Pixel P&L: MLBB's Match Fixing Plague

How betting and match fixing are threatening the next generation of MLBB esports players

Vignesh Raghuram
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Pixel P&amp;L


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Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, June 4 and in this edition of Pixel P&L, we're covering an esports bombshell, the shutdown of a prominent Indian game development studio, and much more.

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Esports Bombshell: The Truth About Match-Fixing in Mobile Legends

“I’ve been in esports since 2008 with Mineski. When you’re going through tough times, it’s really hard to earn money. Suddenly, giving away first blood for 100k sounds like a sweet deal.” These chilling words from Julius Mariano, founder of Minana Esports, reveal a dark secret plaguing the industry.

Earlier this year, the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) scene exploded with a match-fixing scandal that saw top players suspended. The digital world of esports is a playground for shady dealings, and the rise of online betting is making it worse. Can Moonton and league organizers save the game?

Esports and betting—it's a match made in heaven...or is it? Betting giants like Rivalry and 1XBET rake in cash, but at what cost? John explores the answers to all these questions and more in our latest feature on MLBB’s growing betting market, and the ugly risks it is bringing along.

Hypernova Interactive Shuts Down Amid Uncertainty for Mayanagari

Indian game development studio Hypernova Interactive, known for its ambitious "open-world gangster game" Mayanagari, has shut down after nine years in the industry. Since 2020, the studio had been working on Mayanagari, promising players an immersive experience of rising through the ranks in the streets of India. The game's unique premise garnered significant attention, with demos showcased at major gaming conferences like the India Gaming Show 2023.

However, a concrete release date for Mayanagari was never provided, raising concerns among eager gamers. Indian video games industry expert Rishi Alwani confirmed on X that the studio has laid off all its employees and noted that one of the co-founders has already moved on to a new venture. The inability to sustain development costs or secure additional funding appears to be the primary reason for the closure.

This unexpected shutdown leaves the future of Mayanagari uncertain and represents a significant setback for the Indian gaming community, which had high hopes for Hypernova Interactive's groundbreaking project.

Quick Bytes

Gaming Job Seekers Face 4% Odds of Success

The probability of any applicant landing a job in the gaming industry is about 4% over 12 months, according to a recent analysis by job resource aggregator Amir Satvat. This goes up to 27% for those previously employed in the sector. New applicants out of school or with three or fewer years of experience face slightly above a 1% chance. Approximately 30% of those laid off since November 2022 remain unemployed for over a year. Satvat predicts that, on average, more people will be hired than fired by late September 2024, with full job market recovery expected by the second half of 2027.

Pokémon Company Posts Record $1.9 Billion Revenue Amidst Mobile Game Success

The Pokémon Company’s latest financials reveal a record-breaking ¥297.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in revenue for the year ending February 29, 2024, marking a 15% increase from ¥235 billion ($1.5 billion) the previous year. Net profit soared 28% to ¥62.7 billion ($402 million), as reported by Dr. Serkan Toto. This growth comes despite no new game releases on Nintendo Switch in the period. Mobile titles, including Pokémon Go and Pokémon Masters EX, significantly contributed to the revenue, showcasing the brand’s diversified income streams and solidifying its financial success in a competitive market.

MLBB Philippines Partners With AquaFlask and National Book Store

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) Philippines has partnered with AquaFlask and National Book Store to offer limited-edition back-to-school items for students. From June 2 to July 31, 2024, every AquaFlask bottle purchase includes a free MLBB sticker pack. Additional MLBB merchandise, like desk calendars and lanyards, can be claimed at select AquaFlask stores by presenting an MLBB in-game ID. National Book Store is also offering MLBB notepads, lanyards, and ₱5 ($0.09) Bonus Sulit Coins for purchases over ₱199 ($3.60). The promotion runs on select dates at various National Book Store branches, enhancing students' return to school with exclusive MLBB-themed items.

Level Infinite Launches Global Honor of Kings Esports Partnership Program

Level Infinite has unveiled its Honor of Kings Partnership Program to bolster the game’s global esports ecosystem. The program features top teams from Southeast Asia, Latin America, Turkey, the Middle East, and Europe. It follows the conclusion of the 2024 Honor of Kings Open EMEA Finals, where All Gamers Global secured a spot at the Honor of Kings Invitational Season 2. Teams like REX REGUM QEON, ISURUS, and FUT Esports are among the invitees. This initiative, supported by a $15M investment, aims to enhance tournament offerings and esports content.

Did You Know?

The first ever esports tournament happened on October 19, 1972. On this day, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University hosted the "Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics." Twenty-four players met to compete in "Spacewar!" The winner of this historic event received a year's subscription to "Rolling Stone" magazine. This tournament marked the dawn of competitive gaming, setting the stage for the thriving esports industry we see today.

Quote of the Day

On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.”
- Satoru Iwata, Former President and CEO of Nintendo

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.