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ESports has really come a long way over the past few years, offering millions of dollars in prize money and attracting both huge audiences and sponsors worldwide. And now, a new deal is promising a fresh perspective on how we look at them.
Plays.tv has announced that it has entered a partnership with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), just in time for the Extreme Masters, which will kick off next week with players competing in Cologne, in time for the Gamescom event.
This series features a number of big names, including players competing in League of Legends, StarCraft II and other games, but it also means a more personal integration. With it, Plays.tv will enable a gameplay recording client that will work with all competition PC’s in the tournament. Using Raptr’s video capture tool and social network, viewers will be able to see pros in action from around the world, watching the action from their point of view. It’ll provide a unique perspective for the eSports world, along with statistics on spectator views and up-to-the-minute highlights.
The founder of Raptr, Dennis Fong, took the time to speak to us about the deal, as well as what this could mean for eSports in the future.
Since you last spoke with [a]list, how have things changed for Raptr?
Since we last spoke, we at Raptr and Plays.tv have been focused primarily on expanding and enhancing the Plays.tv experience, in terms of both the gameplay recording client and the website/community. We’ve added a number of cool new features to both, with even bigger, more innovative features coming later this summer, and at the same time we’ve seen the audience grow considerably, which is really exciting.
What does this new partnership of Plays.TV and ESL, the biggest eSports organization, mean to you?
It’s a great match: the leading eSports organization joins forces with the best gameplay capture and sharing platform to give fans of pro gaming unprecedented access to some of the very best players and teams in the world. It’s a huge vote of confidence for Plays.tv, which launched just four months ago but already has a large, dedicated audience and is really just getting started in terms of features, functionality, and gameplay recording innovations
Tell us more about your plans for Gamescom, with the first implementation?
The ESL will coordinate most of the effort – we’re providing the tool and the venue, along with the large and growing audience of gamers that Plays.tv has already attracted. Simply put, every competition match in CS:GO and StarCraft II will be posted to the ESL page of Plays.tv – in multiple forms. So in addition to the traditional commentator (aka ‘spectator’) POV, fans will for the first time be able to view each match from the perspective of every player. In the case of CS:GO, that’s ten different POV videos for each match, so you can see – and hear – exactly what each player experienced at any given moment of any match throughout the Gamescom IEM competition. The ESL will also post edited highlight videos for each match.
Do you think this will help audiences better understand what eSports players experience when they take part in tournaments?
Definitely. Seeing any given moment from any player’s perspective is incredibly informative – add to that the in-game communications between teammates and the actual mouse clicks of each player in their respective POV videos (which traditional commentator videos don’t include) and you’re effectively riding shotgun with any player you like, reliving the match exactly the way the player originally experienced it.
What kind of community do you think will be drawn into these videos? Are you appealing more towards hardcore eSports fans, or casual audiences, perhaps both?
We expect both hardcore eSports fans and more casual players of the games in question to find this content compelling.
What makes the ESL such an ideal partner for this venture?
Well, obviously it’s great to have the largest eSports organization in the world in our corner, working closely with us to redefine eSports spectating in some very unique ways. It helps that ESL is a great partner on all levels, from technical implementation to marketing, and has been really open to trying some new things.
Finally, once the service is up and running, could you see expansion into other eSports avenues? Perhaps even other games, such as Rocket League?
We’re certainly open to hosting all kinds of gameplay-as-video content, and you’ll see other examples of this, in different veins, in the coming months.