Technology Featured Southeast Asia

New project by top game developers Ubisoft, Riot Games to better AI tools in detecting ‘disruptive’ behaviour in games

Singapore – Top game developers Ubisoft and Riot Games have recently announced ‘Zero Harm in Comms’, a technological partnership that aims to enhance the reach of their artificial intelligence-based solutions in order to prevent harmful player interactions. The project aims to develop a cross-industry shared database and labelling ecosystem for in-game data that will improve the training of AI-based preemptive moderation tools for detecting and mitigating disruptive behaviour.

The ‘Zero Harm in Comms’ research project will allow both companies to explore how to lay the technological foundations for future industry collaboration and create the framework that guarantees the ethics and the privacy of this initiative. It is expected that the resulting database should cover every type of player and in-game behaviour with their competitive games and diverse portfolio, in order to better train Riot Games’ and Ubisoft’s AI systems.

According to the active members of the Fair Play Alliance, Ubisoft, and Riot Games, the creation of safe and meaningful online experiences in games can only come from collective action and knowledge sharing. As such, this initiative builds on both companies’ larger journey of developing gaming structures that foster more rewarding social experiences while avoiding harmful interactions.

Yves Jacquier, executive director of Ubisoft La Forge, observed that, “Disruptive player behaviours is an issue that we take very seriously but also one that is very difficult to solve.”

Wesley Kerr, head of technology research at Riot Games, also mentioned, “Disruptive behaviour isn’t a problem that is unique to games – every company that has an online social platform is working to address this challenging space. That is why we’re committed to working with industry partners like Ubisoft who believe in creating safe communities and fostering positive experiences in online spaces.”

Jacquire added, “At Ubisoft, we have been working on concrete measures to ensure safe and enjoyable experiences, but we believe that, by coming together as an industry, we will be able to tackle this issue more effectively. Through this technological partnership with Riot Games, we are exploring how to better prevent in-game toxicity as designers of these environments with a direct link to our communities.”

The ‘Zero Harm in Comms’ research project, which is still in its early stages, is the first step in an ambitious cross-industry project that aims to benefit the entire player community in the future. As part of the first research exploration, Ubisoft and Riot have committed to sharing the initial phase of the experiment’s learnings with the entire industry next year, regardless of the outcome.

Kerr said, “This project is just an example of the wider commitment and work that we’re doing across Riot to develop systems that create healthy, safe, and inclusive interactions with our games.” 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Riot Games taps GosuGamers as official media partner for esports tourney

Singapore — Video game developer Riot Games has appointed GosuGamers as its official media partner for this year’s Wild Rift Champions Southeast Asia Finals. The agreement enables GosuGamers to provide coverage for the tournament on the esports front as well as dive deeper into individual teams that are making waves in the MOBA mobile game, League of Legends: Wild Rift.

Esther Quek, head of marketing of GosuGamers, said that they want to capture the attention of the young generation, gaming community, and Wild Rift lovers by creating more meaningful, inspiring and entertaining content for the community.

“By delivering content that is entertaining, educational, and vital to these fans, we hope to continue to be the best place to visit when it comes to global esports tournaments that have the potential to create positive impacts,” Quek said.

Of the 11 teams that have qualified for WCS 2022, GosuGamers will be inviting fans for a closer look at Team Flash from Vietnam, RRQ from the Philippines, Buriram United Esports from Thailand, and Flash Wolves from Taiwan. Esports fans can enjoy more updates surrounding these teams and the tournament itself via GosuGamers, alongside editorial and social content.

In addition to the premier esports coverage that is the signature of GosuGamers, the portal will also be holding the GosuAwards: Wild Rift Champions SEA Finals, designed to recognise players and teams for their outstanding efforts at the tournament, as well as serve as a reminder of the excellent play on display.

The GosuAwards will run after the WCS Finals from May 15-29, 2022. The winners will fall under the two categories of either Editor or Community Choice. The winners of Best Newcomers, Best Player in Each Position, Best Moments of the Tournament, and the Overall MVP will be recognised with coveted GosuAwards plaques that are fully customised.

Platforms Featured Global

Riot Games announces equity investment in ‘Arcane’ animation studio Fortiche Production

Paris, France – Video game developer Riot Games, known for its online game ‘League of Legends’ has announced an equity investment to animation studio Fortiche Production, who animated the animated series ‘Arcane’, which is based on the lore of League of Legends.

