The Difficulties Overwatch Esports Faces

When Counter-Strike: Global Offensive released in 2012 and later in the years claimed the flagship of FPS esports titles (like its predecessors), it further showed what other FPS titles were lacking in terms of tools and core mechanics to be a spectator-friendly competitive game. Halo, Call of Duty and Rainbow Six: Siege are just some of the current established FPS esports titles that don’t quite measure to the popularity and excitement that Counter-Strike has established.

Among these titles is the prominent new IP from Blizzard Entertainment called Overwatch: a class-based objective-driven FPS with 21 playable characters and three modes: ‘Capture Point (Assault), ‘King of the Hill’ (Control), ‘Escort’ and maps that are a hybrid where you attack/defend a point, then escort a payload.

Before open beta was even released, established esports organizations have already announced their Overwatch squads in preparation for this prosperous competitive title. Announced tournaments from ESL (at Gamescom), GosuGamers and Esports Arena are trying to be the frontrunners to push a flourishing esports scene. However, a mediocre spectator client and questionable map design choices may push the Overwatch esports scene to be as small as Team Fortress 2 instead of as big as Counter-Strike.

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Team Liquid’s Overwatch squad are not the first team organization to get on-board with the game. Teams such as Cloud9 and EnvyUs are currently fielding teams and Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2 and Battlefield 4 players are switching to Overwatch is hopes the scene prospers.

Overwatch is both fun to play, skillfully demanding and requires a good amount of communication to win. Impressively, traditional class-based designs from other games are combined with unique abilities that don’t typically work in a FPS environment, such as: Roadhog’s Chain Hook or Reinhardt’s melee-oriented attacks. Despite the limited amount of maps and modes, each game feels fresh as you approach a match differently with unique team compositions. At its core, Overwatch mostly achieves the first half of what makes a successful esports title: exciting to play. The other half, ‘exciting to watch’, has its issues. These are issues that aren’t new and have been something that’s been around in other games like Team Fortress 2, Battlefield and Call of Duty.

As the Overwatch competitive scene takes off, distinguishing ‘Skill depth’, avoiding ‘rhythmic strategies’, and accommodating the scene with more competent competitive maps/modes will be necessary for the scene to grow and the game’s public interest to continue to be renewed with new features.

Distinguishing Skill Depth


Skill depth is the demanded layers of a player’s ability to perform a character’s capabilities at varying levels of execution.

For example, in Team Fortress 2, you can maneuver as the Solider class at three distinct levels of execution:

  1. Traditional movement on the ground
  2. Rocket Jumping, like in Quake with the risk of self-damage
  3. Jurfing – where the user takes an increased amount of consecutive damage to rollout faster to a specific capture point

In a competitive environment, being able to rollout as the Soldier (or Demo) class is key to a good start in a competitive match for the team.

The skill depth in Overwatch is varied per class, but the biggest issue is the difficulty in distinguishing that skill as a spectator. Like Team Fortress 2, Overwatch suffers from the same quality that makes it so enjoyable to play: projectile chaos. Projectile chaos is what makes the game incredibly fun, frantic and fast-paced, but makes for a terrible spectator esport. This is emphasized in head-to-head confrontations on ‘Capture Point (Assault)’ and ‘King of the Hill (Control)’ maps where the control point is close quarters with little room to maneuver and even less room to see what is going on. Overwatch wants to use the first-person camera to display great skill, but have to somehow also meaningfully convey the skill in team-fighting abilities and big-battle engagements.

The lack of coherence in a player’s individual skill depth is an inherent issue in Overwatch. Ammo is not a problem, thus a player can attack more without risk – leading to a lot of action with little substance. Any key action that does occur, is often lost in the commotion of bombs, rockets and bullets. Especially true for ultimate abilities such as Genji or the attacks of Reinhardt which are melee-oriented and right in the thick of fights. Viewers have to rely on sound cues and the kill feed instead of the match itself.  Overwatch’s inability to display skillful plays in an easy-to-interpret manner may lead to a dwindling viewership. The fact that Overwatch has no tools to help highlight unique team execution leaves little to appreciate during Overwatch matches.

Rhythmic Strategies


What distinguishes Overwatch are its abilities and game-changing ultimates where characters are defined by what they offer to the team. However, these powerful abilities create a rhythmic playstyle that centers each match around these abilities, specifically the combination of the team’s ultimate abilities. Progression in matches end up being dictated by these ultimates rather than as a complimentary layer of skill depth. This is something competitive Team Fortress 2 relates to, but is limited to one class.

