Sergey Babayev. Volodya, hi. Recently received a lot of news about these or other activities related to eSports. As now arranged the structure of the official Championships of League of Legends in General.
Vladimir Ends. The structure of eSports League of Legends looks like a pyramid where at the base are 13 regional leagues and top competitions are the annual world Championships, where he became known for the best team. Every region has its own League, where compete the strongest teams, which each season identify the best among equal, and those better teams are already off to conquer the international level. Thus, in the U.S. and Europes top teams play in the LCS (League of Legends Championship Series), Turkey — in a local League Champions (Şampiyonluk Ligi), in Latin America — Copa Latinoamericana, in the CIS — in the Continental League (LCL), and so on.
Twice a year the Champions of the regions meet at overturning — Mid-Season Invitational in may and the world Championships in October, where the main issue is solved. What region in the world best plays in League of Legends (sometimes it is formulated as “can someone in this time to overcome Koreans”). With 2015 in December also hosts “the all-star Game” (All-Star Games), where it is important not only and not so much victory, how many “style points” and individual skill of players. At the last such event in Melbourne were great national team of the CIS, having the right to go to the star tournament in Los Angeles, where the glittering stars of League of Legends quite a galactic scale.
Faker, Bjergsen, by froggen and many others. For the CIS eSports is still something new. Give guidance on the scale of, say, many people gather at a major championship.
The final of the world Cup 2015 in Berlin, watched by 36 million unique viewers. Thus, League of Legends has beaten his own record of 2013 when SKT T1 triumph at the Staples center in Los Angeles watched the audience of 32 million people. That is comparable to the number of views a new episode of some popular TV series.
You can put these figures in context and see that the world Championship finals for League of Legends watched the audience four times more than was the most popular game in NHL history. And there is still space for growth. The audience is the main football competition in Russia alone may reach 60-70 million fans. Need to catch up and overtake.
Impressive. OK, lets get a little closer to domestic Affairs. You recently announced the opening Continental League — what it is and how fits into the model you described of the events?. Continental League, aka LCL — chief in the CIS championship in our game.
Regular tournaments for League of Legends in the region was conducted before, but the League is a new level of our involvement in the construction of prestigious regional championship. Organized at a high level, the League will more effectively identify the strongest team in the region and in General increases the prestige of the competition in the eyes of the General public. We do not hide the fact that our goal is the success of teams on the world stage and fame of our players outside of the one sixth of the land. The value of a strong regional championship to achieve such objectives it is difficult to overestimate (for example, KHL).
Important that the League wasnt “the living dead” and the permanent bottom dwellers of the standings. For this purpose there is a system of movement between divisions. The bottom division will be called the League of the contenders, these teams each season will be trying to break into LCL and ask the old men of the League at the door. Recently it became known that the most successful in League of Legends, the Russian Gambit Gaming organization expects to get in the Continental League through League contenders. It promises to make the summer season very interesting.
The main thing to know about LCL, is the top eight teams, including such famous names as Navi, Team Empire and Vega Squadron. Team about two months to fight for the right of exit in the knockout stage — only half of them continued competition in March. In early April, two contenders for the Cup meet in the Grand final in front of several thousand spectators. Live games are conducted every weekend from our new Moscow Studio, and the teams and players receive from Riot financial support to concentrate on the game itself, and not on the pressing issues.
The organization of large-scale. It turns out that you assume all the financial and competitive players can enjoy a game all the time.
We create the necessary conditions to ensure that each of the players (random people, there can be no selection in the team LCL is already very strict, and wanting a dime a dozen) could do his favorite thing and not worry about whether he has any earnings. If before the players were mostly playing for the prize, now “stable salary and friendly team” are becoming increasingly important factors for future professionals. Instead of “modern office steps away from the underground” clubs are supposed to attract the talent descriptions so-called games of houses — apartments or houses, rented accommodation and the training of competitive players. For the rental of such premises, we have also provided subsidies to the organizations — the owners of the teams.
Most of the teams LCL has announced its plans to organize your training process. Sounds good, even too good. Surely you are now willing to give competitive players from the CIS a good apartment in Moscow, if he is from out of town.
Or is it rather about the world and world stars. And in General, whether the athletes in top level your rider — what conditions are needed for training, travel across the city, power. The answer is “Yes”, with the caveat that we are not engaged in any real estate activities, and financial support teams for renting such apartments. LCL season has just started and the team Just.MSI has already moved its membership to Moscow and days of practicing your game at home.
