a physical representation of sport where that many people are playing at the same time and the mass appeal of eSports is not hard to understand.
AdWeek - Social Times
April 15, 2016
From X3M Games, Trial Moto X: Tournament Edition is a racing game with multiplayer competitions powered by Skillz. Gameplay sees players complete timed obstacle courses by tapping buttons to balance their bike while driving. After players complete a course, their time is compared to another player’s time, and the player with the fastest time receives tokens. Players must wager one or more tokens each time they begin a new match. The Skillz platform also supports real-money gaming, as users can add real money to their Skillz account and compete for cash prizes.
March 19, 2016
American football wasn’t a sport when it was invented; it was a game created by one man and played by just two teams. Today, indie games built by small teams have the power to become tomorrow’s most popular eSports. During a recent session at Casual Connect Europe, the CEO and founder of Skillz, Andrew Paradise, explored the history of eSports, tactics for designing and building competitive games as well as what it takes for indie games to become tomorrow’s sports. In eSports, Andrew stressed “Fair matchmaking is important.” Recently Andrew shared with Casual Connect some of his accumulated wisdom about creating a sustainable business while making gaming better.
March 8, 2016
While much of the attention on the growing mobile eSports market is focused on core games such as Vainglory or Clash Royale, the sector could have a much broader appeal. That's what casual US developer and publisher iWin is hoping. It's just signed a five game deal with eSports platform Skillz. "As the largest eSports infrastructure company, Skillz was the obvious choice for us as we launch our eSports portfolio," commented iWin CEO CJ Wolf. "From fraud and cheating detection to player matching and analytics, Skillz has built a world-class solution." "While mobile gaming already represents more than 20% of all eSports prizes, there are still many popular eSports without a major mobile success. Studios like iWin are going to change that," added Skillz's CEO Andrew Paradise.
February 15, 2016
While it's no surprise that mobile devices are playing a larger role in consumers' lives, the growth in the use of smartphone devices has had a transformative impact on the way people interact with brands. As a result, the dichotomy behind this new relationship promises to reshape our daily lives for many years to come. Since consumers and smartphones are attached at the hip, brands have increasingly turned to these new digital appendages as a key touch point in their dialogue with customers. Skillz CEO and founder Andrew Paradise now answers the question: What do brands need to know about mobile consumers heading into 2016?
January 25, 2016
The maturation of multiplayer, along with the growing popularity of streaming services has brought mobile into the already crowded eSports arena. Skillz, which specializes in mobile eSports, announced that it now pays more than $500,000 in prize money each week. In 2016, expect more mobile titles to rank among the most viewed games online, and expect those titles to be designed from the ground up for an optimized spectator experience.
January 20, 2016
Skillz, a company that specializes in real-money mobile gaming competitions, is launching a cross-platform multiplayer system. This will enable people on iOS and Android to play against one another in any of the thousands of tournaments on the Skillz daily eSports platform. Skillz is already in several games on iOS and Android (like GnarBike Trials), and this gives players the chance to enter tournaments (some for real cash). Previously, these contests would have limited themselves to a single mobile operating system, but that is no longer a problem. This could help Skillz — and developers that integrate its tech — to capture more money from the $30 billion mobile-gaming market — and worry less about choosing the proper platform.
January 5, 2016
“It’s been a massive year for the eSports industry. The growth in 2015 will be hard to top, but I see even more exciting ventures ahead in the new year. In 2016, I think that more major game studios like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard will launch eSports as core corporate initiatives. Gaming growth will be explosive, including major adoption of Apple TV, the launch of the first mainstream mobile eSports titles and the first chart-topping games for Apple Watch. I also predict that the largest eSports event will be second only to the Super Bowl in terms of total viewers.” — Andrew Paradise, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Skillz
December 29, 2015
To say that the mobile landscape is evolving quickly is an understatement — what worked yesterday is going to stop working today, and end up leaving you behind. It’s happening at lightning speed as the number of advertisers on mobile continues to expand. “The cost of mobile advertising has increased by almost eight times in the past three years,” says Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of the mobile esports platform SKILLZ (which closed a $15M Series B investment round last September) — and guest on our upcoming webinar.
