MLG co-founder Mike Sepso believes the games industry still needs esports

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Major League Gaming cofounder Mike Sepso believes the games industry needs esports due to rapidly changing business models. The boon of free-to-play games and competitive gaming has changed the way publishers look to market their video games, and Sepso believes esports are key to that.

Sepso and his company Vindex, an esports infrastructure platform, are looking for better ways to sustain the esports ecosystem following the trend in how people consume games. In particular, the startup is looking at how people are spending money.

“In just the past five or six years, the majority of the revenue has flipped over into being driven through in-game purchases — and primarily through free-to-play games,” Sepso said during a presentation at the GamesBeat Summit Next event today. “So that requires a whole different approach.”

Sepso notices the games industry is gearing towards the live-service models, and eventually reaching the metaverse model. Sepso says esports has the potential to drive the hardcore audience to keep playing and to maintain engagement with the ecosystem while also purchasing content.

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Why the games industry needs esports

So, why does the games industry need esports to succeed? Sepso believes the answer lies in revenue potential and advertising partnerships.

“If you think about it, on a monthly basis, almost double the amount of video is viewed on Twitch and YouTube Gaming than viewed on all of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ combined,” explains the esports executive. “That’s a great platform for advertisers.”

Dedicated esports centers are also an exciting prospect. They could provide a real-world hub for players to act on their engagement with a game.

Sepso says that before the pandemic, enthusiastic gamers filled over two dozen centers across the U.K. He adds visitors had personal attachments to their local teams and the communities being built. His focus now is bringing that same model to the United States.

“We acquired that business last summer and have started to roll it out in the U.S.,” said Sepso. “So right now, we have only one location open outside of Houston in Pearland, Texas. We’ll have another opening shortly in Dallas, and we’ll start rolling them out across the U.S.”

Sepso adds he hopes everyone does what they can to crush the one roadblock preventing esports from going back to normalcy: the COVID-19 pandemic. He says the sooner the pandemic is over, the sooner publishers can host big esports events across the world.

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