It is a very dynamic industry and community. There are always new games, leagues, teams or team constellations emerging and shaking up the industry. The gamers remain as enthusiastic as ever and there is a great will among the Swiss community to further advance eSports. It is important to stay agile and keep your eyes open. Dialogue with the community is important as otherwise you run the risk of dropping the ball. The decision to include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) in our league was the right one in my opinion as it was important to cover this genre and also connect with the international community. What’s more, we found that, despite essentially being well received, the Go4 Cups, which are open to all, saw falling participant numbers. This prompted us to trial new formats and games, and to initiate the Fortnite Cup and FIFA Cup with modest cash prizes. These proved a resounding success and received very positive feedback, which is why we will press ahead with these shorter term formats.
Swisscom Hero League is a platform for gaming enthusiasts and is intended to serve as a springboard for eSports players. We are committed to promoting eSports in Switzerland. That remains our ambition. It is important for Switzerland. Internationally, eSports is on the rise. This is also true for Switzerland, but at a slower rate than anticipated. Many companies are still holding back from involvement and sponsorships, which is a shame for the teams. It is therefore all the more important that we provide the community with a platform on which to grow. We believe that eSports will eventually become a sport with mass public appeal.
Due to various team and player changes in the league as well as publisher requirements, we have decided to open the qualifiers to all once again. This means that everyone has an opportunity to win one of the professional places if they or their team win enough games and points in the qualifying rounds. On 8 August, we will be kicking off the fourth season of the Swisscom Hero League with eight players apiece for Clash Royale and eight teams for CS:GO and League of Legends respectively. The total prize fund will remain CHF 18,000.
There are two mega events for CS:GO that no fan or professional player would want to miss: the ESL ONE in Cologne, which is organised by our partner, and the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) in Katowice. Until now, qualifying has been virtually impossible for Swiss teams. That is all set to change with the upcoming Swisscom Hero League season. Our national champion will be able to participate in the qualifiers for both tournaments.
There’s a lot of competition of course, but yes, that is the aim! As I said, we want to provide the players with a springboard for the international stage.
Shorter cups, with the inclusion of more, temporary games. We found that weekly games were too frequent. The number of participants fell. As a result, in recent weeks, we spontaneously launched the Swisscom Gaming Cups in association with ESL and MyInsanity (MYI): one for Fortnite and one for FIFA. These were very well received and saw strong participation. It was amazing. For Fortnite alone, we had 4,500 participants with 21,500 fans following the live streams. We will certainly put on more cups in the future. In autumn, in addition to the continuation of Fortnite and FIFA, we are planning another game with the new game Valorant. By offering new and different games, we are naturally hoping to attract even more gaming enthusiasts. We continue to try new things and are open to feedback. For me, this is right and only way to ensure continual improvement.
Herofest 2020 will be held as a hybrid festival with Swisscom as presenting partner. The Hero League Grand Finals are part of the festival and will be taking place in the halls of BernExpo on 10/11 October. Given the current situation, we are unable to say at present if or how many spectators will be allowed to attend in person. Herofest will be producing and transmitting exciting content and activities online over nine days, as will Gamescom in Cologne. This is precisely the advantage of eSports: it is possible to hold championships despite the difficult circumstances. Virtual and digital. Who knows, perhaps the coronavirus crisis will provide an additional boost for eSports.
The call is out for passionate gamers to register and qualify for the Swisscom Hero League professional league. Click here to register
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