Think gaming isn’t a sport? FACEIT’s millions of competitive gamers would prove you wrong
On Tuesday FACEIT, a competitive gaming platform that has grown significantly in the last year and now has over 1.5 million registered users to its platform, announced a $2 million round of pre-series A funding.
If you’re not a young man between the ages of 16-28, you may be excused if you missed the rise of e-sports and competitive gaming.
For instance, when League of Legends held the Season Three World Championship in 2013, it was watched by 32 million spectators: That was more than double the 15.1 million spectators of the 2013 NBA Finals.
“It’s people playing video games as if they would play sports, and winning prize money,” Niccolo Maisto, CEO of FACEIT, told Geektime.
It’s sort of an NBA of competitive gaming, organizing tournaments and distributing prize money. There are daily, weekly and monthly leagues.
“Our users are in the U.S., Sweden, Germany, Poland and the UK,” said Maisto. “They’re between the ages of 16-28 and 98 percent male. Our strength is user interface.”
FACEIT Media division also produces e-sports events for gamers, reaching over 2 million viewers per month and gathering over 500,000 followers on Twitch.tv. According to the company, this puts it in the 25 most followed content producers.
Niccolo Maisto, Alessandro Avallone and Michele Attisani founded the London-based company in 2012.
Gamers benefit from a unique player-centric interface and automatic results verification with no need to report results and direct access to the game. Tournaments are held daily, often hourly, and joining is free. Once gamers win a competition, they are awarded FACEIT points that can be collected and redeemed in the FACEIT shop. For top players, there is also the prospect of gaining visibility, winning top prizes and being featured in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Niccolo Maisto, CEO of FACEIT, said, “We aim to make it easy and enjoyable to play competitions on videogames, building an environment for players that wish to approach a competitive community. The competitive experience on FACEIT is easier, faster and more scalable across games compared to competitors thanks to the proprietary technology of our platform. With rapid global expansion on the horizon, our funding will also bolster our growth, allowing us to retain and increase our market position.”
United Ventures led the funding round, which is being used to recruit key personnel onto the FACEIT’s team as they prepare for a Series A round. Massimiliano Magrini, United Ventures’ Managing Partner, said in statement, “We were very impressed by the talents of the FACEIT team and their highly scalable, easy-to-use competitive platform for gamers. We’re excited to assist the team’s journey and are looking forward to helping them scale the platform globally.”
To see how it works, watch this video:
A huge market for e-sports
Considering Twitch.tv’s meteoric rise this year and that gaming and e-sports’ revenues were $20 billion higher than the music industry in 2014, this seems like a somewhat small pre-A round for a company launched in 2012. If they can keep on growing their multi-million player audience and improve their product, however, they may end up taking a larger slice of an exponentially growing e-sports pie.