Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
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.