Private Lobby Special Issue

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Grab your coffee, ready up, and let’s drop in 🪂
Here’s what we have for you today:

  • In-Depth Look: DreamHack Dallas Recap 

  • EA Looks to Put Ads in Their Games

  • Games Hitting The Silver Screen

  • CECC 2024 Smashes Expectations

  • Gen.G Invests in Future Esports Talent 

In-Depth Look: DreamHack Dallas Recap

source: DreamHack

This past weekend over 55,000 gaming & esports fans made the journey to Dallas, Texas to take part in one of the biggest esports & gaming conventions of the year: DreamHack Dallas.

DreamHack is a gaming festival that hosts several festivals around the world featuring tournaments, concerts, art showcases, an expo area, and more. In 2024, DreamHack is hosting 5 festivals around the world:

  • Melbourne: April 26 - 28, 2024

  • Dallas: May 31 – June 2, 2024

  • Summer (Sweden): June 14 – 17, 2024

  • Atlanta: October 4 – 6, 2024

  • Stockholm: November 22 – 25, 2024

Over $1,000,000 In Esports Prizing

Esports is one of the key pillars of DreamHack, with over 10+ game titles and over a million dollar in prizes. Game titles featured at Dreamhack Dallas:

  • Counter-Strike 2 (IEM Dallas & ESL Impact)

  • Overwatch (OWCS)

  • EA FC (Esport World Cup Qualifier)

  • Street Fighter 6  (Esport World Cup Qualifier)

  • Tekken 8  (Esport World Cup Qualifier)

  • Magic At The Gathering ($130,000 Regional Championship)

  • Starcraft II (ESL SC2 Masters)

  • TeamFight Tactics

  • Variety of Fighting Games

  • Variety of Freeplay tournaments (Mario Kart, Mario Party, Overcooked, Tetris, Halo 2 FFA, NBA Jam, and more!)

Counter-Strike 2: CS was the heavy hitter at DreamHack Dallas, taking up a whole dome arena attached to the convention center, and personally my favorite esport at the event. Counter-Strike rarely has events within North America, so the fans will show up anytime there’s a large event and boy did they. The crowd was one of the most energetic crowds I’ve ever seen in esports  — thanks mostly to North American player Stewie2k making a comeback to competitive Counter-Strike with G2. Everyone was making signs, chanting every few minutes, and getting invested in the game.

FGC: The fighting game area is always one of the most passionate crowds and this year the FGC delivered in a big way. DreamHack does a great job with the fighting game area, ensuring that there is always someone playing and if there wasn’t a match on the main stage, there were tons of mini side stations for people to hook up their controllers and play whenever they wanted.

Starcraft II: SC2, a 14-year old game, had one of the smaller stage and seating areas but every seat was filled when the action heated up. It’s great to see Starcraft still hosting $100K prize pools in 2024. The DreamHack event acted as a qualifier for the $1M prize pool event at the Esports World Cup in August.

Overwatch 2: Overwatch was probably the second largest esport at the event, and DreamHack almost didn’t seem ready for it 😅. Every time I’d walk by, it was standing room only with TONS of people crowding the stage. With this being the first LAN event since the end of the OWL, everyone was excited to see the next step in competitive Overwatch.

One thing that was great to see was the Porsche x Overwatch partnership continuing with a physical presence next to the stage!

source: My Phone

Not A Fan Of Esports? 

Outside of the many esports competitions going on, DreamHack had plenty of other activities going on — a Main Stage with programming featuring top content creators, a ton of indie game developers showcasing their games, a plethora of artists hosting booths highlighting their art and signing memorabilia, and of course, plenty of brands promoting their products & services.

Sponsorships & Activations

Esports organizations: 
Team Liquid crushed it, with really impressive LED panels that made for great photos and a team meet & greet that had one of the longest lines of the whole weekend.

Dignitas brought a small but comfy lounge to their booth along with a creative “Build A Digi” activation, where fans could create their own Dignitas mascot inspired character.

The Battle of the Gaming Chairs: 
Secret Lab brought the heat with one of the best looking activations with their almost fully enclosed booth where you could really escape the hustle and bustle of the event and just play some games.

Anthros Gaming Chairs were also in action at DreamHack with their own booth. I’ve personally never heard of Anthros so it was a solid plug!

Qiddiya Gaming — the gaming & epsorts branch of Qiddiya City had a large presence with an interactive booth where fans could learn more about the CS event, checking out the bracket & prizing.

The booth also had a large screen with bean bags (if you can call them bean bags 😂) set in front of it for fans to watch the action.

The Wildcard? FIRMAN Power Equipment.

The power generator brand, though probably one of the most unpopular booths, did get their fair share of visitors thanks to the activities their booth offered.

Everyone loves a good game of cornhole or Connect 4.

Other Noteworthy Plugs: 

  • FlyQuest really knocked it out the park with their Texas-inspired “Eco Rounds” activation powered by Logitech that allowed fans to shoot at targets similar to a carnival game.

  • Spacestation Gaming also brought the heat with a smaller footprint but a strong presence thanks to the playable mini-game with prizing that they seemed to have created themselves?!

