Josh Walker 

Morning, everybody, thank you for coming day two of the CES sports tech stage. Yesterday, if you were here, you got to hear from a lot of traditional sports about how they're dealing with the next age of sport that we're entering how fans now have more choice and power than ever before to move around through their entertainment options, right, they can switch from one form of entertainment to another because mostly, they're carrying around remote control in their hand. We call these fans fluid fans at the sports Innovation Lab. And we believe that they are looking for new experiences and one of the new experiences that has traditional sports and the whole sports industry perplexed is this idea of Eastern They're completely envious of what happens in the engagement and media environment when competitive video gaming is occurring. And we have an entire program with publishers, teams, even Industry analysts to make sense of this all for us today. If you look at your programming, the panels, the industry speakers that are going to be on stage with us this afternoon and this morning, are really going to be able to give us a sense of where this industry is headed. And there's nobody better than to kick this off then CTAs own Steve, Steven Hummel, who has been a senior analyst with CTA and analyzing this space. So he's going to give us a short presentation and then he's going to bring out a panel of experts to talk about what's happening with this $1 billion industry and try to figure out where we're headed next. So please welcome to the stage Stephen Hummel from CTA,

 
Steven Hummel 

Hi everybody. Hi, how are you? Yes, my name is Steven humble. I'm a Senior Research Analyst at the consumer tech knology Association and today I'll be kicking off this session with a little bit of a, an introduction into some of the research we've done over the past year. And then we'll I'll hand it over to my panelists and we'll talk about how eSports is really growing and innovating with technology. So, the topic of Esports is, is garnished a lot of attention over the past year. Not only is E Sports got its own dedicated marketplace at CTA or at CES 2020. But it's also in market research in our market research department. We've released two research studies, one focus specifically on eSports looking at the landscape and opportunities and then a second looking at consumers everything from the casual gamer to the cat to the core and then the hardcore gamers and and looking at their attitudes and behaviors and interactions with eSports as a whole. But can you believe it or not like eSports has actually been around from the 1980s but a lots changed back then they were still pretty small scale, not as big as the massive arena based stadium events that we have today. But today we've got arenas with traditional entertainment events that that rival it in scope and scale in terms of the production value and the prize pools. But it's kind of important that we've kind of set the scale of what and the scope of what eSports really is. It's not just the same as good old fashioned gaming. Almost any game can be an e sport, but not all games are E Sports and so for example, playing Super Smash Brothers and with your friends in the basement of your friend's house. Not an e sport, now watching eSports online while they're playing Super Smash Brothers, for competitive prize pools would be considered eSports. So to kind of reiterate and qualify that a game must have a professional or amateur component, and at least semi professional aspect to the scene. It's organized around video games, but there's also this component of live broadcasts and cash prizes in the competition. So, who are you sports fans? Who are they? What are they watching? Well, we find out in one of our research studies that roughly 70% of consumers in the United States age 13 to 64 are technically gamers so that that's a lot of people in United States as gamers even more so than sports fans and watchers. And so eSports kind of combines the love of video games in traditional sports. And fans aren't just passive viewers, but they're active participants. E Sports fans are engaged with traditional sports, especially college sports, and they're also likely to participate and fantasy leagues and they represent the more social end of the gamer spectrum. And we find that there's a substantial overlap between traditional sports and, and fans and gamers. But only a fraction of this overlap has been converted into sports and eSports fans. And this creates quite the opportunity to grow this market.