December 25, 2015
Andrew Paradise, the CEO of mobile-esports startup Skillz, predicts that the largest esports event in 2016 will be bigger in viewership than Super Bowl 50. Esports are still pretty hard to follow as it’s very difficult to figure out what’s happening in a fast-action video game compared to NFL football. But the crowds for esports are growing ever bigger as more people fill stadiums to view tournament finales. Even more people can watch livestreamed events in real time on the Internet, and after the event is long over, the video can live on channels like YouTube. Once you add up all of those views, you get to some very impressive stats.
December 24, 2015
As 2015 begins to fade into memory, we're taking a look back at the events that have dominated the last 12 months in mobile gaming. As such, we've asked the industry's great and good to give us their take on the year, as well as predicting the trends that will dominate in 2016. Andrew Paradise is the CEO of US skill-based real-money gaming platform Skillz, which in June announced it was paying out over $500,000 every week to players of games that integrated its competitions.
December 16, 2015
Miriam Aguirre has been a gamer since the days of Atari. Today, as director of engineering at a mobile gaming company, she's working to bring eSports to the masses and make the world of gaming more diverse. While many tech companies struggle with talent diversity, Skillz is highly successful at attracting, hiring and retaining female engineers and IT talent from underrepresented groups. The company emphasizes diversity at every step in the talent search process and it's a core value on which the company is built, according to Aguirre.
December 2, 2015
Most traditional sports haven’t always been considered true sports. When American football was invented in 1869, it was considered a game. It wasn’t until 1920 when the NFL was founded that the game of football was officially christened a sport. It typically takes around 50 years for a game to become a sport. With hundreds of millions of fans and viewers, multimillion-dollar prize pools, major venture investment, and a growing number of eSports scholarships, eSports have officially arrived. Skillz CEO and founder Andrew Paradise discusses why we should finally put to rest any notion that eSports are not true sports, and instead recognize the birth of a new category of sports.
November 30, 2015
The continued rise of eSports’ popularity has been noticed by millions around the world. One new entrant into the eSports arena is the familiar Madden NFL football video game. Another entrant is Andrew Paradise, the CEO and founder of Skillz. Instead of attempting to establish the bona fides of a specific game, Paradise and his company have created an infrastructure that allows millions of people, from casual game players to hardcore enthusiasts, to dip their toes into the world of competitive video game competition. From Madden to mobile games, the eSports world continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Will you be at Citi Field in ten years watching the world championships of Madden or the most popular mobile games of the day? It’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Sports Business Daily
November 16, 2015
Sterling Equities, in conjunction with New York Mets co-Owner Fred Wilpon, has made an undisclosed investment in Skillz, a San Francisco-based company that helps power eSports competitions. The Sterling Equities investment adds to a $15M Series B round of venture capital funding announced in September that also included New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's The Kraft Group and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
November 6, 2015
Activision announced a deal to acquire King for $5.9 billion, one of the largest takeover bids in recent gaming history. King’s foothold in the “skill-based gaming” sector, where players pay a fee to compete in online tournaments for cash prizes. Its dedicated site, Royalgames.com, offers multiplayer tournaments using a range of casual brands. King is in competition with sites such as Skillz, a leading company in the sector, which specializes in cash play tournaments.
Milwaukee Business Journal
October 20, 2015
Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry’s has invested in Skillz, a technology company powering eSports competitions for over 1,100 mobile game studios. “With more people playing video games than all physical sports, eSports are achieving mainstream adoption, and Skillz is leading the way,” said Lasry. “It’s easy to imagine the day when e-sports competitions share the same court as the Milwaukee Bucks.” Skillz has raised over $28 million and will use the new capital to market the platform, roll out its live events technology, and hire additional staff in Boston and San Francisco.
October 15, 2015
One year ago, the word ‘eSport’ had no real significance. Seemingly out of nowhere, the eSports industry started to be taken seriously. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has invested in eSports when he joined a Series A round of financing for eSports betting platform Unikrn. He was recently joined by other professional sports team owners in Marc Lasry (co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks) and Robert Kraft (through The Kraft Group — owners of the New England Patriots), together investing in eSports tournament curator Skillz.
