One of the largest and most educational esports conferences came to the Washington D.C. area last week, from May 16-18. The Esports Insider Washington D.C. conference began with esports focused D.C. embassy tours with panels, a networking lunch, and a late night social at the Crimson Bar. Day two of the conference, May 18th, was held at the National Press Club and included all-day educational panels and networking breaks, and socials. This event hosted over 400 attendees made up of colleges and universities, professional esports teams, esports specific companies, and non-endemic companies trying to get into the esports industry. To learn more about ESI Washington D.C. and the reach it had, click here.
I had the honor of representing CANA on day two of ESI D.C. As we here at CANA continue our journey in the esports industry, this event was extremely beneficial to us. From the moment I arrived for the networking breakfast, to the event ending evening social, I was blown away by the efforts ESI and Events D.C. put on to host this event. It was well run, well organized, and overall just an amazing experience. The eight panels held on day two covered some of the most important and influential aspects of the esports industry. The three most intriguing panels, to me, were: “Can esports be a building block of real world communities?”, “Esports and the collegiate experience - providing pathways and foundations”, and “How best can traditional sporting entities make waves in the esports space?”. While I found these panels to be the most intriguing, all eight were phenomenal and extremely informative. It was amazing to meet, and chat with, many experts and leaders in the industry in person, rather than the new normal of over the phone or email. This was truly an outstanding event, that not only provided plentiful networking opportunities, but it also provided top tier insight and education on the current and future state of the esports industry.
Overall, this conference greatly enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the entire esports industry. There were three main themes throughout all the panels and discussions held at the conference; education on esports, toxicity and diversity, and data accessibility. Education on esports was a main topic of conversation throughout the conference, as the lack of it is one of the most prominent factors prohibiting the growth and development of esports.
It was stressed that everyone needs more education on esports, no matter how involved they may be. There is a need for more qualified and educated esports staff at schools, more educated moderators in streaming and everyday online communities, and an overall greater knowledge base of non-endemic companies joining the esports space. The bottom line is, the lack of education on esports is hindering every aspect of the industry, but it is something that can be fixed with more effort and resources. Toxicity and diversity was mentioned to be another large challenge and obstacle the esports industry faces at every level.
Esports is a sport that has no physical, gender, or racial barrier, yet there is still much harassment and exclusion occuring. It was discussed that game publishers can only do so much to help this cause, and that it is everyone’s job to cut out the toxicity in gaming and esports. The last major topic of discussion was the lack of accessibility to data. This is a common challenge in the industry as well, as every game publisher is unique and offers varying levels of access to their API and data. The lack of game specific data also leads to restrictions on data available to measure ROI on sponsorships and partnerships. Thus leading to a snowfall effect of challenging situations, where more data accessibility is believed to be the solution to the problem.
This event also gave great insight on the collegiate esports space, more challenges facing each sector of the industry, and how and why traditional sport entities are making their way into esports. Again, this was an absolutely amazing event that was extremely educational and beneficial to everyone involved. Whether you were an expert or leader already in the esports space, just beginning your journey in esports, or a non-endemic company wanting to learn more, this event provided the tools and knowledge to help you and the esports industry succeed.
As stated many times before, this event was particularly beneficial to us here at CANA. We are now much more educated and informed about the specific areas we believe CANA’s services would be the most beneficial to the esports industry. We will continue our efforts and look forward to being part of the growth of such an exciting industry with endless possibilities! Thank you Esports Insider for bringing this event to the Washington D.C. area, and thank you to all the attendees who contributed to such an amazing learning and networking experience.
Check out our latest episode of the CANA Connection Podcast our Host Rob Cranston President and COO of CANA along with CANA Business Analyst Jack Murray, talk with Rebecca Dixon, Co-Founder of The*gameHERs. the*gameHERs organization is a women-led community dedicated to amplifying and centering the voices of women gamers and gamers of marginalized genders, who are comfortable in spaces that center on women.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WUBznNoKiQ