Tales from the Inaugural Las Vegas eSports Business Summit
Digital Opportunities and Best Bets
Welcome to Las Vegassssss!
Picture this, it’s the same old normal production work road trip scenario - Up early for an Uber to the airport, flight to Vegas, check into hotel, and then head to an early meeting with the Production team for our on-site activation strategy briefings….. wait, rewind that… flight to Vegas, meet the team at airport, check into AirBnB, spend the day team building, and get prepped to ATTEND, the eSports Business Summit!!! Woo Hoo! What a nice change of pace to be attending verses Producing the event. Especially something like the eSports conference, which is so interesting to a large part of our internal organization. And now, its time to learn something cool.
If you are reading this blog, you are probably someone in the Live Events and Media Production scene, or Digital Development or eSports scene, or you are really bored and have too much time on your hands. Regardless, as some of you may or may not know, I’m the Director of Digital Development for Ambassador Studios, so I’m writing this entry from the Digital perspective. I will say that from an Event Production point of view, I liked how the event agenda was set up to have Networking as the initial activity, as we were whisked off to either Top Golf, or to an Axe Tossing camp. We chose Top Golf mainly because we were scared that Clint might accidentally cut someone with the Ax as it slips out of his hands in an attempt to toss the ax, and that would be a bad way to start the trip. So, we head to Top Golf, and have a great time meeting new contacts and potential partners, and we got to smash golf balls at least 310 yards (or possibly dribble them off the tee;-). Regardless, good times were had by all and what a great way to start out the conference. We ended up hanging out with a lot of the people we met at our networking session throughout the conference and have continued conversations about ideas and opportunities. That is a successful networking event!
Back to Digital…When I was looking through the Agenda for the breakout sessions, I tried to focus on attending some of the Intro to eSports sessions, but also really wanted to attend some of the VR/AR sessions, Mobile in eSports, and Digital Displays and Digital Activations in eSports. Basically the things that look cool, but also collect a lot of data. We utilize a lot of these kinds of digital strategy in our events, and it was interesting to see how they are being utilized, or potentially could be utilized in future eSports events. Basically, I was a kid in a candy store when it came to my session choices, and even after splitting our team up to attend as many sessions as possible, we still couldn’t attend them all. Again, a win for everyone.
The Esports Digital Onion
The one thing that we all noticed, was that eSports is a very complicated landscape to navigate. One might compare it to an onion; as soon as you peel off a layer, there is another layer, and another and so on. Esports events center around video gaming, but there is so much opportunity for things like mobile games as tag alongs at these events. Virtual Reality is also a segment of Esports tourneys and looking to have continued growth, while the Digital display world is getting a lot of cool new creative coming out of this sector as well. In my opinion, eSports Events will likely be some of the most immersive experiences one can achieve at a live event.
As a Producer, if you love giant video walls, and cool lighting, and basically organized chaos with side tournaments happening in large gaming bays, all happening at the same time as the main stage tournament which is being live streamed… Then check this place out, and you will have a better understanding of what we are talking about, and you will be very impressed!
Whats the next hot thing?
Like I said, there was a lot to absorb at this event, and other than the obvious things like massive displays and stage presentations, I think that Mobile gaming is one of the coolest things that can be tapped into when it comes to an actual eSports event. Mobile is definitely growing in popularity from the tournament players perspective, as discussed in this article from eSports Charts, but it is also growing as a side property at eSports events. When you attend an eSports Tournament, the doors open early, you rush into the stadium to get your seat, and now you have potentially an hour or two to kill because the actual tournament on stage doesn’t start until noon. So while you sit there in your seat to protect your view, what are you gonna do? Well, like most people, you are gonna pull out your phone. So why not offer a mobile gaming solution that the attendees can play, compete with other attendees, have a leader board, and provide in game special offers? All to keep them occupied and engaged, and potentially viewing a few sponsor ads along the way. The cool thing is that the games don’t have to be complicated, but need to have a competitive nature, and definitely need to have a reward for participating that can be tied back into the overall event. The one thing everyone loves to win is good old cash, but you can also incentivize the attendee players along the way, and continue to market to them post event. Talk about efficient marketing.
The other thing I think will be a large growth sector within eSports is Virtual and Augmented Reality gaming verses traditional console gaming. The one thing that makes it a little more appealing to the attendee is that the VR Gaming Competitors have to move around on stage to play the game within the VR environment. So the attendee is watching the person take physical action like jumping, and see that action taken by the player’s Avatar within the VR environment which is displayed on the giant 100 foot video walls. It also opens the door for athletic competition in gaming as the better athlete you are, the better your Avatar responds within the gaming environment. Imagine watching the real LeBron James playing in a VR Tourney, and the game requires the ability to jump to be able to advance within the map. He’d be able to advance faster than most, and have a greater advantage to win the game. Or imagine watching the real Chuck Norris on stage playing as a Pink Death Bunny Warrior in a VR battle simulation…. seriously, who wouldn’t want to see that???? I’d say that VR is definitely gonna be cool for the gamers on stage and especially for the attendees in the stands, and I believe VR and AR will make huge strides in how they are used as additional Experiential Installations and signage at these events. Just think about Minority Report where digital signage tracks the attendee throughout the event and information will be distributed in Virtual and Augmented reality environments. Pretty awesome, and immersive!
I could write about this topic for days, as it allows me to dream about crazy ideas, but I’ll stop here, as we have a couple more entries coming out this week about our experience at the eSports Business Summit. We will have a lot more to add to this topic along the way, so make sure to watch for additional entries regarding Digital, Gaming, or Esports; and feel free to contact us if you have an interesting idea, or if you just want to brainstorm about Live Events and how Digital can help.