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Does the UK esports scene need more live events? – BBC News

  • By Shaun Dacosta
  • BBC Newsbeat


US-based Team Biffle Dominated Warzone World Series Global Finals

The World Series of Warzone (WSOW) held its global finals in London over the weekend and it came at an interesting time for the UK esports scene.

But if you watched the WSOW final, based on the battle royale version of the first-person shooter, you’d think the UK esports scene was doing pretty well.

It attracted a crowd of approximately 3,000 people, competitors from all over the world and a large number of people tuned into the event online.

BBC Newsbeat spoke to Call of Duty esports bosses Daniel Tsay and John Belk about their decision to hold the event in London.

Product manager John said previous experience told them the crowd’s “enthusiasm and energy” would be “off the charts.”

“People are going to applaud, people are going to stand up.”

And general manager Daniel said one of the biggest requests from the Call of Duty community has been a UK event.

“So when the team was thinking ‘where can we go?’ “London pretty organically came to the top of the list,” he said.

“We haven’t been here in four years. It’s one of the things the Call of Duty community is looking forward to most.”

In the end, the event was dominated by teams from outside the UK and Europe, with the $100,000 (£80,716) prize going to US-based team Biffle.

But what do gamers think about the state of the UK esports scene?


Call of Duty pro Kels says events are a great way to bring people together

Kelsie Grieg, also known as Kels, was the first woman to qualify for the Call of Duty Challengers Elite tournament.

Speaking to Newsbeat during the tournament he had come to watch, Kels says it was “disruptive” for the scene to lose its only UK franchise.

But he believes the event shows there is still an appetite for esports in the UK.

“We’re all at the event at the moment, we’ve seen the crowds, we heard them there. So potentially esports is still growing in the UK and Europe.

“It brings everyone together. Everyone plays, everyone loves the game.

“And it’s like you have the same passion. It brings everyone together, it really does.”

“Draws a crowd”

British player Jukeyz, from Liverpool, actually competed in the WSOW finals: his team finished tenth that day.

But he believes the reason for the lack of a franchise in the UK is simple: they have not been “up to par” with the North American teams.

“There are all the American-based teams, all the good teams, the best teams,” he says.

“We obviously had the London Ravens for a few years, but even then we couldn’t match the Americans,” he says.

“Hopefully this will change in the coming years, so that more teams (and) more organizations will participate.”


The event was held at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Jukeyz believes that hosting events like the WSOW World Finals in the UK is a good way to increase interest in esports.

He checked the main stream of the event during the contest and says he saw 100,000 viewers logged in, and it’s more likely they were watching on other channels.

“I think if they kept doing events like this, not only would it be amazing for me because I don’t have to take a flight, but it would draw a crowd,” he says.

“I have mates at home who don’t play CoD, don’t watch CoD, and they were tuned in today.

“If you get even a few friends, just show interest, it could work like that, especially in the UK.”

And for Kels, who has been hailed as a pioneer for women in esports, there is another advantage to holding in-person events: meeting fans and the potential next generation of competitors.

“I remember the first person who came up to me and I thought, ‘Are they making fun of me?'” he says.

“But it’s incredible. People say, ‘we admire you and what you do for women is incredible, you’re giving us confidence, you’re inspiring us.’

“And that means more than anything to me. That’s the main thing.”

Listen to News Beat live at 12:45 and 17:45 Monday to Friday, or listen to us here.

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