In this podcast, Karim Nurani welcomes back Arnold Hur the Chief Operations Officer and Co-President of Gen.G, the highly successful professional esports team and event company. In part 2 of this conversation, Arnold talks about uneven access to esports platforms, global 5G networks and their effect on mobile gaming, and cultural barriers, diversity, and gender equality in gaming.
In this podcast, we explore three major themes:
Uneven Access to Esports Platforms
The ability to get involved with esports differs across the globe. The cost of entry is unaffordable for many, with PS5s priced at $700 and fast internet connections out of reach for most. In Korea. most of the players are not well off. Their families can’t afford elite after-school academic improvement programs, which enables game enthusiasts to gather in LAN cafes where, for $2/3/hour, they have access to the high-end PCs and fast networks needed to hone their esports skills.
Global 5G Networks and Mobile Gaming
In contrast, in the US, LAN cafe culture never took off widely, and so direct access to esports is more common among upper middle-class kids, who can afford the necessary equipment and network connectivity. Expanded mobile gaming and access to 5G networks are changes that will make it possible for more esports uptake among less well-off communities globally, especially in India, Africa, and Latin America.
Cultural Barriers, Diversity, and Gender Equality
Esports has started to help break down cultural barriers. but not as much as one would expect or hope for. Game servers are predominantly regional or locally-based, because of network speed and performance issues. So the player communities tend to be more homogeneous. Gen-G Esports is pushing for more gender equality in gaming. The company has started all-women teams in Fortnite and Valorant, and is promoting friendly tournaments and community scrims among female teams. It has also funded the new foundation to expand access and diversity in the gaming community, while also encouraging academic excellence at the same time.