A year and a half ago, Vulcun was a fantasy esports site with a lot of upside and investment money rolling in.
Following up on Vulcun’s exit from paid-entry fantasy esports, the site will no longer offer wagering involving in-game items, either — at least not via Vulcun’s current formats.
End of the line for Vulcun fantasy
The news about one of the first movers in the fantasy esports space is not really that shocking.
After all, back in January, Vulcun indicated that it would stop holding paid-entry fantasy esports contests, and would only be offering free-to-play contests.
From Vulcun’s blog back then:
After careful consideration (and much heartache), we’ve decided to phase out paid fantasy on Vulcun. Once the new season of the LCS begins on January 14th, 2016, we will no longer offer paid contests on Vulcun. This change only affects the PAID($$) Fantasy portion of our website. Gold betting, Gold Fantasy Contests, Marketplace, Lootdrop, and Jackpot will all continue on as normal.
Still, it’s a stark difference from where Vulcun found itself last summer. The site launched in early 2015 and eventually said it would pay out $10 million for the year.
In April of 2015, Vulcun raised $12 million in investment funding when it was still a DFS site.
No fantasy sports, and no skin betting
The actual news now is that Vulcun is also getting out of the business of digital content esports betting, which has increasingly come under scrutiny thanks to a series of scandals. At least one site started to block users from the US as a result of the murky legal landscape for in-game betting.
Previously at Vulcun, users could wager digital currency — called “gold” — in a number of games, mostly forms of CS:GO betting, that gave players the opportunity to build up their gold balance and exchange gold for skins. Users could deposit real money or skins to receive Vulcun “gold.”
Those items have real-world value on the secondary market, and that has given rise to skin betting, which is a $7 billion industry by turnover.
What is Vulcun doing now?
This time around, the entire model that Vulcun was founded on is being abandoned for “chat games” on via live streaming site Twitch. All games on the current version of site will be shut over a two-week period that started July 1.
What’s next? From Vulcun:
After this transition Vulcun.com will be focused on Chat games on Twitch. Last year we acquired TwitchAlerts.com and over the course of the year we’ve been focused on Twitch and making the viewing experience more engaging and fun. The new version of Vulcun.com will be focused on this.
We will be publishing a separate post detailing the new direction. In short, we’ve always strived to make viewing eSports and Twitch streams more fun and we’ve figured out a better way to do it, vs, the current product.
And then there were two
Vulcun, for all intents and purposes, was already pretty much out of the DFS space. But it clearly leaves FanDuel-owned AlphaDraft and DraftKings as the only major players in the vertical.
AlphaDraft recently announced a $50,000 World Fantasy Esports Championship, based around the 2016 League of Legends World Championship Finals this fall.
Offerings at DraftKings have remained relatively niche, compared to its contests for other sports, although the DFS operator hasn’t announced its intentions for LoL worlds.