In Team Fortress 2, the importance of keeping your medic alive is the highest priority. Not only is the Medic the only support class in Team Fortress 2, but the class’ offensive capabilities are slim to none. However, the Medic has one “ultimate” ability where he can grant invulnerability or guaranteed critical damage. It is game changing and must be charged over time. Overwatch builds on that with ultimates that create great moments for the player to feel “overpowered”, but create huge comeback swings that can make games feel entirely dependent on it. For example, Mercy’s ultimate can resurrect entire teams and Lucio’s ultimate can block damage from the enemy’s team. The enemy team must account for that, so they may also withhold their ultimate or simply pull back to another chokepoint. This creates rhythmic strategies where entire games are dictated by ultimate abilities and the progress/pushback branching from them. Depending on the success of one team’s string of ultimates, the game may progress or stall. Players then focus on survival and dealing as much damage as possible instead of overcoming the enemy team, to continue charging their ultimates.

To add, some ultimates are clearly more team-contributing than others, emphasizing, almost to essentialness, the need for a Lucio or Mercy over other more situational supports like Symmetra or Zenyatta. This can continue to be a problem should the game release even more characters, diluting its intent for varied use of all characters. This is an issue in Team Fortress 2 as well, where classes that were not maneuverable or did not have the strongest area damage (like the Heavy, Spy or Pyro) were seldom used. Fortunately, the highlander mode (a 9 vs. 9 match-up where all 9 classes are played) is becoming more prominent, a flexibility Overwatch does not share. If Overwatch expands to even more heroes, the importance to include certain “core” heroes in team formations can push others down.

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In Team Fortress 2, it is the attacker’s job to make use of the Medic’s invulnerability ‘ultimate’. In Overwatch, ultimates can compensate for a player’ ultimates partially mitigate player individual skill outside of short 30 second bursts.

Too Fast, Too Short, Too Much


At the moment, the best mode for competitive Overwatch is Escort. One of the reasons is that the other modes, Assault and Control, can be too swiftly concluded – removing any build-up. Assault maps such as Volskaya Industries offer up a lot of entryways for attackers to reach the first point, but make it too difficult for defensive line-ups to counter. Especially when the spawn areas are alternating in advantages, creating the intention for the defenders to eventually concede the first capture point, but heavily defend the last one with proximity to their now close spawn. However, the defender’s concession can lead to unsatisfying matches where attackers will snowball by capturing the first point and race to take the second point with their ultimates already charged and the defense squad either don’t have time to setup or simply already used their ultimates to previously defend the first point. At the highest levels of competitive play, these biases too heavily dictate the outcome of a match.

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The attacker’s ability to reach the first capture point on Volskaya Industries is numerous. You can approach it from two different levels (upper/lower) and three cardinal directions (North, East, West). It is a challenge for the defensive team to both hold the main entrance choke and counter against heroes that slip by that first defense choke point. Should they lose, scrambling to defend their second point may prove more challenging than intended.

The appeal to the Escort mode, and hybrid maps that have an escort portion, is that there is a build-up and an evolution throughout the matches. Players are faced with different challenges depending at which point or area that cart has reached. From chokeholds to multi-paths of attack, these areas of conflict can create unique strategies that call for different heroes. Escort maps have momentum and progression which can create more engagements and thus a better display of individual skill. However, a singular mode is not ideal for a competitive game where the core adversarial dimension is the same: prevent the enemy team from escorting their cart. It can create feelings of repetitiveness for the viewer, this wouldn’t be as big of a problem if Overwatch’s map-pool for that one mode wasn’t as considerably small.

In the MOBA genre, there are enough characters and item choices to makes matches feel unique from one another. For FPS titles, a variation of maps and modes can alleviate the redundancy of using the same weapons. Overwatch has both a large cast and many maps/modes, but competitively, only takes advantage of less than half of both aspects. This core issue would likely be resolved as the game develops, as did many past competitive titles, for an esports scene to then emerge. However, since Overwatch has ramped up its competitive environment before the game was even released, a lot of its faults are being highlighted.

