Premiere North American esports leagues like the League of Legends Championship Series, the Overwatch League, and the Fortnite World Cup are thriving due to infrastructure, investment, and visibility at the top level of the industry. However, for esports to grow in North America, that same level of visibility and infrastructure must make its way down to the lower tiers of competitive gaming.
Top tournaments in esports across the nation are thriving in the present, but esports longevity relies on the facilitation of continued development of communities as new blood enters communities of competitive games. Even at the most structured levels of semi-professional play, discovery and development of talent is scarce.
"Most of the top talent is signed by an LCS team, an Academy team, or an amateur team," said Tony "Saskio" Chau, who swapped positions for Maryville University's League of Legends team. "Sometimes, you have to work with what you already have."
The lack of standardization throughout amateur competition is not for lack of trying, but is syptomatic of a gaping hole where a central hub for up and coming gamers can meet each other, team up, and seek professional opportunities in esports. Still, companies like Beam.GG are trying to fill that space.
Beam.GG is a platform looking to unite gamers who have the same goals, whether that be competing in an amateur tournament every so often or a group of aspiring hopefuls united by the same goal.
"I remember walking through my hometown in Belgium and walking past a LAN center where there was a poster for a EU LCS viewing party. They were going to get a bus to take people to watch the Spring Split live in Cologne, Germany," said Beam.gg Marketing Lead Sem Janssens. "...I had never seen an event like this before. You couldn't find it on their facebook or their website.
I was interested in going to these type events, but there wasn't a clear cut way for me to get that information for the event online."
Beam also lends its services to tournament organizers looking to make a difference in their local gaming communities, as the platform can specify based on proximity for local gaming events of all types. "The impressions that you get on our platform for your events are going to be extremely valuable because the platform is specialized towards people interested in your event," Janssens explained.
PVP is another platform looking to bring infrastructure to all levels of competitive gaming and esports. PVP looks to become the premiere platform for professional esports athletes across all levels of play. The platform aims to to showcase professional accomplishments, network with other players at the same level, and provide increased visibility for potential scouting.
New esports organization Radiance was featured at PVP's launch event last month. Radiance CEO and former LoL esports professional athlete Hai "Hai" Lam, whose League of Legends team is currently not a part of a Riot Games standardized league, expressed hope for the platform's ability to bridge the gap between the top competitive circuits and well-constructed teams or organizations looking to build out value for their respective brands.
"Hopefully PVP is able to excecute on the platform they are trying to create. I think it would be great if there was a LinkedIn for esports, and that's more or less what they're trying to do. I think it would be great for that to happen."
In attempting to create a well-rounded, professional platform for esports athletes, PVP hopes to not only evaluate potential players on their abilities, but their personality, professionalism, and other qualities directly factoring into a potential signing by a professional org.
"Hopefully there will be standards regarding code of conduct and being a professional, non-toxic player," said Hai. "Obviously, we care about whether a player is good at the game, but more importantly, we care about your personality so we can make sure you're a good fit for our brand."