[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics has sold its hotshot eSports team Samsung Galaxy to Silicon Valley-based eSports firm KSV, the company confirmed on Dec. 1.
“We decided to sell Samsung Galaxy to KSV for the sake of the players’ growth. We viewed it will be better for (Samsung Galaxy) to work with a more professional eSports company,” said an official at Cheil Worldwide, a marketing firm that ran the team.
Samsung Galaxy is a leading eSports team -- comprised of six players -- in a popular multiplayer online battle game League of Legends. This year, it won 2017 League of Legends World Championship that was held in China.
Industry watchers regarded the decision as Samsung having lost its interest in the PC-based game business in light of the surging mobile era.
Samsung Galaxy had represented the tech giant’s once eager interest in eSports.
In 2000, it led the creation of the world’s first esports Olympics, World Cyber Games, by providing funds of around 10 billion won ($9 million). Samsung Electronics CEO Yun Jong-yong once served as a chairman of WCG to support the competition.
However, the interest in the PC-based games appeared to subside in recent years with the tech industry’s focus shifting from PCs to mobile devices.
In 2013, Samsung ended the WCG competition on the ground that the PC-based esports does not match with the mobile era. Later, it sold all of its trademark related to WCG to local firm Smile Gate.
Cheil Worldwide, however, denied the industry speculation, saying, “The selloff cannot only be explained from the business perspective because it is also related to the future of the players. However, we did realize that eSports does not create much synergy with other physical sports activities, including baseball, football and volleyball.”
Cheil Worldwide, whose biggest shareholder is Samsung Electronics, currently runs professional baseball team Samsung Lions, football team Suwon Samsung Bluewings and volleyball team Samsung Fire Bluefangs.
By Shin Ji-hye/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)