Skillz Blog

Week in Review: Amazon’s Champions of Fire Invitational, New Twitch Partnerships, Microsoft Solitaire Mobile Launch


Skillz gaming news recap

Image Credit: Amazon via TechCrunch

Digital/Mobile News

  • Amazon is expanding its investment in eSports, with the announcement of its first-ever eSports tournament focused on casual gaming to be hosted on the Amazon Appstore. The “Champions of Fire Invitational” will bring together sixteen top streamers. These streamers will compete for shares of a $100,000 cash prize on December 2. The event will be live-streamed on Twitch and CBS Sports Network will air a two-hour special with highlights. Streams will also be available on, Amazon Fire TV, and other social media networks that offer live streams. (TechCrunch)
  • Apple has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers in another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue. Apple began shutting down the team over the past year, dispersing engineers to other product development groups including Apple TV. It currently sells three wireless routers: the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time capsule. (Bloomberg)
  • Netflix-style subscriptions could become the future of monetization in the realm of mobile games. App Annie predicts that the model could become popular with those who play on their smart devices regularly. The subscription model has long since found its way into the traditional video games industry. However, it has yet to take hold in mobile. App Annie also suggests that a subscription model could be an effective way to get players into virtual reality on mobile. (
  • Scientists created a mobile game to help detect the early onset of dementia. In “Sea Hero Quest” you play an ocean explorer recovering your aging sailor father’s lost memories. Everything you do becomes a data point for scientists to use later on. A mobile game is a low-cost way to gather data and also overcome real-world geographic and language barriers to create a large-scale, cross-country study. The researchers have already collected over 790 months of gameplay, amounting to 9,500 years worth of data. (Quartz)

Gaming News

  • The Microsoft Solitaire Collection is out for iOS and Android as a free app. Microsoft’s version of the single-player card game is iconic, since it has long come built-in with the Windows operating system. While technically free, the app has in-game ads that you can disable with a premium purchase. However, iOS and Android users will have free access to the premium version until December 31. The app also has Xbox Live integration, so you can log into your Live account and earn achievements. (VentureBeat)
  • Glu Mobile has shut down its celebrity-focused title “Katy Perry Pop.” This was the second of Glu’s celebrity tie-in titles, and the first to focus on a musician. It was originally launched in December 2015 and was an immediate flop, failing to make any impact on the top grossing ranks in either the U.K or U.S. Glu has continued to work on other celebrity titles, recently adding iMessage stickers to “Kendall & Kylie.” Another musician-focused title based on Nicki Minaj is also currently in soft launch. (

Business News

  • The Skillz CEO and founder, Andrew Paradise, contributed an article to TechCrunch entitled “The history behind a $5 billion eSports industry.” The piece starts in the 1970s and discusses the highlights from each decade that helped grow the gaming industry and create the successful world of modern eSports that’s exploding in popularity today. (TechCrunch)
  • Twitch is partnering with Team SoloMid and Cloud9 on new sponsorships. Along with this sponsorship deal, Twitch will be the exclusive streaming platform for Cloud9 and TSM. By officially playing the middleman between these teams and such brands and providing the technology to further their reach, Twitch appears to be cementing its role as a significant force in eSports in the U.S. and abroad. (ESPN)
  • Oracle has acquired DNS provider Dyn, the subject of a massive DDoS attack in October that crippled some of the world’s biggest and most popular websites. Oracle plans to add Dyn’s DNS solution to its bigger cloud computing platform, which already sells/provides a variety of Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service products and competes against companies like Amazon’s AWS. Dyn and Oracle didn’t disclose the price of the deal. (TechCrunch)
  • AOL laid off 500 employees after adding 1,500 employees over the last 12 months, representing around 7 percent of the company. This is a move to streamline the company’s workforce after a period of external growth. Over the last 12 months, AOL acquired Millennial Media and took over most of Microsoft’s advertising business. With those deals, AOL added more than 1,500 employees. AOL wants to reduce its workforce ahead of the merger with Yahoo, but the acquisition of Yahoo hasn’t closed yet. (TechCrunch)

Visit the Skillz blog each week for a comprehensive review of the latest gaming news!