If you ask “What kind of industry is esports?” most people would be hard pressed to present a simple answer. It hasn’t been long since esports started; the leading people in the scene are the first generation of the industry, and the system is still in the early stages of its formation.
So to some people, ‘esports’ may appear to be superficial, and many debate about whether esports should even be recognized a sport or not. To the generations that aren’t interested in games, esports may be a word that they’ve never heard. Compared to the traditional sports, which have been around for around a century, the presence of esports is still very small.
However, the many leaders who lead the esports industry are actively advancing it. They believe that esports will soon take on an important role in the entertainment industry and that esports will have as much influence and market value as traditional sports. With this belief, they put forward immense effort in order to make that vision come true. This is a story that is related closely to the lecture Mark “Garvey” Candella will give at the IGEC-ESPORTS DEEP DIVE.
Mark “Garvey” Candella is the Director of strategic partnerships in the world’s biggest streaming platform, ‘Twitch’. He started in the esports industry in 1993 as a professional Magic: The Gathering player, and went from AZUBU to Twitch to develop his knowledge and gain some insight within the scene. At the same time, he thought about the ultimate question that all other people who care about the esports industry have: “How can we make esports a mainstream industry?” And while he was continuing to seek an answer to that question, he was able to find a hint from college/university esports.
The esports industry has a lot of limitations, and the dream of those working in this industry is to break past those limits. The first limit is the different mindsets that separate the generations of the public. The people who are in their twenties and thirties, even some people in their forties, have at least encountered games at some point in their lives. It varies from person to person, but these people usually know what type of game becomes an esport.
However, if we go up another generation, they don’t really understand what a ‘game’ is. Like when people first came across guns, they didn’t understand what it was, and still held on to their bows. To the generation that didn’t have access to games, they see them as just an impulsive waste of time and money. The biggest obstacle esports needs to overcome to become a major sport is the hedonistic image that games have been given by negative media reports and by those who simply don’t know much about games.
Mark “Garvey” Candella is trying to solve that problem by developing college/university esports. College students are a young generation who tend to be much more open to video games. The most important thing is that this generation will one day become the generation that leads society: the future “older generation”.
The professional players from traditional sports receive systematic training starting from a young age. When they reach high school, they already perform in high school level leagues. When they start playing in the college leagues, their actual career begins. They get drafted by professional teams and start as a professional player. As this process continues through the years, that sport becomes a part of social culture and mixes in with the everyday life of society.
Mark “Garvey” Candella asserts that college/university esports will help the industry follow a similar path; College/University esports is a root industry that will bring esports into mainstream culture. This may just be what is needed to alleviate the harsh view that the general public has when it comes to games.
Year by year, more and more educational leaders and colleges have started to support this movement. Korea and the US have had strong esports communities from the beginning; some schools have already implemented esports-specialized curriculums. Now, several countries from Asia and Europe are adding curriculums related to esports and games. At the same time, college-level esports competitions are being held very often. Nowadays, esports competitions for college students or amateurs are being held nearly every week somewhere in the world.
Mark “Garvey” Candella is eager to discuss the future of both College/University esports and the esports industry that will be formed by it. He has a lot to say about how looking at the big picture can help the esports community turn the industry into a part of mainstream culture; you can hear all he has to say at the IGEC-ESPORTS DEEP DIVE.