IGEC Panel Highlight: Immortal Fighting Games: How One of the Oldest Esports Genres Has Survived Generations



Few esports communities are as misunderstood and underappreciated at the fighting game community (FGC). For over 30 years, the fighting game scene has grown from grassroot competitions in humble arcades to international, high-stakes tournaments that capture the imagination of millions of esports consumers. We'll take a look back at how the FGC has grown and evolved with the veterans who have been there from the scene's earliest days. 


At the 2019 Inven Global Esports Conference [IGEC 2019], a panel of experts will break down the scene for those looking to understand what it takes for an esport to survive obscure lows and dizzying highs.


Humble Roots

When the word "esports" is written in 2019, what comes to mind is sold-out stadiums for a League of Legends World Championship, DOTA 2's multi-million dollar prize pools and Fortnite streams with hundreds of thousands of viewers cheering on their favorite player(s) or streamers. Depending on who you are, it may take a while before a fighting game is even mentioned at all. Then again, comparing a packed Barclay's Center for the Overwatch League to a hall in the nearest Hilton Hotel for a Mortal Kombat tournament with $50 to the winner may seem foolish to some.


That being said, they are both esports and the latter's community may be more tight-knit than any other in the competitive gaming landscape. Don't just take our word for it, as this group of panelists will not be shy opening up about the roller coaster of emotions that is not only competing in the FGC but dedicating their lives to helping it grow.

▲ Evo, the FGC's largest event of the year, draws tens of thousands of fans.


Fighting Game Veterans

Jimmy Nguyen is a jack-of-all-trades and has been a gamer since the early 80s. Growing up on consoles and spending many quarters in arcades, his love for gaming, especially fighting games, motivated him to pursue an engineering career and later on, entrepreneurship and mentoring. In 2008, he had the idea to combine all of his passions to start Level Up, a community-centric event production and consulting company. In 2009 he turned an idea into a business that serves all communities and companies involved with gaming. Notable clients: Red Bull, Capcom, Bandai Namco, Twitch, Aksys, Hori.

Alex Valle is an American fighting game legend from the 90's arcade era, winning national championships on popular titles such as Street Fighter and Tekken. In 2010, he co-founded Level Up with his longtime friend and mentor, Jimmy Nguyen, which produces gaming events for Red Bull, Twitch, Capcom, and many more.




James "jchensor" Chen has been playing fighting games since the beginning, with Street Fighter II. The various hats he has worn for over 20 years in the community has kept him involved and helped develop a name for himself. During that stint, he has been known as an educator (having written documents, articles and more to help others learn) and commentator. The latter has earned him the title of “The Voice of Street Fighter.”


Rounding out the panel is D'Ron "D1" Maingrette, the Smash Community Program Manager for Twitch. The role itself includes educating and recruiting content creators, managing relationships with existing partners and teams, support collegiate and amateur esports organizations and more.    When not doing his day-to-day work at Twitch, D1 is known as a long-time shoutcaster for FGC events around the country.

Moderating the panel is Nick D'Orazio, the Director of Strategic Content at InvenGlobal. 

This panel will take place at 5:00pm in the Doheny Beach of the University of California Irvine's Conference Center. Feel free to check out more of the IGEC panels here: https://www.invenglobal.com/igec/panels


IGEC 2019 will be held at the University of California Irvine Conference Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Get your tickets now! 


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