The surge of non-endemic brands entering esports continues at full throttle, as tech giant Toshiba marks its first steps into the industry by penning a deal with the Panda Global organisation.
Panda Global will already be a familiar name to esports fans of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. franchise. Eric ‘ESAM’ Lew and Justin ‘Plup’ McGrath command a combined Twitter following of over eighty thousand. Both are formidable names in SSB4 and Melee respectively. The north American Panda Global brand extends to other players and teams in the fighting game community, Hearthstone, and more.
In a statement released yesterday, Panda Global CEO Alan Bunney described how the organisation was “proud to bring Toshiba into the esports space.” The list of gamers under the Panda Global umbrella will have access to Toshiba-OCZ Series SSDs as part of the deal.
“Toshiba understands the unique needs of gamers and we are constantly striving to deliver high performance SATA and NVMe solid state drives to empower esports and gaming enthusiasts,” said Alex Mei, Vice President of Consumer SSDs and Storage Outbound Marketing at Toshiba. (SATA is the market-dominant interface for connecting SSDs to PCs, and NVMe is a high performance and optimized transfer protocol.)
“Panda Global will be leveraging our retail Toshiba-OCZ Series SSDs throughout the year when training and competing and we are thrilled to work with such a fast growing and talented team.”
Toshiba is far from the first tech brand to invest in the esports scene. They join a list including names now synonymous with esports, such as Intel and Samsung.
Whilst financial details have not been a part of the official release, Panda Global is expected to have received a significant boost from partnering with one of the largest tech companies in the world. The Panda Global brand already maintains a high profile by counting a number of popular streamers amongst its roster, and by compiling tournament-standard bi-annual ranking lists for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Esports Insider says: Whilst indubitably fantastic news for Panda Global, this move feels like little more than a testing of the waters for a company the size of Toshiba. It will be interesting to watch the partnership develop and to see if it leads them to any further investments into the esports industry.