In a statement on Thursday, Flipkart announced an investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, as a part of Flipkart’s previously announced round of financing. In its statement, Flipkart pointed out that this is the biggest ever private investment in an Indian technology company, and will make the SoftBank Vision Fund one of the largest shareholders in Flipkart.
With this, Flipkart will now have over $4 billion (approximately Rs. 25,585 crores) in cash on its balance sheet, the company stated. This includes the rest of the funds raised in the latest round, which includes investment from Microsoft, eBay, and Tencent.
In a prepared statement, co-founders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal said: “This is a monumental deal for Flipkart and India. Very few economies globally attract such overwhelming interest from top-tier investors. It is recognition of India’s unparalleled potential to become a leader in technology and e-commerce on a massive scale. SoftBank’s proven track record of partnering with transformative technology leaders has earned it the reputation of being a visionary investor. We’re excited to welcome the Vision Fund as a long-term partner as we continue to build our business with a focus on serving the needs of all Indians, and driving the next phase of technology adoption in India.”
In recent times, Flipkart also completed the acquisition of eBay India, and was reportedly in talks to acquire Snapdeal. SoftBank is one of the lead investors in Snapdeal, though the day after Snapdeal announced that it terminated talks with Flipkart, it emerged that SoftBank was looking to invest in Flipkart.
“India is a land of vast opportunity,” said Masayoshi Son, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of SoftBank Group. “We want to support innovative companies that are clear winners in India because they are best positioned to leverage technology and help people lead better lives. As the pioneers in Indian e-commerce, Flipkart is doing that every day.”
“The Vision Fund is proud to be part of this landmark transaction which is a strong endorsement of India and its thriving economy,” added Rajeev Misra, CEO of the SoftBank Vision Fund. “We look forward to being a part of Flipkart’s journey towards becoming one of the most successful e-commerce companies in the world.”
Game developer Activision Blizzard’s international city-based franchise, Overwatch League, is full-steam ahead, with teams reportedly selling for up to US$20 million.
Chinese internet giant Tencent has announced plans to invest US$15 billion into Chinese e-sports in the next five years. And the Hong Kong Tourism Board is presenting its HK$35 million e-sports gambit – the e-sports and K-pop music festival– this weekend in the Coliseum.
They are all part of a broader trend sweeping the worlds of sports, business and media from Los Angeles to Shanghai.
Announcements are made weekly of million-dollar prize pools, celebrity team owners (Shaq, Ashton Kutcher), massive team sponsorship deals (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Vodafone) and serious investments from major media companies (Modern Times Group, Facebook).
The business world is giddy at the prospect of tapping into that most lucrative but tricky of demographics: millennials.
With 385 million e-sports fans around the world it’s easy to see why they’re so fired up.
In the e-sports community, many are delighted to finally get investment that could elevate the scene to the heights of traditional sports.
However, just as many are sounding the alarm at the glut of money that’s flooding the scene. They fear a crash is on it’s way that will set the scene back another 10 years.
Given the eye-watering sums of money being thrown around and the sometimes shocking lack of knowledge of those involved, it’s not hard to see why people are worried.
Even if the trend continues, the future will not be rosy for most of those involved. E-sports joining the big leagues means a repeat of the history of sports. The real history of sports is the business of sports. And that business was brutal. The backroom deals which built global powers like Fifa, the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL had no space for sportsmanship.
E-sports may yet prove itself a different beast. Endemic organisations, professional players, and the massive e-sports fan base regularly captivate with the kind of stories that we’ve come to expect from the socially conscious millennial generation.
E-sports fans are building passionate communities that may yet temper corporate ambitions.
We will introduce you to the world of e-sports, tell some of the most interesting stories, and guess (roughly) what the future may hold.
The business world sees e-sports as a massive opportunity. Major players – game developers, traditional sports, media and advertising – see it fitting nicely into the well-defined and immensely lucrative existing framework. Endemics on the other hand, see it as a cultural movement that can forge its own path, upending the sports and business worlds in the process. We’ll take a look at the biggest deals and their impact on the business landscape.
2 People & Society
For those seeking to build a career in e-sports, the business is a roller coaster of heartbreak and elation. Players are betting their future on a place at the top of the professional scene. The scene is a window into the world of a new generation.
Fans see e-sports and participation in the scene as the evolution of competitive spirit. For those born in the age of the internet, traditional sport fails to deliver on the levels of engagement they enjoy in e-sports. Many are capitalising on this, making a living – and in some cases huge incomes – on Twitch and other platforms where they can connect with like-minded individuals. The mainstream rolls its eyes or shakes its head in disbelief.
E-sports isn’t just a dream for individuals. Governments are shaping legislation around it, and others, such as the Hong Kong Tourism Board are even staking the future of entire sectors on it.
E-sports was born in the arcade, and brought up in the era of social media. As a natural partner to technology, e-sports has amazing potential. New businesses are being founded all the time with the aim of meeting the needs of the scene. And many believe e-sports could be the area where the promise of augmented reality and virtual reality comes true.
