in my opinion, casino operators need to answer that question with more than “because we want them to be”. chats with Evolve Labs Founder Adam Sellke, who discusses the possible impact of eSports on casino culture.The founder/ co-founder of several startups (Surtsey, Madoi, Ripshark, Tunebloom, Evolve Labs and more), Sellke has served in individual contributor and management roles at Merck, BBDO, Carlson Companies, UnitedHealth Group and Best Buy. Presumably, these will enable a new level of head-to-head, skill-based competitions, playing true eSports titles. Perhaps a seat could be assessed various entry “fees”, where a higher entry fee would essentially correspond to tougher competition (similar to what you see in poker rooms). That’s death. For example, companies like GameCo are licensing games for deployment in Atlantic City later this year. If it’s fun for free, it’s even more so for money.
Sellke: I am not sure they should be… Secondly, these game titles aren’t part of any bona fide eSports franchises. A shark vs minnow environment could ensue.
I personally think they should because casinos should be about grown-up entertainment. We have some ideas that we’re not yet seeing out there, so it’s a very exciting time for us.
Hickey Jr.: What games do you think would work best in a casino?
Sellke: Like a lot of big incumbents, I am concerned that the casino industry has become complacent, or worse, lazy. A potential downside to this might be that without rank verification, fees would be the only way to set or “regulate” skill level matches. Most of these early examples aren’t that innovative and look a little uninspired.
For more information on Evolve Labs, click here.. In a recent piece Sellke wrote on Gamasutra, he outlines why the Casinbusinessss must begin to adapt to reach a new sort of clientele and in this chat with Examiner, he takes it a step further, elaborating how eSports can play a role in that adaptation.
Sellke: All you gotta do is look at your top MOBAs and other competitive titles. What form that entertainment takes is yet to be determined. And competitive eSports for money should be only allowed amongst grown-ups (or pros). I fundamentally disagree that eSports should be considered gambling. Fixing it starts with acknowledging a problem… First off, they call them “VGMs” or video game gambling machines. That’s definitely the first step, but I’m not necessarily a big proponent of these machines. Solving it will mean things have to change!
Patrick Hickey Jr.: How would eSports work in a casino?
Adam Sellke: We’re currently seeing skill-based, first-person gambling games coming onto casino floors. They don’t have the appeal that “real” eSports games have all over the world.
What if the answer is they shouldn’t be? What should casinos do to still participate in this shift in entertainment?
Hickey Jr.: What’s wrong with the casino industry and how could eSports help “fix” things?
Also, companies like Ourgame are opening large 14,000 square foot, 200 seat arenas in places like Beijing and Las Vegas. and then committing to solve it. It seems to be more of a shoehorn solution where the industry is responding to the opportunity by trying to make eSports fit into what they know. We have some interesting ideas on how to address skill-disparities, but we’re keeping that under wraps for now ;).
Hickey Jr.: Why should eSports be in a casino?
Esports is a watershed moment for the casino industry, but the industry will have to step out of its comfort zone in order to make it work for them.
National Video Games Examiner Patrick Hickey Jr. I haven’t seen how matchmaking would work, though