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Malaysia 5year eSports Plan

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Malaysia’s Government Lays Out Five-Year Strategic Plan for Esports Development

  • The Ministry of Youth and Sports in Malaysia has outlined a five-year domestic plan to grow esports within the Southeast Asian country.
  • Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance has budgeted a further RM 20M ($4.8M USD) for esports in 2020.
  • The government outlined five strategic priorities for esports, including athlete welfare, competitive integrity, a national esports venue, and a certification program. 

Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports has released a 144-page comprehensive strategy to legislate and create a sustainable esports ecosystem. The five-year plan presents 25 key initiatives within five prioritized strategies “aimed to maintain the continuance of esports excellence in Malaysia.”

In 2019, Malaysia’s government announced it would allocate RM 10M ($2.4M) to start the development of esports domestically. Initial details on how this funding would be allocated were scarce, and in an article from Malaymail, the country’s minister for youth and sport Sayed Saddiq said the ministry only received the budget in October—too late to help fund Malaysia’s Overwatch World Cup team’s journey to Blizzcon. The budget allocation for 2020 will double to $4.8M for 2020.

Currently, there are no dedicated laws to govern esports in Malaysia; instead, competitive gaming is still grouped under the government’s Sports Development Act of 1997. The report directly references South Korea’s Act of Promotion of Esports, which paved the way for government subsidies, university programs, and competition administration in what is still one of the largest esports markets worldwide, alongside China and the U.S.

Malaysia’s own strategic plan for esports outlines five priorities. Summarized, these include: 

  1. Standardizing esports athlete contracts, health programs, and career planning.
  2. Safeguarding competitive integrity and improving gender equality. 
  3. Building a national venue and academy for esports. 
  4. Encouraging further esports talent development, and investment.
  5. Introduce licenses for players, referees, and training centers.

The launch of the Esports Development Strategic Plan was officiated by YB Syed Saddiq Bin Syed Abdul Rahman, Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia, on Nov. 21, 2019. Elected in 2018, at age 27, Saddiq is the country’s youngest federal minister (since it gained independence in 1957) and is known for his interest in gaming.

According to its Internet Users Survey 2018, Malaysia, a country with a population of over 31M, has seen the estimated number of internet users grow from 20.1M in 2014 to 28.7M, roughly a 42% increase.

World of Esports Viewership

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Esports Production Summit: Making Sense of the Elusive World of Esports Viewership, Consumption

Founder of Esports Charts Ivan Danishevskyi offers an analytical take on esports ‘ratings’

One of the more hotly debated topics accompanying the rise of popularity in esports is measuring and articulating viewership numbers for major live events. When crunching some of these seemingly massive streaming numbers, it can be difficult to draw parallels with traditional sports or even any form of entertainment.

Esports Charts is a company that analyzes a massive amount of data derived directly from all known streaming platforms (without any outside influence) in order to determine the exact number of viewers, breakdown by their languages, and growth dynamics of subscribers on channels and social networks. This presentation by Esports Charts founder Ivan Danishevskyi offers a look at the state of the market in terms of esports-content consumption.

Esports explode in popularity

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Esports explode in popularity

White River Junction Carter Nalette called his team together for a pregame huddle. As his seven teammates passed around an Aztec idol they call their good-luck charm, Nalette said that no matter what happens, they’re going to have fun. Make sure to get some good kills, too.

Welcome to Doug Anton’s classroom on a late Tuesday afternoon where the Hartford High esports team is gathered for their two League of Legend matches against Mason Senior High of Erie, Mich.

“I’ve been around family of a lot this week and sometimes my mom likes to bring (esports) up, and they’re like, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ They have no idea,” said Nalette, who is a two-sport athlete and the junior class president, too. “We’re doing it for seriousness, like, we’re trying to have fun but be serious with it. I think we’re a bunch of friends that have something to prove.”

The League of Legends video game is one of three esports — short for electronic sports — sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations. In partnership with esports startup PlayVS, the NFHS welcomed the sport to its list of 21 activities at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.

Esports is a form of competitive sport using video games. What started off in the 1980s with PacMan and Donkey Kong has morphed into a worldwide pursuit with global tournaments and high stakes.

ESPN has reporters dedicated to covering transactions comparable to Major League Baseball, commentators provide play-by-play to a live audience and the top-ranked League of Legends player has won more than $3.1 million in 2019.

Yes, there are fantasy leagues, too.

