During the Mobile Master Las Vegas Esports event held recently I had a chance to sit down and talk to Benjamin Gauthey the lead of the marketing team for Amazon mobile Esports.
MMORPG: How is mobile gaming doing with Amazon lately?
Ben: Very good actually. A story I like to share, I started a year ago at Amazon and at Amazon we write a lot of documents. You have an idea, you put your idea on a document, a six pager, and then this idea might become a product or program depending on how good it is. When I joined Amazon in my first week, my team came with a document and in a room like this they gave me the document and I started to read it. "So Benjamin we are trying to do a Super bowl for casual games." And I was like What? Mobile games, casual like Angry Birds or Candy Crush and we want to do that in Las Vegas. We want to put it live on Twitch, we have partnership with CBS. We want to bring 16 influencers from all over the US and basically bring them together for a Super bowl. It's in two months from now. I was like we are in October and was supposed to happen in December and in my head, I was like "Really, can they make it happen?" That was my first week and they made it happen. It was Champions of Fire. It was quite a fun time. We are trying to create a festival, think of Coachella. Different people from all over the world, a great time for people to mingle and meet. This is what we are trying to do with what we do in Esports. Beginning with Champions of Fire and continuing with Mobile Masters. At the end of the day we want to bring together beautiful games and beautiful teams from all over the world and meet. A good story from this morning is the team Eclipse which has been playing together for four years and because of Mobile Master they got to meet each other in person for the first time.
And this is the type of story we are trying to foster here, to bring people together. What we also noticed is a lot of the teams in the Esports industry has one game, one event, one moment in time. When you start to bring them together like this, they can play other games, make new connections, have fun.
MMORPG: How do you decide on what games you want at your mobile Esports events?
Ben: We try to bring a mix. Back to that festival feeling. We have a limited amount of time. Each game takes half a day if you run a tournament. We are trying for different types of games that bring different people from various backgrounds together for that festival feeling. We are learning as we go as well. What is interesting for people to watch online, what's a good experience for a player.
MMORPG: Over the last several years Esports has been growing and coming into its own. What are some of the things you are doing to help contribute to this?
Ben: Across Amazon when you look at Twitch Esports is something we invest in. What we are doing in our team here is focusing on Mobile. Because we believe you may be a hardcore player on a PC or a console. But when you travel or are waiting in line you have time to spare and a mobile device. It could be a casual game or hardcore depending on your preference. The quality of the game we are seeing is getting better and better, both casual and hardcore. When you look at Vainglory, it's a mobile game but it takes time to get good at it, a lot of strategy behind. Especially with a mobile device you can play anywhere at any time, most people have a device they could play on.
MMORPG: Are you focusing in Las Vegas or are you thinking of expanding to other areas?
Ben: We are really exploring for different venues for the players. Testing the waters and different formats with more in the future.
MMORPG: Is there a single game your team wants to focus on or different games?
Ben: We want a mix. Again, like a Coachella. We want to bring multiple games. At the end of the day the goal is creating quality content for the community. The live content and making a best of for CBS, engaging with the community. We have so many stories already from players and more I'm sure by Sunday night that we can share later on. It's really about content and giving back to the community at the end of the day.
MMORPG: How does the content for CBS work?
Ben: For Twitch we focus the live play, the comments, the interaction between players and the community. For CBS we take the best of the best and produce it as a 60-minute episode for each game and its gets streamed on during prime time.
MMORPG: How do you reach out to the people who still think of Esports as not a sport?
Ben: That's where we try to spend a lot of time actually to go beyond the pure gameplay. We want to understand the story of this player. When you start to meet with them, where they are coming from, how do they start, how do they train? They are athletes in a sense. They do exercise, they train, they have coaches, training. This is where we want to promote the player to change these peoples mind and you can see the parallel with sports.
MMORPG: Any last words for our readers?
Ben: We haven't officially disclosed it yet, but if you coming out to Las Vegas around early December we are bringing back Champions of Fire with more surprises to be announced. Same concept as before, all about having a good time together. A festival of bringing people together to have a good time inside location and outside of the location as well.