Global Esports Forum – Open vs Closed

Intel and ESL partnered once more to host the inaugural edition of the Global Esports Forum that took place on March 1st in the Spodek arena in Katowice Poland.

A long list of attendees witnessed the opening remarks by John Bonini, VP and General Manager VR, Gaming & Esports, at Intel who highlighted the need for better global internet and diversity in order to unleash the next billion esports fans.

Next up on the stage was a star-studded line up lead by Scott ‘SirScoots’ Smith, (flown in private for the occasion?) along with Victor Goossens, Co-CEO, Team Liquid, James Lampkin, Vice President Pro Gaming, ESL, Tomas Lyckedal, Deputy CEO, DreamHack and also Alexandre Remy, Brand Director of Rainbow Six.

The panel on What is the Future of Esports Structures? took a quick trip down memory lane and how, for Scott, it all started in arcades trying to beat the high score of whatever game received a quarter as mode of activation and how an amateur/community driven hobby back in the day has now turned into talking “all about the business.”

Victor was quick to point out that “We shouldn’t make it all business. Old schoolers should be able to guide that process, they understand the chaotic nature of the industry.

“It is our responsibility to find the right balance between the old and the new”

Moving onto the topic at hand it was quite clear that the panel had firm believers in both open and closed ecosystems. For league operators and fans there is a natural affiliation with the open system, whereas for team and I.P. owners there are a lot of benefits to a closed-off/franchise model.

Without any hesitation they all seemed to agree that going forward, esports will need both systems.

After that it didn’t take long for them to start comparing esports to traditional sports with some very insightful remarks, that left us all hungry for a deeper dive on the topic. 

SirScoots said: “No-one owns the ball in football. In esports the publishers own everything. Traditional sports rarely have to look over their shoulder for what the next big sport is going to be.

“Whereas in esports we constantly have to be aware and on the lookout for new games”

That is the hard part for getting long term investments.”

Victor: “A lot of esports-ready titles can have the longevity of Dota and CS if they are the right type of game. Downside is that publishers can just turn of the switch. Micro-transactions are something that traditional sports can’t do. Imagine if you had to pay a penny every time you kicked a ball. This is a mechanism that can grow the ecosystem.”

Thomas: “We haven’t found the perfect esport game yet. We will see all new interesting games formats come out in the near future.”

After quickly skipping over the ESL Facebook partnership and the arrival of the OWL the panel turned to the future once more and to what their are the most excited about:

Thomas: “Fortnite.”

Victor: “More open discussions about the ecosystem.”

Alexandre: “How to change the passive viewer into an interactive and engaging experience.”

James: “Augmented reality, and Pokemon Go contact lenses.”

Esports Insider says: We are as intrigued as you about the Pokemon go contact lenses AR combo brought to you by James Lampkin, in a store near you soon™. Regarding the Open vs Closed debate, esports will be living with both systems for a considerable amount of time as both have their benefits. The closed system is perhaps better suited for keeping absolute control disguised under a veil of stability, while open is the platform of choice for diversity and competition.

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