 
Steven Hummel 

So there's definitely an opportunity to grow this market. And if we look at our forecast on on the amount of viewership eSports, is actually booming. And it comes at a time when viewership as a whole is in this weird transition. Okay, so the live entertainment viewership of movies or music, sporting events has actually decreased over the over time. So let's think about the Olympic ceremonies in 2018, and the winter opening games that actually had a decrease in 10% viewership, while in 2017, and 2018. The NFL actually had an 11% decrease in viewership. Now, I don't want to say that viewing attendance is actually diminished. It's just changed. Now people are still watching these sports people are still engaging with this type of content. But it's they're changing how they watch and for how long they watch. So people are streaming content instead of watching cable. They're watching compressed versions or scenes of a three hour baseball event into a 30 minute highlight reel so they can listen to it on their daily commutes to work or school. And gaming is always been there in terms of a highlight reel, for when gamers want to watch content whenever on whatever device they want. So the esports space is certainly growing in scale, and we're going to see double digit inclines through 2022. And in fact, it's not just viewership it's spending. There was a major milestone in 2018 where eSports was just shy of one $10 billion in revenue. Now it jumped up to 27% to 1.1 billion in the end of 2019. So we're going to continue to see that scale up year over year. And just like any other industry eSports can grow without innovation, and technological advances are helping propel that. But at the same time, there's this effect, where there's a lot of collaboration and where the tech industry is benefiting from eSports through a number of sources of revenue is specifically infrastructure. So we have network servers, cloud services, and also hardware and accessories. Think about all the PCs and gaming components console's input devices such as monitors, speakers, graphics cards, and even gaming furniture. It's because people are sitting in chairs for an extended period of time to increase the the experience and diminish fatigue solutions and services every From live streaming tools like Twitch, chat bot integration to moderate the feeds of what's going on to kind of reduce toxic behavior in chats. And then lastly in arena and stadium tech, all of the Wi Fi and and networking that goes into that the screen and signage because there's so much pageantry that goes into an arena event.

 
Steven Hummel 

Now is the esports market looks into vertical integration to just engage its fans even more. It's hoping to partner with a number of experts in the tech space in order to make that happen. And so for example, Nintendo big brand everybody knows who they are. They're looking to partner with eSports organizer battle phi, and to enter the esports scene even further while Riot a game publishing company is making similar partnerships to engage in the collegiate eSports GameStop is betting big eSports as it's trying to cater towards its its stores and its clientele for the esport community, and everyone from basically Tencent turtlebeach to Logitech, they're investing in headsets, microphones, and even 5g to make an online eSports environment more seamless. And partnerships are great, but multifaceted tech solutions to address key pain points in the esports scene or even better, and so for example, latency or lag for a short, it's always been an uncrossable roadblock in the path of Esports becoming a truly global sport. Currently, you can't play a game competitively and match across the globe while there's some some shutter and lag in the screens. So what can solve that 5g? Now 5g has the potential to allow for a seamless, immersive and lag free environment. But also scale up to the cloud so that fans can watch live broadcast seamlessly. Without introduction, it would scale to the viewership of the masses. In terms of the fan experience, it's somewhat of a challenge that all competitive events have is how do you convert regular viewers into fans, and those who are maybe not engaged with the esports community into watching it? Well, ar VR augmented reality and virtual reality can help solve that problem. You can use on screen displays to show real time statistics and diagnostics so that one player can see something that another player is doing or a fan can watch it and even in the in Beijing. In one of the massive online arena based events, they released an augmented reality dragon to fly overhead so that fan fans could see it. And it was viewed by over 40 million people worldwide, and even at this onstage nobody was able to see it. But only people with with a broadcasted attendance could unless they were watching on their phone, for example. And lastly, in the competitive space for trainings Well, just like real professionals use data to make better plays and moves sports athletes Formula One drivers, basketball players, everybody wants to improve their performance through data. And eSports is the perfect recipe to do that. And they can use AI and machine learning to form a battle or a gaming strategy based on strengths and weaknesses. Watching hitboxes and it creates a tailored gaming experience for an individual player or a team using data that can be synthesized in real time. So 5g, augmented reality and virtual reality, AI and machine learning. These are all some of the key ingredient technologies that we have at CES and showcase that, but they're also game changing technologies. And so to talk more about game changing technologies I'd like to bring on my panel. Andy reginal Dinh, he's a professional eSports player and founder and CEO of TSM. Everybody welcome him. I have Ann Hand CEO and chairman of Super League Gaming. And last but not least, Marcus Kennedy, the GM and gaming division client computer group of Intel. Thank you. All right, well, let's just kick things off a little bit. Give yourself just kind of a brief introduction of your experience in eSports. And, and what's kind of changed over time because we saw a lot of change from eSports then and now so so explain your profession and what you're saying.