Through the equity investment, Riot Games now holds a significant non-controlling stake in Fortiche. Brian Wright, chief content officer at Riot Games and Brendan Mulligan, director of corporate development at Riot Games have also joined Fortiche’s board of directors.

Riot Games and Fortiche have long worked together in creating media projects, the first one being for the music video of ‘Get Jinxed’ to promote the character Jinx on League of Legends. Other collaborations included music videos ‘WARRIORS’ and ‘Enemy’, both of which are sung by American band Imagine Dragons. Furthermore, the two companies have also worked together in music videos for ‘Seconds’, ‘RISE’, and ‘POP/STARS’, which is performed by their virtual band K/DA.

Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games, said, “Fortiche has been an integral partner for a long time, but this agreement ensures we’ll be working closely for decades to come. We hold a high bar for everyone we work with and insist they understand players deeply and focus on them relentlessly, and from day one, Fortiche has exemplified player experience first.” 

He added, “In working with Fortiche, we collaborate to push the boundaries of what’s possible and raise expectations for how games can be represented in the media. As proud as we are of Arcane, we know the best is yet to come.”

Meanwhile, Pascal Charrue, Jérôme Combe, and Arnaud Delord, co-founders of Fortiche, commented, “The various collaborations with Riot Games, and especially Arcane, have made Fortiche Production a new major player on the international animation scene. Riot Games, by trusting us, has given us the means to achieve our common ambitions and has shown that it is possible to offer new content that can reach a large audience. In 2023, we will celebrate ten years of collaboration: there is no better way to symbolise the trust and ambitions of our two companies than this association.”

Marketing Featured APAC

Riot Games expands publishing business into several APAC countries

Los Angeles, California — Prolific video game developer Riot Games has announced its expansion into several countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC) as part of its business reorganization in the region. 

With a focus on hyper-localisation and fresh plans to extend its publishing reach to Japan and India, Riot Games will also open new publishing offices in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Riot had previously run the SEA business out of its Singapore hub office and also had an office in Japan.

Riot has also brought in Alex Kraynov, its previous managing director of emerging markets for Southeast Asia, India, Latin America, Brazil, Middle East, North Africa, and Japan, as the new managing director for APAC to lead publishing.

The reorganization will also see a diversification of Riot’s operating model with publishing at the forefront, alongside its other business pillars of games, entertainment, esports and enterprise.

In this effort to strengthen their presence APAC, Riot has made the following regional appointments namely Shinji Komiyama as director of country management for APAC, Jennifer Poulson as head of publishing partnerships for APAC, Alasdair Gray as head of marketing for APAC, and Derek Winder as head of business development for APAC. Riot also made some appoint for its local division namely Yasushi Fujimoto as country manager of Japan, Joel Guzman as country manager of the Philippines, and Resha Pradipta as country manager of Indonesia and Malaysia.

Since re-establishing its Singapore HQ for Southeast Asia in 2018, Riot has significantly grown its workforce and is now doubling down on publishing in the region. This organizational expansion translates into the establishment of local offices and hiring country managers in key markets such as the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and India, joining publishing forces with Riot’s Japan office, and enhancing its publishing hub in Singapore to over 80 people across the region. Key departments within APAC Publishing include country operations, publishing partnerships, brand marketing, growth marketing and services, business development, and regional tech. 

Alex Kraynov, managing director of Riot Games Asia Pacific, commented that this is a natural step in progression for Riot’s publishing business in Southeast Asia, and they recognized that APAC has the potential to become the biggest region in the world for the company. Kraynov continued by saying that APAC is intricately diverse, with massive gaming communities that have diverse needs and a strong appetite for mobile gaming. 

“In the past few years, our offices in Singapore and Japan have worked hard to release several new games and have nurtured new esports leagues to excite and delight players. Working towards more physical presence in our key APAC markets, we’re extremely excited to double down on these efforts to continue striving towards being the most player-focused gaming company in the world,” Kraynov said. 

Beyond the gaming space, Riot has also released projects and campaigns in animation adaptation, music, and fashion. More recently, Riot also collaborated with Filipino urban streetwear brand Team Manila on an exclusive capsule collection to celebrate the launch of Neon, the first Filipino agent in its tactical shooter VALORANT.

With the goal of being the most player-focused game company in the world, Riot has in the last couple of years launched new titles including its recent shooter hit VALORANT. Riot’s games within the League of Legends universe have garnered over 600 million players globally in the past decade.

Platforms Featured APAC

VeraEsports tapped as official esports partner for VALORANT Champions Tour in APAC

London, United Kingdom – Competitive esports and video streaming platform VeraEsports has been tapped by game developer Riot Games to be its official esports partner for the upcoming VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) APAC, Challengers 2022.