Slug, unlike the stars of show business, do not expose the riders for their participation in the tournament. League of Legends is a team game, and therefore care about the needs of all staff are taken by the organizations with which the players signed contracts. It turns out exactly the terms of such contracts and regulate the ratio of the needs of the player and club opportunities.
Benefits package is, of course, cool, but, if not secret, what is the level of income of the top player and coach. This is a competitive level. The ceiling of salaries in e-sports does not exist. A top player can get fees at several hundred thousand dollars a year.
It all depends on the financial capacity of organizations that wants to keep the star. Talking specifically about CIS and about you. So know that somewhere in Korea a cyber — stars that date models and ride on Ferrari.
If its about us, the salaries of players from the CIS is still very far from a record, but they already can quite compete with “traditional” types of employment available to graduates of or senior students. Having played all the games of the regular season LCL, the player can count to 168 thousand rubles guaranteed minimum income, subsidized Riot Games. Its good money, but they are not light. Yet the competitive players train a lot and are deprived of many joys of the carefree lives of their peers. If you could consistently win in League of Legends would be easy, then absolutely everyone could be a superstar in eSports.
In General, everything that we were talking about, like yourself show business, where even talent is not easy to break. There are different layers, fan favorites, and the like. For interest lets consider the practical situation. Here I conditional talent from Poltava, about Moscow I know only different stories, means of moving, of course, no. What to do, how to get into the game.
That is how to prove that I am a professional, and get all these benefits. Describe the correct path for such a player, maybe even with examples. You laugh, but I know at least one professional League of Legends player from Poltava. We even went together to an international tournament in Germany.
It is a living example of what a closed party for the elite in e-sports no. Theres a pure meritocracy. If the player is really the nugget and virtuoso League of Legends, origin and geography should not prevent him to get into the League. Worldwide star players should be afraid of the “young punks”, which will destroy them from the face of the earth, and organization must continuously scouting for talent. To be noticed and to receive an invitation, you need simply very much and very good to play.
League of Legends has a built-in rating players, taking into account their team and individual achievements. When at the top of this rating new name appears, the whole community takes an interest. Who is than famous. It may very well be your star player (called smurf) who trains incognito, but it could be the same “fresh blood”.
Then the player can either sit and wait until some team knocks at the door or actively to offer their candidature for consideration in leading teams in the region. There are many examples when promising rookie picked up a good organization and he fully disclosed his or her star potential. Pro athletes understand the issues left but we will return. But what coach e-sports, I dont understand.
Where in the CIS coaches come in eSport, what qualities and competencies they possess. Who ever these people are, theyre obviously not the players are retired?. The retirement age of gamers comes even earlier than in the USSR, so do not jump to conclusions. Former Pro-player could be a coach. In one of the teams of the Continental League coach is the ex-champion StarSeries Dmitry Korovushkin (Dimonko).
The coach of the team Vega Squadron Nikita Burlakov (Saetia) won the first season of the StarSeries League of Legends 2014. Coach of world Champions SKT T1 is also a former competitive players (Starcraft II, League of Legends). This is quite realistic scenario is to retire as active kiberatlet and move on to managerial or coaching position, remaining in the beloved elements, but not in the Inferno. And Yes, the LCL coaches get paid at the same level as the players, because this role is not less important for the success of the team.
A good coach is, in fact, the sixth player of the team. He leads the training, analyzes the matches of your team and the enemies, well versed in metagame and gives macrostrategies install the game. In the course of the game everything will depend from the five players, but out of the match on the coach has an enormous responsibility for the preparation and morale of the team.
I want to get back the topic into the mainstream of Finance. What can expect coach. He acts in a way the producer team or a different role?. As a professional player, coach for every match with his participation (albeit backstage) receives from Riot guaranteed salary, which can reach a total of 168 thousand rubles per season.
For some time the position of coach of the officially recognized Riot a must for any professional team. But the coach should not be omnipresent. To address organizational issues each team has a Manager. Unlike coach, which needs to be focused on preparing for games and in-game questions, share Manager get the solution of all other problems.