 
Andy Dinh 

Hi, everyone, I'm Andy Dinh founder and CEO of TSM. I started in the space as a professional gamer, when I was 16 and that's how that's how I started my company played, played as a professional for four or five years, as I ran my company and a media business and I retired at the early age of 21. And I've now been running my company for the last I would say seven years or so.

 
Ann Hand 

Hi, my name is Ann Hand I spent close to 20 years in large cap companies. So energy, retail, CPG, ran a clean tech startup in the Bay Area and then have been running Super League for the past four years. Super League is a eSports platform that really takes it down to the amateur level so allows for everyday gamers to compete like they're professionals.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

Hi everyone, Marcus Kennedy, I head up our gaming and eSports division in Inte. I started in this space in arcades about 20 years ago. Standing on stepstool was playing Street Fighter up through playing and Major League gaming and Smash Brothers and stuff like that, and got forced retirement when I had a family and my with my wife and only recently got back in when I when I took over this role and eSports where Intel has been a leader in this space for about 15 years. Right. So So yeah,

 
Steven Hummel 

Marcus you you've been around for a while not only just as an amateur gamer, but professional as well at one point. So So how has technology changed since you started? Well,

 

Marcus Kennedy 

you know, you said something earlier that I'm going to disagree with for a moment, Steve. He said that you know, when going into a basement with a bunch of your friends isn't an esport that's exactly how it began for me going into a basement with a bunch of friends with a bunch of TVs with money on the line playing competitively Smash Brothers. And, you know, that was a console and growing up in the esports space as people started getting more and more into it more and more viewership started when you can start streaming online which only just started back then when I when I was going to today where you've got people like ninja making lots and lots and lots of money, just streaming what he's playing, right and Intel Extreme Masters events or other other places like that, that are drawing in upwards of 400 million viewers globally. It's it's amazing nowadays. And I joke with my wife all the time that if if we had met, you know, maybe 10 years ago that I probably would still be a professional gamer.

 
Steven Hummel 

They're really more than just gas money.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

That's right more than just gas money

 
Steven Hummel 

and and Andy. So you started earlier in your career, but you know, a little younger than us. So maybe not playing the same games. But the games that you were playing were much more advanced in terms of what you needed for strategy and has data and the role of it had an impact and how you've been able to play a game and

 
Andy Dinh 

So, at the tail end of my career, it hasn't changed much, but I would say within the last three or four years It's changed in many ways. Just because gaming is digitally native, right, you can track pretty much every single second, or down to the millisecond of every single action. So imagine if you're watching someone play basketball, you can track their heart rate, the amount of times they dribble to, to understanding like, in their lifetime, how many shots they took, at what parts of the court were on the court and how many they've made, right? You can get that type of type of data for eSports. So I think in the future, you're going to see AL just to be able to automatically just coach players on how to improve and play better.

 
Steven Hummel 

Fascinating, and not only have you know, we started our careers gaming, maybe on consoles, and then it was came into PC gaming. And now mobile gaming is one of the biggest things also and you have new platforms and and pieces of content and games to play on your mobile devices, whether it's your phone, your tablet, are you seeing anything in that space, particularly where you're you're willing to advance your career on it?

 
Andy Dinh 

Yeah, absolutely. What we see now is the seamless, seamless integration of Esports. Right? Whether it is on PC or mobile, pretty much any any gamer can join a competition. Whereas before, you'd have to go to some obscure website, you'd have to go to Google and search on competition to compete, just just purely out of passion. Right now publishers have vertically integrated, both competition and these boards with with their platform. So if you're a young gamer, that's looking to improve the selling tickets, the next step, you're already there on their platform be all you need to do is really just press play. Now you're in a ladder that ranks you against whether it's people your age, or people within your region, or people are your competitive skill, their ranking the ranking against people at the same skill, similar skill level, and then as you advance, you're able to win prizes of like within the millions, right? And so because of that friction, frictionless integration, you're seeing it become more accessible to become an Esports player and that's why you know, kids that are 12 13 nowadays that is growing up their their next career choice. Is that they want to be an Esports athlete, a streamer, a content creator.

