Insight: How high can e-sports go?

Insight: How high can e-sports go?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Totally Gaming
Unikrn CEO hails growth of sector ahead of EiG

E-sports is widely recognised as one of the most exciting strands of the gaming industry, even though many are yet to recognise or understand the potential of the burgeoning sector.

Unikrn is one company that is immersed in the sector, and it has reported a significant upturn in business since its foundation.

Headed up by chief executive and co-founder Rahul Sood, the company has been in the news in recent months after securing funding from investors such as Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball franchise.

Sood, who will speak at EiG 2015 in Berlin in October, has opened up about the company’s experience in e-sports, explaining that the market is set for more growth as its popularity amongst consumers grows.

“E-sports is growing; it’s an industry that few understand yet so many follow,” Sood told TotallyGaming.com.

“I’ve been in the gaming space for as long as I can remember. I actually started the first gaming PC company in the world, Voodoo, which was sold to HP.

“Back when I was with Voodoo, professional gaming was just starting, in South Korea mostly. In the last couple of years, it has exploded globally, thanks to companies such as Riot and Valve.

“I have been watching e-sports for a while, and this growth is why I ended up quitting Microsoft Ventures to start Unikrn.”

According to Sood, Unikrn’s mission is to “heighten the spectator experience and increase engagement when watching or participating in e-sports”, adding that the Seattle-based company has secured financial backing from various sources.

In addition to Mavericks owner Cuban, Unikrn has attracted support from the likes of Binary Capital, Tabcorp and Indicator.

“E-sports has been on an upwards trajectory over the past four years,” Sood said. “Since kids are growing up on this, as they get older, we find that their level of engagement only increases. Today, there are nearly as many e-sports fans as there are NHL ice hockey fans. By the year 2017, there will be as many e-sports fans as there are in the NFL American football league.

“Unikrn provides a safe, legal, and fun arena for people to gather, learn, and bet on e-sports. One advantage we have over others in this space is that we are completely vertically integrated in the e-sports industry. We have a culture of gaming that runs rich throughout the company.

“Unikrn is the exclusive global partner for e-sports to Tabcorp, one of the largest publicly traded wagering companies in the world. We are also well backed by some amazing investors.”

With the company having established itself in the e-sports sector, Sood said that he is keen for Unikrn to pursue further growth, highlighting the ongoing development of a new product as a key part of this strategy.

“We are currently working on a new product that will be available in September for the US market,” Sood said. “We are super excited about the potential this product has to create engagement surrounding e-sports.

“Whether it’s working with partners inside or outside of the e-sports space, everything we do whether it is long or short-term is to help bridge the gap to the mainstream audience and increase engagement in e-sports.”

EiG 2015 will take place at Arena Berlin in Germany from October 20-22. Visit www.eigexpo.com for further information.

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