The Hurricanes are in the midst of their first season and off to a 4-2 start. What many would consider a hobby has turned into an activity that includes daily practice sessions and weekly film review.

Anton, 30, believes that Hartford is one of the only teams in Vermont. The Canes play against teams from all across the country, mostly based on the East Coast. Playoffs are split into regions.

The regular season goes into December, with postseason play in January. There is also a second season that starts in February and extends through May.

“It’s definitely something new and different to do,” senior Andrew St. Martin said. “In the grand scheme of things, none of us are extremely good, but it’s cool to see how we fare against these other high schools.

“It’s weird to play teams that aren’t even in the area. I don’t even know where the team is until Carter tells us. It’s a weird concept to wrap your head around.”

The idea of esports at Hartford started two springs ago when a group of students convinced Anton to start a video game section of H-Term, which is a designated week in May to give students a break from the grind of schoolwork and AP tests.

Some students choose to hike the Appalachian Trail or build cornhole boards from scratch, but a group of Canes chose to play video games. After two H-Terms of Anton leading a video game section, a tight-knit group of students emerged who wanted to take the next steps.

So last spring, Nalette and his classmates moved forward with their idea. With Anton, their social studies teacher, serving as the team’s advisor, Nalette filled out grant paperwork through the Byrne Foundation so computers could be purchased.

The foundation started the team off with $2,500 and said if the Canes could raise $3,000, it would deliver another $2,500. They are currently still working to raise their $3,000.

Since then, Hartford has bought three computers specialized for gaming. Two players bring their own desktops in each week. Each team member had to purchase a $64 season pass through PlayVS, but it gives them entire access to the game in and out of school.

“We’re trying to take something that kids have done for fun for years and partly for competitive nature,” said Anton, who first got into video games as an undergraduate at Assumption College. “We’re not trying to take the fun out of it, but we’re trying to really emphasize the competitiveness. We’re here to win. And to these guys’ credit, they’ve done a good job.”

With the players positioned at their computers, Anton told them to start talking their way through strategy for when the game starts. League of Legends pits five players per team against each other; the main goal is to knock down the opponent’s base, the Nexus.

The game is in a fantasy world and players kill each other using a variety of weapons such as rifles, flamethrowers and crossbows. Each player chooses to play as a champion and can be killed throughout the match. The longer the game goes, the longer it takes a player to respawn from being killed. The other main objective is to gather gold, which can be done by killing neutral monsters that pop up on the map. More gold gives players the opportunity to level up.

On the map, there are three lanes: top, middle and bottom. The bottom row usually has two players in it, a strategy that has become the norm over time. All game play is done on one map that is split down the middle. Each side is symmetrical to the other.

Junior Biki Singh, who his teammates call the all-star of the squad, possibly has the toughest job as Hartford’s jungler. The jungler is responsible for objective control, as well as helping the rest of the team win their respective lanes by surprising an enemy champion in their lane with the intent to kill them.

“I’m able to go across the map easier, and I’m able to help lanes from a different angle. I do enjoy doing it,” Singh said.

While Hartford dominates Mason Senior to improve to 6-2 on the season, there are still more hurdles to overcome. For the remainder of this school year, the team will continue to be recognized as a club by the school. That means no funding for equipment or jerseys, and no compensation for Anton’s time.

However, for the eight-member team — Nalette, Singh, St. Martin, Eddie Jeon, Remy Lambert, Calvin McCrory, Ben Rushton and Finn Sunde — the joy of just having a team far outweighs the cons.

Making the playoffs would be the fitting way to end the inaugural season.

“We were thinking how we could be up on the (auditorium) stage for playoffs,” Nalette said. “There’s a pulldown screen, so we can have a stream with different viewpoints. People could come and watch; that’d be really neat. Maybe a little hard to pull off.”

Big carmakers serious About eSports

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Big carmakers get serious about esports

Racing drivers for Renault get some serious training.

Working on improving their reaction times...

Boosting their speed and flexibility...

And yet these drivers may never step into a real racing car.

This is training for esports racing - and it's another sign of just how seriously big brands now take virtual competition.

Jarno Opmeer used to drive real cars for Renault:

(SOUNDBITE)(English) JARNO OPMEER, RENAULT SPORT TEAM VITALITY, ESPORTS DRIVER SAYING:

"Physical training in esports is much more about staying healthy, staying flexible because obviously sitting in a simulator for a big part of the day is going to make you stiff. But you want to stay flexible as much as possible just for quick reactions and coordination and these kind of things."

