Major League Gaming Picks Up Machinima’s eSports Guy Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt
Wyatt is taking over the VP of Programming spot at MLG from Chris Puckett, who will now executive produce the gaming video site’s pro circuit competition broadcasts and its Sportscenter-esque show about the world of pro gaming, the eSports Report. Wyatt had headed up the live and eSports initiatives at Machinima.
Both MLG and Machinima have been around since the early 2000s, but Machinima has primarily focused on less sporty types of content in the past. It’s only in recent years that MLG’s longtime focus, eSports, has started to click with broader audiences. The game broadcasting site Twitch has made its channels for both making and watching gameplay more and more ubiquitous, and in December MLG launched its own online video platform, MLG.tv.
MLG wears many hats in the eSports world, managing teams of gamers while also broadcasting their matches and organizing live tournaments like its annual championship event, slated for June this year in Anaheim, Calif. It says its online viewers watch for about two-and-a-half hours per visit, on average, and the company says its viewership has been growing 60 percent month over month since launch. The company also runs a network of channels on YouTube, with about 7.3 million subscribers combined across 29 channels there.
The past year has been a bit rocky for Machinima, with two rounds of layoffs and the departure of both COO Nanea Reeves and a planned CEO change, from co-founder Allen DeBevoise to TV exec Chad Gustein. DeBevoise remains on Machinima’s board.
After spending most of 2013 looking for a big funding round, Machinima raised a comparatively smaller $18 million, led by Warner Bros. It was not immediately clear if or how Machinima’s eSports initiatives would change with Wyatt’s departure.
Apropos of nothing, here’s an animated gif of Wyatt reacting to something during a game, recently tweeted by MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni: