BD: Hi, Roberto! Nice to see you. And, right of the bat, let’s start with your vision of the e-Sports industry and your company’s niche inside of it.
RL: Hi BearDev team, first of all let me thank you and your team for this opportunity. As you know, there have always been videogames tournaments among friends and, at a low scale, in specialized shops or in local associations. These events were clearly amateur-oriented, with the addition of some national or even international events, but the 90s are clearly a step forward for professional and competitive gaming.Over the last years, the e-Sports recognition increased a lot and this is mainly due to the industry created around it. Leagues and events organized by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) for example, or even by the developers of the most competitively successful games themselves, such as Riot (League of Legends), Blizzard Entertainment (Starcraft, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm), Valve (DotA and Counter Strike), or Activision (Call of Duty) take advantage of the media the same way as big regular sport events do.The key figure to understand the impact of e-Sports is 32 million viewers for the Finale of the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship in 2013, which was higher than the NBA play-offs of the same year.Regarding the Electronic Sports MastersTM (ESMTM), as you said, our objective is to promote e-Sports as well as the principles and values of the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), but focusing on a single game, ARMA III.
BD: Is it true that e-Sports involve only a thin layer of the society mainly consisting of young people between 21 and 34 years old? And, what is your current audience structure?
RL: Having a look at the current evolution, I would even say younger, as kids now seem to be born with a tablet in their hands. Regarding Arma 3, it is a bit different because a big part of its community, players and ideas men are following the saga since its beginning in 2001 with the release of Operation Flashpoint… and it was 14 years ago. More recently, we decided to get figures about the average age among our audience, here are the results:
- 38.9% between 20 and 25;
- 22.2% older than 36;
- 16.7% between 26 and 30;
- 16.7%between 31 and 35;
- 5.6% younger than 20.
* Around 40% are players older than 31.
This shows that the ARMA III community is made of experienced players mainly due to the game developer company itself, Bohemia Interactive, which gave the code in open source as well as the tools allowing add-ons and mods to be created. About BI, I would like to add that their business model and the way they take care of the community are simply unique. Just have a look at the life duration of their games and free content they develop, such as e.g. the latest update “Nexus” released in November or the next one called “Eden” to be released at the beginning of 2016 with a powerful 3D edition tool, and as I said, everything is free!These are the things that make a player/customer faithful to the saga and create his special connection with the company.
BD: e-Sports seem to become a highly competitive market. How do you take the blow? What are the most important success components for you?
RL: Obviously! Currently the worldwide e-Sports market worth 748 million dollars and estimations show that it can reach 1.9 billion dollars by 2018. These figures are pretty serious and make everyone rigorous with what we do if we do not want to be left behind. Honestly, I do not know the right path to follow to be successful in this type of projects, and in our case, it is clearly too early to say anything, as we still have a long way ahead and a lot to learn. What I do can say is that the lack of interest, honesty and passion are not the good way. These qualities are, in my opinion, essential and presented in every one of the ESMTM Team.
BD: You use several of our products on your site. Why did you choose JoomSport?
RL: We have been working during months testing different components. All of them brought some very interesting solutions, but none of them is as complete and easy to use as the ones JoomSport proposed. Recently, we implemented the PayPal add-on for team registration, and it fits our needs perfectly. Regarding the support, I have to say they are fast and resolution-oriented. Each time we came up with an issue they resolved it quickly and in a satisfactory way.
BD: Great! Thank you very much. Would you please unveil the business benefits brought to the esportsmasters.org backend configuration by our FE management module?
RL: One of the main advantages of the JoomSports FE management module is that teams themselves can manage their team/players profiles as well as the results of games. This allowed us to invest this purely administrative time of our administrators into more productive and gratifying tasks.
BD: How do you particularly arrange the process of player’s registration and team assembling on your web site?
RL: In our case, the process is really simple. The manager of each team, after signing-up to the website, may access the Team registration section. Once it is done, the manager is able to add players, upload and the logo of their team. It is all very easy and intuitive.
BD: Both with our help and independently you made several adjustments of our native functionality adapting it to your specific business requirements. The result is pretty excellent. Please, tell our readers how was it made?
RL: The modifications and adaptations to our model were quite easy to implement thank to the support of JoomSport. We did not have to perform big modifications, as it already came with all the options we were looking for. What we did adapt were the colors and format to make it fit our website.
BD: What is currently the most required functionality you would readily purchase from JoomSports or similar vendors?
RL:Unfortunately, this is something we did not find either in JoomSport or in other similar products and that, in my opinion, would be very interesting to implement in order to make you pop out among the competitors. Recently, we added a “betting system” to the website, which is giving so far very good results. It is really easy to use even if it takes a lot of work on our administrators’ side being something so dynamic, but when we see the success it is getting within the community, it seems worth the pain. Thanks to it, we make our visitors and the community in general more than simple spectators by letting them to be a part of ESMTM.
BD: The business model you follow is original and uncommon. Would you please explain the roles within your team and management making it successful?
RL: The ESMTM is a non-profit organization in which we reinvest everything we get to improve our infrastructure. And, we are lucky to have the support of Mionix and ArmaHosts, who are really important allies for us.
BD: Thank you very much Roberto for your time and an amazing conversation. We wish good luck to you and your company. You are welcome to summarize our interview.
RL: Thank you very much, and as Richard St John said: “The success is a continuous journey”, so we will try to keep up the good work.