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The future of Esports: Video games to be played at Olympics and Glastonbury by 2050, experts predict

George Miller

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The future of Esports: Video games to be played at Olympics and Glastonbury by 2050, experts predict
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How big will the industry be in 30 years time?

With esports now a $1billion industry this year and its popularity still rising, we ask the question – what does the future hold for professional gaming?

A gaming stage at Glastonbury, giant sold out 100,000-seater stadiums and even a place in the Olympics?

That’s where some academics feel esports could be by 2050.

After exclusively speaking to the experts, we’ve created some food for thought about how the industry evolves in decades to come.

Gaming at festivals such as Glastonbury or Coachella?

As many event organisers now look to bring in wider audiences and test the waters, gaming could be on the cards to feature at some of the world’s biggest festivals.

With comedy stages, poetry and circus acts becoming part of the usual attractions, could competitive gaming be an outlet to bring in new audiences?

Lincoln Geraghty, Professor of Media Cultures at University of Portsmouth in the UK, said: “Absolutely, the crossovers are there. Comicon for example in the last 30 years has gone from comic books to games to big marketing launches.

“So I see a space like Glastonbury, that has a subcultural prestige with people interested in explicit music and the relationship of music and games, people might be drawn to it.”

Esports in the Olympics?

Esports games are already broadcasted to millions of people around the world. Last year’s League of Legends World Championship semi-finals were watched live by 3.9million.

But what about on an elite, mainstream level? The Intel World Open was set to precede this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics before it was cancelled, a stepping stone for esports to potentially feature in the competition itself.

Professor Geraghty said: “This is something the Olympic committee is looking at and it would almost certainly provide a much safer space for this competition to take place.

“Whether it be a massive tournament on the scale of the World Cup or be included in the Olympics in 30 years time, it won’t be unexpected and won’t be a surprise.”

 

All colleges and universities to offer esports majors/degrees?

This is unlikely, but not impossible.

There are already cases around the world of university majors and degrees being offered in game design and for specific games themselves.

As more people in higher education take up these courses, the novelty may wear off and that could lead to more awareness of the power games have on society.

Professor Regan Mandryk, Professor in Computer Science at University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said: “You can now go through college on a League of Legends scholarship, that’s going to change the cache of being an esports athlete.

“I would like to see the stigma of it being a “nerdy” activity change. It’s going to be hard, but it will happen by more people being exposed to different aspects of playing.”

Regularly filling 100,000 seater stadiums?

Whether it’s the World Cup or the Super Bowl, thousands of people want to be there to see how sporting events play out.

And this is no different for esports, even now.

The Spodak Arena in Katowice, Poland held 173,000 people to watch the Intel Extreme Masters in 2017.

“People see their heroes in these gamers and esports personalities,” Professor Geraghty added.

“It’s only replacing the footballer on the pitch with a competitor on your computer screen.”

He said: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a football stadium or convention centres sell out to see a huge gaming tournament.

“As content creators increase in popularity, people will pay to come out and see them in person.”

 

To better the understanding of mental and physical health

We all understand games can be stressful and frustrating at times, but the techniques used in a lot of the technology is actually helping health professionals understand humans more.

Despite many negative connotations, studies have found games can actually help our mental health, but also be used to understand the physical effects of stress and recovery.

“Gaming can be very good for you. There are lots of ways that it can help you recover from stress,” added Professor Mandryk.

“It can help you disconnect from the pressures around you. It can also help you connect socially with other people.

“We’ve done research that shows gaming can actually combat loneliness.”

 

But, how do we get the best out games in the future within other areas of society?

Professor Mandryk said: “Part of the answer is to stop being so afraid of games.”

“This is a very powerful median that we can leverage. There is a lot of motivational pull and people are devoting a lot of time to playing games so why aren’t we harnessing what’s great about them to better society.”

eSports

Williams duo Russell and Latifi are first Formula 1 drivers confirmed as Virtual Grands Prix return for charity

George Miller

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Williams duo Russell and Latifi are first Formula 1 drivers confirmed as Virtual Grands Prix return for charity
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Williams Racing’s George Russell and Nicholas Latifi are the first Formula 1 drivers to confirm their spots as F1 Esports’ hugely-popular Virtual Grands Prix return this weekend. The Virtual Austrian Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 31 January, kicking off a trio of special live events as team’s battle it out for a share of a charity prize pot that they will donate to a cause of their choosing.

Russell is no stranger to the Virtual Grands Prix after winning last year’s series, following a number of impressive performances, as the online racing action took the place of real-life competition when the pandemic first struck. Russell and Latifi will be representing the current crop of F1 drivers in the first event, alongside some former stars of the sport and future prospects, but the Williams Racing duo will be joined by fellow drivers from the 2021 grid in upcoming events.

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing Test and Reserve Driver and Wings for Life ambassador, was a firm favourite in last year’s Virtual Grands Prix and returns alongside Jeffrey Herlings, Red Bull KTM Factory rider and MXGP World Champion. Pietro Fittipaldi made his Haas F1 debut last season in Bahrain and will represent the American team in this week’s race, alongside his brother Enzo, whilst former F1 drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Tonio Luizzi will represent Mercedes and AlphaTauri respectively. Renault academy drivers Christian Lundgaard and reigning FIA F3 champion Oscar Piastri will drive for Alpine, whilst Virtual Grand Prix regular and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois returns this year for Alfa Romeo. The full line-up will be announced across the official F1 social media channels over the coming days.