The VALORANT Champions Tour is a year-long event that takes the best teams from across the globe and pits them against each other during three levels: ‘Challengers’, ‘Masters’, and ‘Champions’. In 2021, the Champions Tour attracted over one million peak viewers and averaged some 500,000 viewers during the course of the tournament.

Through the partnership, VeraEsports will make exclusive content available for VeraEsports viewers, including match highlights, special features, and access to an exclusive library of content. Said content will be available in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

RJ Mark, founder at VeraEsports, says, “We are proud to renew and enhance our partnership with Riot Games and the VCT. Enabling new and breakthrough community experiences is our goal and this year we bring even more value through an exclusive VCT content hub on VeraEsports.” 

He added, “The community will now be able to watch and earn across both VOD-based content and live broadcasts. We’ve only just scratched the surface on what we can achieve together with Riot Games and we are excited to bring more value in the future.”

The ‘watch and earn’ program of VeraEsports encourages esports fans to earn points and redeem them for exclusive rewards while they watch their favourite Esports tournaments. VeraEsports will be beta-testing its patented proof of view (POV) technology, developed by its parent brand Verasity, to combat fraudulent advertising viewership during the Valorant Champions Tour APAC.

Meanwhile, Chris Tran, head of esports for SEA, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau at Riot Games, commented, “This partnership reflects the great strength and growth potential of the VCT in the region. Despite VALORANT Esports being launched only about a year ago, we’ve had an amazing level of engagement and passion from our community. We look forward to working with VeraEsports on making VCT APAC even better this year by bringing the very best VCT content to our players and fans across the region.”

VeraEsports is built upon the infrastructure of protocol and product layer blockchain platform Verasity, which focuses on esports and digital content.

Platforms Featured Global’s US$9M funding to fuel in-game ad platform globally

Tel Aviv, Israel – In-game advertising platform has announced the conclusion of its funding series, successfully raising US$9M to aid the company’s global expansion of its in-game advertising platform, with the help of venture capital groups BITKRAFT Ventures and HBSE Ventures, as well as marketing services organization WPP and Sony Innovation Fund, the corporate venture capital arm of multinational conglomerate Sony.

The funding series has also seen the participation of venture capitals Alumni Ventures Group and Goal Ventures, as well as angel investors Marc Merrill, co-founder, co-chairman, and former co-CEO of Riot Games, and Dylan Collins, co-founder and CEO of SuperAwesome, a kid-safe ad platform recently acquired by Epic Games.’s funding series coincides with the increasing popularity and market ‘boom’ of the gaming industry. Statistics from market intelligence group Mordor Intelligence estimate that the gaming industry’s value is expected to be around US$257B by 2025.

“Gaming is one activity that has exploded over the past year and increasingly an important advertising channel. In partnership with Anzu, together with our agencies, we can make it simpler for them to reach the growing audience in the esports and gaming space,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP.

Through the accumulated funding, will be pushing its presence globally starting with the United States, followed by Singapore and China, and other core locations to be announced. With partner brands including game publishers Ubisoft, Lion Castle, and Nacon and global brands Pepsico, Samsung, American Eagle, and Vodafone, will feature advertisements of partner brands through programmatic technology blending of real-world ads into video games, esports tournaments, and live streams, enhancing games’ realism and transforming game objects into valuable advertising opportunities.

“Anzu has been delivering the technology they promised and growing their industry footprint. We are excited to join this funding round and support Anzu, entering a new phase of growth in in-game advertising. The company’s gamer-first attitude will enable developers to access new business models and bring advertisers closer to gamer audiences without disturbing gameplay,” says Gen Tsuchikawa, CEO and chief investment officer at Innovation Growth Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund.

Meanwhile, Itamar Benedy, co-founder and CEO at Anzu commented, “We are proud to have global leaders in advertising, entertainment, gaming, esports, and venture capital invest in Anzu’s next stage of growth. These trailblazers are the perfect combination of strategic partners to help us maintain our dominating position as we enter 2021.”

For Jens Hilgers, founding general partner at BITKRAFT, their recent participation at’s funding series means redefining the aspect of modern in-game advertising.

“Since our initial investment, the Anzu team has built the most sophisticated platform to deliver blended in-game advertising at scale in the higher-end games segment. The impressive line up of game integrations combined with brands executing unique campaigns on the platform has validated Anzu’s market position and technology,” Hilgers commented.