Travel, meals, sponsorship commitments, communicating with the media and organizers of tournaments and more. I understand that there are teams that support you, and there are individual businesses with a bunch of teams playing in a variety of disciplines, and there is another story with recruiting talent, producing these slots and the like. So you essentially support the creation of a third-party from you businesses around eSports.
In eSports, as in traditional sports, there are multigaming, there are organizations like Virtus.pro, Navi, Fnatic or SKT T1 are of several different compositions. Only if “Dynamo” will be compositions such as soccer, hockey and water Polo, cyber command, they can be games of different genres and from different publishers. Riot Games support team on League of Legends who play in the top regional leagues, but the club may have additional resources and personnel that works with several disciplines. It often happens that multigaming there are one or two very successful composition, through which he is world famous, and a bunch of sponsors.
Thus such club may be a few weak compositions in a couple of other disciplines, which some time can live at the expense of the spectacular success of the main “locomotive” of the brand. In General, it is the whole world. The trains are going, bloom, again, the fans cheering, then indignant, and so on to infinity. Being one of the major players in the world of eSports, Riot, of course, strongly influences these processes.
It is no exaggeration to say that any organization would dream about the composition that won the world championship for League of Legends, they immediately would have been out in the stratosphere. Suppose, we have a spherical the team that went to a regional tournament before the world and everywhere wins. All this takes a year. Long training sessions and the like.
What is the output. What Kush cut down the best of the best. Lets take. The first place prize of the last world Championships amounted to a million dollars.
When talking about the team of the CIS, it, winning both seasons Continental League, but Riot still 3 million rubles of the prize Fund, a couple of million dollars “on development” (minimum wage, subsidised rental homes games and so on). 100 thousands of dollars you can win on Mid-Season Invitational in may. Thus, only with the money that Riot provides, income spherical at very successful teams from the CIS may be about 90 million rubles. The amount should be multiplied by X, where X is the number and quality of sponsors the organization that will be happy to contract with the world Champions.
Earnings of individual top players can and does not depend on the success of their teams. You just need to put together a name for yourself, and then make it work for yourself. A good example is Carlos rodríguez (Ocelot). He has no special achievements competitive plan.
His team didnt win at the international Championships, he often showed a rather uneven game. But this Spanish macho has always been a surplus of charisma, which he skillfully transformed into a successful business. Now he is the owner of cyber command, serving in EU LCS, eSports in a completely new way, but its working.
For the participants it looks interesting. And at what point your business starts and where it actually. ESports in the pure understanding makes money or it is expressed indirectly through the ecosystem around the game. ESports can bring money through the sale of tickets to entertainment events, the sale of in-game special content e-sports subjects or official merchandise outside.
We should not forget about the sponsors. About eSports they say more often, which means there will be more companies the size of Intel or Coca-Cola who would be interested to access the relevant and very active audience of fans and enthusiasts of competitions in video games. When we talk about e-sports activities Riot in the CIS and in the world, the mind mostly comes expenditure rather than the revenue part.
Organization of regular matches in comfortable studios, expensive filming process, the army of professionals involved in all aspects of this activity, finally, rent stadiums and large prize funds. All of these expenses make sense up until a significant portion of the audience wants to get a content, to participate in such events and to stay in close and multifaceted relations with League of Legends, which continue beyond the immediate gameplay. It is possible to summarize that you globally — all major players — building the culture a La the Super bowl. In the future this is direct income from the event, not the ecosystem around the game, but at this moment the net balance for the eSports still negative. There are predictions, when will it change.
Cant answer for all the major players, approaches to building e-sports strategy at Riot, Valve and Blizzard are different. Special way Riot — bet is on the ecosystem. By investing in it today we believe that our Championships have the potential in future to reach the break-even or profitability.
With this, for example, is that our conservatism in matters of prize funds. Nice play to improve and to set records on prize payouts, but if you are thinking ten years ahead, comparable (though less noticeable) investment in the construction and development of the regional leagues can be a much more important factor of success. Infrastructure is more important than PR. The proximity of a bright future with lucrative eSports I predict a loss, but world news is very encouraging.
A year ago the boss of ESPN said that “eSports is not a sport”, and now here, on the website of the channel there is a thematic section. Question unpleasant, but I think many will come head. I will take now people go to the coaches, players, and the Russian office in all this will be disappointed. A lot of expenses and efforts will go nowhere.
