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In Soviet Russia, esports play you!

Russian global investment conglomerate USM Holdings has given an amount that may exceed $100 million to Virtus.pro, the country’s largest esports community. Esports will generate $1.8 billion a year by 2020, according to Colin Sebastian, analyst at R.W. Baird. This new investment shows the global reach of the phenomenon.

“Our main goal is to increase the popularity of esports in Russia, and this is what USM’s investment will go towards,” Anton Cherepennikov, co-owner and managing partner of Virtus.pro, said in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “The funds will primarily be used to launch new tournaments and various new gaming disciplines, as well to create media channels to cover the sport and to construct e-sports arenas.”

Virtus.pro had more than 7.6 million subscribers and 1 billion views last year, according to the press release. Russia has always been a PC-first country, and games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, World of Tanks, and Dota 2 are the most popular in the region and with Virtus.pro. According to Esports Earnings, Russia Federation players have won the eighth-largest amount of prize money out of all countries with $4,478,236.68. China has the top spot ($29,704,392.11), followed closely by the Republic of Korea ($29,134,139.82) and the U.S. ($28,997,894.99). In the global $91.5 billion gaming business, Russia ranks No. 12 with $1.26 billion.

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