We went along to Esports Bar Cannes 2020 last week where our CEO, Adam Whyte, presented our platform. It was a really great event with some inspiring insights and we were extremely humbled by the industry’s excitement for Edge. Here are our key takeaways.
3 key things we learned at Esports Bar Cannes 2020
1. Brands are changing
As Bobby D warned us, the times they are a-changing! (and in this case, for the better).We were pleasantly surprised to learn that conversations with brands are becoming more about integration and less about education. We took a selection of brands, including ClassPass and Mondelez to Esports Bar Cannes. And we saw that whilst previously brands approaching esports have done the types of activations where they have simply told esports organisations (teams, players, tournament organisers) what their objectives are and then told teams how they need to fulfil them. But today, brands are taking a much more authentic approach to the esports audience, and rather looking to industry leaders like Excel esports who have just hired Edge advisor Wouter Sleffers and Robert Macmannon to help grow Excel into a premium UK brand.
2. Payments are evolving, say farewell to spreadsheets
The second trend we noticed is that payments are an issue for almost all esports entities. In fact, tournament organisers, publishers, teams and agencies are all having the same problems – moving money internationally is slow and expensive. Esports entities are therefore looking for digitally native solutions (sorry, spreadsheets!) in order to help them with their back office processes. Tournament organisers and publishers want the security that their gamers are going to get paid, and going to get paid efficiently. Put simply, spreadsheets simply cannot do what is needed. Tournament organisers have an interest in getting gamers paid in a faster and more robust fashion than spreadsheets can manage. Equally, teams, tournament organisers and publishers are looking to access more information on their audience database and spreadsheets cannot cope with this demand for up-to-date data.
3. Deal flow and 2020 investments
Deal flow remains an issue in the esports community. An estimated $2 billion was invested in the ecosystem in 2018 alone. This number dropped in 2019 with there being less exciting opportunities to drive revenue and growth as foreseen by institutions such as Forbes, Goldman Sachs and PWC. In light of this, investors such as Hiro capital, Trust capital and Marco partners spoke about the desire to find platforms that have defensible tech, exceptional teams, and innovative business models in order to drive industry growth.
So who will be getting investment? We were particularly impressed by start-ups like Edgegap, who seek to provide critical infrastructure for the optimisation of latency and the reduction of lag in the esports gaming experience. Of note also are companies like Fridai, which is building a language library on top of existing Machine Learning communication tools to allow for gamers to communicate with their machines in order to improve performance and get in-game tips without having to exit the game client.
Our predictions for esports in 2020
- 2020 will be the year of enabling auxiliary esports experiences and investment in the platforms that allow for the professionalisation and optimising of the industry and its consumption.
- Investors will turn away from high-risk long-tail IP opportunities such as pro teams and indie esport mobile game publishers. They will turn their attention to the picks and shovels that help fans interact with the product, grassroots players hone their abilities and tools to allow the industry to flourish commercially and from a regulatory perspective.
- It will be the year of more robust and equitable contracts; faster payments; easy interpret data architecture; optimized internet experience; better gamers performance and recovery from both a scientific and technological perspective.
We can’t wait!