Fox invests US$100 million in online gaming platform Caffeine

Rupert Murdoch (left), executive chairman of News Corp and chairman of Fox News, and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, walk together on July 13, 2017.
Rupert Murdoch (left), executive chairman of News Corp and chairman of Fox News, and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, walk together on July 13, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Entertainment group 21st Century Fox announced Wednesday (Sept 5) that it has invested US$100 million (S$138 million) in video game streaming startup Caffeine.

Launched this year by former Apple employees and engineers, Caffeine plans to merge live video gaming, entertainment with social media.

Like YouTube, Caffeine allows users to monetise their content on the platform.

"We want to bring the world together around friends and live broadcasts," Caffeine CEO Ben Keighran said in a statement.

21st Century Fox said it was also creating a new venture called Caffeine Studios jointly owned by Fox Sports and Caffeine.

It said the studio would create e-sports, video game, sports and live entertainment content.

Caffeine said it has reached an agreement with Live Nation to stream live music concerts on the platform later this year.

Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, joined the board of Caffeine as part of the deal.

"We are excited to partner with Caffeine and build something special for fans in the growing live social streaming esports and gaming space," Murdoch said.

In addition to 21st Century Fox, existing Caffeine investors Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners also took part in the latest funding round.

The firms were among the participants in the first two rounds of US$46 million in funding but the amount of their latest contributions was not disclosed.

Live video gaming is an increasingly competitive space. Amazon bought the Twitch platform for US$970 million in 2014.

YouTube, a Google company, and Facebook have also sought to break into the hot sector and Facebook launched fb.gg for live gaming in June.