IGF 2021 – Day 0 – Event #110 Gaming and e-sport as a new economic branch of Industry 4.0

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> We all live in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> We are all united.

>> We all live in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despite control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> We are all united.

>> I would like to thank you, everyone, for attending for our panel organized by council for dialogue with the young generation.  In times of conference, IGF, 2021 in Katowice.  Today we'll talk about gaming and E‑sports as new economic branch of industry 4.0.  Today with me we'll talk about this with chancellor, prime minister of Poland.

>> Hello, everyone.

>> I hope we're already connected via Zoom.

>> Excuse me, does this microphone work?

>> Looks like yes.

>> Would you describe yourself as a gamer?  If yes, please raise your hands.  How many gamers do we have here?  Okay.  Good crowd.  Nobody would say that E‑sport is not a sport I hope so.  And also I've got the same question for you.  Are you ‑‑ would you describe yourself as a gamer and if yes, what kind of games do you like to play the most?  Console games?  Maybe you're those horrible mobile game players or just board games?  Please can you start?

>> I usually differentiate gaming between E‑sports because I was never really into gaming when I was young.  I did not spend a lot of time with games.  They did not attract me enough.  But after I discovered gaming where you can compete against real people, the satisfaction, the victory brings or defeat within a good match was something I was really attracted to.

>> Same question for you.  Are you a gamer?

>> Thank you for having me.  Yes, I used to play a lot.

>> We've got the same questions for our online guests.  Mr. Bialek, can you answer it?

>> Michal Bialek: Good morning, everyone.  Can you hear me?

>> We can hear you.

>> Michal Bialek: I used to play a lot.  Unfortunately, they are not so popular right now and I also don't have so much time.  What I'm doing right now is playing casual arcade games, five minutes after the meeting.  This is what I'm doing.

>> Thank you very much.

>> Hello, welcome.

>> For me it's the same.  Offline and when I discovered I can compete with people online and actually prove myself how good I am and that is the moment I started loving gaming and E‑sports.

>> E‑sports is such a young and fresh industry that this is to be regulated by government or law yet to be formalized, yet to develop its own universal structures within E‑sports, within the business side of it.  It will be time before it happens.  Another thing is there is a big difference between sports and E‑sports.  In sports you have teams, leagues.  You have federations, but no one actually owns the sports discipline itself in a literal sense.  In a literal sense, no one owns football, but in E‑sports, the game developer creates a game.  It becomes an E‑sport and the game developer has full autonomy within this field.

E‑sports and the business side of it.  So when you are running a project within those E‑sports, you have to take into account the developer's decision.  You have to adapt.  Those decisions are often capricious.  You cannot run your tournament and your project in some way fails and you've invested a lot of money in a successful team of players that are good in a current version of the game.  But it means a lot because in sports the rules, the major rules are not shifting a lot.  The sport discipline stays the same for most of the time, but in E‑sports, the game changes every month rapidly.  It's crazy, but your team can go from hero to zero in the spark of a moment.  You can waste a lot of money by that.  So there are also other examples of that.  And also there is a small I would say E‑sports, HR crisis because you need to run a project by a grown up and mature person who knows the business side, the marketing side of running a project and also this person is required to understand E‑sports, understand its culture, understand how niche it is.  It's hard to find a proper person who can take from both of the words.  It's really hard.  But it's a necessity.  And also the E‑sport itself, it's deeply rooted in a culture of very young people.  An average age of traditional sport viewer is around 42, 43 depending on the sport discipline.  For an E‑sport discipline, it's 22, 23.  Nearly cut in half.  Are you sure your project you've invested in understands this young people culture, sense of humor.  Is it attractive for them?  Of course, nowadays everyone starts to learn that Internet culture, E‑sports culture, but it takes time, takes an effort.

You see the picture I tried to draw.  It's hard to go long term into E‑sports.  It's quite a risk.  And yet, and that's a big E‑sports paradox, you need to go long term.  I cannot actually imagine short term profits in E‑sports.  You have to put a lot of money, invest a lot of money, good project, hire a proper man and maybe in a few years your product will be attractive for enough young people that they will bring you sponsors that will bring you profits, some returns in a few years span.  But it not always happens.  E‑sports industry is wild.  It's a space to be tamed.  I'm an optimist for the future, but right now I understand why sponsors are distancing themselves from E‑sports.  It's quite a risk, quite a challenge.

>> Thank you very much for the answer.  Mr. Opielski?

>> Maciej Opielski: Maybe the decision decides on the developer.  If the rights to tournament are open.  If the rights to the E‑sports ecosystem are open.  In a specific title, the ecosystem is open.  You can qualify for each tournament, even for the world championship.  Because everybody has a chance.  You invest that amount of money and suddenly the developer decides okay, the previous model we had was pretty good, but now we want to focus on ‑‑ more on our monetizing our system.  You have to buy a slot in our cycle of tournament or if you're not part of the franchise, you won't be able to be a part of the world cup finalists.  That's the reason I think for new investors, depending on the developer of the game, which title you would like to enter, you still have quite a lot of games that the rights of the ecosystem are open.  There are many, many more games that we can just find new players and try to develop them as a professional athlete and be part and participate in the tournaments.

