With more and more looking to find a way into esports, and an increasing number of non-endemic sponsors looking to move into the space in some form companies that provide a helping hand stand to do rather well.
As a B2B platform provider and host Esportsfield is one such company. We spoke to Co-Founder and Head of Product Oleg Voronko about which companies they’ll be offering services to, the integration of betting services and how the aim is to be the Playtech of esports.
SBC: Does the team at Esportsfield have much of a background in esports, and how important is this to success in the industry?
Oleg: As it stands there are three of us that make up the Esportsfield team. Each of us has had a quite different past experience in esports, but rest assured that’s where our backgrounds lie.
Mihail Konvisarov, our CEO, headed up a local esports organisation called ‘Ahead Gaming’ for a number of years. His esports team took part in some international competitions during this time, and he also organised tournaments for over one thousand teams himself. Our CTO, Dmitry Tuzenkov, is an experienced developer, who worked on technical aspects of esports tournaments’ organisation. As for myself, I’m an esports amateur gamer with a general product management and UX background.
It was due to our backgrounds and our shared negative experiences with the organisation of esports tournaments and the processes therein that the idea for Esportsfield was born. Last autumn we decided to combine our knowledge and experience and develop a solution to help others solve these issues.
As for whether an esports background is necessary for success, it certainly helps to have an intricate knowledge of each of the titles, I’m a big CS:GO fan for instance whilst Mihail and Dmitry are experienced Dota2 players. This is beneficial as understanding both esports players and fans is key to achieving success in this business.
SBC: Can you explain to SBC readers precisely what services Esportsfield offers? Are you focused on any specific titles?
Oleg: Currently our plan is to integrate the top five titles: Dota2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Smite and StarCraft2.
In regard to what we offer clients, think of it this way; our aim is to become the Playtech of esports. As a cloud software vendor, we provide our clients with all necessary tools to organise esports tournaments using their brand.
The services Esportsfield offers can be more simply broken down into three. Firstly we automate all the routine processes during the organisation of the tournament; this includes registering the teams, collecting entry fees, draws, generating brackets, launching the matches, collecting the results of matches and delivering rewards to winners. As such we ensure that our clients can focus on marketing and event management without diving deeply into technical details.
We also integrate third party tools such as statistics services, analytics, streaming and betting services.
Finally monetisation services is a part of what we offer. We provide our clients with some built-in ways to maximise revenues such as commission fees, advertising fees and an in-game items marketplace.
SBC: What types of brands are you targeting?
Oleg: We believe our product will have something to offer both endemic and non-endemic brands. Larger non-endemic brands such as Coca Cola and Red Bull are already big in esports, and more are looking for opportunities within it. We will offer such companies the use of our tools for launching and sponsoring series of esports tournaments which’ll use their brand for marketing purposes, and ensure fan and player engagement.
As well as these esports organisations and leagues will be able to utilise the Esportsfield platform to increase revenues as well as improving the overall esports experience for their players and fans.
SBC: What did your market research consist of, and have you spoken to any betting clients about service integration?
Oleg: In a bid to understand the market we combined raw data from open sources such as esportsearnings.com with reports by the likes of Superdata and Newzoo. In addition to this we launched some quizzes within esports entrepreneurs’ communities. Thanks to our backgrounds we also made the most of our contacts and got some important insights from esports experts.
We’re performing marketing research analysis on a perpetual basis to ensure that our strategy and focus remains on point.
In regards to integration partnerships with betting companies, this is something which is on the backburner for now. We haven’t spoken to any yet but will be looking into this in the near future. We’re open to discussing the opportunities and collaboration in betting field.
SBC: How do you collect and analyse the player data during tournaments you host?
Oleg: We use the native data that we get using Steam (in the case of Dota2 and CS:GO). We’re also working on integrating specific third-party statistics services with deeper analytics. Dotabuff (for Dota2) and Csgo-stats (for CS:GO) are strong examples of this.
SBC: Can the continued influx of betting operators help to ensure the proper regulation of all tournaments and improve integrity standards across esports?
Oleg: For sure, I consider it as a positive and impactful trend. Standardization, integrity and more profound regulation would let to solve current betting-related issues like underage betting and skin betting as well as would impact the elaborating general state-level regulatory approaches for eSports industry.
SBC: How much interest have you had to date, and what’s your plan for the rest of 2016?
Oleg: The level of interest has been sizable and we expect it to continue. It’s still early days though as we developed and launched our minimum-viable product for closed testing just a week ago. We are planning to give an open access to it for testing purposes within the coming weeks.
The next milestone is the intended beta release in late autumn this year with all primary product features and top five games available. Once this is achieved though there’ll be no time to rest as the intention is to expand our offering of games to the top ten titles by next summer.
We’ll also be focused on improving third-parties services integrations. We aim for quality over quantity meaning we’ll launch each new game only when we’re 100% sure it’s fully integrated into our system.