While the return of Virtual Grands Prix will give fans around the world excitement ahead of the Formula 1 season starting in Bahrain, the primary focus of this year’s three-race competition is to donate money to charities chosen by the teams. Each nominated charity will receive a significant donation from the overall prize fund, regardless of whether the team finishes first or last in the standings after the three events.

This year’s Virtual Grand Prix events will begin with a sprint-race, featuring the team’s talented F1 Esports Pro Series drivers, to decide the starting grid, before the teams’ pairings, made up of motorsport stars, sporting heroes and celebrities, will take to the track and get ready to race. Silverstone and Interlagos will also play host to upcoming virtual races on Sunday 7 February and Sunday 14 February respectively.

The Virtual Austrian Grand Prix will be broadcast from 18:00 GMT on Sunday 31 January on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Huya (China) and Weibo (China) channels, as well as broadcast by international television partners including Sky Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports and Ziggo.

Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives & Esports at Formula 1 said:

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Virtual Grands Prix back to keep fans entertained during the off-season as we look forward to the year of racing ahead. Last year’s virtual events were a huge success for F1 Esports and we can’t wait to see the F1 drivers and famous faces back in action once again, and this time all in the name of charity!”

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eSports

Team Vitality Reveals Paris Saint-Germain Handball Legend Bruno Martini as Esports General Manager

George Miller

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Team Vitality Reveals Paris Saint-Germain Handball Legend Bruno Martini as Esports General Manager
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Ex professional olympic handball player Bruno Martini joins Team Vitality following a decorated eight year tenure as General Manager at Paris Saint-Germain. Martini will build a new performance structure for all Team Vitality players across all its powerhouse rosters

Leading global esports organisation Team Vitality is pleased to reveal Bruno Martini as its new Esports General Manager. Martini is an ex professional handball player who represented France twice in the olympics as well as winning two World Championships with the French National team. He joins Team Vitality following over eight years as General Manager of the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) handball team. Martini’s arrival marks the further evolution of Team Vitality’s groundbreaking approach to performance, providing its players with world class personnel and facilities across Europe. The former international goalkeeper will lead the performance infrastructure across all of Team Vitality’s rosters.

Bruno Martini joins Team Vitality following a hugely successful career as General Manager of the PSG handball team, overseeing its transition from Paris Handball to becoming one of the top performing teams in Europe. Under his leadership, the PSG team has won 17 titles, and set numerous national and international records. Martini brings a wealth of experience training top traditional athletes and managing an elite sports organisation.

Team Vitality has brought Martini onboard to oversee its player performance philosophy and program, incorporating physical and mental wellness, including lifestyle factors such as sleep cycle, nutrition and stress management. Martini will be based in Paris and work across both V.Hive and V.Performance, Team Vitality’s training facility in the iconic Stade de France. He will also travel with players for major events, and spend time in Berlin working with the LEC and LFL teams.

Team Vitality is home to eight international esports teams competing at the highest level across seven of the world’s biggest games including CS:GO, League of Legends, FIFA, Rocket League and Rainbow Six: Siege. Martini’s role will be to work with all Team Vitality players, including the #1 ranked CS:GO player in the world Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, leveraging his traditional sports expertise to improve player performance in and out of the game.

“There are so many important factors to performance, team spirit, fitness, mental health support, etc. and what’s essential is that our players are convinced that this will make them play better, and play better as a team,” said Bruno Martini, Esports General Manager, Team Vitality. “This is my first role in esports, and I was hugely impressed by the Team Vitality brand and the infrastructure they already have in place. I’m very excited for this new challenge of bringing my experience in building performance structures around professional sportsmen to esports players.”

“We take performance incredibly seriously at Team Vitality, of course in-game, but our players are professional competitors, and to perform at the highest possible level we need to give them every advantage, said Fabien “Neo” Devide, President & Co-Founder, Team Vitality. “I was looking for former professional sportsmen with experience in management, and I couldn’t have hoped to find someone with a resume as impressive as Bruno’s. I cannot wait to see what he brings to Team Vitality,”

 

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eSports

Former ESL Executive Charlie Allen Launches Esports Agency “Road House”

Niji Narayan

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Former ESL Executive Charlie Allen Launches Esports Agency “Road House”
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Charlie Allen, former director of global brand partnerships at ESL, has launched a new commercial esports and gaming agency, Road House.

The new company focuses on working with its clients to help them navigate the esports and gaming landscape and understand the mass potential of brand partnerships in a booming industry. Founded back in late 2020, Road House consults with brands, agencies, rights holders, publishers, and tournament organisers from all over the sports, media & entertainment world.

“Despite the challenges the industry has faced due to the pandemic, it is still a very promising time for esports right now. I’ve learned a great deal from working in this fascinating sector over the past few years and it felt like the right time to launch Road House,” Charlie Allen said.

“During my years at ESL, I spoke with many C-suite level executives from across many different sectors in the traditional marketing world, and what I discovered is that the broad, open ecosystem of esports can prove rather daunting to them. They really needed it explaining to them – like about how esports is consumed, who plays where, how many people are tuning in, and how can we positively engage with them?”

The commercial agency works with clients on RFPs from across both the endemic and non-endemic world, and the appetite to reach new millennial audiences that these brands have never managed to reach before is definitely on the rise.

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