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Drake joins the eSports industry: Why this is a big moment for gaming

In between dropping Scorpion, feuding with every rapper under the sun and having a kid, 32-year-old Canadian-born rapper Aubrey Drake Graham is now proud co-owner of a professional eSports organization.

The name of the brand is 100 Thieves and it’s a “lifestyle, apparel and esports” company headed by retired Call of Duty player Matt “Nadeshot” Haag according to the official press release.

Cleveland Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert and entertainment mogul Scooter Braun complete the circle of co-owners; in addition, Drake and Scooter will serve as ‘strategic advisors’ responsible for overseeing the company’s competitive gaming and apparel business

While the pairing of Drake and a gaming company may not make sense on paper at first sight, when you look into the money and popularity surrounding the industry it will.

Over the past 20 years, competitive gaming has flourished into one of the most rapidly growing industries in entertainment. The total global audience expected to reach 380 million by the end of 2018, according to Newzoo, an Amsterdam-based research firm.

Not only that, PwC (the accounting firm formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers) is estimating that revenue in the e-gaming market will grow drastically, rising to $1.6 billion in 2020 from $620 million in 2017.

So, much like every trend Drizzy and the OVO firm has successfully bid on — like, Afrobeat, the Migos and *insert winning sports team here* — e-gaming is actually a good move. But, Drake won’t be doing much of gaming anyway.

100 Thieves is listed as an eSports organization third, after “lifestyle brand” and “apparel” company. While headed by former number one Call of Duty player in the world, the organization associates more to a street brand than anything is looking to leverage different partnerships throughout the culture.

Drake already partnered with ith 100 Thieves earlier this year when he had gaming stations following him on his tour for Scorpion, and there have been clothing collaborations in the works.

Plus, we all remember what happened when Drake hopped on Twitch to play Tyler “Ninja” Blevins in Fortnite and the response it had. There’s clearly a market to be tapped.

Unlike other gaming companies like Evil Geniuses and Cloud9, 100 Thieves looks to assist the already budding relationship between pop-culture and gaming culture. Drake just got in on the bottom floor.

While many may look at this acquisition as another culture Drake is vulturing, hopefully, what it does is break nerd stigma and ingratiate two separate worlds that have a lot in common.

Back at the launch of Street Fighter 5 in 2016, Lupe Fiasco beat Japanese competitive gamer Daigo Umehara, who was widely considered the best Street Fighter player in the world. While it may have been rigged, as Lupe pulled off the upset, it made for some great streaming and caused quite the stir.

With Drake’s new partnership, we could possibly see an influence that would have the number one gamer in the world also have the number one song in the world.

Until then we can only applaud Drake for securing another bag!