eSports discussion

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The rise of eSports as a form of entertainment is a popular discussion area in both media and technology. Brandon Beck is the co-founder of Riot Games (best known for League of Legends) on the rise of eSports from a cultural and business perspectives.  His ideas what online gaming future looks like; are interesting, if a little self-serving.

eSports takeouts:

  • Interesting that Riot are trying to give players a better base to build their careers. How will this affect teams over individual player talent?  How long is their professional life? When do they burn out? What does post-eSports athlete life look like?
  • They acknowledge that competitive gaming will have a long runway to adoption rather than the hockey stick models predicted by financiers in this area. Traditional sports management professionals see eSports as a new opportunity.
  • Professional athletes come out of second and third generation gamers and parents who pursued traditional sports at a competitive level
  •  The new nature of competitive gaming has an exclusively young audience. The vast majority of content is streaming. The audience is cable cutters, which implies that they didn’t have traditional sports as a substitute content
  • Player access and the Asian ‘idol’ phenomenon seems to be very similar with ‘around game’ content. There is an immediacy to it. There is also a grey zone between the athlete and online influencers, I could see a crossover
  • I found it concerning that it revolves so much around China, given the rule by law approach to things that the Communist Party of China takes. It would take nothing to crush competitive gaming in China. Comments on the negative social impact of gaming doesn’t bode well

More on professional online gaming here and more on Riot Games here. It will be interesting to see how Riot Games continues to develop under the ownership of Chinese technology company Tencent.