 
Steven Hummel 

And that's a great segue into to what Ann's role is. And we've talked a lot about the professional gamer. But what about the role of the amateur gamer? Somebody wanting to get into the scene? Maybe doesn't have the same opportunities as a pro gamer getting into it, but are the same resources and what is your your company been able to accomplish? And with the amateur space?

 
Ann Hand 

Yeah, I mean, what I often say first to kind of non endemics or investors is almost take the word eSports away, because it kind of gives you this sense that it's something new or that it's a niche or a fad. This is really about competitive video gaming. So the kid who plays Little League or maybe plays high school baseball doesn't believe that he's not a baseball player, too, right. So that same analog works for competitive video gaming. So as Andy was talking about now that games are being introduced cross platform, meaning you can start out as a mobile player, and then you can level up about 48% of gamers out there. They're everyday gamers have already invested in some kind of gaming peripheral, they've maybe bought a turtle beach headset or a Logitech gaming mouse. That's the steps towards them trying to move up that ladder and play that game in a more competitive way. So those are all the indications that that amateur kind of thirst to participate and compete. Even if it's highly aspirational to be a pro is out there, then you get into things like 5g, again, it just removes one more barrier to the ability for somebody to have access to adequate broadband and therefore be able to compete at a higher level. And then the other thing that I often kind of remind people have to is, you know, you talked about going to the arcade, dating myself, but my game is centipede and Galaga. But there I was playing against the machine, right, and I just wanted to get my initials on that scoreboard. But games are now being designed fundamentally to be competitive. They're much more multiplayer focused. And so it's almost inherently eSports is becoming mainstream because of the way that the publisher And the designers themselves are making those games to create that extra competitive layer.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

And if I if I could add to that, so globally, right, in order to go from being an amateur to being a professional to truly get that training, you can train by yourself. But the only way you'll be able to achieve kind of that elite level is to play with others. And so that's why 5g is so important. That's why things like Wi Fi six, which is coming out, which is out now, this year, why it's so important, because then you don't have to be next to somebody, you can actually be at your house training against other professional players or other aspiring professional players and growing your skill set without having to go places, but there's still no substitute to being in real life right next to somebody playing against them, whether you're on a console or whether you're on a PC or something like that. And that's why you still see all of these national championships and all these coming together so that you can do that. Even training in places like China. there's a there's a phenomenon called The eSports hotel where they're bringing teams together to stay together and train together with a bunch of PCs to grow up. And they're farming that data so that they can do like what Andy was talking about earlier, where you can see how you can get better, you can track your motion, you can track how quick your button presses are and where you can get better. So that you can you can use those resources to get better and go from that amateur level to the professional level. And more of those kinds of things will start going from just those places with all those resources out to more and more of us who maybe may not have all of those access.

 
Steven Hummel 
Yeah, really
 
Ann Hand 

nice. I was gonna add, I always, I don't mean to depress us all. But right now, there's different stats out there that say that a professional eSports athlete peaks around 20 to 23 years old. Now, hopefully that'll change. But that's about eye hand coordination and peaking and all of those types of things. That means you need to find the next great sports athlete at a much younger age than traditional sports. So you're looking for a 15 or 16 year old out there, well, finding them only online doesn't tell you a lot about their mental attitude, teamwork collaboration, do they know that they can't post on Instagram and negative, you know, comment about a potential brand sponsor. So it's really this requirement for more in person gaming and physical infrastructure and mechanisms like those hotels to really help kind of groom talent and given at such a young age is essential to the ecosystem.

 
Steven Hummel 

It's interesting you bring up age because we were talking about this backstage a little bit how, you know, Andy is considered old and his career even not old by any standards, but it was whether the age impacts performance and so you think about it from a professional athletes standard. Now, I'm a ravens fan, and I'll go back to my my guy, Ray Lewis got better and better towards the end of his career, even though he was older. And well, how do you do that? It's it's winning through strategy and over performance. And that's something That that gamers, you know, there may be some games like the first person shooters, that would certainly benefit from having the quickest reaction time, maybe racing games as well. But there's still an opportunity out there for gamers of all ages, I would say, even when you get older, to still have the opportunity to be competitive in that space. But I think we were talking about time, how much time can you really devote into a game? And maybe you want to talk more about that?

