Power

The gaming business is booming in lockdown. Verizon is doubling down with FaZe Clan.

The sponsorship is focused on Verizon's 5G wireless services.

Fortnite on a gaming computer

Partnering with FaZe Clan associates Verizon with FaZe Clan's more than 80 online influencers and FaZe's professional teams in games, including Fortnite.

Photo: Vlad Gorshkov/Unsplash

With COVID-19 cutting into revenue from wireless and advertising, Verizon is doubling down on one sector of the tech industry that's booming during quarantine: video games.

Verizon plans to announce Tuesday that it has become a lead sponsor of FaZe Clan, one of the world's most popular and influential video gaming organizations. The move comes just a month after Verizon announced a long-term partnership with the professional North American league for League of Legends, the world's most popular esport, which is owned by Riot Games (which is, in turn, controlled by Tencent).

Partnering with FaZe Clan, which recently surpassed 1 billion views on its YouTube channel, associates Verizon with the group's more than 80 online influencers and FaZe's professional teams in games including Fortnite and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The sponsorship is focused on Verizon's 5G wireless services.

"If Verizon were to pick any two organizations to associate with in esports, FaZe and League of Legends are pretty much the best-case scenario," said Rod "Slasher" Breslau, a leading esports analyst. "Having a company the size of Verizon commit to this space is extremely important to show how video games and esports are one of the few bright spots in terms of reaching the audiences these companies want."

FaZe Clan is building a competitive roster for Valorant, Riot's hot new shooter. People close to the deal said FaZe will soon put Verizon's (undisclosed amount of) money to work as it expands into Valorant, including as prize money for a new Valorant tournament to be announced as soon as Tuesday. The new tournament, part of Valorant's Ignition Series, would be an element of FaZe's expansion from recorded into live gaming content.

"Gaming and esports are already at a critical mass, and this relationship with FaZe is about how to take it to the next level, both from a B-to-B standpoint but also from a consumer and player perspective," said John Nitti, Verizon's chief media officer.

Jeffrey Pabst, FaZe's chief revenue officer, said: "People look for a technology partner on the esports side, but we're also a content company turning out huge amounts of content on our phones and other devices. Verizon, especially with their 5G infrastructure, is going to take what we're doing and put it on steroids."

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

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Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

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FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

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Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

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Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

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