What are esports? Interview with Richard Sykora

With the rise of video games as well as the professionalisation of the field, Joel Garcia de Suza talked to the President of the Essex Video Game Society about what are esports.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you do?

My name is Richard Sykora. My specialization is esports management and analysis and I am currently President of the Essex Video Games Society. I’ve involved myself in e-sports from age 15 when I started to play in League of Legends tournaments. When I was around 17, I realized that I have more to offer as an analyst because of my strong game knowledge but lack of mechanical skill to match it. Not long after that, I moved to the USA for a foreign exchange program where I was able to fully develop my organization skills by founding a high school club dedicated to esports (Red Devils e-sports in Evanston, WY). After I was involved in the USA High School Esports League for two years, I then returned to Slovakia to finish my studies and apply for university.

My responsibilities in EVGS are mainly general organization. I ensure that everything runs smoothly. I was very successful in creating a strong team, so I don’t need to worry about day-to-day maintenance which is big stress relief when you consider we have around 40 people doing competitions in different teams.

What are esports?

Esports include pretty much any video games that people are playing in tournaments. Whether you can make living from those games is another question, This is only possible for a few big players.

What type of games does esports include?

Today, it is every multiplayer game developers’ wish to create a viable form of esport from his game because it brings a lot of investments and sponsors. In the end, you can make more money running successful esports than in actual game sales. It can be pretty much any multiplayer game.

Who can play esports?

It comes with the same rules as normal sports. You can compete as much as you want, but if you are going to win is a different matter, and hat is the main goal. Here your skills determine your value and everyone is free to try.

Can I play esports on mobile devices?

Yes! There are several organizations dedicated to mobile gaming mainly in Asia where mobile games are much more popular than in the EU or the US. After all, mobile is just a smaller computer or console.

How well is the University of Essex introduced in the esports?

In my opinion, we have done a good job considering all circumstances this year. We have so many new players and we have our first successful teams. Comparing this year to previous years is hard because I have only limited information on what was happening before. Currently, we are going through an important phase of rebranding when we are introducing more and more new opportunities for club members to get involved in.

How did the lockdown and COVID help eSports? And EVGS?

I think COVID helped esports in terms of long term investments as clubs received major funding from companies that had never involved themselves in gaming before but started because of the pandemic. Another example is traditional football clubs getting FIFA players signed. When it comes to our plan in EVGS, the pandemic hurt us by making it harder to reach out to people, but not as much as other clubs.

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