Conclusion


Overwatch is having an incredible launch with a strong and potentially long-term playerbase. While its competitive spirit is still young and new, the core issues inherent to the quality of the game from a competitive standpoint stick out like thorns. From a viewer’s standpoint, issues like visibility of skill or the feeling of rhythmic strategies can detract from being excited watching matches as much as playing. This is amplified when the mode/map-pool is limited and the essentialness for key heroes, due to their team-influencing ultimate abilities, creates a feeling of repetition for the viewers.

While nothing is final in terms of how the competitive scene will be shaped, it is not right to assume that the competitive scene will flourish as some expected Heroes of the Storm to be. The game is exciting to play, though it is not necessarily exciting to watch for the same reasons some of its predecessors faced. Although developer support is a step in a positive direction, if the community is not behind the idea, a competitive scene might be less than a possibility. For every community-inspired scene like the original StarCraft or Hearthstone, there are also opposites like World of Tanks and Shootmania. If Blizzard hopes to push Overwatch as a legitimate professional esports title, it will need to ensure its game design direction does not go the same way Team Fortress 2 did.

An Outline to Esports Event Coverage

                        In 2016, two major news companies created dedicated staff for esports. With Yahoo’s and ESPN’s entrance comes an expected level of quality content, interviews and opinions that we see from their traditional sports departments. Up to now, that expectation has not been met, though there has been growth in story-telling from major team organizations as well as continued personal interviews in the League of Legends community. For other titles, unfortunately, the amount of analytical writing and insight has been sporadic. In particular, the lack of opinionated editorial, that goes beyond traditional topical discussion about the scene, as well as lack of in-depth match coverage is an essential missing quality in today’s coverage. However, the largest gaffe that esports news sites have yet to provide is on-site, in-the-now event coverage. The bar of entry for on-site event/match coverage is low and a key missing feature in the journalistic world of esports.

collageDespite the Mid-Season Invitational for League of Legends as well as DreamHack Austin occurring, only one site of the three are currently doing interviews and event coverage. To note that theScore Esports have been uploading their videos via their YouTube page.

                        There are inherent issues with most current forms of event coverage, specifically interviewers using those events as a means to talk about a player’s career instead of about the matches (what fans are watching the event for). And perhaps the reason for the lack of consistent coverage of esports events throughout all games is both due to cost and inability to gauge value or assure consistent viewership. During my time working in the journalist field, from the early days of StarCraft II [2012], news curation for ESGN TV [2013-2014] and managing editor for an esports magazine at Aller Media [2014-2015], I firmly believed that the viewer and readership is strong for this type of coverage. That is if planned early and executed properly – with enough support from both staff at HQ and on-site. Below are some notes I have relied on in the past when planning event-coverage. Published content (both video and written) can range from six to five digits in hits. To reach these numbers, consistency in quality and rate of coverage (# of articles/videos) helps improve results.

 


Planning Stages

 

First Steps

When preparing event coverage for a variety of competitions, it is important to establish both expected budgetary costs for each event as well as for the year. This includes, but not limited to:

  • # of events per quarter
  • Flight and hotel accommodations for each event
  • Expected # of crew members and necessary equipment (rented or not)
  • Spending stipends

Most of this can be approximated as close as possible and altered accordingly as you get closer to the dates and figure the finer details. With some organizations, you also have to project the total runtime of all planned content and assume # a range of viewership (depending on the game, recognition of the brand to the community and value of content).

 

Planning an event

When it comes to preparing for a specific esports event, I start as early as a month in planning. First you need to figure out the Who, What and Why:

  • Who: Determining your team to cover an event is important. The number of people should be decided before-hand depending how important the event is, what are the budgetary costs (sending 5 people to an event that is only a two-day competition [e.g. ESL One, a recurring event] may not be the most efficient use of your resources).

The number of people to send can range from 2 to 5 members with roles ranging from videographer, editor, host, producer and even social media. In the past, we’ve ran three-man crews with myself acting as Producer, Social Media and Business Relations to represent the organization and establish meaningful relationships. These relationships are important to confirm tentative interviews and to relieve the editor and host to focus on what matters: content.