 
Andy Dinh 

Yeah. So the way I think of professional gamers within the last generation are gamers that have really just stumbled on their career by accident, right? Like, for me when I when I was a professional player, I played the hobby and I happen to be really good. And I made it as a career right. And so now you're seeing pro players actually have a much longer career because kids are now growing up to want to be pro players and they're willing to train and dedicate time they're willing to dedicate a schedule, fall and falling. four, seven or not 20 477 days a week, 10 hours a day. And they're they're willing to practice and put put towards that effort. Whereas pros of my generation, they practice maybe two to three hours a day as a hobby. They travel they took weeks and weeks if not months off. So the typical gamer that you see nowadays, their careers are extending much further whether it is in a game like Cisco or Liga legends, it's well past 22. And the average span of a pro player probably has increased by over 100% within the last three years. And

 
Marcus Kennedy 

and this is why what you said earlier, and was so important that you just have to remove the esports away from this. It's it's competitive, just like normal sports. Where you have you know, Tom Brady today in the NFL playing at a high level at age 42 or 43. Right, you're starting to see the same thing in eSports because of the advent of the training and as we go similarly on the front end, where it's where it comes to how we find those players and how they train and how they get better. You're starting to see colleges recognizes and high schools recognizes. And so like we're partnering, for example, with with companies, as well as with schools, when offering scholarships for eSports. And building out those teams so that they can practice at schools. And those schools can then attract them, grow them, and then launch them into true professional careers. Just just like normal sports. So this is truly becoming mainstream. It's not just a hobby anymore, like it was when I was growing up, or like it was when you started as well.

 
Andy Dinh 

Yes, seven up, I really think it's an issue of focus. And the more you focus on something, the better you are, and at the end of the day, that's really what's going to extend your career.

 
Steven Hummel 

And we talked about data driven decisions and processing and analytics, being able to make make a training regimen also to enhance your gaming performance and making the right place and the right moves. And you talked a little bit about in the education space and thinking about it in terms of technology now. There requirements for gaming hardware have just scaled up through the realms now. Advances in processing, graphics, computation and visual displays. schools don't have to invest as much I feel like anymore because your your laptop now can play some of the top games as long as you have a solid internet connection, like Apex legends or fortnight for example. And so the accessibility realm of it allows for so many more gamers to get into the space to compete. And I don't know maybe have some some feelings about that.

 
Ann Hand 

I mean, I certainly do. I mean, what we found early on at Super League was that we really wanted to democratize kind of everyone's ability to participate in competitive video gaming, and one of the biggest hurdles is hardware. So even though you're right, that these days a decent laptop can kind of get you through good enough on some of these PC based games, and everyone has a cell phone pretty much right so you can at least get into mobile gaming. What we saw really was a couple things. I mean, there are still barriers about the types of equipment today, until 5g really kind of gets into you know, its advanced stages. You know, adequate hardware is still a limitation for the most advanced gamers. And yet there are gaming centers all around the world land centers, internet cafes that do offer that kind of more hardcore gamer an opportunity to compete. So one of the things that we spend a lot of time working on is a turnkey technology for everyday retailers because we believe that better gaming happened when you were physically together. It was just a way to make friends create a better social component around gaming as well. And so we partner with everybody from Dave and Busters and Buffalo Wild Wings so that the everyday mobile gamer can walk in on a Tuesday night and participate in say, a fortnight or, or a clash royale tournament, all the way through to maybe that kind of higher rung of amateur who wants to play in League of Legends or cs go and wants to go to one These gaming cafes that gives them that accessibility they don't have today yet. But to your point, the more that moves into the cloud, the the cost of the hardware that you're going to need the quality of the PC, all those things will continue to improve and make competitive gaming more accessible.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

Yeah. And to add to that, so it couldn't agree more that accessibility has gotten much better and that the best gaming is done on the best hardware. And so that's why again, at all the tournament's you see the best hardware there. You see, the design cafes they're scaling out with top of the line hardware is you have system integrators who go in and outfit custom builds to go play the best, which allows better accessibility to for those who maybe maybe not are able to afford the best gaming hardware, they're able to go and rent it for a little while so that they can get better as well. One interesting thing that we find is that when I say the best hardware that doesn't necessarily always mean top of the line, for example, resolution that that people are playing at. Professionals nowadays. Don't play 4k resolution, right? They'll play at just underneath that, but at a higher refresh rate, because that allows them to play a little faster and play a little better and reduce that all important latency, that that gap between when you press a button and when you actually see something happened on the screen. And that can mean the difference between a kill and and you getting killed.

