The video game industry is currently locked in a battle of the titans. Last month, Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard for a jaw-dropping $69 billion; however, not to be outdone, Sony has made a move to secure its place in the game. In a reported $3.6 billion deal, Sony is buying Bungie, the development house behind the Halo and Destiny franchises, bringing the brand under the PlayStation banner. Traditionally, Halo has been affiliated with the Xbox brand, making the news particularly strategic for Sony. As part of the deal, Sony has ensured that Bungie will retain its independence as a studio and a publisher.
NWSL & Players Association Strikes Historic CBA
After nearly a year of negotiations, the deal is done. The NWSL and its players’ association inked a landmark collective bargaining agreement that centers around player compensation and extended benefits for player health and well-being. As part of the deal, the league will introduce a new free agency cycle that will commence in 2023, increase player pay by 35%, extend health benefits through 2026, and grant players opportunities for revenue sharing. The league’s interim CEO, Marla Messing, called it a “transformative agreement.”
AT&T Spins Off Warner in $43B Deal with Discovery
After extended discussions, AT&T confirmed on Tuesday that it will “spin-merge” its Warner division to Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery in a deal that is estimated to be worth $43 billion. The agreement sets up Discovery to compete in the streaming market, as Warner’s HBO Max outpaced Netflix with new subscribers, ending 2021 with 74 million. LionTree’s Aryeh Bourkoff discussed the deal with Boardroom‘s Rich Kleiman on last month’s Out of Office podcast.
KD Teams Up with NBA Top Shot for Exclusive “Game Recognizes Game” Set
Continuing the momentum from last week’s national ad campaign and KD Starter Pack drop, NBA Top Shot and Kevin Durant are collaborating on a brand new, player-curated set called “Game Recognize Game.” The first-of-its-kind set will be released in a new type of pack that will make premium NFT Moments more accessible to every user, Dapper Labs and Thirty Five Ventures’ Boardroom announced on Monday. With Game Recognize Game, Durant makes history as the first athlete to curate a set of NBA Top Shot Moments. Featuring six plays, hand-picked and narrated by KD himself, the Moments will be released in a game-changing pack drop on Feb. 3. Get your collection started here.
Shohei Ohtani Steals the Cover of MLB The Show 22
The MLB MVP picked up another line item on his résumé on Monday, as it was announced that he will grace the cover of the hit video game MLB The Show 22. Ohtani, who dazzles baseball fans with his lights-out pitching and power hitting, was a logical choice after his breakout season in 2021. The game drops on Apr 5 and will be available for the Nintendo Switch for the first time in history.
Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six Raises $500M for Crypto Startups
Alexis Ohanian is bullish on crypto. The Reddit founder stepped down from his position at the company in 2018 to focus on his investments, many of which are rooted in the blockchain. He made another step in that journey on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six Ventures raised $500M for two funds to support crypto startups, and Ohanian confirmed that the majority of the deals out of the venture capital firm will be focused on crypto by the year’s end.
CP3 Lands an Equity Stake in La Fête Wine Company
Chris Paul had added a new venture to his extended portfolio of investments, announcing his newest role as an equity stakeholder in La Fête Wine Company. Founded in 2019, La Fête set out to be an open, inviting brand geared toward drinks from all backgrounds. La Fête became the first company to secure an investment from Constellation Brands Ventures as part of their initiative to invest $100 million in African American/Black and minority-owned businesses in beverage alcohol and adjacent categories by 2030.
New York Times Buys Wordle for “Low Seven Figures”
One word. Five letters. Six guesses. Once a day. Millions of players and counting. For the last month, over 3 million people have caught the Wordle bug, with its visual key taking over social media feeds and showcasing both victory and defeat. The game was born out of the mind of Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn who created it for his significant other during the doldrums of the pandemic. The simple game became a sensation, and the New York Times purchased the rights on Monday for a reported “low seven figures.” Wordle will fold it into the Times’ wildly popular online games section, which includes its crossword and the hit word game Spelling Bee. Reports indicate that the game will remain free via the NYT site.
NFL & Meta Team Up for Custom SBLVI Avatars
Meta’s move towards the metaverse is well underway. Thanks to a partnership between the NFL and the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, football fans will be able to outfit their on-platform 3D avatars with digital t-shirts featuring the Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, or the Super Bowl LVI logo on Facebook, IG, Messenger, or on VR, Meta announced Monday. The news comes on the same day as it was revealed that the shield is in search of talent to develop its team’s crypto and NFT capacity.
FanDuel Sets to Open In-arena Sportsbook at Chicago’s United Center
Bulls and Blackhawks fans won’t have to go far to wager a bet on their beloved teams. FanDuel announced on Monday that it will open an in-arena sportsbook at the United Center, pending approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. The design promises an unparalleled experience for fans, featuring a two-floor layout and integrated viewing and betting opportunities.