PMCO: ‘Top Esports’ team claims the champion’s spot

The PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO) tournament is now over China’s Top Esports team took home the championship in the inaugural PMCO Spring Split Global Finals in Berlin.

The victors outplayed 15 other teams from North America, Europe, Asia and South America with a total of 344 points to earn the top cash prize of $180,000 and a limited edition BAPE X PUBG Mobile PMCO Champion Outfit. X-QUEST F from China came in second place, earning $90,000 and ELITE GAMING from China earned third place honours with a $45,000 cash prize. RRQ Athena’s G9 took home the Twitter Fan Favorite Player award, while Mortal from Team Soul was crowned the Website Fan Favorite Player.

“After months of competition leading up to the championship and three intense days here in Berlin, we’re thrilled to crown Top Esports the champions of the PMCO Global Finals. We congratulate all the teams that made it to the finals and showed the gaming community the playability, action and fun in our game,” said Tencent general manager of global publishing centre Vincent Wang.

Team SOUL from India were being projected as one of the better teams in the tournament, but failed to make their mark. At the end of the final day, Team SOUL was in the number 12 position. They only managed to get one chicken dinner during the second day. But Team SOUL happens to be the first Indian team to represent themselves at a major international tournament. This shows that the Indian gaming scene is in-fact growing and this was definitely not a bad showing.

Leading global technology company, Vivo, was the official title sponsor of the PMCO 2019, providing NEX smartphones to empower players’ conquest at the competition with ultra-smooth gaming experience.

Fans can get the limited edition champion BAPE X PUBG Mobile outfit in the game (1 August) and in offline stores (late August) in addition to other new exciting in-game and physical BAPE items.

According to Tencent Games director of PUBG Mobile global esports James Yang, four times as many people watched this year’s PMCO 2019 Spring Split compared to the 2018 PUBG Mobile Star Challenge Global Finals. Registration for the Fall Split tournament starts 8 August and is open to all players.

Speaking to the crowd, Yang also announced the 2020 launch of the PUBG Mobile World League, which will feature the best pro teams in the world.

Adding to the milestone announcements during the three-day tournament, Vincent Wang thrilled the crowd unveiling a new map and performance upgrades for PUBG Mobile that will provide even more exciting content and enhanced gaming experience for players.

A new version of Erangel, PUBG Mobile’s first map is getting upgraded with the addition of new terrain, buildings and enhanced quality and clarity throughout. Part of the new content includes a partnership with AMC’s The Walking Dead to bring the popular show to the PUBG Mobile. Wang also announced new Africa Servers are coming soon and shared that the game reached a milestone of 400 million downloads and a whopping 50 million daily active players. The new version will be released very soon.

The PMCO Spring Split Global Finals saw gaming, music, sports and esports stars from around the world coming together for a weekend of fierce competition and wild entertainment. Award-winning DJ Alan Walker wowed audiences with the first live performance of his new song “Live Fast (PUBGM)” in collaboration with PUBG Mobile, and Giannis Antetokounmpo made a special appearance to participate in a TEAM UP show match featuring eight other international celebrities including Boy Pakorn, Pevita Pearce, Powerbang Gaming and Alan Walker.

The PMCO 2019 is divided into Spring and Fall Split, each with a separate prize pool totalling $2.5 million USD. The top 16 teams from across 10 regions (South East Asia, India, the Middle East, North America, South America, Europe, Korea, Japan, China and Wildcard. The qualifiers for the PMCO began March 2019 when over 30,000 teams battled to earn a spot at the prestigious event. PMCO 2019 provides a path for aspiring semi-pro clubs to pave their way to become esports professionals.

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SonyLIV strengthens global outreach; forays into the Middle East

India’s first premium video on demand (VOD) service, SonyLIV is intensifying its global by foraying its footprint into Middle East.

Launched in 2013, SonyLIV recently crossed the 100MN app downloads milestone on Play store in India and currently caters to over 70 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users). Bringing quality content tailor-made for the local audience and South Asian diaspora in the region, over 70 popular shows from Sony Pictures Networks India’s (SPN) rich content library and over 1500 movies will now be available on SonyLIV in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Sony Pictures Networks India’s most popular shows, like The Kapil Sharma Show, Super Dancer, Ladies Special, Taarak Mehta ka Ulta Chasma and Patiala Babes, are now up for viewing on SonyLIV at any time and at the viewers convenience. Adding onto this binge fest, are popular Bollywood movies from SonyLIV’s vast content library. To ensure consumer convenience, all new episodes will be available with English subtitles.

