This report was guest-written by Projekt Esport, an independent community of experts from the Polish esports industry. It connects people with a very wide spectrum of qualifications, from beginners, young talents, up to experienced professionals at the highest level.
According to multiple studies, Poland is one of the fastest growing esports markets in Europe. This has been reflected in a list prepared by the members of Projekt Esport, showing 150 companies from various industries, ranging from FMCG to financial institutions, which have lately begun to invest in Polish esports.
As a result, the number of teams and tournaments hosted in Poland continues to grow, altogether making this market a melting pot of business opportunities for investors from around the world. We have covered the highlights from a variety of esports news items below.
Streamer Piotr ‘Izak’ Skowyrski Partners With Coca-Cola, Takes Part in Campaign for H&M
Online content creators are increasingly visible in the mainstream, and this phenomenon is just as present in Poland. Piotr ‘Izak’ Skowyrski is the most popular streamer and esports shoutcaster in Poland and now, thanks to cooperation with Coca-Cola, he’s going to provide commentary for three matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Those matches are going to be broadcasted on sport.tvp.pl, online platform of TVP, one of the top-rated broadcasters in Poland.
“Esports are becoming more sexy, more professional. It gives Izak a chance to gain experience and perform in an area that is his passion, which he can beautifully and emotionally speak about,” says Kamil Górecki of Fantasy Expo. “Izak can be named a curator for Polish esports, because he promotes it with his hard work every day,” adds Kamil Górecki from Fantasy Expo.
This is not the only recent cooperation between a brand and the popular streamer. Izak is also promoting a men’s clothing collection as part of the newest creative campaign by H&M Poland. Thanks to all of these activities and more, he is considered an icon in Polish esports—this can clearly be seen on his social media channels, where he congregates almost 4M users.
Loot Boxes Are Investigated by the Polish Government
One of the problems connected with the gaming market, not just in Poland, is the growing popularity of loot boxes, and websites on which gamers can bet their skins, loot boxes, and loot box keys. Given that players often buy loot boxes with real money and receive randomized assortments of in-game items, the Polish Government is investigating whether loot boxes are gambling.
“A customer who purchases goods in a store has the right to expect a 100% fully-fledged product…”
Given that players receive randomized assortments of in-game items, the Polish Government is investigating whether loot boxes are gambling.
In this respect, the Polish Ministry of Enterprise and Technology states: “A customer who purchases goods in a store has the right to expect a 100% fully-fledged product, from which he will be able to fully use and to which he will not have to make additional purchases.”
Bearing all that in mind, gaming companies might have a serious problem in the future, especially since loot boxes provide significant revenue for esports titles. It should be noted that Valve already made some steps in this respect, most notably suspending item trading for its Dutch users.
Battle of Streamers in Fortnite
On April 11, a Great Battle of streamers took place in Fortnite , with 97 players participating. A lot of popular Polish Twitch streamers and YouTube content creators decided to join the contest. Some of them were completely new to Fortnite, while others were treated almost as “a symbol” of the game in Poland. Combat consisted of four point games, in solo mode.
Related Article: Fortnite Creates Hard-to-Define, Untapped Space Across EsportsThe winner was Piotr “Izak” Skowyrski, who among all participants, was also the most watched streamer. At its peak, over 90K Twitch viewers had their eyes on Izak and his gameplay. Overall, there were more than 200K concurrent viewers and almost 1M total users across all channels watching their favorite content creators compete. The Great Battle of Streamers was organized by Gameset, a Polish gaming marketing agency in partnership with Epic Games , the developer behind Fortnite.
“It was an amazing experience for us and our client Epic Games,” says Piotr Bombol, co-owner at Gameset agency. “We managed to unite the whole Polish gaming community and all different influencers from different networks. What’s more important is that we have shown true potential of gaming streams based on great content and interactions between influencers. We firmly believe this shows future of digital entertainment that can be leveraged with other games.”
Polsat Games: A New Television Channel
Polsat is one of the largest TV broadcasters in Poland. The company was founded over 25 years ago, and currently has 29 channels. In addition, it is planning to launch a new gaming channel called “Polsat Games”. It’s designed to focus not only on esports, but news and other developments from the gaming industry in Poland.
Polish TV channel “E-SPORT TV” mainly focuses on broadcasting games (esports included).
If the project turns out to be successful (Polsat is currently waiting for an application approval by KRRiT – The National Broadcasting Council ), it will most likely be the biggest initiative that introduces gaming and esports to Polish television.