  • What: Content planning goes a long way to not only setting goals per day, per event; but also how you want to structure the type of content you want both in terms of atmosphere and duration per form of content. You must determine the following parameters for your content:
    • Interviews
      • Over-the-shoulder? Side-by-Side? Absent Interviewer?
      • # of Interviews per day
      • Duration: The longer the interview, the more you may lose your audience or having your interviews feel directionless or caught on smaller details rather than getting through to the subjects that matter. I generally run 5 to 10-minute interviews, with 12 being the hard-stop.
  • Photography
    • Priority of subjects players, venue, fans/cosplayers/attendants, moments
    • # of photos per type (see above), per day, per style (portrait, waist-up, etc.)
  • Why: As you set up your team with a variety of responsibilities, you have to prepare your host for the subjects he/she can expect to be speaking to as well as the type of questions you want. As mentioned above, questions about the matches and strategies happening during the event are what I think the audience wants to know the most about, at the moment of publishing (during the event). However, that doesn’t mean your host cannot prepare ahead of time with some career/over-arching questions about the scene, teams, etc. This can be helpful for two reasons: 1. It gets your host in the right mood and knowledge of the key players and 2. It’ll help him/her have questions just in case there isn’t much to say about a particular win or loss for the interviewing subject.

Overview

Booking People, Places, Event PR

                        The PR teams for each event and publishing company can vary greatly. From Valve, who outright don’t assist (or allow) news organizations to work at their Majors to Riot Games who are more welcoming. DreamHack is hands-off when it comes to assistance in booking interviews (you have to go to the player’s lounge and ask talent directly) whereas ESL makes a strong effort to reserve time for them, though sometimes are unable to follow-through (it happens). One thing to know is that no matter the PR team, they cannot force teams, players or talent to do an interview if they don’t want to.

For these events, try and keep in close contact with the PR members. Be forward about what you want and make sure you confirm many times over before or during the event about X interviews you’d like to have. Not only do these PR departments get swamped with requests, but are also handling different areas of an event. While you may seem annoying (I surely was), you won’t get half the content you planned if you aren’t forward. Ultimately, they want to help you if it means more publicity and value during/after their event.

Having said that, even after confirming the possibility of interviews (no guarantee) with a PR team, you should start contacting teams directly in regards to possible interviews. This is to secure interviews, despite any unfortunate scheduling complications that may arise but also due to the players themselves who can be too moody or disinterested in talking. I’ve also learned that some teams will outright not talk to you depending who you represent. For example, TSM refuses all media interviews (with small exceptions) while Cloud9 will not do interviews by companies that conflict with their sponsors. Knowing this will save you a lot of headaches, but also help evaluate if attending an event is worthwhile or not.

When requesting interviews (before the event), there is an order of confirmation to ensure you get what you want. Avoid contacting players directly for an interview. They may be your personal friend, but they have one job at the event (to win) and you may end up undermining the player-manager in the process. In the end, it’s about balancing long-term relationships and knowing who makes the decision-making.

Sometimes, the player-manager will not give you a straight-answer on whether you can get an interview with a player or not. Don’t give up! Just puah further. At Aller Media, we were a recognized brand in the Nordic Region, making contacting sponsors (SteelSeries, Logitech, Razer) sometimes the easier route. Sponsors want the exposure of their brand and the teams they support out there via media outlets. There is no reason why you cannot reach out to the sponsor to receive a more definitive answer. Even agencies such as Good Game, can be a better alternative route when the player-manager is unsure. Nevertheless, keep in good contact with the player-manager, as he will be your contact on-site and can follow-through after receiving confirmation from affiliated parties (sponsors/agencies) but remain persistent in what you want.

Now with your double-confirmed and booked interviews via event PR teams as well as directly with those teams, you are ready to set off for your event!

 

Questions

Depending on the person, having questions prepared ahead of time for review can be ideal. These questions should be mixed alongside those the host has prepared to ask the player or talent about the match or event itself. A nice mix of questions can keep the interview interesting for the viewer and also avoid your host being redundant or questions that focus on too small of detail.

As a last note: when booking your hotel. Try and book at the same one as the players or event staff. This can lead to fluid scheduling where you can strike out one or two early pieces of content with key talent before the event and ultimately have more time on-site to create more video-content. Also, it makes networking much easier and in some countries, the after-parties happen at the hotels directly.