Uday Sodhi

Sony Pictures Networks India Digital business head Uday Sodhi commented, “With a bustling young population who are essentially digital first consumers, the Middle East serves as a highly lucrative market for content creators like us to spiral a growth. With increased adoption of smartphones and advanced services, there is a huge potential for Indian content which is extremely popular and appeals to viewers globally. Building on this opportunity, SonyLIV aims to offer an inclusive viewing experience to the users here with stories that suit their interests, preferences and viewing patterns. We will scale up our content offerings in the months to come and emerge as the most preferred entertainment destination for the local audience.”

With over 450 million unique mobile subscribers, the Middle East has one of the highest consumption of YouTube videos in the world. Digital infiltration and high-speed internet have opened the floodgates of premium content from the world over spanning genres and interests. Smartphones have been instrumental in offering cultural understanding and exposure to the legion of local users, 50 per cent of which is under the age of 25 years and 35 per cent under the age of 18 years.

 SonyLIV intends to cater to this audience with the most sought after stories and an enhanced viewing experience. Over the last six years, the platform has pioneered the Indian digital ecosystem by offering content that is diverse, relatable and most importantly entertaining. With a 7X increase in consumption and 3X rise in subscribers last year, SonyLIV now aims to tap newer audience segments globally.

 Viewers in the Middle East will be treated to an array of fresh content on the platform in the days to come. Operating in SVOD mode in the market at $5.99 for a month, $29.99 for 6 months and $49.99 for a year, viewers can purchase their subscriptions to SonyLIV via credit card, debit card or in-app purchases.

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Sony YAY! announces massive outreach program and fun campaign – ‘Laughter Raja’

Schools have begun after summer vacation and it is time to go back and reunite with friends. Kids channel Sony YAY! has taken this opportunity for introducing a new campaign, ‘Laughter Raja’.

Sony YAY! toons – Honey & Bunny

In one of the largest on-ground initiatives, the three-month fun campaign will see the channel cover around 500 schools across 26 cities, where YAY! toons Honey-Bunny will welcome their young fans into the new academic session.

The hilarious feline duo Honey and Bunny are in a race to be anointed the funniest one, to win the ultimate crown of ‘Laughter Raja’. Kids across India will be seen cheering for their favourite toon by excitedly voting for them through the Sony LIV app.

Leena Lele Dutta

Sony Pictures Networks India kids’ genre business head Leena Lele Dutta commented, “The idea is to treat kids with more of what they Love. The feline duo Honey and Bunny have been kids’ favourite duo for a while and this time they are in a fun battle to be crowned the ‘Laughter Raja’. Reaching out to kids through the right platforms and consistently aiming at keeping it relevant to them gives the characters an opportunity to build a connect outside of TV. This initiative in 500 schools will be an interesting mix of fun, education and engagement that gives them a well-deserved break from their daily routines.”

The campaign has also attracted relevant sponsors – it is co-powered by Himalaya, Act II popcorn is the associate partner while Club Mahindra is on board as experiential holiday partner.

Through this campaign, the channel aims to give kids a fun reason to take a break from their usual school routine and share laughter with their best friends. This will continue with exciting games like a fun version of musical chairs played using hula hoops with music from the title track of this show. Kids will have a gala time playing with their favourite toon while they get to participate as ‘Jholmaal’ pairs and win exclusive channel merchandise.

With a whole lot of games, fresh content and the excitement of getting to see their favourite toon crowned as Laughter Raja, the kids are in for a YAY!tastic time ahead.

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Presenting India’s largest kids’ summit: KAM Summit and ANN Awards

Kids’ content ecosystem has been hitting an inflection point, making inroads into the high-value entertainment sector with top brands, animators and filmmakers vying to build on millions of bright and eager eyeballs.

The growth trajectory is also further consolidated by both the consumption as well as the animated IP rush which have shot the numbers from average 499 GRP to 550 GRP in the last year. According to the recently launched FICCI EY report, animation segment is estimated to reach at Rs. 24.4 billion by 2021 from Rs. 18.8 billion in 2018.

With an aim to grapple with the vicissitudes of the market and outline the trajectory of the ecosystem, the summit is all set to put the wind in the sails of the kids’ animation scenario. The growing inflow of participation and investment in this sector has necessitated the need to suss out its ebbs and flows and aggregate and get a better understanding of the entire ecosystem.

In a bid to galvanise the ecosystem and award the best in the sphere of kids’ content, Animation Xpress is bringing together important players and media experts of the kids’ content industry in a one of a kind event titled ‘Kids, Animation & More (KAM Summit)’ followed by ANN Awards – India’s largest premium, full scale awards in animation and all its aspects on 30 August 2019 at The LaLiT, Mumbai.

Spanning over myriad themes that will range from brand stories, creativity, licensing & merchandising to brand integration; KAM intends to explore multiple major sub-sectors in the industry and how they are aiding in giving shape to the kids’ content scenario in the country.