4 What is it?
E-sports is many different things to many different people. For the mainstream it’s an exciting new phenomenon. For e-sports fans it’s the evolution of a scene that traces its roots back to the competitive gaming and arcade scene of the ’70s and ’80s. E-sports is complicated and frequently misunderstood. The development is also not always viewed positively by those involved in the wider gaming community. We’ll take a closer look at the different games and their cultures, the different aspects of the scene, and we talk to those involved to get their perspectives on what e-sports is to them.
5 The Future
Lastly, we’ll take a stab at where e-sports might be going, the factors at play that will determine which road the scene will go down, and the potential impact it could have on those involved, business, and society as a whole. We’ll discuss some possibilities, and get opinions of those who really understand the scene.
The only thing that’s certain is that it’s here to stay, in some form or another.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has thrown its weight behind satellite-based 5G internet. In fact, ESA has partnered with 16 European space companies to champion the technology, and they’re all preparing for testing in the next couple of years.
The agreement over the partnership, dubbed “Satellite for 5G,” was signed at the recent Paris Air and Space Show.
Signing Up For 5G Internet Connection?
ESA and its partners in the European space industry will work as one to deploy satellites in different trials over the next couple of years. The goal is to convince providers on the supremacy of satellite-based 5G over terrestrial-based counterparts.
The trials will focus on selected targeted sectors, including “transport, media and entertainment, and public safety,” an ESA statement noted. Afterward, the group seeks to win support from the European Commission.
ESA Director of Telecommunications Magali Vaissiere stated that satellites can offer high-speed 5G connection even on remote islands and mountains, and users can reach first responders wherever they are on Earth.
“5G provides a major opportunity for our space industry, for space and satellites to become integral parts of the future generation of communications networks and services,” Vaissiere said following the signing of the agreement.
As Engadget noted, the joint agreement is still in very early phases and the signatories are yet to finalize the details of the tests they are planning to perform. But it’s expected that the public will hear more about the ambitious project at the “Space and Satcom for 5G: European Transport and Connected Mobility” conference to be held on June 27 to 28.
Potential Gains And Challenges
Gizmodo UK wrote that it’s quite unlikely for satellites to completely replace the current system of “huge masts dotted everywhere.”
The problem, particularly with data, is a signal heading to one’s phone from space takes a while to complete its journey. The latency results in issues, meaning some applications won’t work properly. As for download speed, the distance isn’t substantial, only the time found between requesting a file and the time one actually starts downloading.
Again, though, the technology may provide a lifeline to those in remote areas where there’s simply dismal coverage.
The 5G’s ultimate goal isn’t the network’s power and speed, and ultra-broadband is only part of what it can bring. It is being eyed to deliver new services, particularly when it comes to connecting objects, from smartphones and tablets to headsets VR and intelligent cars.
“We are trying to anticipate the future,” Vaissiere emphasized, adding that sectors such as the connected car may have a need for the 5G network.
Vaissiere said that ESA had long sought to unite the players to make the 5G a reality, taking leadership of the initiative.
In related developments, a team of Chinese scientists has recently succeeded in beating the record for quantum entanglement, beaming the entangled photons from 300 miles above Earth to separate places 750 miles apart.
The breakthrough is deemed useful in the urgent matter of tackling cyberattacks. In the face of internet connections’ current vulnerability to online attacks, quantum communication is seen promising in forging faster, more secure communication channels.
As the name implies, VR 180 ditches the traditional 360 degree-focus of other VR videos for a more limited field of view. This will make it easier for content creators to make VR videos that work on mobile and desktop devices while still supporting Daydream, Cardboard, and PSVR. When paired with one of the supported platforms, VR 180 videos will give users an immersive 3D experience. In addition to videos, VR 180 will also support live streams allowing content creators and viewers to interact in real-time.
It hasn’t given us a date, but YouTube said that VR 180 videos will soon be compatible with standard video production tools such as Adobe
As we’ve already noted, the costs of VR are one of the major hurdles to widespread adoption. While Google and other companies are working to make the headsets more affordable, they are also taking a major step forward in terms of VR videos. Google has announced that they have partnered with YI, Lenovo, and LG to produce VR cameras that will be the same as standard cameras. The first batch of these VR cameras is expected to launch this winter. Google’s VR 180 certification program will offer other companies the opportunity to produce VR 180 cameras which should help to keep prices low.
Aside from price, usability has been another major obstacle to VR’s success. While the tech may not be too complicated for tech-enthusiasts, the average user may be a different story. Luckily, these upcoming VR camera won’t have that problem as Google insists they’re as easy to use as any point-and-shoot camera.
The ease of usability combined with an affordable price point should make VR 180 a more popular format, at least as popular as VR videos can be. The real question we have is whether or not many users will take advantage of the VR-aspects of these videos. VR headsets are still a niche product and this produ.