100 Thieves Lays Off 20% of Its Staff 🎮
The esports org downsizes for the second time this year
Good morning. There’s a creator niche, then there’s a creator niche. Perry James of Afoolzerrand falls into the second category: He exclusively reviews chocolate milk. Over the last few years, he's reviewed over 1,700 varieties, revealing the choco milk nuances we never knew existed. Hit reply and let us know: Who are your favorite hyper-specific creators?
100 Thieves Refocuses on Esports, Apparel
100 Thieves lets go of its game development project, Project X (left), and Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag’s energy drink brand, Juvee (right) to “refocus” on its core products / 100 Thieves
Esports brand 100 Thieves is laying off roughly 20% of its staff, marking the second round of layoffs for the company this year.
The downsizing is part of an overall brand restructuring, which includes spinning out 100 Thieves’ game development studio and energy drink brand Juvee to run independently without the company’s support.
Why downsize? Since 100 Thieves expanded into video games and beverages last year, sales have fallen short of expectations. “The growth of our business did not keep pace with the growth of our organization,” president and COO John Robinson shared on X (formerly Twitter).
Now, 100 Thieves is refocusing on its “core” products: esports, content, and apparel.
What creators are saying:
“This is concerning not just for 100 Thieves, but for esports as a whole,” esports commentator Jake Lucky said on his show Gamer Update. “It was clearly too much overhead and spending than what made sense. At least they took a risk as opposed to other esports orgs that slowly withered away into layoffs.”
“The gaming industry continues to take massive blows to an extremely talented workforce,” streamer Hunter Grooms said on X. This round of 100 Thieves layoffs included its esports content lead Andrew White, long-time designer Gregory "Seso" Ortiz, and head of social media Micah Kulish.
Big picture: Esports has taken hit after hit this year, from FaZe Clan’s stock tanking to both esports org Evil Geniuses and game development studio Bungie Studios laying off staff in the last week alone.
Smosh Revives Popular Series as Channel Surges
Ian Hecox (left) and Anthony Padilla (right) are bringing back their iconic YouTube series “Food Battle” / Smosh
YouTube sketch comedy creators Smosh are bringing back their beloved “Food Battle” competition for the first time in seven years on November 17.
Context: Smosh cofounders Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla uploaded their first “Food Battle” video in 2006, and it became an annual tradition for the next decade until Padilla left Smosh in 2017.
“Food Battle” returns as Smosh is surging in popularity following Hecox and Padilla’s June decision to buy back the brand they started. The two are now writing, directing, and starring in sketches together again, and the audience seems to have bought in—even as Hecox and Padilla have slowed their output.
FYI: Average monthly viewership for Smosh during the second half of this year is around 55M views, up from about 16M views prior to Padilla’s return to Smosh.
Zoom out: The comment section of the “Food Battle 2023” trailer suggests that Padilla and Hecox’s renewed presence onscreen is resonating with their core fans. “It's the most iconic series Smosh has ever done, and I've missed the annual rivalry so much. Ian's pink donut is going down!” one fan wrote.
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Fourthwall Launches Fully-Branded Mobile Apps for Creators
Fourthwall releases a tool for creators to launch their own apps to push notifications to their audiences / Illustration by Moy Zhong
Creator ecommerce platform Fourthwall just debuted a feature that allows creators to launch fully-branded mobile apps for their subscription memberships.
The why: “Clunky [web] browsers” were a subpar user experience for fans to access premium content on mobile, creator and Fourthwall beta tester Dan Lambert of I Could Murder a Podcast said in a statement. Additionally, Fourthwall said that its push notification features helped increase engagement on creators’ member posts by up to 29% during beta testing.
Zoom out: Apple and Google are notorious for their “app store tax” that takes a cut of sales from mobile apps downloaded through their app stores.
Unlike competitors like Patreon, Fourthwall plans to allow members to download the unique mobile apps directly from creators’ websites—which helps creators avoid app store taxes and decrease their business expenses.
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