There exist but a handful of organizations dedicated to the growth and promotion of competitive gaming. In South Africa, MWEB GameZone launched the Gamers in Beta programme to facilitate the training of young cyber athletes from the best players in their respective games. The GameZone initiative is valuable, but our resources are spread thinly because of the multiple aspects of gaming we need to cover. We therefore need more organizations that focus solely on eSports development.
Gamer Institute (GI) is one such organization. GI is involved with the initiative to bring eSports to the Olympics, the training of cyber athletes across various competitive titles, the education of the general public concerning gaming and the promotion of a healthy eSports environment in terms of conduct and behavior. Basically, GI covers the whole scope of competitive gaming. I caught up with Gamer Institute CEO and Co-Founder, Daniel Grzelak, for a chat about their vision, the Olympics and eSports.
The Gamer Institute founders (from left), Semin Nurkic, Bosco Tan and Daniel Grzelak.
What is the purpose of Gamer Institute?
“Gamer Institute is an educational platform for competitive gamers; providing coaching, instructional videos, and advisory services to aspiring gamers. The core philosophy and spirit behind the platform is that we want to make competitive gaming accessible for everyone; young or old, rich or poor, male or female, athletic or non-athletic. Unlike traditional sports, competitive gaming or eSports is one of the great equalizers where almost anyone can become a world best without the needing to be blessed genetically, as long as they are given the right opportunities.”
In your opinion, why should eSports be allowed in the Olympics?“
While it is a great achievement and honor for a sport to be included in the Olympics, we believe eSports deserves to be in the Olympics and being “allowed” should just be a matter of process. I’ll share a quote with you from the Olympic movement, "Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.""
What are the biggest stumbling blocks for eSports to become part of the Olympics?
“While eSports has the grass roots participation numbers required, there’s still a long way to go in terms of mainstream acceptance and industry structure. A hard requirement of every Olympic sport is that it must have a global independent governing body, something yet to be established for eSports. The other major hurdle is mainstream support, without it there is little hope of convincing the Olympic committee that gaming is indeed a sport. Having said that, mainstream support and media coverage is growing, and a governing body can be established if a pressing need presents.”
How can we help to make the dream realize of eSports as part of the Olympics?
“Support the movement and support the industry, just get involved. Sign the petition at Torch for Gaming and tell your friends to do the same. Beyond that, help the industry grow by supporting your favorite existing businesses, teams, and players. If you’re that way inclined, start new and innovative businesses and teams. And of course, go out and compete!”
What are the key elements eSports organizations need to focus on in order to make the industry grow?
"It all depends on the type of organization, but the biggest characteristic lacking across the entirety of eSports is professionalism. It’s also the thing that limits the success of most organizations because real businesses just don’t want to associate themselves with brands they can’t trust.For competitive eSports organizations (teams), it’s all about building brand history, brand consistency, and demonstrable marketability. If you aren’t first to market, brand quality beats competitive success.
Moreover, brand quality leads to competitive success because the sponsorship and recognition that comes with it, allows for the recruitment of top players. That’s not to say competitive success isn’t important, but it’s nowhere near as important as it at first appears. To put it another way, eSports organizations should copy their favorite real world brands such as Apple and Coca Cola, demonstrate consistency, and build & engage a loyal audiences. This is actually something Gamer Institute specializes in. We provide mentorship and advisory services to players, teams and upstarts in the industry. We create media and sponsorship opportunities for our coaches, and provide introductions to our business networks. We’re also working on a series of instructional videos in the space, the first of which is a how-to guide on securing sponsorship and interacting with sponsors."
The Gamer Institute policy
We believe in the quality of our coaches and their dedication to teaching so much that we guarantee students will be happy with any coaching session. All of our coaches are amongst the very best at their respective games and each lesson is thoroughly planned. If a student is not happy with the quality of coaching for any reason, we will give them their money back. Simple as that.We are always expanding our faculty to new games and coaches.In fact, we have recently added DOTA 2, Heroes of Newerth, Call of Duty, Battlefield 3, Counter-Strike, Halo and FIFA to our existing offerings of League of Legends and Starcraft 2.
The value of an organizations like GI should not be underestimated. I saw this recently when I did an article on local StarCraft II player, PandaTank, a young player wrote in the comment section how desperate he was for some guidance and tutoring. Lucky for him the Advanced Special Forces clan leader saw his comment and offered to help.
It would have been much more efficient if we had a local eSports hub where players could go for mentoring, coverage about the different competitive titles, or just general eSports information. Our local sites are mostly clan driven and new players have a hard time breaking into the often harsh competitive playground.
I therefore want to commend Gamer Institute for their vision. I believe that you play a vital role in the growth of eSports. Like a pebble in a pond, your input in competitive game will be felt across the globe.
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