Future of Esports | Jacob Wolf

Jacob Wolf ESPN Senior Esports Writer talks with Mark Register about the Future of Esports over the next year


Mark Register – What is the future of Esports look like one year from today?

Jacob Wolf – On a media side there are going to be a lot more media companies than there are now.

I know that for certain.

It’s one of those things where everyone wants a piece of the Esports pie right now and you’ve already seen three major media companies come in this year alone with TSN, Yahoo, and ESPN so the fact that that’s already happening and we’re just now at the end of quarter one means q2, q3, and q4 are going to bring a lot more.

But that’s a good thing because you  have people like Turner who really love this idea, they really like Esports, they really like Counter Strike and the people involved with it.

That’s going to be great because you’re going to have things like ELeague.

ELeague is not going to be the best competition in the world, let’s face it because they haven’t been able to get the teams like Fnatic and all these other major squads.

They do have Astralis which is good. It’s marketing. That’s the thing with Esports now.

Esports at the core is great but it’s marketing that it lacks.

That is where a lot of these media companies come in and I think that’s where Turner is going to do a great job on Television.

I think ESPN right now is doing a great job with Heroes of the Dorm which I believe will be on this weekend and next weekend on ESPN 2 if I’m correct.

I think it’s really important that the media companies take responsibility for what they do and they do a good job because a lot’s on them right now.

That said I think there’s going to be a lot more.

I think there will be good media and bad media.

I think so far the ones coming in are good hearted media, I think they need to figure out the space a little bit more.

I’m glad to see that ESPN is really invested in figuring out the space and listening to community feedback.

I was so happy to hear that from everyone that works there that they read the reddit threads about what they’re doing and that they want to improve.

That is so important.

I can’t speak for Yahoo and TSN I know the people involved in those have a really good heart so I hope they figure out what works and what doesn’t work and they fix it quickly because it’s going to explode.

In terms of tournaments, I don’t think that’s going to get any bigger for League of Legends because Riot has such a vice grip on 3rd party tournaments and really the only people they like working with besides themselves are Intel and ESL.

I think League of Legends will continue to grow because it’s the big Esport and people are going to find it more through the media companies and just the exposure because Riot does a better job at marketing their game than any other Esports game and its developer…just saying out it is.

I think Counter Strike is going to explode.

I think it already has.

It’s on the trajectory to do it, but it’s an incredible game and I’m perfectly happy with that.

That community is so…the players are so much more mature than any other Esports game and they handle things so well for the most part.

Most of them…not all of them are nice…most of them are very respected and pay respect back if you earn it.

I’m happy to see Counter Strike blow up and I’m happy that things like ELeague are happening, I’m happy that more tournament organizers are coming in like MLG. This MLG Major has been incredible so far.

Adam said to me on twitter the other day, their head TO for that, he said we are sticking around after this Activision Blizzard deal.

I’m really happy for that because MLG’s been a little bit in Counter Strike with the X Games, but this is incredible, there’s nothing like this. It got 1.1MM views on the Mousesports Flipside game that went to 60 rounds which is insane.

I think with Call of Duty, it’s also growing in its own respect because CWL is growing a lot you have more organizations getting invested in.

You just had TSM buy up a team about a month ago which is really important.

Call of Duty is going through a reform period where its audience is maturing.

A lot of the people that played Call of Duty, I can say this because I was of this generation, Modern Warfare, and Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops, and World of War, a lot of us who were really young when those games came out and we played a lot and I played on a pretty high level in terms of that game.

A lot of us are maturing into a lot of other games like Counter Strike. So I feel like Call of Duty is going through a reform period where it’s to find it’s new fan base because everybody is no longer 14, they’re all early 20s ish.

It has to find it’s way but I think it’s got the proper structure with ESL and Activision doing what they’re doing to figure that out.

Lastly, Smash Brothers is on the up and up.

The interesting thing is that Nintendo is so invested in making Smash 4 big because that’s how they sell units, because that’s the new game.

That does mean however that they’re a little bit not nearly as invested in Melee because Melee is a 15 year old game…14.5 year old game…so trying to sell copies of Melee is not easy because they don’t really exist anymore.

If you find them you’ll find them at some store that still sells GameCube games and no ones bought it yet because that region doesn’t care.

Melee is going to require a lot of push, to be fair things like Battle of the Five Gods happened and it does have a lot of push from people like Twitch and GGA and these other organizations like Dream Hack who are coming into this and wanting to be apart of this.

Which is good, that’s a good thing. Smash 4 is fine.

It’s not as big as Melee but it is growing very rapidly because Nintendo is pumping money anywhere it can to make that game popular.

To be fair it’s a much better game than Brawl so I’m ok with that.

Brawl was bad.

In the next year it’s growth of games, it’s growth in media, you’ll have your media that doesn’t understand Esports coverage and does stuff like Click Bait which I’m not really looking forward to.

Then you’ll have your media like Daily Dot, ESPN, and the Score Esports as they have changed up a little bit of what they do that are taking a really responsible note of how much pull they have and really applying that in the proper way.

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