ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Partnership with ESPN at EXP Esports Gaming Series

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Partnership with ESPN at EXP Esports Gaming Series

ROG is providing tournament-ready gaming equipment as the official hardware sponsor ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced it will be the official hardware sponsor of EXP, an esports gaming series created by ESPN. […]

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ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced it will be the official hardware sponsor of EXP, an esports gaming series created by ESPN. This series exemplifies ESPN’s commitment to expanding their esports coverage across all platforms and content types to better serve every kind of sports fan.

The EXP summer tournaments kick off July 11 with a Pro-Am Apex Legends Exhibition that will feature players from across the gaming community, from influencers and fans to celebrities and esports champions. Following it up is the EXP Invitational – Apex Legends at X Games Minneapolis on August 2 and 3, where 20 of the best Apex Legends squads will fight for a $150,000 prize pool.

ROG is proud to have sponsored ESPN’s inaugural EXP event in May 2019 at the Collegiate Esports Championship and will continue supporting and supplying competition-level gaming hardware for both of the upcoming tournaments. Tournament participants will compete on ROG Strix GL12CX gaming desktops and ROG Swift PG248Q gaming monitors provided by ASUS.

“We’re thrilled to have ROG as a key sponsor of our first-ever EXP esports event series,” said Kevin Lopes, director of business development, ESPN. “Together, we’re able to serve both the athletes and fans with a unique and high quality playing and viewing experience, and we look forward to continue doing so for the next two events at The ESPYS and X Games.”

Elevating esports

The upcoming events underscore both ROG and ESPN’s dedication to bringing professional esports to a wider platform. These tournaments will be available to watch live on multiple digital platforms, including the ESPN app. A tape-delayed show focused on key moments and storylines will air across ESPN and ABC linear networks after each event, making this a solid first step in familiarizing mainstream audiences with pro gaming.

In sponsoring events such as PAX, Dreamhack, and ESL One, and this EXP series, ROG has worked to elevate every cross-section of the games industry, from developers to streamers to pro athletes.

“Competitive gaming is a passion at ROG,” said Vivian Lien, Global Head of Marketing for the Gaming Systems Business Group. “We were founded in order to innovate and create elite equipment for serious gamers. Our hardware is engineered to compete at the top level, and there is no better place to see it put to the test than at a tournament of upcoming and established esports champions.”

Gaming excellence

Tournament participants in the upcoming EXP series will play on ROG gear designed for competitive high-FPS gaming.

The Strix GL12CX is a liquid-cooled and factory-overclocked gaming desktop engineered to give competitors a serious edge in battle. Developed specifically for tournament play, its case features a hot-swap SSD bay hidden behind a magnetic front cover. These are useful at esports events, since players often store their games and profiles on 2.5” SSDs. With the hot-swap bay, organizers can easily remove and insert SSDs without ever lifting a screwdriver or rebooting the system.

This gaming machine is equipped with the latest NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070 GPU, powerful enough to deliver the huge, triple-digit frame rates required for pro-level play. Competitors will immerse themselves in the action on a blazing fast ROG Swift PG248Q monitor. This high-refresh gaming panel features an overclockable 180Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA® G-SYNC, which reduces stuttering and eliminates tearing. It also has an ultra-responsive 1ms grey-to-grey response time, which means enemies and other targets will be rendered clearly without any ghosting or blurring.

Game casters and commentators will follow the action on new Strix SCAR III gaming laptops, which represents the top tier of portable esports gaming. Released in Spring 2019, the Strix SCAR III was the world’s first gaming laptop to offer 240Hz gaming panels for both 15 and 17-inch options. Slim bezels frame the display, giving casters a more immersive and in-depth view of the game.

Equipped with a powerful NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070, the Strix SCAR III delivers silky smooth visuals at any speed of play. The SCAR III also features a latest generation 9th Gen Intel® Core™ CPU, a blazing fast M.2 NVMe PCIe® SSD, and up to 32GB of RAM, so that content creators can spectate, take notes, participate in stream chats, and more all at the same time.

Let the games begin

The upcoming EXP tournaments are a major step forward in making esports a must-see, mainstream sporting event. ROG is excited to help bring esports to a wider stage with ESPN, the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment entity.

