This, the upcoming Masters events and the strategy of the ESWC for the near future were the main subjects of this interview.
In many ways I say yes: we experienced a new market, new production partners and new media exposure. It was a necessary step. Having produced ESWC Finals in USA, deep in the Silicon Valley, was a chance. We couldn’t refuse the invitation. We’ve welcomed the champions in high standard hotels. We’ve exposed real E-Sports to key people of the industry based in US. We, as the champions, were part of the first NVISION that will have a great future. For all those reasons, we are proud of this edition, and this is a step forward. However, we had some disillusions such as the live audience for the matches on stage, and the local sponsors' support.
What are the challenges of holding the finals outside of the country?
The biggest challenges stand in financing, communication, and execution. This year in USA we had to face a general economy crisis and in addition I had the feeling that some of our predecessors deeply scorched the American e-sport ecosystem. So the challenge of financing was very hard. USA is also a very big country, very prolific in events… so communication – without a partner – was difficult. NVIDIA had to promote the NVISION, we obviously didn’t properly promote ESWC.
Execution is the last critical challenge in a new country with new suppliers, partners, and different hardware. To limit the risks we came in San Jose with our core staff of 35 people. At the end I really had one of the best professional experiences of my life, working with great people from Nvidia, Carlstrom Production, Warfactory and San José. And on the top of all this, we had to face new policies regarding visas, and that was a real issue in USA. It is finally the biggest disappointment of the project this year and as said during the opening ceremony, we dedicate the event to all the ESWC champions that had to stay in their countries.
There have been criticisms that this finals event was too short, held at an uncomfortable time to follow and held in a place where it could not get spectators – to what extent do you agree with those views?
I agree with all this. We had to comply with the NVISION, in terms of locations, dates, schedules, strategy of communication… But we made the choice to be there, so I accept the criticisms. All this will matter in our future choices. We have also many things we were satisfied with to balance the review.
I hope we could have the chance to produce again an E-Sport event inside the NVISION. We’ve learned a lot with NVIDIA and together we know what and how to improve. But I have no answer today except that USA is not the perfect country to host the World Cup finals.
Where is the Masters concept going?
We have launched last Friday the first Masters of the new season: ESWC Masters of Athens. We expect at least 2 more events this season before next ESWC Grand Final. We have many opportunities but we don’t need to go too fast. The concept is still to run international ESWC tournaments in major cities of the world, gathering local champions (around 25% of the attendees) and international well-known champions.
For this season, the ESWC Masters could happen on any games titles listed as official disciplines. We will reward the Masters with autoberths to the Grand Final and prize money. ESWC Masters are good opportunities for players, for our licensed partners, for media and for ESWC. The goal over the 3 next years is to create a stable and sustainable series of prestigious ESWC events, without any substitution with National Preliminaries that are the core energy of the World Cup.
Since 2003, we have federated a strong network of events organizers worldwide in charge of the national preliminaries. We constantly share knowledge with them. We also share our vision with them each year during the International ESWC Assembly – which is a confidential symposium over 3 days of hard work. Our idea is to build the Masters with them starting from their opportunities – so nothing is first required expect ideas and will.
How many of the games in the ESWC lineup are definitely staying for next year and which games can we expect to be replaced? What about adding a game like Street Fighter 4? Which other games are possibilities?
We have announced the first pool of games last week: CS, CS Women, Trackmania Nations Forever, Warcraft III and Quake III (subjected to be change for Quake Live during the season). We want to reintegrate a football game (between PES2009 and FIFA2009) we have still discussions with their owner about legal issues. We intend also to add at least one console game and that could be Street Fighter 4 but the release date seems to be again delayed. Then the line-up is open to games like DotA or WoW and COD4 – we work on those possibilities. Starcraft II will probably be selected when released, next year, next season...
Have you ever regretted any of ESWC’s game choices?
No. But I regret some games we have not chosen and I really understand the disappointment of some communities, but we cannot work with all the good games. We have to represent families of games, we have to make choices valuable worldwide, we have to favour the most popular titles and we also have personal affinities.
You mean, like in 2007? A great final with more than 5,000 spectators live. Whatever happens, show must go on.
When will we see Coca-Cola or Victoria’s Secret sponsor the tournaments at the ESWC?
To reach a Victoria’s Secret sponsorship, I think I should deeply change the core team of Games-Services (100% male….). But the marketing headquarters of Coca-Cola in Atlanta follows ESWC for 3 years now. We had presentations, meetings… I think they look at us as a laboratory of trends or a sample of what could be future behaviors of young geek-fan people.
The question seems to be “when will big non-technological brands invest in e-sports to make it a big business”. My feeling today is that this is not so decisive and this is not our goal anymore. We have to be more imaginative. E-Sport shall not be financed mainly by sponsorships, and the experience of USA of this year confirms that. We have to define strong and profitable business relations with publishers; we have to offer sustainable services to players. At the same time, we shall not betray the communities of and deliver them the exact content they request – and generate revenue with that content.
