'UK is one of the fastest-growing eSports markets' - PC Retail

'UK is one of the fastest-growing eSports markets'

We speak to Riot Games’ Jason Yeh about why eSport is becoming so popular in the UK
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There is more demand for competitive PC gaming from UK consumers than ever before.

The League of Legends World Championship Quarter Finals took place in London’s SSE Arena in Wembley from October 15th to 18th. The live eSports matches sold out almost instantly – and host Riot Games says the buzz generated will pave the way for more activities of this kind in the UK going forwards.

The event followed DreamHack London, which took place in September.

Several retailers, system builders and PC vendors in the channel sponsor eSports teams, including Scan Computers, Intel, HyperX, Roccat and many more, in a bid to drive sales of their products and generate awareness with the PC gaming community.

“The UK is one of the faster growing, larger markets in Europe for League of Legends,” Jason Yeh, Riot Games’ head of EU eSports told PCR. “And so I think for us it’s really important to figure out more ways to make the game fun for players at a local level.

“Especially in countries like the UK where sports is such a big part of the culture, I think the competitive element of eSports makes a ton of sense, so we’re definitely interested in figuring out how to bring everything from the professional level like Worlds, down to more local competitions in the UK to players.”

Intel is well-known for supporting eSports, and had a large stand at DreamHack London.

Anna Cheng, Intel’s UK Enterprise and Technical PR Manager, added: “eSports has always been a valuable industry to Intel that we’ve tried to nurture and grow.

“For the UK in particular, I’ve been personally trying to push eSports growth. And I think we’re starting to see a lot more of that, particularly with all the big names and brands that are getting into that space locally here. A lot of these new companies have cropped up. It’s a big step for us in the UK.”

This year’s League of Legends quarter finals in London were also covered by the BBC – a first for the broadcaster – this mainstream recognisiton is something Yeh believes can help grow the scene and in the industry even more going forwards.

“I think having partners like BBC not only producing live broadcasts, but creating other content around eSports, helps people to get a better understanding of who the players and teams are, and why people should care about them,” he commented.

“Leveraging their online and TV platform is a great way to deliver this content to more players.”

Team Dignitas' manager Michael O'Dell also said the fact that the League of Legends World Championships was in London can help boost eSports in the UK, in terms of more mainstream recognition.

Riot Games sells its own branded League of Legends merchandise through its EU web store, but many system builders promote such games to their customers in order to drive sales of PCs.

There’s been plenty of PC gaming/eSports events in the UK in the last few months alone, from the events mentioned above, to the ESL UK Premiership finals at MCM Expo, to EGX and Multiplay Insomnia too.

Thanks to events like these, the PC gaming desktop market has been thriving – and it looks set to continue.

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