Psyonix and NiP on the need for cohesion in esports

Ahead of the Escon Europe conference in London in April (5-6), some of the speakers donned their thinking caps to discuss the future of the esports industry and some of the most pressing topics within it. 

Hicham Chahine, NiP

The consensus was that the industry needs to be more organised and professional, and there was a level of concern voiced too regarding the welfare of the players and talent involved.

Ninjas in Pyjamas CEO Hicham Chahine and Josh Watson, Esports and Events Manager at Psyonix discussed the need for more cohesion. 

It’s integral that all follow good business practice and leaders in the space need to ensure this happens, as well as communicate and be transparent about these policies. 

Chahine commented: “Non-endemics need to understand all the details before getting into the space. Today I see a lot of entries and deals being made which have no substance or done without realistic expectations, which leads to great disappointment.

“This is not ideal for the long-term growth of the industry. In addition, teams, tournaments, media and broadcasters need to come closer together to develop and deliver high quality valuable products and experiences to fans and viewers all over the world.”

Josh from Psyonix, which has pledged $2.5m (£2m) to its lead title Rocket League’s competitive scene this year, said: “From a publisher’s perspective we often have the mentality that our games have to directly compete against other products within the medium. This line of thinking spawns from the idea that fans can only follow one sport.

“This thought process is flawed and neglects the notion of the “sports fan” found in traditional sports. As publishers, we should be looking to our colleagues for promotion and support. Competitive Gaming is young and resources are much more limited than traditional sports at the moment, we could benefit from more communication and collaboration between games.”

Esports’ ‘image problem’ was also discussed. Jodie Fullagar Director & Head of Entertainment M&C Saatchi said: “I feel the biggest issue by far is still esport’s image problem. Despite the industry headlines heralding the stratospheric growth of esports, many British brand marketers are skeptical about the mass appeal of hard-core gaming tournaments to their customers.

“The classic stereotype of geeky teen fans still holds. There has been an emergence of small scale sponsorships but no meaningful commitment yet from non-endemic brands and I believe eSports image problem is at the root of this.

Anyone attending the Escon Europe in London in April will have the opportunity to hear these discussions and more in far greater detail. New for 2017 there’s also a 1 on 1 Pre-Scheduled ‘Meetings Mojo’ component to the conference which is taking place in Le Meridien in Piccadily. 

Esports Insider says: One issue that is holding esports back is a lack of all the cogs working together. Publishers, teams, media and events organisers need to find a way to solve this if we want the current level of momentum to continue. 

(Official disclaimer: We are an official media partner of Escon Europe)