Final Thoughts

DreamHack Dallas did it again — it truly is one of the premier events of the gaming & esports calendar. I don’t believe DreamHack was particularly struggling in prior years but the Esports World Cup has definitely brought a renewed energy with so many games competing and so much at stake.

- Justin Palacios & Zach Eller (Private Lobby)

EA Looks to Put Ads in Their Games

source: EA Games

As confirmed by EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson during their recent earnings call, the company is looking to include in-game advertisements within their AAA games.

“Advertising has an opportunity to be a meaningful driver of growth for us. We have teams internally in the company right now looking at how we do very thoughtful implementations inside of our game experiences.” - Andrew Wilson, EA Games CEO

source: Need for Speed: Underground 2

This isn’t the first time EA has experimented with advertisements within their games, Need for Speed: Underground 2 featured Burger King & Best Buy as physical stores within the game. Burnout Paradise featured a billboard promoting Obama & his campaign during the 2008 Presidential Election.

source: Burnout Paradise

More recently, EA has faced backlash from their players for their advertisement in EA’s UFC game. EA partnered with Amazon to promote their new TV series, The Boys. The Boys branding would be seen on the mat and used as a bug introducing matches and used to transition to replays. Players were most upset with how “in your face” the advertisements were — after already paying $60 for the game. 

Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze?

Personally, I’m not opposed to in-game advertisements as long as they…

  • Aren’t taking up the whole screen or are too obtrusive, such as being pinned on HUD during gameplay

  • Result in cheaper games OR more content  

I’ve recently been playing an indie game called Slapshot Rebound, a super simple hockey game that has a crazy skill gap. What’s interesting about Slapshot is how they use real-life sponsors in the game, almost making the sports game feel more realistic.

In the arena & around the goal you can find advertisements for QT Gas Station. They aren’t in your face and taking up the whole screen, but you see them during gameplay & replays showing a goal. If someone were to make content about the game, post their sick goal, or live stream themselves playing the game — QT would be featured in all of the content.

source: Slapshot Rebound

What also makes this acceptable to players is that the game is FREE — for the price of having to see some ads during gameplay, you get to play for free.

- Justin Palacios (Private Lobby)

Video Games Hitting The Silver Screen

source: Mob Entertainment

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been blessed with announcements that even more IP is making its way to (or back to) streaming services and theaters.

Kicking off this string of news, Hollywood Reporter informed us at the top of May that Legendary had closed a deal with Mob Entertainment to create a live-action adaptation of Poppy Playhouse, the episodic horror title that follows the former employee of a toy-making company who encounters toy-turned-monster Huggy Wuggy. The 2.5 year-old franchise centers around this shark-toothed Elmo-from-Hell character who has enjoyed global licensing deals in retail for most of its life. Who wouldn’t want to get their child one of these cuddly monstrosities?  

Speaking of Legendary Pictures, CAPCOM and the movie studio bringing us a modern day Street Fighter reboot revealed the first poster art for their still-distant film at the Las Vegas Licensing Expo. While nothing profound, the logo is very similar to the logo and visual ID leveraged in the games to appeal to existing fans. It may not star Jean-Claude Van Damme, but there is still a lot of potential around this FGC darling in the new era of video game transmedia.

Another team busting their ass to serve as a steward of video game IP? Amazon Prime Video. After Bethesda’s Fallout premier on the service became the most-watched original program yet, and beat out viewership of staples like Grey’s Anatomy and NCIS (an insane accomplishment, all things considered) … they have ordered a live-action Tomb Raider series. Phoebe Waller-Bridge will serve as writer and executive producer in this collaboration between Crystal Dynamics and Amazon MGM Studios. The show is another big move that comes on the heels of the news from last December where we were told Crystal Dynamics and Amazon Games will be joining forces to develop and publish the next entry in this beloved franchise.

Later in the month, Netflix and Mojang Studios concluded their 15-day celebration of Minecraft’s 15th birthday by announcing a new animated series set in their blocky universe. The show will tell an original story featuring all-new characters and reflect the world of Minecraft in “an all new light.”

Lastly, right around midnight CST today, we were surprised by a Prime Video post that informed us all that Sega’s fan favorite Like a Dragon, previously known as Yakuza, will be coming to the Amazon video service on October 24. Per IGN: this six-episode original is directed by Masaharu Take, best known for the drama series The Naked Director. Made in Japan, the series stars hugely popular Japanese drama and stage actor Roma Takeuchi in the role of Kazuma Kiryu.

Additional rumor:

  • A Kingdom Hearts film is being developed by Disney Studios. The project will be a mix of CGI and live-action but the biggest question is how in the world the team behind this potential adaptation is going to capture the schizophrenic storyline that feels like a Disney adult’s beautiful acid trip.


After last year’s monumental Super Mario Bros. movie, video game IP has become the next Gold Rush in Hollywood. The Last of Us, Fallout, and (to a select few) Halo have shown gamers and fans worldwide that video game adaptations are no longer doomed to suck. 

