Progress, Not Perfection: The (Nasdaq) Bell Tolls for FaZe | Intel & Newegg’s Works-in-Progress
fresh from the GAMING tap:
🎮 Progress, Not Perfection 🎮
For Whom the Bell Tolls? It Tolls for FaZe | Intel & Newegg’s Works-in-Progress
Recon: Market News
For Whom the Bell Tolls? It Tolls for FaZe
Newly public gaming lifestyle brand is first of its kind
FaZe Clan has officially gone public as the first gaming lifestyle brand to be listed on the Nasdaq. The company is now trading under the ticker FAZE after a launch valued at $725 million. While a landmark event in gaming worthy of celebration, FaZe’s launch also offers a few warnings for brands looking to expand into the mainstream.
From Humble Beginnings
FaZe has come a long way from its days of Call of Duty montages. More than a decade after its 2010 founding, it’s got a roster of popular esports players and streamers that command major followings, not to mention celebrity backers such as Snoop Dogg and Lebron James Jr. It’s among the most valuable esports properties, according to Forbes at least, and dabbles in fashion, crypto, and even food.
- $53 million in revenue in 2021, up from $38 million in 2020
- FaZe claims a fanbase of 500 million, with almost half being international
- 80% are Gen Z
It’s not all good news for FaZe, however, with its value plummeting around 30% in its first day as a public company. In what many will see as a red flag, the brand opted for the reduced regulatory requirements of a SPAC instead of a traditional IPO. Even then, its launch was delayed and original valuation slashed, with FaZe needing a $20 million bridge loan in March.
- $36.9 million net loss in 2021 after a $28.7 million loss in 2020
- Forecasting $90 million in revenue for 2022
Staying True to Oneself
If there is something for other gaming brands to keep an eye on, it’s whether or not FaZe’s pivot away from its traditional identity will backfire. Despite its roots in gaming and reliance on sponsorship for revenue, FaZe is positioning itself as an organization “in the top echelon of a youth culture company,” according to CEO Lee Trink. Non-gaming expansions such as gambling on esports make sense, but others such as ghost kitchens (the food industry isn’t exactly known for its margins) seem ill-advised. Only time will tell, however, if the big game FaZe is talking will pay off.
Intel & Newegg’s Works-in-Progress
Intel lays out its GPU strategy & Newegg unveils new GPU portal
Intel appears to be opting for an aggressively priced launch strategy with its ongoing Arc Alchemist video card launch, based on an interview with Linus Tech Tips. In practical terms, Intel is avoiding direct competition with much of AMD and Nvidia’s products by positioning itself to compete in non-premium segments with cards priced under $400. Performing Triage
The main challenge Intel faces right now is that it doesn’t have driver support that AMD and Nvidia have had years to fine tune. No matter how good the hardware, performance is going to fluctuate drastically from game to game until Intel has enough real-world data to work out the kinks. Arc Alchemist will follow a three-tier strategy internally, according to during his recent media rounds, prioritizing Tier 1 while basing pricing on Tier 3 performance.
- Tier 1: Major modern titles using DirectX12, such as Cyberpunk 2077
- Arc Alchemist will “kill everyone in price to performance” here, according to Intel’s Tom Petersen
- Tier 2: Less optimized modern DirectX12 & Vulkan games
- Tier 3: The majority of popular titles, these are older DirectX11 titles
Is Honesty the Best Policy?
Intel’s strategy may not be ideal, but it’s the best option available given Arc Alchemist needs the real world testing that can only come through a mass launch. Prioritizing Tier 1 support will keep its cards from being obsolete at launch, while pricing based on Tier 3 will hopefully entice consumers into giving Intel a chance. Additionally, given softening demand in gaming, Intel may have no choice but to price more affordably.
To the company’s credit, its attempt to openly communicate to customers what they should expect and not expect is a welcome change. On the flipside, Intel may regret making these promises down the road. What will it do if the production costs increase due unexpected challenges, or if internal benchmarks (and pricing) don’t align with real world performance? Making promises is easy, but keeping them is another matter.
Knowledge Is (Buying) Power
Newegg’s has launched a new video card comparison tool/e-commerce storefront in the form of JustGPU.com’s beta. Users will be able to compare products based on manufacturer, brand, performance, and physical specifications. Shoppers will be directed to Newegg for the purchase once they settle on a product.“JustGPU.com simplifies the shopping experience for a large number of our customers who are specifically shopping only for GPUs and need resources to make informed decisions to upgrade their gaming PC builds,” said Jim Tseng, Director of Product Management for Newegg.
Good, But Not Perfect
While JustGPU’s information is far from perfect or all-encompassing, it’s better than nothing, especially when it comes to something as unfriendly-to-newcomers as PC building. Unfortunately, the tool currently only covers the current generation of video cards (Nvidia’s RTX 30 series & AMD’s RX 6000 series), and it’s unclear whether Intel’s upcoming products or older video cards will be added. Nevertheless, this attempt to give customers more information while shopping is something that others should emulate.
Supply Drop: Games & Players
Upcoming Games (July 22 – 28)
Autonauts vs Piratebots – PC
Bear and Breakfast – PC, Switch
Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium – PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch
Captain Velvet Meteor: The Jump+ Dimensions – Switch
Immortality – PlayStation, Xbox
Live A Live – Switch
MultiVersus – PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Severed Steel – Xbox
Sweet Transit – PC
Most Anticipated: Developer Player First Game’s answer to Super Smash Bros. — MultiVersus — is a free-to-play (and ripe for microtransactions) arcade fighter that reaches across the Warner Bros (WB) owned franchises for its roster of characters. With almost 20 additional characters reportedly already in the works, players at launch will be able to combine fighters from franchises like Batman, Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, and even Game of Thrones.
Comms: Social Campaigns
- Intel promotes chance to win $11,000 in prizes in conjunction with Monster Hunter promotional challenge on July 18 (FB, IG)
- CyberPower ran campaign promoting Nvidia GeForce RTX gaming PCs on July 19 (FB, IG)
- Alienware promotes gaming notebooks with gamer brittanynay3 on July 15 (IG)
- Razer promotes perks of joining its RazerStore Rewards program, including exclusive promos and limited edition drops, on July 20 (FB, IG)