We’ve had the opportunity to talk to Magnus Leppäniemi. He is the VP of Marketing & Head of Esports at Esports Entertainment Group and a member of the Vie.gg Advisory board.
Please tell us a little bit more about your background and how did you enter the Vie team?
I have been working in the Games industry since 1996 in different roles, from Key Account manager to Global Sales Director and on the marketing side it went from Product manager to Nordic Marketing Manager. I have been a part of Vie.gg Advisory board since 2016, so I have been in close contact with Grant [Johnson, CEO]. When Grant Approached me in May and offered me the position it was a no brainer to join!
Are you also a fan of consoles and hyped about the upcoming consoles generation exchange which is to come in Q4 this year?
Super hyped about the new consoles that are coming. It will be interesting to see how they will implement not just esports in their offering but also streaming and competitive gaming, in general. New games and exclusives will of course be the main driver for the new consoles.
What has been the most challenging part of this beginning of the year for you [in terms of business] and what are your plans for the end of 2020?
Two weeks in the challenge has been the onboarding experience. We have a team that is spread around the globe, so the challenge of working from home wasn’t new to us. Meeting everyone and scheduling time to sit down has been the hard part. But with that said everyone in the team has been really nice and supportive.
With the global situation that we have found ourselves in the biggest challenge was to try and keep up with the changing conditions. There are more people playing games right now than ever before, Twitch viewership is booming, and interest in esports is at its peak. And with all the major sports on hold, it’s like all the eyes now turned towards esports.
For the end of 2020, we have really big plans coming up. The downside of being on NASDAQ is that we can’t reveal them just yet, but all I can say is keep an eye out on our progress throughout the year. We have great things in the works here.
Tell us a little bit more about the vision of Vie.gg.
We want to build the best, most secure, and transparent esports betting platform on the market. We are creating experiences, constantly looking for ways for the player to engage in the matches and games.
We are going beyond the traditional, sportsbook betting. We have Fanstay games on the leading esports leagues, pool betting, in-game betting and even the casino-style games. Players can watch their favorite esports matches and bet on the action they are seeing on their screens then and there. It’s about making Vie.gg the ultimate esports entertainment destination.
To step a little bit more into gaming itself, do you believe Valorant will live up to its hype gained in the beta testing and what do you see as biggest advantages of this game when compared to already established esports titles such as CSGO?
Valorant will be big but it will take some time to build that up. It has all the elements to make it a great esports title and it has Riot to back it up. I hope they are working on a hybrid model for tournament organizers and Leagues to operate, like what they are doing in League of Legends with the National League.
The biggest advantage over CSGO is that it is a New game. It’s a fresh take on the game mechanics and they can take the best from CSGO and LOL and build something great out of that.
Do you think that mobile esports will get as big as regular esports (big tournaments, huge prize pools, etc.)?
Yes, mobile esports will be big! Mobile games are getting better and bigger and it is a device that everyone has. Not everyone can afford a top-end gaming PC. With Tournament operators like ESPL building local, national and global leagues there is an ecosystem for players to grow and compete in. That hasn’t been the case before and that is something that regular esports are missing.
Do you believe that blockchain and crypto is a possible future development for esports?
It’s hard to say. Up until now, it feels like they have been throwing crypto and blockchain to everything on gaming to see what sticks, with very few projects seemingly using blockchain technology to its full potential. And so nothing has really stuck so far but it will come. I’m sure.
And last: Studies show that women comprise 30 percent of esports viewership and 35 percent of esport gamers. These numbers are growing each year. Do you have any stats to share in terms of games or betting for women?
I don’t have any numbers that I can share. But I think that there are a lot of things that we, as a singular, global esports community could and should do better there. Mostly in how we approach and engage the female competitors, fans, and viewers.
Esports and gaming in general need to create better conditions for female gamers to thrive in. I like initiatives like Dreamhack Showdown that give female players the same conditions and possibilities as they would for their male counterparts, but the opportunities for female competitors have been few and far between.
I think only then, when there is a stable environment for female players to grow and thrive in, then we can see more female fans placing bets on esports matches.
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