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  • Writer's pictureDale R Murray

Building a Stronger Future: Key Discussions at the Scottish Esports National Forum

Updated: Jan 18



Scottish National Esports Forum Summary - Q1 2024

On Thursday, the 11th of January, the Scottish Esports Network hosted the first National Esports Forum, bringing together a mix of Twenty One industry leaders and proffesionals from across the country to discuss the ongoing challenges the competitive gaming industry faces and explore potential solutions.


The forum was triggered by articles revealing delayed payments for the Scottish Esports League, underlining the need for collective dialogue to address industry-wide issues, give those impacted a chance to share their voices and come together to showcase Scotland's standards are higher than this.


The Scottish Esports Network is on a mission to grow the industry, facilitating conversations and connections. This article aims to outline the key discussion points, hoping to provide more people with the opportunity to find solutions together. Only through collective effort can we build and strengthen this industry. In addition, we believe an open industry discorse is the best for the economic progress of Scottish Esports. We as a result provide equal opportuntiy for everyone to share their voices regardless of their history or position. Everything discussed in this article is a reflection of the opinions of the multidisciplinary group and is not solely made up of the viewpoints of the Scottish Esports Network.


We believe access to this information is important for the growth of the industry, so if there's a pressing component that resonates with you and you think you can help make a difference, let's talk and start to make real change!


The Forum

We began with introductions from each member, spanning the Scottish Esports industry, businesses, universities, colleges, and esports professionals with diverse backgrounds. Following introductions, participants discussed key industry challenges, and a whiteboard session allowed attendees to vote on the most pressing issues facing the country.


Challenges:


Here's a list of the key challenges identified:


  1. Lack of government support for small to medium-sized enterprise startups in the region.

  2. Vastly different expectations of staffing rates and payment methods, with inconsistent industry practices.

  3. Insufficient consistent tournaments to build a solid community, equally with no tournaments encouraging the best Scottish players to compete domestically.

  4. Limited knowledge of effective business management and outdated methods.

  5. Greater education about esports as a discipline and a general lack of awareness about esports nation wide in Scotland.

  6. The need for events beyond tournaments to support industry development.

  7. Discussions on the necessity of a governing body for the industry.


Solutions:

Following this we created a 'solutions' whiteboard and took turns to highlight further considerations and potential answers to the problems the indsutry is facing. The discussions were fairly in depth, but we've summarised and condenced the findings as much as possible.



Key Challenge 1:

Funding for gaming in Scotland is challenging, requiring collaboration with the games industry.



Additional Considerations:

  • Esports is not widely recognized as a social issue due to a lack of research.

  • Recognition from a body like Sports Scotland could be widely impactful.


Proposed Solutions:

  • Easier access to grants through a single directory.

  • Collaboration with the games industry for increased funding opportunities.

  • Academic research highlighting the benefits of esports socially, individually, and economically.



Key Challenge 2:

Consistent tournaments throughout the year in Scotland are lacking, impacting players, organizations, and staff.


Proposed Solutions:

  • Maintaining low costs and efforts to prevent burnout of volunteers and low-paid staff better sustains long term consistency.

  • Getting venues to understand the benefits of esports for impactful collaboration way benefit.

  • Not every tournament needs a large prize pool.

  • More frequent tournaments is better for the ecosystem's growth than just having one large event per year.




Key Challenge 3:

Industry-wide knowledge gaps were identified among decision-makers.


Suggested Solutions:

  • More educational resources accessible to those starting or improving businesses.

  • Mentoring programs offering insights from veteran business owners.

  • Industry placements allowing knowledge building outside academia.


For additional solutions, participants suggested:

  • More self-service tools like blog posts and articles to share industry knowledge.

  • Building a support network for those facing challenges in the industry.

  • Industry signposting for newcomers and non-endemic brands.



Key Challenge 4:

Should there be a governing body? If so what would it be?


  • Esports Scotland was seen as acting as both a governing body and a for-profit company, creating challenges for other businesses.

  • A governing body needs to be unbaised and not setting itself up for financial gain by monopolising the industry due to its' name/status.

  • Any governing body should be directly involving all major Esports businesses in Scotland.

  • Esports Scotland's reputation has tarnished the perception all of Esports in Scotland, and by highlighting the success of those representing the best in the country we can help more forward together.

  • A business consortium of the major esports businesses across Scotland could be massively benefitial and eliminate predatory land grabbing practices.



Key Challenge 5:

Finally, the issue of vastly different expectations about payment, specifically challenges with Esports Scotland, was discussed.


Reflections and Solutions Proposed:

  • Transparency in roles, employers should make all role expectations clear upfront and not mislead staff, participants or the public what their financial and experiential gains may be.

  • Protection for volunteers and staff are needed to prevent more people being hurt, proffesionally, financially and personally.

  • Documentation for newcomers to give guidance on price bracketing for different roles based on experience levels were proposed.



Our Conclusion

Overall the forum remained positive and productive, giving the industry a chance to speak and share their experiences and insights, while focusing on collective solutions for the entire industry. While direct action was not discussed, this being the first of its' kind in Scotland we belive it has been a fantastic first step towards developing greater growth and mutual good-will for everyone involved. Thanks again to those that were able to take time out to attend.


The Scottish Esports Network is incredibly proud to be a part of this industry and encourages participation in future discussions. As a result, we've decided to launch the Scottish Esports Directory, a centralised listing for businesses working in Scottish esports to showcase their offerings.


For those who missed the forum but would like to be part of future discussions, the Scottish Esports Network will be hosting its one-year anniversary celebration meetup on February 9th at 5:30 p.m. in Barclays Eagle Labs Glasgow. Participation is encouraged, and the Network looks forward to seeing industry stakeholders there.



 

Written with help from Chat GPT


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