TNL eSports Startups 006: Critical Force
TNL Take: According to my data, about half of you are reading this right now on a Mobile device.
I'd guess half of you had your phone within ten feet of where you woke up today.
In rapid transition, the PC revolution was trumped by the Internet, which in turn led to the massive Mobile revolution - of which all could be beaten by VR/AR.
A Mobile eSports title is no longer a question; it's just a question of time.
eSports was definitely a motivating factor for the world's largest Gaming company, Tencent, to buy a controlling stake in Mobile developer Supercell at a $10B valuation.
Yesterday, Finnish Gaming developer Critical Force announced a €4M ($4.5M) seed round from South Korean company NHN for Mobile eSports.
NHN is one of those typical Asian tech companies that have their hands in a few different pies: Search portal, Mobile Games, Online Mall, a Video Camera, etc.
However, NHN has one key infrastructure piece which makes total sense for Critical Force:
LINE MESSAGING APP
Line, a messaging App similar to WhatsApp or KakaoTalk, is massively popular in Japan beating Facebook for users.
This provides a great potential Mobile eSports platform.
With the definition of "Necessity is the Mother of Invention", Line was actually developed by NHN engineer's in response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake that destroyed communication infrastructure. That's a damn good Minimal Viable Product.
If you're going to try and establish Mobile eSports; Gaming/Phone/eSports obsessed South Korea and Japan wouldn't be a bad place to start.
And maybe the Japanese know something about making a Mobile game popular.