 
Steven Hummel 

That's a pro tip, I guess lower your graphics for better performance.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

Bring your bring your resolution back up the refresh rate.

 
Steven Hummel 

Yeah, no great point. And anything else that

 

Ann Hand 

I just I say one thing we should probably talk about too, is a little bit about just general content consumption. So when I was talking earlier about that everyday competitive gamer, in most cases, they're viewing more video game content than they're actually playing the games themselves per week. So what what's happening there? Well, it's another kind of key trend, which is kind of the democratization of who can be a content creator. And again, all those advancements we're talking about in technology also allow everyone to share their highlight reel, everyone to kind of have that their chance to build their audience have their moment in the sun. And if you look at, you know, it is a massive eSports viewing audience, when you look at the pro level, it's bigger than Major League Baseball and NHL fan base. But it's still just scratching the surface of the amount of competitive video gaming content consumption that's happening. And even when you just look at eSports careers, you know, people are just as excited to be a broadcaster, as they are to maybe be the player themselves. And so I think that all these great trends that are really changing the accessibility for the player, is also the same things that we're dragging off of that really ensure that the esports consumption or video game consumption really does start to become moved more towards the center of people's entertainment choices beyond kind of passive viewing entertainment.

 
Steven Hummel 

Yeah, I want to get a sense a little bit about we talked about advances in hardware, couldn't couldn't make the best gaming experience but what about in the enterprise and we talked about the Scale a little bit scaling up technologies? Is gamer grade hardware good enough to be at the enterprise level?

 
Marcus Kennedy 

Yeah, so one of the interesting stats that I found when, when I came into this, this job was that 30% of gaming systems that are bought in the world never have a single game played on them. And the reason for that is because gaming systems are typically top of the line across the board. And what people are doing is they're buying those top of the line specs and going and doing things like creating, going and doing development, because those top of the line specs also work for that. And so it's a growing segment of creators that are also using gaming gaming systems to do that, which just proves that gaming systems also working at enterprise scale. One other thing that that's happening, I want to tie what you just commented on back to what Ann just said, is that this growing audience of people who may not necessarily aspire to be gamers, but just want to just want to watch just one of you. Just like you might like watching the NBA You don't aspire to go be a professional basketball player. There are things that are interesting about eSports that are totally different than normal sports, which is the interactivity component, and your ability as a viewer to interact with what's happening when the screen is starting to change. Now, as the systems are growing enterprise scale and things are moving to the cloud, there are companies now that we're partnering with that are doing things like allowing you to change what's happening on the screen to change the environment that eSports players are playing in to actually change the competitive landscape in the middle of a game. There are services popping up that way that's being offered on enterprise scale hardware.

 
Steven Hummel 

That's a good point, but I'm gonna actually throw in a wild card technology and what I think is in the realm of gaming and technology, blockchain everybody remember what happened when crypto currencies went went boom? Or and everybody was buying up? What? Bitcoin graphics cards, all the graphics cards got bought up for for mining And blockchain and cryptocurrencies because these graphics cards are really powerful and the workhorse in order to, to crunch data and numbers more than even just a regular processor could. So it's thinking about gamer grade hardware outside the realm of just gaming and eSports using using that to fuel a new currency, or a or an algorithm that that could never been crunched before. And people could do this at scale, whether you're just running it in your home, you know, you're going to use a lot of energy on your on your bill. But you're also seeing companies come about that we're just creating new types of graphics cards and processors able to, to to crunch blockchain algorithms. Anything else to add on that or? I mean, no, buy video stock buying Intel stock .

