Huya Acquires USD$30m (£24.7m) Stake in ESL; Google Open Sources Real-Time Hand Tracking Tech

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TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Huya acquires USD$30m (£24.7m) stake in ESL; Google open sources real-time hand tracking tech; and PEGI clarifies position on NBA 2K20 gambling imagery.

Huya acquires USD$30m (£24.7m) stake in ESL

China streaming platform Huya has acquired a USD$30m (£24.7m) minority stake in Turtle Entertainment GmbH, otherwise known as ESL, as part of a joint venture with ESL parent company Modern Times Group (MTG) to ‘facilitate expansion into China’. Under the arrangement, ESL and Huya will arrange and host local Chinese esports tournaments which fall under the ESL calendar, alongside initiatives to boost local esports athlete participation. The venture takes ESL’s valuation to USD$425m (£349.2m).

In the press release accompanying the announcement, Rongjie Dong, chief executive officer of Huya, said, “We are pleased to establish a close partnership with ESL, which demonstrates Huya’s further penetration into the global esports sector. Together with ESL, we are thrilled to bring more world class global esports content to Chinese gaming enthusiasts.”

Google open sources real-time hand tracking tech

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Google has open sourced its real-time hand detection and finger tracking technology in a cross-platform machine learning framework dubbed MediaPipe. The move is of particular interest to developers focusing within XR, as the real-time capabilities of the tech are workable within mobile environments, as opposed to comparable desktop systems.

In a statement on the Google AI Blog, Google Research engineers Valentin Bazarevsky and Fan Zhang posted, “We hope that providing this hand perception functionality to the wider research and development community will result in an emergence of creative use cases, stimulating new applications and new research avenues.”

PEGI clarifies position on NBA 2K20 gambling imagery

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Game content rater Pan European Game Information (PEGI) has clarified its position on controversial gambling-esque features advertised in the latest trailer for the upcoming NBA 2K20 title, stating that it is “aware that it may get too close for comfort for some people”. The game has been classified under the 3+ age rating, essentially deeming it suitable for all ages, despite the clear depictions of gambling. The trailer, which covers the MyTeam element of the game, depicts a host of gambling features including slot machines, a ‘wheel of fortune’, pachinko machines, and ‘reward cards’.

The statement reads further “The games industry is evolving constantly (and rapidly in recent years). As a rating organisation, we need to ensure that these developments are reflected in our classification criteria. We do not base our decisions on the content of a single trailer, but we will properly assess how the rating system (and the video games industry in general) should address these concerns.”