 


At the event

Coordination

            As you depart, make sure your team back in HQ is aligned with when and how the content will be presented in regards to social media, uploaded videos and content strategy. For example:

  1. Video content should be embedded into the website with a summary blurb
  2. When shared via community sites and social media, ensure you share the URL of the website containing the video as opposed directly to the source video page
  3. Rely on Social Media for on-the-ground visuals and tagging

 

Collaboration

            Establishing alternative types of content is an efficient way to use your time before, during and after an event. What you will realize, when waiting for interviews (each post-event day) is that most interviews occur either after a team is finished playing for the day or is eliminated. Leaving your team a lot of time with nothing to do between matches. In the past, we remedied this by not only interviewing people not directly involved in the matches, but also creating alternative content such as post-day summaries, predictions for the next day and highlights. Examples include:

 

  • Before an event day
    • (previous day) match results, predictions and highlights
    • Venue Tour
  • During an event day
    • Venue
    • Discussion Panels
    • GoPro Style partnerships with team
    • Documentary footage
  • After an event
    • Raw recordings of any press conferences
    • Event Summary (crew travel to arrival, highlights of key interview moments, crowd and venue shots, etc.)

ESL One Frankfurt video from Alliance and player, Loda, was always a favourite of mine. It requires no effort, almost no budget and offers a tremendous amount of infotainment for the user.  It lets the fans at home get a feel for what it is like to be a player and be at the event.

Key Notes

  • In the past, I have seen many producers or reporters flat-out abandon their team to hang out with pros or their friends rather than stick with the team. Even during the off-hours, for the sake of future working relationships, it is ideal you stick with your team and build them up to have as many relationships as you do, rather than to seek out your own fulfillment and interest. It goes without saying that during the event hours, all members should be near or in communication and not loitering around. There’s always something to do, even if the cameras aren’t rolling.
  • When it comes to deciding who you want to be your host, I found that choosing someone new, but who is enthusiastic and earnest to work is better than someone who is recognized and has their own brand. On the one hand, if your new person is not meeting expectations or getting the right atmosphere to how you want to do your event coverage, then your audience won’t take and will dismiss your brand/content. However, if you choose someone with experience, the cost can get much higher and should they leave for a better gig, their established audience may depart as well.
  • Use your host to note down key times in the matches of when something large happened. A lot of VODs for matches come out later in the night, making it difficult for the editor to screen through hours of matches and footage just to use as B-Roll for a video. Since your host is watching the matches regardless, he should note down the time a key action sequence happened and help give context for the editor, who may or may not be familiar with the game.

schedule

Planning costs on a both monthly and annual basis can help not only sort the budgetary expectations for the future, but also help breakdown costs associated with travel and paying for your freelance staff.

 


Conclusion

                        When it comes to content, your published works should achieve consistency in quality and complementary of the event for viewers at home. With the right team and execution your content can fill a gap that has long been evaporated since the earlier days of esports. As more companies get into this space, the desire for current content sites to set themselves apart will be high. While the initial interest in your event coverage may be low; to organically grow an audience and fill a void that needs further emphasis can yield a return after attending only a few events and building up the right team to represent your organization.

Competition Shift: The Live-Streaming War

In 2010, the emerging of the esports market lead to an interesting power struggle of branding in terms of player and team representation. Comparison of a player’s value was upon who would bid the highest and which teams had the most authentic sponsors; legitimizing their brand. As new games emerged such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike and Dota 2, it became clear which team brands withstood the test of time. Similarly, tournament brands also competed throughout the years for top-tier player attendance, sometimes overlapping with one another in scheduling and fighting for the best reputation in terms of prize-pool, accommodations and consistent quality production.

Now it is the turn of live-streaming companies to compete. With the international circuit becoming consistent in scheduling and player and team brands establishing presence, content-value is improving. As Twitch starts to wrap up their exclusive contract with ESL in 2016; new live-streaming platforms such as YouTube Gaming, Azubu and Hitbox will be looking to bolster their audience numbers through these competitions. An open war is starting – to win an ever-growing audience in gaming and esports – but only the service that incentivizes both the viewer and empowers the broadcaster can outclass their adversaries.

Winning an audience and broadcasters is beholden to one key area: features/exclusive incentives. This is what sets traditional television, and its divide between content and passive viewers, different from live-streaming – which has a more active audience who can become your content (broadcasters). Incentives not only create reasons for communities to visit a platform, but a justification to return, despite alternatives readily available. With Twitch being the early bird into this market, their ‘incentives’ has become their core service: a unique community culture (Twitch chat/TwitchCon) and broadcasters (LIRIK, summit1g); distinctive brands that bring in tens of thousands of viewers monthly. Since then, they’ve continue to build features and opportunities that achieve two areas: to create a viewer’s customized experience and enable their broadcasters to a personalized production.

