Tech

Xbox to partner with ELEAGUE for Gears of War series

Key Points
  • Microsoft said its Xbox Game Studios will partner with Turner Sports' ELEAGUE to produce a documentary series about "Gears of War" players in conjunction with a new version of the video game launching later this year.
  • The series will feature six hour-long programs focusing on the new game, called Gears 5, and the lives of its star players from around the globe. It will debut June 14 on Turner's TBS network.
Phil Spencer, Executive President of Gaming at Microsoft, addresses the audience at the Xbox 2018 E3 briefing in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 2018, ahead of the 24th Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Microsoft said on Tuesday its Xbox Game Studios will partner with Turner Sports' ELEAGUE to produce a documentary series about "Gears of War" players in conjunction with a new version of the video game launching later this year.

The series will feature six hour-long programs focusing on the new game, called Gears 5, and the lives of its star players from around the globe. It will debut June 14 on Turner's TBS network.

ELEAGUE produces content about esports and live tournaments. It is a partnership between Turner Sports, a unit of AT&T's WarnerMedia, and entertainment talent agency IMG.

Esports fans watch live video game tournaments online as well as in packed stadiums.

In July, ELEAGUE will also host the first-ever Gears 5 esports tournament and reveal its first multiplayer mode in action, with coverage streamed on Twitch and Bleacher Report Live. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

For Turner, the partnership is another opportunity to serve its sports and entertainment audience while also reaching new segments of the ballooning gaming viewership.

"The audience is the most coveted demographic in the media landscape," Craig Barry, chief content officer for Turner Sports, told Reuters. "We know they're out there, we know they're engaged. No one's really cracked the code yet."

Esports fans are younger, more interactive and often more affluent than other sports audiences.

Global esports revenues will grow nearly 27 percent to $1.1 billion this year, according to Newzoo research.

Those numbers include all aspects of the industry, so ELEAGUE is targeting a smaller slice with Gears.

Gears — developed by The Coalition, a studio within Microsoft's gaming business — has particularly impassioned fans, said Rose Gunson, program manager for Gears of War at Microsoft.

"Our players are very engaging, they have huge personalities. They are very interesting to watch," Gunson said.

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Key Points
  • Microsoft recently rejected a California law enforcement agency's request to install facial recognition technology in officers cars and body cameras due to human rights concerns, company President Brad Smith said.
  • Microsoft concluded it would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning because the artificial intelligence has been trained on mostly white and male pictures.