Ben Fox, with over 25 years in the casino industry and 9 years in Esports, is a leader in consulting, educating and producing Casino Based Esport events. He is an experienced Producer of Casino Esport Conference, and Gameacon with a demonstrated history of working in the gambling & casinos industry. Skilled in Entrepreneurial Organizations, Sales, Team Building, Management, and Leadership. Strong arts and design professional with a Bachelor’s Degree focused in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park.
Ben Fox, producer and CEO of the Casino Esport Conference (CEC), and also CEO of Gameacon, analyzes in this column how land-based casinos have tried to integrate esports offerings, the key lessons and takeaways from failures, and he suggests what he considers the best path forward to capitalize on the massive world of gamers.
Time has passed, and we have moved into our sixth year of the Casino Esport Conference. What have we learned over these six years, and what has changed? Over the past years, we have seen many offerings, arenas, tournaments, celebrity players, prize pools, and companies banding together and going public, all with the aspirations of serving the millennial generation and its gamer enthusiast.
What went wrong, you may ask?
Let's start with the advent of skill-based games.
Why did so many fail?
With names like Gamblit and others, you would think, wow, what a great idea, let's create games that gamers will play and enjoy while also having an option of winning money (sounds excellent). The one big problem is that gamers are not the same customer that the industry is used to, and the only way to engage them is with what we already think works. Not so much, Gamers like the games they choose to play and how they like to play them.
The good news is that if developers ever come up with more targeted and relevant games, Gamers will play.
What about the Esport Arena?
Many are under the impression that if "you build it they will come." Well, they did build it, and they did not come.
Why are Gamers not coming to the glitzy, glamorous arena locales and venues?
It seemed like a good idea, and investment poured in to support that plan. Unfortunately, the old model (referring to the Field of Dreams) should have worked. Those attempts are also failing, and many do not understand why.
In your international travels, you may attend a "big event" that showcases a spectacular Mobile, Brick, and Mortar Esport offering, which claims to be a solution to all your Esport dreams. As part of this plan, they will drive a big rig onto the show floor for you with all the bells and whistles. Although this offering may be new to you, this author knows that this product has existed for over four years and has yet to prove its costs and upkeep (not to mention that the fuel price keeps rising). This offering also seemed like a good idea, but it has already failed here in the US. However, this business is not that simple, and the things you think should work do not.
It is important to remember who and what you are dealing with here, current emerging generations of people who have had technology beyond past generations. Games and products are changing very rapidly. The gaming computer you buy today and take out of the box is already obsolete. I bring this up because there are ways to get equipment and facilitate a tournament environment at an entry-level without betting the house on it. The most important thing to remember is that the people you are purchasing items from actually understand what is needed to run and profit from Esports.
What is their track record?
Esports has many false prophets (and profits), so you are wise to tread cautiously. I am not suggesting that you run for the hills. On the contrary, I recommend becoming more informed to help make the correct decisions. There is proof and evidence that Gamers will spend money and engage in many Esport offerings.
Where do we go from here?
Do we say we do not understand this, and it makes no sense and money, or do we continue to find solutions that pan out?
I can tell you there is hope. Just because you are looking for a solution and a model that works, it is best to employ the adage that if you have failed once, try and try again. The simple fact of the matter is that there are so many Gamers in the world. The statisticians will agree the numbers are staggering. They now consist of millions and hundreds of millions, and let's face it, folks, the universe of Gamers is exploding exponentially, and in each industry, gaming is being deployed?
So now, let's take a snapshot of gamer life and an average profile of the Gamer.
Who is this Gamer, and how do I make them a customer?
Well, some of what I will share with you is understanding who you are looking to attract. The average Gamer is now in their thirties. That means that some are married, most have jobs, a house, a car, and there may or not be rugrats, but there is also disposable income. If we understand who they are and what they want, we can provide the entertainment they crave. There are ways to get them to the brick-and-mortar resorts and your online offerings. Yes, I said it "On Line." What I am saying is that as Casinos move their sports betting and other gambling online, it is only natural that gamers who "live" online would love to participate there as well.
In conclusion, I have spent over eight years in gaming events and consulting on Esports, and I can tell you there is a formula that does work!
At the Casino Esport Conference, we address all aspects of igaming, Esport wagering, marketing, Crypto, and housing Gamers. The 6th annual Casino Esport Conference will be held on March 24-25 at the Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas. At this, our sixth annual Casino Esport Conference Event, you can engage with the top professionals in Esports, as well as with my partner/brother, Ari, who will help guide you on the path to the lucrative and complex world of Gamers.