Renault competes against the other big F1 names in the esports version of the race series.

It rebuilt its team after a disappointing season last year.

And it's just one part of a booming market.

Global esports revenues are forecast to hit 1.1 billion dollars in 2019 - up 27% on last year.

But the Renault team boss says gender balance is still a big worry.

Just 20% of fans are female.

And the numbers are even worse among contestants:

(SOUNDBITE)(English) NICOLAS MAURER, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, TEAM VITALITY SAYING:

"One of the big challenges, and a very interesting area of development for esports, is the number of women being pro in esports which is close to zero right now which is a terrible state, we have to admit."

As for this year, Opmeer is third in the drivers' contest, 43 points behind Ferrari's David Tonizza.

The champion will be decided in final races next week at London's Gfinity Arena.

New Esports Policies

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Tencent Games Rebrands, Beijing-Haidian Government Announces New Esports Policies

Over the past week, the esports industry in China saw several key developments, primarily related to Beijing-Haidian government and Tencent. The company’s games division has rebranded for the first time since 2010, and the Beijing-Haidian government announced a local esports benefit-based policies. In addition, Dota 2’s MDL Chengdu Major concluded over the weekend and led to significant viewership across both English and Russian language broadcasts on Twitch.

Among the top stories: Tencent Games rebranded with a new slogan; the Beijing-Haidian government announced multiple policies for developing esports in the region; LGD Gaming partnered with Philippines esports organization Espoortsplay Gaming to co-build an international Dota 2 team; Mars Media partnered with McLaren for the MDL Chengdu Major; and musician Alan Olav Walker partnered with social media Weibo, contributing an esports theme song for PUBG tournament WEGL. 

Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.

Tencent Games Rebrands with New Slogan

On Nov. 21Tencent Games, the games division of Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings, announced that it has rebranded with a new logo and slogan; changing  from “Create Happiness with Heart” to ‘‘Spark More.” This is the first brand update for Tencent Games since December 2010. 

According to the announcement, Tencent Games has published 480 games worldwide to-date, and served more than 800M users in 200 countries. 

“We will continually partner with Riot GamesSupercellEpic GamesActivision BlizzardUbisoft, and Nintendo.” 

Ren Yuxin, the COO of Tencent Holdings, mentioned this update in a company-wide internal email:

“The update is not only just a rebrand for Tencent Games, but also a cognitive revolution for how to bring more value and visions into games.”

According to the announcement, the concept of “Spark More” is to mainly focus on additional value in the gaming industry, including cultural heritage, social responsibility, technological innovation, and cultural influences outside of China. Tencent Games concluded those values in six words: “Connect,” “Culture,” “Care,” “Responsibility,” “Technology,” and “Honor.”

It should be noted that the poster of “Honor” features the Chinese League of Legends national team winning the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games gold medals. In addition, the official rebrand video from Tencent features Chinese League of Legends professional player Jian “Uzi” Zihao and North American League of Legends player Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. 

Beijing-Haidian Government Announces Beneficial Policies to Develop Local Esports, $1.42M Maximum Funds

The Beijing-Haidian government has released multiple benefit-based policies for developing the digital culture industry in the city, including esports. According to the announcement,

Beijing-Haidian will offer a maximum ¥10M RMB ($1.42M USD) in allowances for “high-quality” Haidian-based esports companies. For Haidian-based esports teams, the allowances will be a maximum ¥2M ($280K).

For Haidian-hosted esports tournaments, the government will offer a maximum ¥5M ($710K) in allowances and a “fast pass” on approval.

Earlier this month, global esports tournament organizer ESL hosted its first-ever standalone event in China: the $250K Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Beijing-Haidian, which was held in the Beijing University Student Gymnasium. The Beijing-Haidian government was one of five sponsors in this tournament.

This year, multiple Chinese cities have released their own beneficial policies for developing esports including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, and Chengdu. “Our goal is to build Haidian as a multi-billion esports center in the North of China,” Zhang Dongxu, the vice director of Beijing-Haidian media department said in an interview with People Esports, the esports division of Chinese publication People’s Daily.

LGD Gaming Partners with Esportsplay Gaming, Rebuilds Dota 2 Team LGD International

On Nov. 26, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming announced that it has partnered with Philippines-based esports organization Esportsplay Gaming to co-build a Dota 2 team called LGD International (LGD.Int). 

