Is there a need for more live events in the UK esports scene for Call of Duty Warzone?
The global final of the World Series of Warzone (WSOW) took place in London during the weekend, coinciding with a significant moment for the esports industry in the UK.
Earlier this month, the London Royal Ravens team of the Call of Duty League made an announcement about relocating to the United States. This decision resulted in Britain no longer having a team exclusively representing them.
If you observed the final match of WSOW, which was inspired by the battle royale variant of the first-person shooter game, you might conclude that the esports scene in the UK is thriving.
Approximately 3,000 individuals gathered to witness the event, which attracted participants from various countries. Additionally, a significant audience joined in remotely to watch the proceedings online.
BBC Newsbeat spoke to Call of Duty esports bosses Daniel Tsay and John Belk about their decision to hold the event in London.
John, the product manager, stated that based on past experience, he anticipated an exceptional level of excitement and enthusiasm from the crowd.
“There will be individuals cheering and rising from their seats.”
Daniel, the general manager, mentioned that the Call of Duty community has consistently expressed their desire for a UK event.
“He mentioned that when the team was contemplating their next destination, London naturally emerged as the top choice.”
“We haven’t visited this place for four years. It is one of the things that the Call of Duty community desires the most.”
Teams from countries other than the UK and Europe were the main winners of the event. The prize of $100,000 (£80,716) was awarded to Team Biffle, which is based in the US.
What are the thoughts of players regarding the current state of the esports scene in the UK?
Kelsie Grieg, who is also referred to as Kels, achieved the distinction of being the inaugural female qualifier for the prestigious Call of Duty Challengers Elite tournament.
Kels, who was attending the tournament, expressed her disappointment at the scene losing its only UK franchise.
However, she believes that the occurrence indicates that there is still a demand for esports in the United Kingdom.
Currently, we are all present at the event and have observed the large number of people in attendance. We can also hear the enthusiastic crowd. Therefore, it is possible that esports is continuing to expand in the UK and Europe.
“It unites everyone. All individuals are participating in the game, and they all have a great fondness for it.”
“It’s as if you will share the same enthusiasm. It unites everyone, truly.”
“It attracts a large group of people.”
Jukeyz, a gamer from Liverpool, representing Britain, participated in the final of WSOW. His team secured the 10th position in the competition.
However, he believes that the absence of a UK franchise is easily explained – they have not met the same level of quality as North American teams.
“He mentions that the teams, which are all located in America, consist of the best and most skilled ones.”
“He says that although we had the London Ravens for a few years, we were still unable to compare to the Americans.”
“I hope that in the upcoming years, there will be an increase in the number of teams and organizations participating.”
Jukeyz believes that organizing events such as the WSOW global final in the UK is an effective method to increase enthusiasm for esports.
During the competition, he monitored the primary live broadcast of the event and estimated that there were 100,000 viewers present. It is possible that there were additional viewers tuning in through other channels.
He says that continuing to organize events like this would not only be beneficial for him as he wouldn’t need to travel, but it would also attract a larger audience.
I have friends at home who are not interested in playing or watching CoD, but they were watching today.
“If you manage to gather even a small group of friends who share a common interest, things could start progressing in that direction, particularly in the UK.”
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And for Kels, who has been recognized as a pioneer for women in esports, there is an additional advantage to organizing events in person – the opportunity to interact with fans and potentially inspire the next wave of competitors.
She recalls the initial encounter when someone approached her, and she wondered if she was being ridiculed.
“It’s truly amazing. People express admiration, saying ‘we admire you and the incredible impact you have on women. You empower us, inspire us’.”
“That holds greater significance to me than anything else. It is the primary focus.”
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29 December 2022