Why have businesses similar to yours failed or struggled in recent years?
With all the respect I have for people that try to do things, maybe some of them didn’t play hard enough to go pro, others mixed up guitars and rails, others considered e-sport just as business. E-sport shall remain an ideal.
Is ESWC a better product for television than CGS?
Not at all! CGS is a product designed for television, owned by TV networks – what we are not. However I’ll be fan on TV of real stories of champions and teams, true emotions, authentic sporting challenges. ESWC could be a platform for such TV productions but this is not ESWC final purpose.
Where do you see the ESWC in five years?
My concern is to make ESWC a success today. I just hope for the next five years a sustainable ecosystem between players, clubs, organizers of events, games publishers and Media. And I see ESWC as this ecosystem.
I am tired of everyone asking for the title of the song from the interviews. It was made by Christian Linke. Search in the damned file section.
I sometimes forget to respond to a PM or a guestbook message. I do apologise if I have ignored you at some point!
I am a bad person. Malicious, cynical, annoying, petty, rash and impatient. Good luck making friends with me.
* DO NOT BUDDY ME IF YOU DO NOT KNOW ME IN PERSON *
GGL Dec 2005-> Dec 2007
SK Gaming Jan 2008 -> Dec 2008
ESL Feb 2009 -> ...
Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Challenge New York
Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Challenge Guangzhou
Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Challenge Cologne
European Battle.net Invitational 2011
Intel Extreme Masters V World Championship, Hanover
Intel Extreme Masters V European Championship, Kiev
Intel Extreme Masters V American Championship, New York City
Intel Extreme Masters V Global Challenge Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters V Global Challenge Shanghai
2010 Blizzard Warcraft Invitational, Cologne
ESWC 2010 finals Paris
Intel Extreme Masters IV World Championship, Hanover
Intel Extreme Masters IV Asian Championship, Taipei
Intel Extreme Masters IV European Championship, Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters IV American Championship, Edmonton
Intel Extreme Masters IV Global Challenge Dubai
Intel Extreme Masters IV Global Challenge, Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters Europe, World finals, Hanover
EPS XIV IFNG Cologne
World Cyber Games finals, Cologne
Intel Extreme Masters III Global Challenge Dubai
ESWC Masters of Athens 2008
ESWC finals, San Jose
QuakeCon 2008, Dallas
Global FIFA 09 Community Event, Vancouver
ESWC Masters of Paris 2008
Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008, Paris
EPS Season XII Finals, Cologne
ESCONF 08, Cologne
Kode5 Global Final 2007, Moscow
2008 AFI Film Festival, Dallas
CyberAces Gala, Warsaw
WCG Samsung Euro Championship / Intel Extreme Masters II / CeBIT, Hanover
Championship Gaming Series World Championship, Los Angeles
DreamHack Winter, Jonkoping
i32 LAN, Newbury
Heyah Logitech Cybersport finals, Warsaw
Extreme Masters / E4All, Los Angeles
World Cyber Games finals, Seattle
Games Convention, Leipzig
ESWC finals, Paris
ESWC Qualifier Poland, Poznan
Crossfire Prizefight Challenge 2, Enschede
i30 LAN, Newbury
WCG Samsung Euro Championship / Extreme Masters / CeBIT, Hanover
World Series of Video Games finals, New York City
Poznan Game Arena / Creative Polish Invitational, Poznan
World Cyber Games finals, Monza
GGL DigitalLife Pro/Am Tournament, New York City
WCG USA, Las Vegas
Kode5 Quake 4 finals / Games Convention, Leipzig
ESWC 2006, Paris
ESWC Qualifier Poland, Poznan
Hip Hop Gaming League finals, Hollywood
GGL VSports AllStars / E3, Los Angeles
GGL TransAtlantic Showdown, New York City
WCG Samsung Euro Championship, Hanover
DreamHack Winter, Jonkoping
CPL World Tour Finals, New York City
EuroCup XI LAN, Almere
ESWC 2005, Paris
CPL World Tour Stop Spain, Barcelona
WCG Samsung Euro Championship, Hanover
SMAU ILP 2004, Milan
WCG 2004 Italy, Milan
ESWC 2004, Poitiers
ESWC 2003, Poitiers
WCG 2002 UK, London
WCG 2002 Italy / NGI LAN 2, Milan
XSUnreality (see below)
XSU:Gold (see below)
Mad Mint Julep (see below)
Firebreath (see below)
Conceived the Golden Llama movie awards.
UT for clan DFP: quite a few domestic titles. Currently semi-active and not planning a comeback.
Competitive judo, sports, movies, music. MY OWNAGE NIECE.
LEC Summer Week 2: SK vs G2 and SK vs Rogue
AKAWonder at Hearthstone Masters Tour Las Vegas
This Week in SK Gaming - Hearthstone Masters Las Vegas
LEC Summer Week 1: SK vs Fnatic and SK vs Schalke 04
Crownshot: "I want to play better than I did last split"
THE NEW JERSEY