As I mentioned in a podcast interview last year, studios now have the creative power and heart of gamers who aren’t approaching these projects as a cash grab… but as a way to build upon the stories, worlds and characters they’ve grown up with.

Personally, I can’t wait to see Borderlands when it hits theaters this August. Jack Black as Claptrap? chef’s kiss

- Brandon Painter (Private Lobby) 

CECC 2024 Smashes Expectations

source: Collegiate Sports Management Group/McDonald’s

One of Collegiate’s Biggest Events

The Collegiate Esports Commissioner's Cup (CECC) 2024 went off successfully this May, setting the stage for a bright future. The event featured 84 teams competing across four popular game titles (VALORANT, Overwatch 2, Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Rocket League). CECC was hosted at Esports Stadium Arlington with McDonald’s as the presenting sponsor! It was a true celebration, bringing together live esports with content creators and collegiate communities.

McDonald's really committed to supporting the event through various activations, including custom digital content, gaming giveaways, and a private red carpet Jersey Ceremony where each athlete received a branded jersey. Additionally, McDonald's had on-site activations and promotions through the McDonald's App, providing a platform to drive app downloads and engagement. Other sponsors included Smoothie King, State Farm, Cirkul, Zipchair Gaming, Red Bull, Six Flags, and the US Army. The event's success in 2023, attracting over 3,000 fans and being awarded LAN Event of the Year, highlights the potential for this event and proper collegiate support in the future.

Collegiate’s Push Power:

  • CECC 2024 featured star-studded co-streamers like Hungrybox, TenacityTV, QuarterJade, and Flats, each covering one of the 4 games played.

  • The event attracted over 4 million digital views with nearly 2 million VOD views.

  • Social media engagements were robust, with 1.3 million impressions and a physical attendance of over 4,000 fans.

  • The digital impact was measurable, with 45.5 million impressions at a 30-second ad view equivalent and a staggering 683 million impressions at a 2-second ad view equivalent, demonstrating the immense reach and enthusiasm for the event.
    *Data Sourced from Integrated Content Agency


I’m all thumbs up about this event's success. Collegiate esports have been fighting for so long to gain legitimacy, support, and viewership. CECC 2024 was a step in the right direction to show that there is a demand for good collegiate esports! I participated in the University of Utah’s esports as much as possible, and sometimes, you were lucky just to get a gear sponsor to provide things to use. Seeing McDonald’s and a swath of other companies come in to support this event is a sign that spending more dollars on the collegiate scene may just prove fruitful for partners. It’s an engaged, passionate community that is grateful for any kind of support they can get.

I'd encourage any brands out there to consider collegiate sponsorships as a means of entering the esports space with their marketing dollars. They're affordable compared to other esports sponsorships, and the locally focused potential is nothing to turn away from. Sponsors looking to reach GenZ consumers in particular markets could generate significant value from partnering with gaming or esports initiatives at schools near them.

Gen.G Invests in Future Esports Talent

source: Gen.G

Gen.G has launched 'The Next Gen Fellowship,' a program that provides accessibility for US students interested in pursuing careers in esports and gaming. This fully remote, month-long program offers a behind-the-scenes look at an esports organization's operations, allowing participants to gain insights into various departments and potential career paths.

We are proud to add this fellowship to our incredible educational offerings, from our ongoing support of the Gen.G Collegiate Network of esports clubs to our recent successful Campus Takeover event at the University of Kentucky.”

Through weekly sessions hosted by different Gen.G departments, students can learn about the inner workings of an esports team and network with industry professionals. Upon completion, participants will receive a $500 honorarium. The program provides valuable experience and demonstrates Gen.G's commitment to fostering the next generation of esports and gaming professionals. This initiative aligns with the organization's broader educational efforts, including the Gen.G Global Academy and university partnerships.

Quick Insights:

  • The program's application process is open from May 23rd until June 10th, and students are selected by June 20th.

  • The program will run from July 8th through August 2nd, with a final exhibition on August 5th.

  • The program aligns with Gen.G's broader educational initiatives like the Gen.G Global Academy across Seoul, Los Angeles, and Shanghai, as well as partnerships with universities like Kentucky and Warwick.


I must say I’m a bit mixed on this initiative. It’s a very nice thing to have, and I can’t applaud Gen. G enough for investing in supporting the next generation as they have. Few teams have gone so far as to support collegiate programs, give people access to training or knowledge, and uplift those with ambition. That said, I’d love to see an aspect of this NextGEN program that’s accessible to everyone, not just those applicants they select. Seeing the remote learning sessions published on their Youtube or even opening a couple of lessons to the public would greatly increase their impact here. Ultimately, this is a great program that will surely provide some value to those selected. Gen. G provides lots of face time, networking opportunities, and educational moments to applicants out of the goodness of their hearts.

I want more initiatives like this from everyone! Gen. G is showing us all what it means to truly “give a shit” and create programs that help people figure out their path without concerning themselves with revenue generation. I can’t wait to see more from Gen. G on the NextGEN Fellowship and hope its participants go on to do great things.

- Brendan Valentine (Private Lobby)

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