Industry Changes – Mail.Ru buy EPICENTER, SK Gaming & Virtus.Pro

Mail.ru, the dominating internet company in Russia, has just purchased the controlling company of both SK Gaming and Virtus Pro, ESForce, in a deal that reportedly crossed one hundred and fifty million dollars. The deal is a potential industry changer, because ESForce controls the EPICENTER tournament organization, as well has major gambling and trading sites. These include Dota2 Lounge, CS:GO Lounge, Cybersport, RuHub and Yota Arena.

By buying a controlling interest in ESForce, Mail.ru now also controls all these sites and companies as well. This, combined with the fact that they now own the world’s top team, SK Gaming, and the veteran Virtus.pro, means that Mail.ru are now a powerful force in the esports arena.

An economic powerhouse from the Russian sector

Mail.ru are an economic powerhouse in the Russian sector, bringing in over seven hundred and fifty million dollars in revenue over the last year. They not only own the dominating email service in Russia, but also its premier social media, VKontakte. Their major source of economic gain is selling hosting for websites.

Mail.ru have tried to break into the esports arena previously, but not in as major a way as this present move looks to be. ‘Not in as major a way,’ doesn’t mean that their previous effort wasn’t impressive, because their earlier move was to set up Mail.ru Games Venture, a hundred million dollar games-related fund to power games development.

Mail.ru are now major players on the esports scene

By taking over ESForce, Mail.ru make themselves major players in the esports arena almost overnight. SK Gaming and Virtus.pro are themselves major players in the esports arena, fielding teams in multiple esports, including Dota 2 and CS:GO, as well as Quake, Paladins, Fifa and Hearthstone. Taking over these two major players makes Mail.ru the controlling influence of all these teams. SK Gaming, especially, dominate the world in CS:GO, and their influence is likely to continue for a considerable time to come, with FaZe Clan, their only competitor, seemingly fading out.

BLAST Pro Series SK Gaming wins trophy

Image Credit: BPS

Will Mail.ru have to face up to the World Esports Association?

Do note that the World Esports Association tends to insist that a single company cannot own many teams all at the same time. How this will affect the ESForce deal has yet to be seen, with it becoming possible that the company will have to let go of either SK Gaming or Virtus.pro. A Russian company might have sentimental value for Virtus.pro as a Russian team, but it’s actually out of the question that they’ll let go of SK Gaming, who are a core influence on the CS:GO scene today. In any case, that’s a case for esports jurists of the future. For now, Mail.ru are a dominating influence on the esports scene for some time to come.


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