[Photo by MK DB]
South Korean gaming companies are linking up with cryptocurrency companies as they emerge as rising sponsors for e-sports.
Korean game developer Krafton Inc. is considering incorporating blockchain technology into the company’s Battleground tournaments, which are some of the world’s biggest e-sports tournaments.
Krafton’s “PUBG: Battlegrounds”, the company’s flagship release, is an online multiplayer battle game developed and published by PUBG Studios, a subsidiary of Krafton.
Krafton has been most eager in hosting game competitions.
The game publisher created global e-sports tournaments held across the world in the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region after releasing Battlegrounds in 2017. Currently, 90 professional e-sports teams are listed on the official website of the tournaments. Krafton is also directly funding the creation of pro e-sports teams.
SK square Co.’s esports team “T1” has partnered with NFT market Swappable. SK square bought a 35 percent stake in Korbit, one of Korea’s major cryptocurrency exchanges, becoming the second-largest shareholder last year. SK square also announced that it will issue cryptocurrency during the second half of this year.
Bithumb, a domestic digital asset platform, partnered with global e-sports organization Gen.G in January to place the Bithumb logo on Gen.G players’ uniforms.
“NFT is not only a revenue source for pro e-sports teams, but it also gives them a chance to expand the e-sports fandom by providing the blockchain experience,” said an official from the gaming industry.
Crypto has already become a norm on global e-sports scene. Last year, 25 sponsorship deals were signed between e-sport teams and cryptocurrency companies.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange platform Crypto.com signed a five-year deal worth $15 million with London-based esports organization and League of Legends World Championship winner Fnatic to feature its logo on the Fnatic team jerseys and to launch Fnatic NFTs in the future.
Coinbase, US`s largest cryptocurrency exchange, signed a four-year partnership with North American e-sports organization Team Liquid at the end of last year while FTX, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, signed a $210 million partnership for the naming rights to e-sports organization TSM for 10 years.
According to game industry research firm Newzoo, global e-sports sales rose 14.5 percent on year to $1.08 billion.
The gaming industry is expecting the e-sports industry to grow exponentially if the cryptocurrency market continues to bolster sponsorship, broadcasting, and digital sales.
But due to local regulations, partnership cases in Korea have so far been limited.
By Lim Young-shin and Susan Lee
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]