However, this is not the first time when gaming is introduced to the society via television. Polish TV channel “E-SPORT TV” mainly focuses on broadcasting games (esports included) and programs related to them. Furthermore, public television in Poland (TVP) was able to purchase exclusive rights to broadcast IEM Katowice 2018, and many other esports-related events hosted by ESL . For the most part, games are broadcasted on TVP Sport’s online channel, but major events can also be seen on TV.
First Esports Event At the National Stadium
Meet Point, a new Counter Strike: Global Offensive charity tournament, took place on May 19-20. It should be noted that it was the first esports event to be held at the Polish National Stadium. Besides the CS:GO competition there were also other attractions, like interviews with famous Polish YouTubers, and a cosplay contest with prizes.
The whole event was to encourage interest in esports, and to showcase the esports community from a positive angle. An example of this was a cooperation with DKMS foundation—which supports people with blood cancer (during the event, over one hundred people registered themselves as potential donors). The Projekt Esport community also invited four disabled esports fans, together with their caregivers.
Finally, the competition was conducted in a way that designed to help attendees who never played CS:GO before. For example, before every match there was an instructional video which explained the rules of CS:GO in three minutes.
Polish Esports Marketing Agency Scores a Major Deal With L’Oreal Men Expert
The esports market in Poland is growing very dynamically, and this fuels new initiatives concentrated around its professionalization. One example of this can be found in the first esports agency in Poland: eMine.Pro. Its main objective is to connect businesses with stakeholders in esports, and to represent popular esports players.
“In the past few years, esports has become a really strong business that attracts big brands. Considering this, the esports market needs professionalization,” says Krzysztof Kubicki, CEO of eMine.Pro. “Our agency, eMine.Pro, wants to work on the individual growth of players, so they can knowingly take care of their image and plan their carriers.”
We already have the first success story of eMine.Pro: Grzegorz ‘Szpero’ Dziamałek, represented by the agency, endorsed L’Oreal Men Expert, a leading brand in the cosmetic industry. “Presentable and well-perceived players can count on advertising and ambassador contracts with the biggest global brands,” comments Kubicki.
By signing Szpero up, L’Oreal wants to introduce esports to a wider audience. It’s not the first time L’Oreal has engaged with the esports market in Poland: at the beginning of this year, the brand gained some presence at the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice—the biggest esports event in Europe.
First Esports Business Leagues
In April, during the Good Game fair (an annual event for esports, comics and TV shows), PACT, one of the most known polish esports organizations, hosted a second edition of the PACTit Challenge. This is a charitable competition in CS:GO dedicated for the employees/staff of Polish companies. The winner was team PRIDE.
So far, 14 teams have signed up to the Esports Business Cup. These include Capgemini, Codewise, and Fantasy Expo.
The tournament inspired others to organize subsequent esports competitions for amateurs and employees. For example, in May, registrations for the “E-Biznes Cup by MSI” and “Esports Business Cup” opened up (only in CS:GO for now).
So far, 14 teams have signed up to the Esports Business Cup. Among others, these include Capgemini, Codewise (one of the biggest startups in Europe and sponsor of Codewise Unicorns), and Fantasy Expo, one of the biggest gaming agencies in Poland. The final of the competition will be played offline, and what should be underlined is that the prizes, worth 20K PLN (~$5500), will be dedicated towards a charity chosen by the winner.
The E-Biznes Cup, by MSI, will be played offline at net points belonging to morele.net (one of the biggest IT distributors in Poland) in Krakow and Warsaw. There will be a maximum of 16 teams competing in each of the cities. Prize pool will be 25K PLN (~$6800) and the grand finals will be in Warsaw.
It looks like esports will adopt a similar, amateur league structure for company employees, as the one commonly seen in traditional sports like basketball or football.
ESL Will Host European Masters 2018 Summer Split Finals in Poland
ESL, a global leader in the esports market, kicks off a new initiative: the European Masters 2018. Spring Split started about one month ago and is dedicated to the best teams in League of Legends outside of the European Championship Series (EU LCS ). Fighting for 150K EUR in prizes, the final matches were broadcasted in several languages, including the Polish language.This wasn’t everything. Finals of the Summer Split of the European Masters are going to be organized by ESL Poland, and played in Poland. ESL Poland is a reputable organizer of many professional competitions, such as the Polish Championship. This means there is a chance for Polish teams: they will be supported by Polish fans, and may even qualify for the European Masters.