Maybe e-sports is a secretly a government program designed to discover our smartest young people for the purposes of making them military leaders … or maybe I’ve read Ender’s Game too many times.
Hollywood studio Lionsgate is partnering with e-sports association Major League Gaming and livestreaming service Twitch to hold the “Ender’s Game on Blu-ray Tournament.” This event will offer $20,000 in prize money for a StarCraft II invitational competition that begins Wednesday. The winner will take home $10,000. This is the first time a movie studio is marketing one of its films through e-sports, and it reveals that MLG’s and Twitch’s engagement numbers are attracting the attention of the $4 billion Hollywood marketing machine.
Lionsgate is turning to e-sports and real-time-strategy games to market the release of its Ender’s Game film because of the similarities between the plot of the film/book and competitive gaming. In Ender’s Game, brilliant children prepare for real warfare by competing in a strategy game in something called battle school.
“The skills used to develop battle leaders in Ender’s Game are drawn from real-world gaming, especially the types of skills used by premier tournament level players,” Lionsgate executive vice president of marketing Anne Parducci said. “We are excited to partner with Major League Gaming and Twitch, both leaders in the e-sports world, to present this unprecedented movie tie-in aimed directly at those who take gaming seriously.”
The Ender’s Game film only grossed $61 million in the U.S. when it debuted in November. By targeting gamers for the release of the Blu-ray and DVD, which is due out Feb. 11, Lionsgate is hoping to recoup some of its investment in the property.
Twitch and MLG have huge, engaged audiences of young people.
“Lionsgate understands that gamers are more than a niche. They are everyone,” Twitch director of content marketing Ben Goldhaber said. “By leveraging Twitch’s community of 45 million gamers, many of whom spend hours playing and watching sci-fi inspired games, creating an e-sport event around Ender’s Game on our platform makes perfect sense.”
“MLG’s global audience spend an average of 150 minutes a weekend watching professionally produced e-sports content on MLG.TV and they look to fill the nongaming hours of their day with action-packed entertainment and movies like Ender’s Game,” MLG executive vice presidnet of sales Don Reilley said. “The Ender’s Game on Blu-ray Tournament is a perfect example of the great competitions and broadcasts that are possible with partners on the MLG.TV platform.”
In addition tot the film, Ender’s Game is a novel from author Orson Scott Card that debuted in 1985.