The question is justified. The element of social responsibility here is clearly there, and we realize. Creating certain conditions and setting the rules of the game, we take on certain obligations that must be met. We create an ecosystem in which players and teams will be able to realize themselves and to provide themselves with our help or without it. Support and regulation of this ecosystem from Riot will be needed until this very moment, until it becomes self-sustaining.
Theres no reason to worry about the permanence of a particular office, as eSports at Riot is part of a global strategy, and therefore it will be important, while the actual League of Legends itself. What will happen to the slug, when will the sunset League of Legends. Hmm, I hope that in the 22nd century we will release the next game to attach.
Speaking of “attach”. If competitive players future in the game development. For example, in Riot are former competitive players. Yes, for example, Mitx, Voorspools, better known as Krepo, prior to becoming an LCS commentator, was a famous player, played in Evil Geniuses and Elements.
His colleague, a leading analyst and the LCS EFIE Depoortere (Sjokz) before joining Riot played in the European tournaments in Unreal Tournament. Percentage of former professional players in other companies unknown to me, but I wouldnt be surprised if the natives of a great eSports deposited regularly in game development or related areas. Passion for games is difficult to overcome, even if the reaction rate does not allow us to take prize-winning places in tournaments. I have for some time issued from the eSports field of view, so the question arose. Now with the status of eSports in the world and in CIS in particular.
I remember some recognition of sports, remember the champion in Need For Speed at the head of the Russian group of athletes (Alan Enileev, I think). What we have now, what I want to receive. In this field, unfortunately, always more rumors than real progress. Nevertheless, positive developments have.
News about Usmanovs investment in Virtus.pro fueled public interest in the subject. TV tries to understand the phenomenon of eSports creates any committees. Most state support is required to eSports, to simplify the issuance of visas for travel to foreign tournaments and form the legal basis of the status of a Cyberathlete. It would be great to have the support of local authorities in organising tournaments in the regions.
Current status, in which the government does not hinder the development of e-sports isnt bad, but a girl can dream that someday it will help, at least with the assignment of the official status of major competitions. I know that recently you have been actively engaged in promoting eSport in the CIS. For example, held the broadcast of the Championships on the 2×2 channel and even shown in theaters. Can you elaborate more on the second case.
What audience was it designed, how was it. Pleased to note that the examples described above is the result not so much of our marketing acumen, many of the availability of mutual interest with partners. And 2×2, and “cinema Park” has already been interest in video games and eSports, before our paths crossed. When the other side understands the value of the project for their audience and their profits from it — this greatly facilitates the negotiation process.
Screening of the 2015 All-Star Event in 18 cities of Russia was very successful. Hundreds of spectators in the cities got to see League of Legends on the big screen is naturally the middle of the night (due to time difference with Los Angeles direct broadcast of the games went from two a.m. to ten a.m., Moscow time). I think if you arrange the displays in a more gentle time range, you can count on thousands of people across the country — and for us, and for “cinema Park” is only the beginning of cooperation. I expect later to share the details at the end of this year.
Plans on it quite a lot. In eSports there is competition between companies, or is this such a huge field that the market is just expanding with every major player and every infusion of money. Hes definitely expanding, but it does not mean that there is enough for everyone.
There is room for sponsors who want to hold key positions, and among the games and publishers, the competition is already quite high. Its not only how much the company is willing to invest in its e-sports direction — much depends on the quality and suitability for the competition of the game, is it interesting to play and to look at it. I would be interested to see how the market will appear the game, specially sharpened for dominance in eSports. After all, even League of Legends was not originally made by developers as e-sports project — many functions and modes had to replay later, as the audience demanded shows.
Now many are excited by the growing popularity of eSports. And I often hear that players of market, even domestic, I want to jump on that train, until he went too far. What are the qualities of a game, good for eSports?. This is a very good question.
Looking at the example of League of Legends, my answer is this. This game first needs to generate the moments of a stunning epic. The key to the popularity of any spectacular team sports — an incredible situation on the field that you want to review again and again. The one-on-one with the Keeper, anti-gravity dunk (throw the ball in the basket in basketball — approx. Ed.) or a breakout from a dense environment defenders — all of these adrenaline moments are breathtaking.
League of Legends has the same dynamics, from which stops the heart. If your game has the same incredible moments, which are equally cool to experience and as a participant and as a spectator — so eSports potential is not exactly zero.