Make.TV CEO Andreas Jacobi. (Make.TV Photos) continues to bolster its live streaming resume. The Seattle-based startup has expanded its partnership with , the world’s largest esports organization that runs competitions across the world and produces more than 1,500 hours of content annually. Later this month, Make.TV will stream action from the ESL One Mumbai, India’s first-ever major Dota 2 tournament with a $300,000 top prize. Founded in 2016, Make.TV helps customers such as MLBAM, NBC Universal, Al Jazeera, Viacom, Fox Sports Brasil, and others stream live video content in the cloud. The 42-person company, which relocated from Germany to Seattle two years ago, is backed by some of the top investment firms in the Pacific Northwest including Microsoft’s M12, Vulcan Capital, and Voyager Capital, which a $8.5 million Series A round in June 2017. Bruce Chizen, the former CEO of Adobe, is on the company’s board. Make.TV’s technology acts like a video router of sorts, allowing companies to take live video from a variety of sources and deliver it to any device on any platform, said, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “Simply put, we empower content creators to share their video with production teams working for TV networks, cable companies, esports and sports networks or any other type of video-based media,” he said. “We also simplify the work of the production teams by automating a number of tasks — sifting through lots of data; identifying content libraries to pick a short segment from; routing content to post-production houses, regional broadcasters and social media channels — enabling them to dedicate more time to what they do best: create content we all want to watch.” The company offers a similar service to Portland-based Elemental, which . Other competitors include , , , and smaller startups. Make.TV is ranked No. 165 on the , our index of top Pacific Northwest startups. With more people watching live video online and the growth of platforms such as Twitch, the live streaming industry is to surpass $13 billion this year.
Rainway CEO Andrew Sampson at TechStars Seattle Demo Day in 2018. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper) Google today jumpstarted the ninth generation of gaming hardware with at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Big on hype and , Stadia promises to use to let players jump straight into high-end, fast-paced games from existing devices without any need for additional hardware; if you can run a YouTube video at 4K, you’re already set up for Stadia. In Seattle, however, there’s already a startup doing what Google pitched on Tuesday. allows users to stream video games from personal devices to any other machine in their possession, as long as it has a browser and can comfortably run video at 60 frames per second. for its beta last year, the 2-year-old company that graduated from Techstars Seattle in 2018 made its official launch on the Windows platform at the end of January. “We did get there first,” Sampson told GeekWire over the phone from GDC. “It’s always good to beat the big guys to the punch.” Sampson fired off a set of tweets after Tuesday’s announcement, noting how Google “misrepresented” the performance of its beta tests for the new streaming service and said the search giant “goes on to pretend as if they are the first to get high-quality games playing in the browser.” Google then goes on to pretend as if they are the first to get high-quality games playing in the browser. They aren't. We launched two years ago with low-latency game steaming in Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari. — Andrew Sampson @ GDC (@Andrewmd5) If you want to maintain your freedom and begin playing your game library anywhere today, check out — we're building an extension to your games, not a replacement. — Andrew Sampson @ GDC (@Andrewmd5) Sampson told GeekWire that “Google doesn’t understand that openness is a big reason why people love playing video games.” “Some of the games that we love, like [Defense of the Ancients], are the result of people having access and control over the games that they’re playing,” he said. “By taking away the box, and taking away the ability to actually modify the game, what market are you serving, other than the publishers directly? People want to be able to configure and tinker. Being able to upgrade your console and PC is part of that experience. Getting rid of it is almost baffling.” Rainway has an announcement coming later this week regarding its availability on the Xbox. Since its launch, the company has racked up more than one million regular users. And remember, Rainway is coming to Xbox
A report from shares some of the details about the long-rumored video streaming service from Apple. The company should unveil this service at a press conference in Cupertino on . While has been working on for its new streaming service, Bloomberg says that most of them won’t be ready for the launch later this month. Apple will probably share some teasers on stage, but the launch lineup will mostly feature third-party content. Apple is probably talking with everyone, but many premium cable channels still have to make up their mind about Apple’s streaming service. HBO, Showtime and Starz have to decide whether they want to be part of the launch by Friday. It’s unclear if Apple is going to feature some or all content from those partners. Many of them already have a streaming service on their own. And you can already access their libraries from the TV app on your Apple TV or iOS device. Apple could streamline the experience by letting you subscribe to various content bundles in its own streaming service. Amazon already provides something similar with . Netflix and Hulu will likely remain independent services as they compete directly with Apple’s original content effort. When it comes to Apple’s other announcement, the company should also unveil its Apple News subscription on March 25. Apple Texture last year and has been working on a digital magazine subscription for a while. Unsurprisingly, it looks like Apple News' magazine service is prepared to launch on macOS too — Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) Once again, details are still thin for this new service when it comes to pricing, availability outside of the U.S. and content. Last month, the WSJ that Apple has been working with Goldman Sachs on a credit card that would integrate deeply with the Apple Wallet app. Given that Apple’s event is about services, let’s see if the company talks about this new product as well.
TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: A new football league controlled by fans is the latest endeavor to make use of blockchain technology. The begins play next year and will allow fans to be apart of everything from play-calling to hiring general managers. The FCFL will feature eight indoor football teams playing one hour-long games in a production studio on a 50-yard field. Games will air on Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform whose video overlay technology will allow fans to call plays in real-time. The league is also using helmet cameras, embedded chips in balls, drones, and other tech. The league this week that it has partnered with , a Seattle-based blockchain consulting group, to implement a first-of-its-kind blockchain token system. Fans will be able to earn Fan Access Network (FAN) tokens built on the Ethereum blockchain; the more tokens collected, the more power they’ll have to make decisions. , co-founder of FCFL, told GeekWire that his team wanted to use blockchain for three reasons: Voting transparency: “We’re letting fans dictate the careers of coaches and players, and the plays on the field,” he said. “We need to be able to provide true transparency in the voting process so there are no questions about the results.” Tokenization: “We’re building a ‘real-life video game’ so it’s a natural fit to have tokens in the game,” he said. “We’re tokenizing voting power in the league so the more FAN tokens a fan owns/earns, the more voting power the fan will have.” Digital collectibles: “We’re going to be tokenizing the players in the league and creating non-fungible digital ‘collectible tokens’ for each player, similar to trading cards,” he said. “We’re working with New Alchemy on some interesting ways to incorporate the collectible player tokens into fantasy sports games for the league.” New Alchemy is also an investor in the league, making a “low seven-figure” investment, Farudi said. Farudi and his colleagues tested an initial version of FCFL last year , an Indoor Football League team, and letting fans control plays with an app. FCFL is the latest evolution, expanding the format to an entire league with partners like Twitch and IMG Original Content. Highlights from the week in sports tech Amazon bought up more live sports rights, this time to stream the U.S. Open in Ireland and the U.K. on Prime Video. The NFL is investigating what it alleges as widespread fraud related to its $1 billion concussion settlement, reports . Amazon-owned Twitch from the NBA’s new 2K esports league. reports that MLB and the NBA are in talks to divest their stakes in DraftKings and FanDuel. Seattle startup Vicis for safe football helmets. Seattle esports betting startup Unikrn made another acquisition, to create the first “crypto gaming platform.” Another Seattle startup, IdealSeat, to integrate its ticketing intelligence platform. University of Pittsburgh awarded two projects for its first : tech that improves swimming technique, and a bio-screening platform that measures a user’s nervous system. Did you sign up for ESPN+? In case you missed it, on ESPN’s new $5 per month streaming service. Mobile Sports Report is out with . Blockchain-based startups are . Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper
Amazon’s first Thursday Night Football stream plays on its website homepage in September. (Screenshot via Amazon) While National Football League teams have made the usual offseason changes aimed at improving their competitive chances next season, the league itself is staying with one big player — Amazon. The NFL announced Thursday that it had reached an agreement to once again partner with Amazon Prime Video for streaming rights to “Thursday Night Football.” The tech giant will stream 11 games (broadcast by FOX) to a global audience during both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Last season marked the first year of the streaming partnership between the league and Seattle-based Amazon, which took the reigns after Twitter’s one-year shot at the effort. Last year’s deal was for a reported $50 million, and rumblings on Thursday indicated that the NFL may have upped that price as competition from other services such as YouTube and Facebook was strong. Amazon re-ups NFL Thursday night streaming deal for 2018, 2019. Slightly surprising – figured league would want a new partner, and YouTube is very interested in live sports. — Peter Kafka (@pkafka) Looks like same deal as before (though I assume NFL will have extracted some kind of rate increase) – games streamed to Prime members worldwide. One new tweak – will also be available (presumably for free) to Twitch users. — Peter Kafka (@pkafka) Had heard from a few folks over the last few months that YouTube was a strong contender for this deal. Also a little surprised the NFL went back to Amazon. — Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) Surprising in that many thought NFL would continue its digital speed dating after previously working with Amazon and Twitter. Plenty of other potential parties inc YouTube and Facebook. But NFL staying w Amazon for this for next 2 years. — Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) “Amazon was a tremendous partner for ‘Thursday Night Football’ in 2017 and as we continue our mission of delivering NFL games to fans whether they watch on television or on digital platforms, we are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,” Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said in a news release. PREVIOUSLY: Amazon will deliver to more than 100 million Amazon Prime members worldwide in over 200 countries and territories, on the Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online. Across 10 games last season when on the technology behind the effort, Amazon attracted more than 17 million viewers, or an average of 1.7 million per game. Games will also be available to Twitch viewers, the live-streaming interactive video platform that is a subsidiary of Amazon. Amazon also partners with the NFL for the Prime original series “All or Nothing,” which is produced by NFL Films. The third season of the docuseries will launch on Friday with a closer look at the Dallas Cowboys. Amazon’s first “Thursday Night Football” game of the upcoming season will be during week four when the Los Angeles Rams host the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 27. Games kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET.