I have been conducting a research lately around esports and have therefore had the chance to interview some (familiar) faces of esports in search for a better understanding of the phenomenon. At the start of it all, I made clear to my interviewees that their responses were not at first hand meant for wide publishing. However, now that I'm done with using the data, with their agreement, I have the possibility to release it as a series of interviews that can be, in my opinion, an interesting read for many people. So, here it is.
You will notice that the core questions are the same for every interview minus some more personal or situational questions that I thought were relevant given the context or the very own experience of my interviewee. The interviews are raw, I haven't edited them so if there is any mispells or weird sentences, don't be freaked out.
Themes: esports definition, esports origins, women in esports, the sport debate, new technologies, esports audience, esports prospects, upcoming challenges...
Today, I will be releasing the #1 interview notes with Marcel "K1llsen" Paul.
Tell me a bit about yourself, what is your personal approach and your own experience of esports ?
Iím Marcel alias k1llsen, 29 years young and I had good and bad times in e-Sport, but you also need to have the experience of losing and be disappointed about yourself to keep improving sometimes and so it was in the past with some event Organizations where you had to wait very long for the prize like 1-2 years or not even getting the money. But all those things will shape you starting as a raw diamant at some point you just start doing the right things.
What is esports actually ? How do we define it ?
E-Sport starts where Competition is going on - Playing on a Console/Computer on the highest Level possible. Practice for something to get to that point that you are able to challenge the Top of the World and hopefully call yourself the best (even there is always someone better) but maybe itís you earning the World title, participating in Tournaments where only the best people all over the World getting invited to. E-Sport starts where ambition/passion starts to grow while competing on a Console/Computer against others around the world.
How does one actually make a living out of esport ? Not just the competition aspect but more generally around video games as a whole ?
There are a few ways to go with and behind e-Sport. In the past it has been very popular to earn money with e-Sport while studying, today itís more like you have the guys there who just like to play some games as hobby. To get until a certain point in skill, but lacking of the interest in being awesome, they rather focus on their Studyís which is also a good way overall. But things changing already from the time I started, there are many guys out already who just focus on e-Sport and Streaming to make a living out of it.
How have the constant evolution of new technologies and faster internet helped esport grow to such an extent ?
The Connection we have today allows almost everyone to stream what heís doing, itís getting easier and easier to produce something on the PC. Itís still just a small part being called like real-eSport, but it keeps increasing getting way more popular since there are so many youngsters cheering for their idol and trying themselves and that continues until we hit a certain point where it will be just on a constant flow, like soccer has their players/talents. Get started early to increase your chance of being a Top Player. And itís this way because all the games who belong into e-Sport does not need the really big resources anymore like it was 5-6-7 years ago, for example when Quake 4 came out, it was like 5000 people interested in the game, but just 2000 were able to play since you needed a real high end pc to be able to compete, and all the titles that are in e-Sport are not that resource heavy anymore this even opens the door way more for newcomers.
What about potential new technologies yet to come, such as virtual reality ? How do you think these would find their place into esport and video games in general ?
Itís something really big to experience and surely almost every casual being a bit interested in technologies wantís to experience some real feeling in the virtual reality, this already has worked with old technlogoies -> 2nd Life where you could go to some work for money, selling CDís on just a playing platform/world and now it comes in a way way more realistic feeling. This just opens a new dimension to Console/PC technology overall, but it will take a while until going to be a part of the competitive e-Sport.
Is esports a sport ? What is your personal view on that matter ?
This is just like as if you would ask if chess is a Sport and actually Chess counts as a Sport. Lets change this question to - what do you need to get a Sport? You need real Competition Ė you need at least two or more people battling it out until someone can says he counts as the proven best because he won the title. You need disciple and have to think about the way you practice to be able to compete, just like tactics in Chess or Soccer. And of course a Sport itself needs the possibility to create Idols, so the Fans cheering for their Sports start to think I would really like to play for example like Marco Reus (BVB). The Generation we have right now itís like 50% (older Generation) barely using a PC/Smartphone/Console and the other 50% now growing up with all the technics, give e-Sport like 10-15 more years and it might be as big as Soccer is in the World since everyone growing up right now gets directly confronted with gaming and we have more and more media coming writing articles and posting news about eSport.
A lot of recent studies have shown that contrary to before, more and more women play video games, albeit arguably different type of games or usage of them. But what about esports ? How do they fit in ?
Itís always hard to compare female and male gaming if itís in eSport or any other Sports, the main focus is most likely about menís Sport and so is my opinion. If Iím watching female sports there is just something missing like speed, power and even knowledge, but they keep trying, thatís good no doubt but they just have their own competition. Itís just not as interesting. Over all the years Iím in e-Sport I remember only a single female cs-Team that was able to compete with a top male teams in CS and thatís already quite a while ago I think it was some ESWC and it was a female team of SK. Overall I think it will always be a men Sport, just as example if you have a look about female streaming these days, most of them donít even know what they do but as soon as they are a little bit beautiful they start being successful in it, because menís like to have girls in their business and some really know how to use that the right way. I know just a single Hand full of female Streamers that have some quality.
Several schools, notably in Sweden, have emerged recently and are aimed toward esports. What do you think those schools should teach youngsters ?
I think thatís something good to do, to show them like whatís the best way to use the pc when you are interested in eSports, there are still many guys out there losing the sight of the social aspect in real life, so this might just works in the opposite way. You always need to have a healthy balance between everything thatís one of the most important things.
You are currently working on creating your own brand and expand. Can you explain to us a bit about it, as in, what made you want to do it ? How hard is it ? What are the goals you're trying to achieve and why ?
I try to realize my dream, make your hobby and something you have a passion to, to your job. Quite a while has passed since my champion title, not everyone has forgotten about k1llsen and there are others where itís like they just have to be remembered. Itís the passion inside me to eSport and the experience of being a big part of it, the experience having thousands of people in front cheering for you, that is what made me think to try it a last time creating something BIG for eSport with k1llsen there are still so many ideas and right now we just getting started.
I mean when it comes down to Streaming there is some competition going on so you always need to have good ideas and of course you want to have your community as big as possible so you have to attract new people. When I got started with like REAL streaming 3 months ago, it was like 8-12h of work a day for 1.5 months making everything work and get into all the stuff you need and I still have so many ideas about optics and the technics behind.
You've been a professional player. If you could go back in time, would you have done anything differently ?
I wouldnít do anything different. All the different people/cultures I met, the cityís/countryís Iíve seen, the friends I made, the experience I got in so many ways. I donít want to miss that!
Let's pretend you are now a 16 year old kid who has yet to achieve anything but who has the knowledge that you have now. What would you do ?
To know the right way of practice already helps much. I will always remember the first 2 losses against d1ablo and pRo-Dragon in Quake 3 on t4, it was something about -2:45. I always looked up to d1ablo - he became my idol - and somehow he still is in a way Ė Kept saying to myself I really want to beat him to call myself the best German Duel player and thatís the way I got started into competitive eSport. After some time he became my mentor. I still remember some words of him when being in a tournament. I donít really would like to skip that, but if Iím 16 with the knowledge I have, I could skip the first years of practice and getting directly started into competition what sharpens your thinking even more every single time.
Links: k1llsen_, k1llsen, k1llsen
Edited by Badb0y at 08:43 CST, 13 January 2016 - 24070 Hits