Legendary Entertainment, driving deeper into gaming culture, has acquired a multimillion-dollar equity stake in video-game and entertainment startup studio 3BlackDot.
The studio’s investment comes on the heels of the announcement this month of Legendary’s acquisition by Dalian Wanda, a Chinese property and entertainment conglomerate, for $3.5 billion.
The size of Legendary’s minority stake in 3BlackDot was not disclosed. With the investment, 3BD and Legendary Digital Networks will collaborate on multiple projects, including producing a feature-length film centered on eSports culture and delivering audience engagement on multiple platforms.
The deal was brokered by Phase2Media CEO Sandy Grushow, former chairman of Fox Television Entertainment and a member of 3BD’s advisory board.
“Standing out as a digital content producer is difficult, but 3BlackDot and its influencer group, Jetpak, truly understand how to create engaged communities,” Legendary Digital Networks president Adam Rymer said.
3BlackDot was formed in 2013 by former Machinima execs Angelo Pullen and Luke Stepleton, along with YouTube gaming personalities Adam Montoya (SeaNanners) and Tom Cassell (TheSyndicateProject).
3BD said the new Legendary partnership will expand its reach into additional outlets including content, merchandise, game distribution and live events, in addition to accelerating its upcoming slate of video game and content releases. The two companies will also work with advertising clients to create branded-content opportunities across the collective networks, with Legendary Digital Networks serving as the advertising sales agent.
Legendary Digital Networks’ digital channels include Geek & Sundry, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and Nerdist, which also will collaborate with 3BlackDot on various projects. L.A.-based 3BD, which has 15 employees, operates 14 YouTube channels with a total of about 53 million subscribers, and has published two games: multiplayer PC-based “Dead Realm” (pictured above) and mobile game “Zombie Killer Squad.”
“3BD is thrilled to partner with Legendary, a company whose outlook on entertainment culture and audience engagement aligns perfectly with ours,” 3BlackDot CEO Angelo Pullen said. “We’re looking at, How do we create great, compelling content for this audience?”
The 3BlackDot/Legendary film about the world of competitive online gaming will feature digital influencers and is expected to be released toward the end of 2016, Pullen said. The companies also are working on a virtual-reality experience with the working title “Damocles,” based on the Greek fable of the “Sword of Damocles” about the looming peril faced by those in positions of power.
“Our philosophy around games is, they need to not only be fun to play but fun to watch considering so much gaming content is consumed on YouTube,” Pullen said.