 

Steven Hummel 

Okay, so, so we just talked about scale. What do you think is the next next frontier for eSports. And, and we talked about gaming in the basement. And it can be any sport. We talked about gaming in the arena. Also any sport, some of the things I'm seeing on the show floor, they'll kind of kind of allow are going back towards gaming at your home, new converters and streaming platforms which allow for someone to run an Esports event out of their home and stream it and broadcast it globally across the world. What do you think is their new frontier for eSports? Again, Andy's thinking

 
Marcus Kennedy 

it was looking at Andy, I'll take a stab real quick. In my mind. There hasn't really been a killer application yet for VR, and on the traction on hardware and how everything's been playing. Today really hasn't taken off. I think that VR plus eSports could be what is the next frontier there's a company called Real in China, for example, that is that is driving interactive sports in arenas that also tie back to hardware that you can have in the home. So you can play against people who are physically in a different location through VR in the same space. And I think that kind of technology as it grows in scale and grows in technology and advances could be the next frontier there as you bring the interactive in with the truly active.

 
Ann Hand 

It's a good point. I mean, what I guess I would probably say, a little different perspective, just on the greater market space in industry is right now when you hear projections, that it's going to be a $1 billion category by 2022. I mean, many of you in the audience are working for companies where that is a drop in the bucket. So you look at that, and you say, Well, this is that's kind of underwhelming, and really, what you have to take into account is is that this is a market category and space. It hasn't even really been defined yet. You know, when you hear those types of numbers, that's simply an extrapolation of what's been done. And what has been known is about 10,000 or so professional players, big tournaments filling up call it Madison Square Garden or staples, selling tickets, merchandise broadcast rights, it's all very valuable and it's growing exponentially, right. And so the growth projections you're seeing are huge and significant. But that is really like quantifying the value of baseball and leaving out every other aspect of people participating and baseball the way down to the softball team that we play in on Monday nights in Santa Monica. So I think that the opportunity whether it comes through the kind of next frontier on tech, I just think it's again goes back to just redefining what eSports is in the broadest sense.

 
Steven Hummel 

And I think there's certainly a certainly a role and it's, it's almost untapped in a way and tying in other companies and the roles and the partnerships that are coming through gaming. So grab company like Nvidia might be partnering with a video game developer to think about a Grand Theft Auto Grand Theft Auto five, for example is it's an open world game. And it's being used to train a eyes, for example. So other companies are coming into the space and you're like, Okay, well maybe we can teach people how to drive in a world that has physics and a great physics engine and a great graphics properties to kind of recreate it and train students or people with disabilities. And you could use augmented reality or virtual reality to pair with that so that a person gets a headset and immerse themselves in the environment. But the AI is also being trained at the same time. So stop lights work, emergency vehicles come through, there's so much data and information that's coming through I feel like it's also an untapped resource and, and but companies are coming into these partnerships to collaborate on that and and create solutions. Two real world problems that we actually have on on a, on a scale that actually, you know, doesn't interfere with real world infrastructures.

 
Ann Hand 

I mean, Marcus mentioned it earlier as well, the role of AI and the way that you can advance or create a different experience around gameplay. I mean, I think one of the exciting things that AI is doing is transforming the viewing experience, because the reality is, is right now if you go to a tournament in Staples Center, and you're watching League of Legends, it's got a great spectator view. So as a non player, I can kind of follow along, but boy, it would help a lot if I actually kind of knew the fundamentals of it a little bit more than the way that we all do understand basketball, whether we play it or not. And so I think where you're going to see some fun advancement is in in how viewership is not just interactive, but is also displayed in a way that you know your parents can be cheering you on on the sidelines during your high school tournament and feel just as engaged That experience as the player themselves. So that's probably what I'm most excited about is how you really kind of transform the definition of who an Esports viewer and fan can be.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

Yeah. You know, I happen to work for a small company that works on both AI as well as the CPUs and the GPUs. And, you know, I can talk for hours about AI. But the one thing that I'll mention here is that video games have this, this very interesting intersection of the action and the training that is very different than what traditional sports have. And so AI can be very useful for training people up for doing what Andy was talking about earlier about working through data and using that analytics to allow you to get better. And when you put those two things together with what you end up with, are people who can use AI to start predicting the way you can interact and start actually training you and making you better by yourself in your house in a way that you can't do when you're playing on a basketball court in your neighborhood. Right? So I think that there's there's room and opportunity for all of these technologies, Ai, 5g, Wi Fi, everything that you can think of, to grow this sport, and really kind of change the world and mentioned something that I want to hit on. And it was the word excite. And it was what excites you. And everybody, I think, is somewhat excited about the the role that technology is playing, and not only gaming, but eSports.

