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SBD Global/August 24, 2017/Finance

Game Digital Shares On The Rise As Company Shifts Focus To Esports

Video game company Game Digital is "shifting its focus" to esports in a "bid to tap into an increasingly lucrative industry," according to Giles Turner of BLOOMBERG. The push toward egaming comes as Game Digital posted sales of £891.7M ($1.14B) for the year to July 29, down 2.3% on the year. Shares of Game Digital, based in Basingstoke, England, rose as much as 42.13% early Tuesday in London, the "highest since listing" in '14. Online gaming has become a "fast growing and increasingly lucrative sport." In August, the annual "Dota 2" int'l event "broke the record for the largest prize pot" in esports, with Europe's "Team Liquid" winning the first place prize of $10.8M. Game Digital has been "struggling with the rise of online stores" and what it has described as a "challenging trading environment." On June 20, its shares dropped 24% after it "warned that annual sales growth would be below target." Earlier this month, the company revealed that Sports Direct had bought a 26% stake (BLOOMBERG, 8/23). In London, Sam Dean reported Game Digital said that it was further prioritizing its esport activities after a review, and was "evaluating strategic options" for its Multiplay Digital division, which hosts servers for gaming. The suggestion that it may sell the division "helped send shares soaring," with Liberum analyst Adam Tomlinson saying that it would be a "sensible" move. Last year, Game Digital launched its Belong "gaming arenas," and now has 18 Belong sites "where customers compete against each other on consoles within the store" (TELEGRAPH, 8/23).
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