Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Mad Skillz

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Skillz and its investors have a lot riding on the skills of mobile-game players — not to mention the game developers. The company, founded in 2012 and publicly traded as of December, is helping kickstart esports competitio­ns for relatively simple phone-based games. Esports — video-game competitio­ns that award winners cash or prizes — aren’t new, but have mostly involved graphics-intensive games like Counter-Strike or Fortnite. Now mobile games such as Clash of Clans and Magic: The Gathering are also hits on the esports circuit. Skillz provides underlying technology for creating new mobile games for tournament play. It also helps run those tournament­s. Skillz makes money from entry fees, sponsorshi­ps and ads. But while it supports thousands of games, most of its income derives from just a few popular titles like Blackout Bingo and the card game Blitz 21. So far none are Candy Crush-style breakout hits. Still, monthly active users are growing — up more than 60 percent to 2.6 million in 2020. And Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said it’s just a matter of time before Skillz has a hit game.

 ?? Sources: company filings; FactSet Mae Anderson; J. Paschke • AP ??
Sources: company filings; FactSet Mae Anderson; J. Paschke • AP
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