The global games market is expected to surpass $200 billion by 2023, making it an even more lucrative industry than other traditional entertainment verticals, including film and television.
From mobile, PC and console games to the burgeoning esports ecosystem, the games industry is becoming more sophisticated by the day with an explosion of content across all platforms. In this new and rapidly evolving environment, companies, executives and talent operating in the space need experienced counsel to help them take full advantage of the opportunities at hand.
Industry experience to help you level up
Our integrated team of lawyers and strategic consultants brings decades of entertainment, games and talent experience to companies and individuals working in the games, esports and XR industries. We are recognized as leaders in the space, having completed a number of first-of-their-kind deals.
We understand the landscape, know the players, and are positioned to add value that games and esports businesses and talent need to flourish. Not only do our clients benefit from our deep ties to Hollywood, Silicon Valley and other major business centers, but our relationships with government agencies ideally situate us to help our clients navigate complex regulatory challenges to achieve their goals.
We are a one-stop shop providing our games and esports clients with a wide range of services, including digital and entertainment transactions, strategic consulting, corporate and finance matters, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), privacy and data concerns, intellectual property (IP)-related issues, and business disputes.
Who we work with
We work with companies and individuals across the games and esports space, including:
- Device manufacturers
- Content production companies
- Professional gamers and influencers
- Talent management companies
- Influencer agencies
- Social video networks
- Live streaming platforms
- Esports teams
- Brands and lifestyle companies
- Leagues and event producers
What we do
Our integrated team of lawyers, digital strategists, business analysts and investors is uniquely positioned to assist games and esports companies stay ahead of the evolving digital market with the following:
- Developer and publisher agreements
- Streaming, distribution and licensing
- Player, team and league agreements
- Advertising, brand, influencer and sponsorship agreements
- Content production deals
- Financing and investments
- IP protection and business litigation
- Strategic consulting and business development
- Systems integration and API agreements
- Data privacy and cybersecurity
- New venture structuring and formation
- Joint ventures and M&A
- Regulatory and compliance
Our professionals’ experience includes representation of the following:
Talent, Streaming and Brand Contracts
- Yassuo, an esports player and member of 100 Thieves, in negotiating and signing a new streaming deal with Twitch.
- Canadian Hearthstone gamer and YouTube personality Disguised Toast in negotiating his new multiyear streaming contract with Facebook Gaming.
- NickMercs, a professional Fortnite player with FaZe Clan, in negotiating his new multiyear exclusive streaming contract with Twitch.
- Rabia “Nightblue3” Yazbek, a League of Legends streamer, in negotiating and signing a new streaming deal with Twitch.
- LOUD Team, a leading games and esports content and lifestyle company based in Brazil, in assisting with entertainment advice, corporate consulting on the company’s entrance to the U.S. market, brand and distribution deals, and international tax work.
M&A, Partnerships, Financing and Growth Strategies
- Esports company XSET in its partnership with the singer Ozuna, in which the Latin superstar joins XSET as an investor, managing partner and content creator.
- Subnation Media, a games and esports media holding company, in its acquisition of half of the prominent North American Fortnite esports team XTRA Gaming. We also represented the company in its partnership with NFL star Marquez Valdes-Scantling and joint-launch of Trench Made Gaming, a franchise for esports teams across multiple game titles that connects brands to players and fans with apparel, original content and other initiatives.
- A fantasy sports provider on major media partnerships with sports broadcasting companies.
- Press X, an esports talent and marketing agency, and Everyday Influencers, an agency representing streaming influencers, in their sale to United Talent Agency.
- 4DFactory in its acquisition of a majority stake in HBO game publishing spinoff Neon Media.
- An investor group in providing strategic advisory services to explore the market viability of a new games influencer platform.
- Carnegie Technologies in assisting with its growth strategy with regard to its wholly owned subsidiary, Denali Publishing, a mobile games developer.
- An investment group in providing strategic advisory services to evaluate market developments in the influencer marketing business with a focus on the games vertical.
- China CGame, Inc., a developer of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), in connection with its initial public offering.
- Scuf Gaming, which makes tactical gear for elite gamers, in an inter partes review brought against several of its patents by Valve Corp., a video game developer, publisher and distributor. The patents in question relate to features of the high-end controllers that Scuf Gaming manufactures. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board decided in favor of Scuf Gaming on all counts.
- A video game company in obtaining a $500 million jury verdict in a case involving virtual reality IP against the subsidiary of a global media conglomerate and its executives for copyright infringement, breach of contract and false designation. The verdict is among the largest ever awarded for copyright, trademark and/or trade secret claims.
- Horse Racing Labs, LLC, d/b/a Derby Wars, a company offering online fantasy sports horseracing contests, in a lawsuit accusing our client of hosting a fantasy horseracing site that was illegally accepting bets in violation of federal and state laws. The Manatt team successfully moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims.
Regulatory and Compliance
- A Japanese video game developer, publisher and distribution company on contest, sweepstakes and illegal lottery/gambling issues, including analyzing U.S. gaming laws regarding in-game virtual currency. We also assessed the disclosure requirements for in-game mystery boxes that, when opened, may grant the player in-game prizes/bonuses, much like a virtual slot machine.
- A European mobile game developer in conducting a 50-state analysis of the legalities of its tournament model and comprehensive legal opinion regarding the risks of litigation and regulatory enforcement under various state gambling laws.
- A fantasy sports provider in its advertising, media, and sponsorship deals. In conjunction with this work, we have advised the company on its contests and sweepstakes and on whether its fantasy games constitute illegal gambling.
- Intrepid Studios, an independent developer and publisher of the MMORPG Ashes of Creation, in international tax matters with regard to Asian distribution.
- The National Basketball Association in authoring the first comprehensive memo regarding the legality of fee-based sports fantasy leagues. After that and over the years, our attorney provided similar opinions and provided ongoing advice to CBS, ESPN, the Sporting News, InteractiveCorp and numerous other companies as the field grew, new variations of the leagues were developed, and when federal and state authorities introduced legislation that clarified league legality or required a license.