September 28, 2015
Investors have seen fit to bet another $15 million on Skillz, a company founded in 2012 with the goal of providing a platform that mobile game developers can use to accept and pay out real money to their players. The platform already supports developers running cash prize tournaments (with or without entry fees) and offering payouts based on loyalty or leaderboard performance in games like Parking Battle and Real Money Totem.
September 24, 2015
Skillz, a leader in creating the backbone that allows for multi-player mobile eSports, has announced a raise of $15 million in Series B funding led by David Bonderman’s Wildcat Capital Management with involvement from The Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots and Marc Lasry, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. As explained by Skillz CEO Andrew Paradise in July, “What Skillz does is build a tournament system that can be injected into any game very quickly. If video game studios want to build a game out to be an electronic sport, they need to have an arena. League of Legends and StarCraft made those investments — pretty huge investments. We build this software as a service platform to give each game a tournament system.”
July 31, 2015
It takes about 50 years for a "game" to become a "sport," according to Andrew Paradise's calculations. He's an entrepreneur who recently joined the wave of investors getting in on the eSports game: His app, Skillz, allows mobile-gaming fans to win real money while playing some of their favorite titles. That's right, mobile eSports. From smartphones to dedicated eSports arenas, Paradise knows why professional gaming is a booming market and he explains it all in a straightforward, money-focused manner. If you've ever looked at eSports and wondered, "Why?" Paradise might have your answer.
July 9, 2015
Live gaming competitions are getting a tool that could make events easier than ever to put together. Skillz, an eSports company that has enabled real-money wagering on mobile games, is introducing a new platform that people can use to quickly organize competitive gaming events. Charities, bars, and other groups can use Skillz’s website to set up the events for fun or real cash prizes. Skillz’s tournament platform is also ideal for live streaming. It even has an instant-replay feature if the host wants to highlight a big or spectacular play. This is a new way of looking at eSports, and it fits right into line with how Skillz has tried to democratize the pro-gaming movement. While the world’s best players train for hours a day to compete in closed tournaments, anyone can use Skillz to earn some money with their more pedestrian abilities.
June 11, 2015
Zen Studios has released Zen Pinball - eSports Edition worldwide today. What exactly constitutes an eSports edition of Zen Pinball? Well, the game uses Skillz, which is a real-money gaming service seen in other apps, like Big Buck Hunter Pro, where you can either play for Ticketz that can be exchanged for prizes, or play in games with cash winnings once you deposit money in your account. Not all features are available in all territories – for example, there are no cash tournaments according to laws in certain states. Regardless of your interest in cash games, if you're someone who likes playing Zen Pinball and wants to do some head-to-head competitive matches, this seems nifty.
June 4, 2015
One company at the forefront of mobile eSports is Skillz, which serves both as a destination for eSports enthusiasts to find games in which cash prizes can be won and as a platform for game developers to add a paid competition component to their existing or in-development games. Today, the company announced that it has now paid out more than $10 million in cash prizes. How Skillz reached that number shows just how quickly the eSports space is growing. “The crazy thing that’s happened with us,” said Skillz founder and CEO Andrew Paradise, “is that we reached our first million in prizes given out in eight months from when we launched. Our second million took four months. Right now, we are paying out a million every two weeks and that’s accelerating even faster.”
May 14, 2015
Skillz is introducing a new way for mobile eSports players to broadcast matches without a steady Wi-Fi connection. With Skillz’s new real-time encoding and streaming technology, players will be able to livestream their matches over-the-air and broadcast replays with content-sharing websites like Twitch, Azubu and YouTube. “Skillz was born out of basically building a system that would run any mobile or tablet game enable an electronic sports tournament arena for commercial currency or real-world prizes. Once we built that, the top thing players were asking is, ‘How do we get better at this game?’ We realized the best way to do that is to let them watch each other.”