According to the announcement, the partnership is looking for developing esports in the South East Asia region. As part of the deal, LGD Gaming will bring its “exclusive training system” to the team. The team has not announced its roster at the time of writing. 

This is not the first time that LGD Gaming has tried to build its international Dota 2 team. In 2012, LGD.Int was founded in China and mainly included on European Dota 2 players. The team disbanded in 2013. This is also not the first time that LGD Gaming partnered with a foreign company to build a new team, either. In September, the company partnered with North American esports organization Reciprocity to establish a joint esports team called LGD.REC to compete in the China CrossFire esports league.

LGD’s Chinese Dota 2 team, PSG.LGD, is considered one of the best Dota 2 teams in China. The team is a partnership with the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), and currently has ten sponsors include betting operator Betway, shampoo brand Clear, energy drink brand Monster, alcohol company Harbin Brewery, live streaming platform Douyu, and HLA Jeans.

Other Esports Business News:

  • The Dota 2 MDL Chengdu Major concluded on Nov. 24. During the tournament, organizer Mars Media partnered with car brand McLaren, showcasing the company’s racing cars with MDL logos in the venue. The tournament has led to significant viewership across both English and Russian language broadcasts on Twitch.
  • On Nov. 22, British musician Alan Olav Walker announced that he had partnered with Chinese social media Weibo to contribute a theme song called “Play” for Weibo’s PUBG esports tournament, WEGL.
  • On Nov. 21, Korean esports organization T1 announced that its League of Legends team will come to China for a three-day trip between Nov. 29 – Dec. 2. The trip will be organized by T1’s exclusive business global partner, Lagardère Sports and Entertainment.
  • On. Nov. 24, North American esports organization Team SoloMid (TSM) announced that its League of Legends team will come to Shanghai, China, for a two-month training process. Further details on this training process were not disclosed.

2019 Esports Production Summit

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2019 Esports Production Summit: Pro Leagues Embrace Esports To Reach New Fans

Professional sports leagues continue to embrace esports, and their efforts was the topic of discussion during one of the panels at SVG’s Esports Production Summit last week in Los Angeles.

Matt Arden, head of content and media, NBA 2K League, NBA, emphasized the importance of managing workflow, with upwards of 55-60 operators involved in every NBA 2K event.

“The need [is] to be able to turn on a dime, and everyone has to be comfortable abandoning a rundown,” he explained. “Insights have to flow up to the front bench, and it is definitely a hand-raise environment, where information flows freely. With four game admins and game operators, there is a whole host of non-traditional production in the truck. You’re overseeing a much larger broadcast than just calling shots.

One thing everyone agreed on is that, given how much the competition matters, the tips and tricks, often done on a VOD basis, are essential. “We doubled down on tips and tricks,” Arden reported.

Joe Lynch, head of broadcast, EA, concurred, adding that EA finds that about 90% of fans watch so that they can learn and get better. With upwards of 12 hours of content created a day, there is plenty of fodder for tips and tricks.

“Tips and tricks are always what people want,” he added.

One of the unique challenges facing the traditional leagues when it comes to esports is serving all the fans. NBA 2K, for example, has 13 in-game cameras, and producing the coverage in a way that appeals to the novice and the hardcore fan is a key goal.

“The hardcore fan is so adamant about the way they like the coverage,” said Arden. “Minute to minute, it’s a struggle to try and crack, but it is fun to try and crack it.”

Jeff Politsch, head of broadcast, eNASCAR, NASCAR Productions, said that his production control is very traditional, with upwards of six observers plus a traditional-production person keeping eyes open for various battles. “They want to give the directors what they need,” he said.

NASCAR also does a two-box, with the game in one box and the drivers in the other. “Viewers can watch what they want to watch,” he explained. “Going forward, we have tons of other opportunities and options to figure out what the audience wants. It’s always evolving.”

Another challenge is that the constant action in esports competitions makes it difficult to fit in feature stories and profiles that can enrich the coverage. The latest version of Madden is much more run-heavy, and that makes it particularly difficult to get stories in because the clock is almost always ticking.

“You can do a five-minute piece and just watch the viewership go down,” said Lynch. “And worse, you can’t bail out of it.”

The NBA2K challenge in storytelling is that there is only a six-week period to learn about the players and attempt to create content. As a result, the league creates very quick, short-form documentary series, like Draft Hopefuls, that can be shot in a day.

Adam Poel, partner/director, productionDefacto Entertainment; supervising broadcast producer, NBA 2K League, has found that adapting to a new way of doing a broadcast has been fulfilling. “The fans are not shy about letting you know what they want,” he noted.