Indian animation industry is creating content which is making waves across the world. This is the most fitting hour to honour the names behind the groundbreaking animated content being produced. ANN Awards, thus, intends on bringing recognition and setting the bar for the Indian animation industry and many of its aspects. Having been in the business for so many years now, Animation Xpress realised the importance of putting together an event that would encompass all the crucial themes in the kids’ animation ecosystem.

With an aim to play host to prominent linchpins, top subject matter experts, studios, production houses, animators and the best content & projects from all over the country to provide exposure and know-how to the professionals, artists and students, KAM Summit is gearing up to be a full-scale event that Animation Xpress is hoping to make as grand as it gets in its gala offerings.

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EA and Respawn announce the ‘Apex Legends’ Preseason Invitational esports tournament

Electronic Arts (EA) and Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational, a large scale esports tournament featuring the collection of competitive talent ever for an Apex Legends event. Held 13 to 15 September in Kraków, Poland, 80 teams (three players per team) from around the world will compete in a bracketed tournament for a prize pool of US$500,000.

“When we started the EA Competitive Gaming Division, we had the vision to make stars of all our players as we build an entertainment spectacle that captivates millions of players and spectators. Today we officially expand EA Competitive Gaming through the addition of Apex Legends, owner of one of the biggest game launches in history that continues to be powered today by a passionate global community. The Apex Legends Preseason Invitational is the key next step in our esports journey,” said Todd Sitrin, SVP and GM of the EA Competitive Gaming Division.

“Competition is in the DNA of Apex Legends and this competitive event will showcase the game at its highest level. This Apex Legends Preseason Invitational advances our vision towards a robust competitive experience with the community at the centre. We continue to explore all the entertaining ways both players and spectators can experience Apex Legends and look forward to bringing this event to life,” said design director Chad Grenier.

All teams will begin the double-elimination tournament in the winner’s bracket. In each round, a team’s performance in a set of matches will determine whether they continue in the winner’s bracket, fall to the losers bracket, or are eliminated from the tournament until the final 20 teams compete for the title.

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Hero from the ‘Dragon Quest’ series joins ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’

Hero from the Dragon Quest series enters the battle as a new playable fighter in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game for the Nintendo Switch system. In a new video, Nintendo not only showcased the Hero in action, but also unveiled the Yggdrasil’s Altar stage and several orchestrated music tracks from classic Dragon Quest games coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. All of this new content will be available to players who own the fighters pass or purchase challenger pack 2 separately.

“With the introduction of fan-favourite characters like Hero from the Dragon Quest series to the game’s expanding roster, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate continues to assemble the largest cast of iconic video game characters ever. We love being able to engage Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fans through a steady release of exciting downloadable content, and look forward to continuing to expand on players’ game experiences on Nintendo Switch beyond launch,” said Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of sales and marketing Nick Chavez.

Hero enters the arena equipped with a sword and shield, and wielding familiar Dragon Quest spells like frizz, zap and woosh. The character comes with additional alternate character designs that represent the main characters from several games in the Dragon Quest series. He can take the form of the protagonists from Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – definitive edition, the latest Dragon Quest title coming to Nintendo Switch on 27 September; Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation; Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen; and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. This is the first time ever that all four heroes from these Dragon Quest games are fighting together.

Players who own the Fighters Pass or purchase Challenger Pack 2 separately will also have access to a new stage, Yggdrasil’s Altar, which features the great mythical tree from many Dragon Quest games. The stage is full of moving platforms, which fly through different locales that Dragon Quest fans might recognize, and even features some familiar (slimy) faces in the background. Orchestrated music tracks from classic Dragon Quest titles will also be coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate alongside Hero and the Yggdrasil’s Altar stage.

Along with the release of Hero later today, a free software update to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will also be available, which adds an in-game online tourney mode, a very easy setting in the single-player adventure mode and the ability to predict the winner in spectate mode, among other features.

By purchasing the fighters pass, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players will get access to five challenger packs as they release. Each pack includes a new playable fighter, a new stage and music tracks. Joker from Persona 5 is available now, with Hero joining today and iconic characters Banjo and Kazooie coming this fall. Two additional characters, who have not yet been revealed, are also part of the robust fighters pass.



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OpenClassrooms – Idents


DHX Brands launches ‘In The Night Garden’ product range with Home Bargain stores

DHX Brands, the dedicated brand management and consumer products arm of DHX Media, has announced a new direct-to-retail collaboration which will launch an exciting new range of In the Night Garden products, specially created to suit the brand’s demographic of children aged 6 months to 2.5 years old.

Launched as a direct-to-retail promotion with TJ Morris, the products will be introduced exclusively in Home Bargains and Quality Save stores throughout the UK this summer, with an initial 18 products available by the end of July, followed by two more in August and a further 12 in September.