November 12, 2014
ESports company Skillz revealed today that it has paid out more than $2 million to its players since the start of the year. Skillz lets people compete in cash tournaments live on their smartphone. It hosts more than 100,000 tournaments every day across a number of different mobile games, like endless platformer Survival Run with Bear Grylls. The company also claims that “nearly half” of its players are women. Making eSports for everyone else is starting to pay off. The company generates cash by taking a small percentage from each match. As its audience grows and makes more money, so does Skillz.
September 26, 2014
You don’t have to live the life of a pro gamer to make money with your gaming abilities. Skillz has raised $6 million to expand its real-money wagering platform. The company enables players to enter tournaments for a fee with the winner taking the biggest portion of the prize pool. Competitive gaming is a growing business, as it provides an alternative to relying on in-game transactions and ads, and Skillz is providing a way for everyday gamers to participate right from their smartphones or tablets. Capital firm Atlas Venture led the funding round. “eSports are quickly becoming big business,” Atlas Venture partner Jeff Fagnan said. “What’s most exciting about Skillz is that they are completely transforming the industry by making competitions available on mobile, tapping into an enormous, previously untouched market.”
July 11, 2014
San Francisco-based start-up Skillz is broadening the definition of eSports by allowing mobile game developers to implement tournaments into any of their games, regardless of whether the games are single-player, multiplayer or traditionally competitive experiences. And the idea is gaining traction: as of this week, Skillz players have won more than $1 million in cash prizes. The platform also gives developers an alternative revenue stream. Early adopters of the platform, like indie studio DMW, told Polygon last year that premium games don't always sell well and the free-to-play model doesn't necessarily work for every game, so the option to create tournaments that players can buy into makes sense for a lot of studios.
The Next Web
May 28, 2014
Mobile gaming startup Skillz has brought its real-cash multiplayer platform to iOS. The company is releasing its iOS SDK today after running an open beta with 300 partners. Skillz works by only powering games that count as games of skill, as opposed to games of chance, which would fall under stricter gambling regulations. At launch, Skillz is embedded in 150 games live in the App Store. Skillz has raised a total of $10.3 million, including a $5.5 million Series A last June. The startup currently has 30 full-time employees.
May 30, 2013
Glu Mobile Inc. will allow U.S. players to win cash in one of its mobile games starting next month. The fast-growing mobile game developer said it entered into a partnership with San Francisco startup Skillz that provides technology enabling real-money earnings from skill-based mobile games through cash tournaments. With smartphones and tablets going mainstream and delivering gaming to a new, broader set of consumers, the mobile gaming sector is growing rapidly and attracting gamers away from console games made by publishers such as Electronic Arts Inc. Real-money gaming competitions have been popular for several years through online websites such as WorldWinner and King.com but are only now moving to the mobile realm.
May 30, 2013
Glu Mobile, a developer and publisher of freemium games on smartphones and tablets, will start offering cash to highly skilled gamers. Speaking to Reuters on Thursday, the company confirmed that users playing "Deer Hunter Reloaded," its hunting-simulation game, will be able to win cash prizes if they achieve strong results in certain skill-based contests. In order to win the cash, gamers will need to pay a fee to enter the competition. The company told Reuters that if all goes well, it will bring the cash-for-gaming system to its other titles.
November 15, 2012
Boston-based startup Lookout Gaming has raised a $1.3 million seed round from Boston investors Atlas Venture and Nextview Ventures, as well angels, including Mark Jung, former CEO of IGN. Founders Andrew Paradise and Casey Chafkin are applying their merchandising and payment expertise to the plight of indie game developers, hoping to improve the revenue model for mobile games. Paradise, who also serves as Lookout Gaming’s CEO, tells us he is building a product that gives game developers a good alternative to in-game ads and virtual goods purchases for the purpose of monetizing their mobile gaming apps. Paradise is a serial entrepreneur has already had two successful exits. He is fresh from selling his last company, AisleBuyer, to Intuit earlier this year. At AisleBuyer, Paradise and Chafkin, who was the fourth employee, were able to create an in-store mobile merchandising and mobile payment opportunity for bricks-and-mortar retailers, which Paradise explains has many parallels to the system their team is building for the gaming industry.