And, although a new game may seem small today, you never know where it might end up, he added: “Small doesn’t mean it won’t become like League of Legends or bigger.”

What Legends May Need Balancing

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Apex fan survey reveals what legends may need balancing

Apex Legends’ Peacekeeper nerf is the latest in a series of balancing changes made to the battle royale since its launch. In spite of Respawn Entertainment’s attempts to fine-tune the game, the community feels that some legends could use buffs or nerfs—at least, according to a fan-made survey.

The survey asked users if legends needed rebalancing for season three, as well as what elements made them too weak or too strong. The analysis was posted on the game’s official subreddit and took into account over 1900 responses.

Mirage is the character in most need of a buff, according to the survey. Ninety-one percent of players believe the holographic trickster is underpowered. His passive, Encore, is considered his biggest weakness, followed by his ultimate as a close second. Both cloak Mirage in a veil of invisibility but are easily noticeable and can be negated by players who know where to look.

Bloodhound, the game’s Technologic Tracker, also fills the ranks of legends considered underpowered. Bloodhound’s tactical, Eye of the Allfather, tags enemies caught in its short detection radius, but 63 percent of players believe the skill needs changes.

Lifeline and Bangalore are regarded as the most balanced legends by a large margin; 85 and 83 percent of players believe the characters are fine just the way they are. The soldier and medic duo are regarded as a solid pick for most occasions.

Pathfinder and Wraith are the characters who drew most criticism. Even though the majority of interviewees believe the legends are balanced, 41 percent of the community wants to see the robotic scout get a nerf, and 35 percent of fans think Wraith is overpowered. Pathfinder’s mobility with his grappling hook and Wraith’s hitbox make them unbalanced, according to Apex fans.

The survey considers answers from a small share of the fanbase, but can serve as a general metric to gauge the community’s feeling towards legends’ balancing during season three. The answers were collected between Nov. 8 and Nov. 16, shortly after Patch 3.1 hit live servers.

ESPORTS TOURNAMENT AIMS

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ESPORTS TOURNAMENT AIMS TO PUSH STUDENTS TOWARD STEM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Kirby and Little Mac are locked in a tense final match of Super Smash Bros.

Evelyn Adkins, an 8th grader at Bates Middle School, controls Kirby, a bright pink alien shaped like a gumball.

Wyatt Booth, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Annapolis Middle, controls Little Mac, a short, muscled boxer with green shorts and gloves.

Evelyn, 13, puts up a valiant effort in the waning seconds of the match but Wyatt seals the victory.

He raises his arms above his head, Nintendo Switch controller in hand, and shouts, “I won!” before lowering his voice, turning to his competitors and saying, “GG, GG, everyone," online gamer speak for “good game.”

Wyatt and Evelyn were two of about 30 students from Annapolis and Bates middle schools, who crowded around three computer monitors at Maryland Hall Saturday (Nov. 16) to participate in an EliteGamingLive esports tournament.

EliteGamingLive, or EGL, is an esports league tailored to K-12 students that combines the burgeoning field of esports with educational programming to help parents and educators introduce students to STEM fields, said the company’s founder Kerwin Rent.

Rent roamed the playing area, during the three-hour tournament operating as a referee and reminding players of the rules: no heckling, no disrespect, shake hands before and after a match. “You build rapport by respecting them,” he said.

One student asked Rent if he’s ever seen a fight during a tournament. “Never,” Rent told him. “Part of esports is learning how to lose.”

While some students played Smash, others went head to head in NBA2K. Anthony Moore, 14, and Tayquan Johnson, 14, faced off with Tayquan coming out on top. The pair shook hands and said they would join the team if their school had one.

Rent, who has a background in desktop engineering, built the EGL online learning module with the help of researchers, professors and other education experts. It lets students explore career paths — many of which are related to gaming — such as coding, audio engineering, virtual and augmented reality, and others. The results of those lessons can be viewed by parents or educators to help direct students toward skills or experiences they never considered before.

“We don’t tell kids that they should be a professional video gamer. ... Going pro for gamers can be something completely different than that," Rent said. "Every company that sells something is going to need people that engineer those experiences. These are all things that are really important in the world of gaming that people get paid a lot of money to do.”

Evelyn, who also competes in acroballet, said the tournament fed into her competitiveness, adding that she’s considering a STEM career path in high school.

