Screaming Fans & Packed Stadiums - How games are turned into a global sport

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Competitive gaming has taken off in the last years. Publishers like Riot Games with League of Legends or Wargaming with World of Tanks have built their business around the idea that these games are indeed a sport. League of Legends now attracts millions of viewers in live streams, and its championship events fill stadiums like LA's Staples Center. It seemingly happened overnight, but it did not. As any sport, electronic sports have evolved into their own complex eco system, with a myriad of business opportunities for multiplayer game developers. This lecture shows how it works, who the significant actors in this burgeoning industry are, how big it has become and sheds light on deal and investment sizes.

Slides from my talk at Respawn Gathering conferencee, August 20th 2013.

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Screaming Fans & Packed Stadiums - How games are turned into a global sport

  1. 1. SCREAMING FANS & PACKED STADIUMS How games are turned into a global sport
  2. 2. ESL ARENA PLAYER VS PLAYER TEAM VS TEAM
  3. 3. CHAMPIONS
  4. 4. FAN CULTURE
  5. 5. WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING “ I feel like eSports is happening with or without us. Games have become the biggest unofficial sports league in the world right now. There’s a massive (…) ecosystem of content. ” Eric Hirshberg, CEO Activision “ There are fundamental advantages that e- sports will have over traditional sports. ” Gabe Newell, Founder & CEO Valve “ eSports is growing out of control. It’s alive and breathing and flying away. I have no idea when it’s going to stop. ” Dustin Browder, Lead Designer StarCraft II Blizzard
  6. 6. 32m+ MAU Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) 50m registered players globally First Person Tank Simulation 10m+ copies sold Real Time Strategy (RTS) 5m+ MAU MOBA 30m+ copies sold of all CS Versions First Person Shooter (FPS) 100m players across franchise First Person Shooter (FPS) THE GAMES
  7. 7. Icefrog Dota 2 Gabe Newell Counter-Strike Mike Morhaime StarCraft II Victor Kislyi World of Tanks Brandon Beck, Marc Merill League of Legends Bobby Kotick Call of Duty ? THE ECCLESTONES
  8. 8. WCS 2012 EU FINALS
  9. 9. LOL S2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
  10. 10. IEM KATOWICE
  11. 11. THE INTERNATIONAL 3
  12. 12. How games are turned into sport
  13. 13. KEY LEARNINGS »One-off events don‘t work »Running leagues is hard »eSports is not an acquisition channel »Not every game is a winner »Always be balancing
  14. 14. BEST PRACTICES »Be smart about your investments »Evolve eSports features slowly, steadily »Close collaboration with leagues »Leagues create sustainable eco systems
  15. 15. COMMITMENT »Free-to-play »Matchmaking »Custom Matches »Anti-Cheat THE GAME LEAGUES »Consulting »Matchmaking aaS »Anti-Cheat aaS RESULT »A potential sport
  16. 16. CREATION GRASSROOTS FORMATION OWNERSHIP
  17. 17. TOURNAMENTS »Anorganic (40k$ annually / region) »Weekly cups with monthly final »Key questions: game mode, maps and team size »Ongoing competition creates stories
  18. 18. RULES & REFEREES
  19. 19. RULES & REFEREES »Leagues are methodic about rule setting »League rule sets designed to form clans out of parties / loose teams »If rules have to work around your balancing, you‘re doing it wrong
  20. 20. CLANS
  21. 21. CLANS »Financial self interest »Support many games, good as testimonials and consultants early on »Various, large communication channels »They want exposure and prize money
  22. 22. Measure of success LIVESTREAMING
  23. 23. COMMENTATORS
  24. 24. COMMENTATORS »Leagues have commentator stables »Pro players, former pros, personalities, full time commentators, hosts »Build up fresh faces »In-house streamers »Faces of your brand »Hire known commentators for industry events (500$+ daily)
  25. 25. BUILDING THE GRASSROOTS LEAGUES »Making players ambitious »Tournaments »Rulebooks »Clans »Commentators »Streaming networks
  26. 26. COMMITMENT »eSports coordinator »Balancing »Streaming-Friendly »Spectator mode »Map editor BUILDING THE GRASSROOTS
  27. 27. BUILDING THE GRASSROOTS RESULT »Ongoing league content »Your first audience »Good commentators »Known players & teams »Balanced game
  28. 28. SANCTIONED LEAGUES
  29. 29. »Different models: Hands-off, Co-branded, Co-Owned, Secretly funded »3rd party sponsorships »Existing infrastructure »Leagues operate globally, useful for entering new markets »No ownership of league, still an investment »50k$-2m$ (depending on regional scale, team size, physical presence) SANCTIONED LEAGUES
  30. 30. TV SHOWS
  31. 31. COVERAGE
  32. 32. PROFESSIONAL STREAMING
  33. 33. »Sanctioned leagues offer global event presence »Pay attention to the details »Leagues create the professional environment you‘ll claim MEDIALIZATION
  34. 34. FORMING A SPORT LEAGUES »Sanctioned Leagues »Sponsors »Events »Coverage »Medialization
  35. 35. COMMITMENT »eSports team »Demo recording »Team matchmaking »Custom Match / Stats APIs FORMING A SPORT
  36. 36. FORMING A SPORT RESULT »Outside investments »Eco system »Global infrastructure »Audience
  37. 37. OFFICIAL LEAGUES
  38. 38. »Online & Offline league covering all major territories »Developer hands-on with the details »Centralized coverage OFFICIAL LEAGUES
  39. 39. OWNING A SPORT »Building a new business »Companies change »Own league and infrastructure »Large-scale events »New revenue streams open up
  40. 40. ESL ARENA
  41. 41. »Fixed studio environment »Frequent global highlight events »Support for Barcrafts & eSports Bars PHYSICAL PRESENCE
  42. 42. HAPPY PLAYERS
  43. 43. PRO TEAMS
  44. 44. »Make the pro players really happy »Help teams with visa and establishing physical presences »Team houses are essential to professionalize PLAYERS & TEAMS
  45. 45. »Livestreams reach critical mass »Name brand sponsors »Traditional TV desperate for young content TOUCHING THE MAINSTREAM
  46. 46. »Sponsors »Ads »Tickets »In-game merch »Merch »TV Licenses REVENUE STREAMS
  47. 47. OWNING A SPORT LEAGUES »League services »Production Services »TV Licensing »Sales
  48. 48. COMMITMENT »eSports Unit »Operational control »Official league »Contractors »Player Management OWNING A SPORT
  49. 49. RESULT »A global, profitable sport OWNING A SPORT
  50. 50. »We‘ll need Bigger Stadiums »Player agencies »Emerging Markets »Many new competitive free-to-play games OUTLOOK
  51. 51. THANK YOU ! @affentod

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