 
Steven Hummel 

And it's just so fascinating to see what we have on the show floor today at CES. And I want to ask each of you What excites you the most about tech and eSports? with Andy

 
Andy Dinh 

I mean, very generally speaking, what really excites me about eSports is that there's not a barrier of entry, whether you're whatever age or race or where you're based in the world. What's really exciting from a technology perspective is that all these technologies lower the barrier of entry, whether it's AI and data, it allows you to scout the best player in the world, whether they're some kid in Africa or some obscure country in Asia or wherever you are. From a data perspective, theoretically, in the long run, we'll be able to find that player much quicker than a player can be found in traditional sports where you have to go through a youth program, then you're scouted, and then you go to a training camp, and then you go to another training camp. And then you're finally, you know, recruited to a training program with eSports. You can do that online from a digital perspective. So we can really just quickly find the best and most upcoming talent, and because of that, it it all lowers the barrier of entry for eSports. And so what really excites me is mobile eSports because from a handheld device perspective, practically almost everyone in the world will have a handheld device at some point. And I do think that mobile eSports will be the next largest frontier. for for for gaming overall, and I am I think that in the next decade, we're going to see mobile eSports become much larger alone than most typical sports you see now, not not today.

 
Ann Hand 

And just building off that I'd add that. It's been alluded to already on the panel. But you know what the right peripherals of physically challenged player can play at the same level as anyone else. eSports should be gender neutral. But there are very many young girl or young adult female gamers, certainly not at the professional level. And a lot of that goes back to unfortunately, kind of young girls are steered away from it. Because of all the issues and challenges that happen. From a social perspective online, you have to worry about who they're playing with, and, and maybe parents are more guarded when it comes to their young girls in their household. But again, with all of the advancements in technology, we can create the right environments where people can be playing with all the benefits of gaming without any of the downfalls of maybe negative or Player poor sportsmanship and that can start to create that level playing field for everybody.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

Yeah, I couldn't agree more with that, um, I guess what excites me the most about about eSports. And, and kind of where we're going is that it's just exploding so great. You know, when I think back to where it started for me, you know, I just love that it's, you know, not just for the nerds anymore, right? It's for everybody. And speaking as a self professed nerd, right? I love this space. And I love that everybody wants to get into this stuff. And, and it's, it's cool now. And not only is it cool, but it is inclusive. It is inclusive for the physically challenged. It is inclusive for I just built a computer with my 10 year old daughter. And using AI, we're bringing in anti toxicity so that she can go on and we can actually work so that she doesn't hear a lot of the things that we don't want her to hear through the computer and through technology. And so we can bring people together and allow them to experience not just competition but the community that is growing globally as well. That was great.

 
Steven Hummel 

I got chills. I don't know about anybody else that was that was spot on.

 
Steven Hummel 

Just to kind of wrap up, one word we talked about is tech driver or an eat is eSports receiver in the terms of innovation and technology. So is eSports, a driver or a receiver on the receiving end of technology? One word, or it could be both.

 
Marcus Kennedy 

It's on the receiving table say

 
Ann Hand 

It's, it feeds itself cycle cycle cycle

 
Steven Hummel 

Is hopefully it's not a snake eating its tail. All right, well, that's all the time we have. I want to thank my panelists, Andy and Marcus, everybody, give them a round of applause, please. Thank you. And, of course, there's lots lots more content to see throughout the rest of the day in terms of Esports but I do want to make sure that you all have an opportunity to see some of the research That we've published online you can find it at CTA dot tech slash research slash research. Thank you all once again and I'll see you out the rest of the show. Take care

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