“I want to learn how to code when I’m older,” she said.

Saturday’s tournament was an introduction to local students, Rent said, and he hopes it will encourage schools to establish teams.

The league is already up and running in schools in Indianapolis, where Rent is from, as well as Washington, D.C. and Virginia, with about 5,000 total players.

Adetola Ajayi, an African American community services specialist in Mayor Gavin Buckley’s office, said the event was an innovative way of using technology and education to engage community youth.

“You didn’t really think the video games you are playing, there are careers behind it, from the graphics, to game concepts, to coding," Ajayi said. "There is a world of opportunity that I’m glad we get to expose these young people to.”

Rent founded the company in 2011, and soon after decided to focus on K-12 students by offering them the same competitive, social and educational opportunities that are offered to students who participate in traditional sports. He moved to Arlington, Va. two years ago to bring competitive esports, which have exploded in the last few years, to the region.

“I saw a disparity of support between traditional athletes, which I was, and gamers, which I was,” said Rent who played basketball and ran track, but also played Pokeman with a “secret group of friends” as he called them.

“EGL was created so that gamer kids could feel like sports kids," he said.

As Wyatt battled his way through the Super Smash Bros. tournament bracket, stretching his shoulders and wiping sweat from his hands between matches, his mother, Kathleen Booth, stood a few feet away watching him play.

Wyatt has played several traditional sports, but none that he felt totally comfortable in, Booth said.

“This is the most excited I have ever seen him compete in something by far,” she said.

“I was like finally, I can channel this into something social...” Booth said, pausing a few seconds before adding, “IRL," or in real life, the phrase often uses to differentiate between online experiences and those in the real world.

“For me to see him so excited about something, I think that’s awesome. I’m really hoping we can get it going.”

Wyatt said he was expecting the tournament to be only traditional sports games like Madden, FIFA and NBA2K.

“I thought I would get deleted,” Wyatt said, but once he heard Super Smash Bros. — one of his favorite games — was on the list, it changed his outlook, adding that he would join an Annapolis Middle esports team if given the chance.

For winning the Super Smash Bros. tournament, Wyatt received a medal and an official EGL jersey and Rent recorded him like any other post-game interview.

When asked how he thought he played, Wyatt responded like he had been winning esports championships for years.

“I feel pretty good about that. I feel like everything but the second match was OK," he said. "Marth gave me a run for my money. My strategy was to be as aggressive as possible.”

Gaming Grill 2019

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GamingGrill 2019: “Our mission is really how do we design games from the get-go, from the ground floor to be esports-ready,” Chou said

Video game publishers increasingly are eager to take advantage of the growing popularity of esports when they set out to develop and release new games.

“Our mission is really how do we design games from the get-go, from the ground floor to be esports-ready,” Ubisoft’s senior director of esports Che Chou said Tuesday during TheWrap’s GamingGrill. “We don’t go out to create esports games. The production teams out there, they have a bunch of creative minds, they’re out there designing games. Our job is to educate them on, ‘OK, you have this awesome game, how do you make it esports ready when it comes out?'”

Esports has ballooned to become wildly popular in recent years, so much so that more people tuned in to watch last year’s League of Legends world championship than they did to watch Super Bowl 53 between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.

Still, there are limits for video game companies in capitalizing on the trend. “You can’t bludgeon gamers into turning a game into an esport. It starts with community. We don’t control which of our titles becomes an esport,” Chou said. “We ship five or six games a year… not every game is appropriate to become an esport. We’re not going to go into ‘Assassin’s Creed’ or any of the single-player games and try to make that competitive because it doesn’t make sense.”

Still, the company tries to shape new games with esports in mind. “What we can do is work with our developing team is to say ‘OK you have a game that is competitive in nature… here are the baseline features you need to create to enable the community to rally around your game,” Chou said.

“Super basic things, like you need a really good spectator mode so that when people play your game you can telecast that. You have to be able to show the action,” he continued. “Things like stats, things like some kind of social system, or ‘Hey, how do we handle teams?’ There are just infrastructural features that enable communities to rally around your games easier.”

During Ubisoft’s 2018-19 full fiscal year, the French company reported that it saw esports surge 133% in the number of hours watched. So Ubisoft is clearly doing something right.

On top of that, IDG Consulting CEO Yoshio Osaki said during his opening remarks at TheWrap’s GamingGrill that by the end of 2020 gaming to expected surpass TV as the most lucrative form of entertainment, with annual revenue rising to $195 billion.