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On top of homegrown popular broadcasters on their platform, Twitch also hires many front-facing talent from games like Hearthstone (Dan “Frodan” Chou), StarCraft (Sue “Smix” Lee) and Street Fighter (Mike “Honda4Life” Ross) to serve as relation pillars for their largest esports titles and for events or in-house segments with key partners (from launch events to weekly discussions)

(see the article: Community Engagement: Identify Yourself for further detail on Twitch’s ability to rapidly establish a trusting identity per a game’s community base)

Platforms purchasing exclusive streaming rights of teams are creating initial reasons to visit a platform but not the necessary tools to retain their audience. In essence, they create a passive, divested audience that are not a part of a platform’s community, but a following borrowed from the signed professional team. A live-streaming company can continue purchasing exclusive rights to bolster their initial numbers, creating a forced viewership, but that cost will rise each year with marginal results and few converting into organic broadcasters. As the event calendar for 2016 starts filling up, the gaming and esports scene will start to see those same initial reasons to visit live-streaming websites, as events, ranging from all ESL esports events to traditional gaming conventions, start to become simulcasted. It will be up to those companies to find innovative ways to retain that audience. For example, in June 2015, Twitch allowed all broadcasters and users to ‘co-stream’ the event; bringing more eyes to the event, but customized for the viewer (meshing the E3 brand with their favourite personality) and the broadcaster who could supply their own graphics and commentary to it. Alternatively, Hitbox had an exclusive AMA with their sponsored team, OG, who had just recently won a Valve-sponsored Dota 2 Major in Frankfurt, Germany. Although the Frankfurt major was not live-streamed on Hitbox, they meshed their brand with a sponsored team, bridging a borrowed following of a professional team to their site.

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Another example is where Azubu tapped into those with limited internet connections by providing audio-only broadcasts to reduce bandwidth usage. This allowed users to still enjoy some of their favourite content without necessarily depleting their data plan.

The importance of being able to grow and engage your audience is crucial for companies, especially when talking to advertisers. Having returning individual broadcasters and levels of viewership means winning your third party: advertisers. With large corporations jumping into esports, from FanDuel to Turner Broadcasting to ESPN, advertisers are cluing in on this new, soon-not niche market. As the big names clue in, everyone holds out; hoping for their big break, akin to Twitch TV, or to maintain territory, notably YouTube Gaming (and YouTube Music). Despite the amount of money raised from these companies, including Hitbox’s new funding round from Wargaming or Azubu’s new debt-financing of 59 million from Sapinda, competitors need to consider how best to distinguish themselves from each other. Hitbox, for example, expanded their revenue share program to all live-streamers whereas Azubu opted for customizable modules to better personalize a user’s channel with key information – both companies empower or incentivize the broadcaster, but don’t do enough for the viewer. This is where they consider exclusive programming as a bid to attract viewers. But exclusive programming should be considered a compliment (not a complement) to your product. That is to say, it is better to use exclusive programming, whether it is an event or individual talent, to showcase what your product has to offer. For example, Azubu used a featured called “Live Overlay Statistics” during their LCS World’s broadcast, an event that was on both Twitch, Youtube Gaming and Azubu. The response about it were positive, highlighting Azubu’s uniqueness and even spurring discovery of its other great feature: “Live Rewind”. This kind of momentum can lead a platform to stride past its competitors, so long as they keep the momentum up. That momentum can be in the form of any opportunity: showmatches, Q&A with a developer for a game launched (either indie or AAA), exclusive surrounding content of an event or receiving item drops from watching an epic play if you join your game account with your broadcasting account. It’s a question of leveraging your relationships with other company entities and providing something unique for a curious audience. These incentive-based invitations need to be unique, but also consistent to remind an audience. What can a platform do to better fulfill a viewer’s desire to be there, whether playing a game or attending an event? What can a live-streaming service facilitate to broadcasters so they can be a part of this moment?

Taking advantage of what makes live-streaming unique: being immediate and thus enabling engagement between broadcaster and viewer – empowering both – will lead a platform above others and ultimately win the streaming war. As esports and gaming moulds itself as content to play and watch, the platforms to establish themselves as networks will become the default places for gaming entertainment.