Tune in to the events live online and on the ESPN app. The EXP Apex Legends Pro-Am Presented by The Real Cost will be held the day following The 2019 ESPYS, July 11, and the EXP Invitational – Apex Legends at X Games Minneapolis is on August 2 and 3.

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Data Shows Razer is Struggling to Attract Pro eSports Players

Data Shows Razer is Struggling to Attract Pro eSports Players

Try as it might, Razer ( HKG:1337 ) can’t seem to get the same amount of attention from professional eSports athletes as its rivals. According to data sourced from ProSettings , a site that aggregates the peripheral configurations eSports athletes use, Razer lags behind its rivals Logitech and HyperX […]

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According to data sourced from ProSettings, a site that aggregates the peripheral configurations eSports athletes use, Razer lags behind its rivals Logitech and HyperX for a total share of the gaming peripherals used by eSports athletes. In this case, ‘gaming peripherals’ are defined as an average of the total Mouse, Mouse Pad, Keyboards, and Headsets used by pro eSports players.

According to the data, 11% of all eSports athletes professionally playing PUBG and Fortnite — the two most popular games out today — use Razer gaming peripherals. Razer is virtually tied with SteelSeries, while HyperX and Logitech are ahead with approximately 14.7% and 22.5% respectively. Corsair is next, with 6.6% followed by Zowie with 6.5%.

Breaking this down, as of July 2019 Razer holds about 7.4% of the pro eSports athlete Mouse market taking fourth place; approximately 5% of the Mouse Pad market coming in at sixth; 19% of the Keyboard market at second place; and less than 1% of the Headset market, coming in at 15th.

What should be concerning to Razer executives is that the company has lost market share this year to Logitech, Zowie, and Final Mouse in the mouse category. Analysis of the data from January of this year showed Razer with 13.7% of the mouse market, dropping to 7.4% by July. In contrast, Logitech increased its share from 41% to 53% while Zowie went from 16% to 17%. Final Mouse dropped its overall market share from 12% to 10%, but still managed to beat Razer.

To be sure, the data from ProSettings isn’t market share. Nor is it shipments. It’s something else: mindshare. Market share of this ‘mindshare’ market is incredibly important for Razer.

The strength of Razer, as a company, is its brand. Despite claims that Razer is “The Apple of the Gaming World” the reality of the company’s fortunes doesn’t quite add up to this moniker. One of the biggest growth stories for Razer is its branded payments app, not gaming gear. It’s notebooks and gaming smartphones ship in thin volumes: approximately 140,000 per year for notebooks and roughly 45,000 a year for smartphones. Granted, these are intended to be niche products though as Asus (TPE:2357) or MSI (TPE:2377) would ship double the number of gaming notebooks in a year. In short, Razer doesn’t sell many things compared to some of its peers. That’s not where its value is.

Which is why eSports is such an important market for Razer, and a big concern. eSports athletes, just like their ball-and-puck counterparts, use specific equipment for two reasons: sponsorship or the genuine quality of the gear. For companies, this is another channel for sales. Companies with bigger pockets eventually will be able to spend more to equip all the popular players with their own products and take more market share over time. Sponsorship occurs because it encourages a sales funnel — if consumers see professionals using the gear they are likely to buy it. So, a bonus would be organic, non-sponsored use by an eSports athlete; this genuine endorsement would both help promote sales and be a testament to the quality of the product.

Per their earnings reports, Razer and Logitech have similar Marketing & Selling budgets so for that matchup it’s not a battle of the budgets — Logitech has the edge over Razer given its quality. SteelSeries and FinalMouse are privately held, while BenQ, Zowie’s parent company, doesn’t break out earnings data for that subsidiary.

That being said SteelSeries is objectively the smallest company in revenue of the lot. Thus, it’s adoption by eSports athletes is probably more organic rather than sponsored. BenQ, Zowie’s parent, is a technology giant with revenue that far surpasses Razer or Logitech. Zowie’s success no doubt comes from sponsorship.

If Razer’s share of the devices used by pro eSports players is slipping, that’s not an encouraging sign for the company. Razer is not necessarily outmatched by its rivals in spending ability, with the exception of Zowie. It’s product lineup is simply getting stagnant; the success of FinalMouse is a perfect example of that. FinalMouse, with a scant marketing budget (it’s only sponsored a small number of influencers, ships in small batches. Usually, you require an invite code to access their store. But pro eSports athletes have voted with their wallet.