The range – which retails from $0.85 to $17.26 – includes a host of items which are currently unavailable from other existing In the Night Garden licensees, including infant wipes, toddler training items, wooden pull-along toys, slippers, towelling robes, gift bags and feeding products such as bibs and sipper cups. The range also includes greetings cards and gift wrap; tableware, such as cutlery and melamine sets; apparel, including pyjamas and onesies; and accessories such as socks and backpacks.

With Home Bargains also stocking toys from Golden Bear’s popular and award-winning In the Night Garden range, the store is now a must-visit destination for fans of the top-rated CBeebies preschool TV series.

TJ Morris Helen Lynch, said: “We are delighted to team up with DHX Brands to offer this fantastic new range of In the Night Garden products. Such an appealing choice of items, from such an evergreen brand which is beloved by millions of families nationwide, is sure to prove a big hit with our customers over the summer.”

DHX Brands Laura Brennan, said: “TJ Morris has an excellent reputation with their burgeoning Home Bargains stores and we are excited to be teaming up with them to give In the Night Garden fans such a wonderful new range, which increases the variety of products available and provides even more ways for young children to get closer to their favourite characters.”

The agreement between In the Night Garden brand owner, DHX Media, and TJ Morris was negotiated by leading licensing agency CPLG.

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IFSG appoints Justice A.K. Sikri as ombudsman to strengthen leadership team

The Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), India’s first and only self-regulatory industry body for the Online Fantasy Sports Gaming sector today announced the appointment of Justice A K Sikri as its ombudsman and ethics officer.  Arjan Kumar Sikri is an eminent jurist, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India and was recently appointed as a judge in the Singapore International Commercial Court.

Joining IFSG as the industry body’s first ombudsman, Justice A K Sikri will be responsible for investigating queries/complaints raised by the users of the Online Fantasy Sports Gaming platforms. In this role, he will provide strategic council, resolve disputes brought forward regarding binding rules or financial discrepancies as well as steer hearings and make announcements for smooth operation and ease of functioning.

In his illustrious legal career spanning over 4 decades, Justice Sikri has held several eminent positions. He retired as a senior-most judge of the Supreme Court of India on 6th March 2019. He has also served as the Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Acting Justice of the High Court of Delhi.

The appointment of Justice Sikri comes after 3 months of onboarding  Anwar Shirpurwala as the CEO of IFSG. Over the last 2 decades, Anwar has worked in diverse industries and has vast experience in sales and marketing, government affairs and public policy. As the CEO of IFSG, Anwar will drive IFSG’s strategy and operations for the emerging sector of the entire sports gaming industry. He will work closely with government stakeholders and work towards creating standardised best practices for the sports gaming industry. Prior to IFSG, Anwar was the CEO of MAIT for 6+ years, contributing immensely to the growth & development of the Association and creating a vibrant ICT manufacturing industry.

Commenting on the new appointments, IFSG president Harsh Jain, said, “Justice A K Sikri’s association with IFSG is an important development for the industry body. The sports gaming industry is growing at an exponential pace and so is the need to ensure that all operators adopt best-in-class ethical business practices. With Anwar as the CEO of IFSG and Justice Sikri as the ombudsman, IFSG will be able to frame robust industry benchmarks with strong governance protecting our industry’s 8 crore users and 32 operator’s interests.”

Commenting on his new role IFSG CEO Anwar Shirpurwala said, “I am delighted to be part of IFSG and look forward to contributing to India’s emerging online sports gaming industry. With growing digital infrastructure, expanding smartphone penetration and increasing integration of technology with sports, online sports gaming has seen immense adoption by avid sports fans. The last year has seen an increasing number of operators entering the industry to provide sports fans with immersive experiences. While this presents an immense opportunity, it is critical to establish best practices to grow and scale the industry responsibly.”

Commenting on his new role, IFSG ombudsman Justice A K Sikri, said, “I am proud to be entrusted with the role of ombudsman for IFSG. The sports gaming industry provides an untapped opportunity for sports lovers to showcase their sports knowledge and come closer to their favourite sport. As the industry prepares for the next wave of sports enthusiasts, as a self-regulatory industry body it is important to protect and educate operators & users about the industry and its best practices.”

IFSG already has Ratnakar Shetty,  Amrit Mathur and Dilip Dixit as its advisors, and John Loffhagen, an eminent legal counsel, serves as the Chairman of the body. Currently, IFSG has 32 members that are working together to create standardised best practices and drive self-regulation. The sector has already witnessed the emergence of India’s 1st Gaming Unicorn (Dream11) and has the potential to reach over 10 crore users by 2020.

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