For us as an E‑sports organization, it's always quite a task first of all to stay at the level because as he said, the games are changing.  It's not like we have one path or one patch on a certain game each year.  I think it's even one patch a month or even faster.  Maybe five to ten patches changing completely the game.  Like for ‑‑ as he said, from hero to zero, those players, they want to feel comfortable.

The same goes for the organization.  In this previous year, that was the system that was working for the organization and the content they were creating was funny.  The next year it could change.  So I would say the market is still open, but it requires long‑term solutions.  You need to see your investments long term.  You won't get profit in one year and two years.  It doesn't even depend on how much money we'll invest.  Whether it be 500 K or $10 million.  You need to see a bigger picture and the longer way to get profit from working in the organization, at least for the organize.

>> Thank you for the suggestion.  I think I will try to make some investments and of course for you, don't be afraid to start your teams, to start new organizations as I order.  There is still a place for new players in this case.

The next question I will address is going to be about maybe some sort of collaboration of government and the gaming industry.  Does E‑sport gaming industry have a chance to support the government in promoting Poland and promoting international initiatives?  First of all maybe tournaments that were designed, for example, for future sports festival which was designed for teams from countries to visit?  How do you see this topic?

>> So first maybe I will make some remark about the whole industry.  Globally the gaming industry is about $175 billion revenues, so it amounts to the GDP of Ukraine.  Secondly, on behalf of the work are the players.  So 2.9 billion players all around the world.  You imagine how huge among the people we have to address our ideas, values.

And to answer your question, it's a really good example of how we could make some sacrifices internally but one is not enough.  So I have encountered some of the newspapers all around the world, titles and it was estimated as a huge success.  First it was about the books.  Second was about the game.  Third was about the series.  It's impressive, isn't it?  We are two years after those events and now I take a look about the rankings of the most used.  Two years ago ‑‑ now if you take a look, it's "Squid Games."  Second is “Bridgerton."  I don't even know the series.  So the idea that I would say that is you can ‑‑ I believe it promotes polish culture much more the squid games creates the Korean one, you if you know what I mean.  We know much more of those successes.

Second thought that comes to my mind is it's a fantasy is a great tool for promoting some ideas.  Many countries do culture and politics based on the movies, series and games and probably the United States are the best in that, so you can see a lot of production that are about some United States successes and when we look at them, our history, history of Poland and our movies, they are mainly about some different scales of successes.

Third thing is that we promote the hero that is imperfect.  The hero that makes mistakes.  I believe if we ‑‑ if you can say what our culture can give to the world, it's this imperfection in being a hero.  And that is the way that people see themselves in being imperfect more than just being this amazing unity.

>> Thank you very much.  Would you encourage your team to participate in a tournament that would promote some multi‑government Summit or something similar to this?

>> Maciej Opielski: Yes.  For future tournament, we had the possibility to be part of the tournament this year because we advanced there as a Polish national E‑sports team.  For us it's always a great pleasure to promote our country abroad, right?  And the tournaments that are taking place abroad, a few years ago there was a cycle of tournaments where only players for certain countries could participate in the tournament.  Something like we have the world championship in football right now.  You need to have a passport of the country to be part of the team and they play against themselves to find the winner.  That's something I think we are missing.  If we could do something, a tournament like that, that will be also a great, great opportunity to promote certain country with the help of its government to show not only the E‑sport side of the country, but also everything that is good around the country.  That's what I'm thinking.

>> Thank you very much.  We talk about some advantages of E‑sports, the industry and the gaming industry, but I will like to talk also about the disadvantages.  Entertainment has never been so accessible and also so addictive.  We've got a really easy connection to Netflix and within seconds some players become addicted to drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall to help improve their skills.  Also this entertainment, this video game entertainment, it's interactive directly with our brain.  Is this a problem that gaming industry should address or maybe the public sector?  How do you view this issue?  With this question I will start with Mr. Bialek.

>> Michal Bialek: Good morning again.  Thank you for the question.  We are talking about the booming industry of gaming.  Sometimes we're not talking about the shadows.  This is one of the shadows.  When we started today, the first thing we did was checking our phone, checking the Instagram, checking Facebook and seeing beautiful people, young, successful, and then people started asking themselves a question why they are there, why we are not there.  And this is a huge problem.  All of us need some kind of attention, to be noticed.  People start to think what they can do to make it, to be there on the same position.  They start to play with drugs.  This is one of the options.  They try to somehow appeal on the market.  Because we shouldn't say only about gaming.  It's called a digital world, especially after the lockdown in COVID times where digital is really, really important.

I run a social media site and probably once a week we contact the police because we see that in the comments there's someone that says about making a suicide.  This is a huge problem that's just arise.  We are contacting the police.  We are sending details of the young guys, he or she, but honestly, I'm in business for 20 years and I don't see any institution that is taking care of those that do not follow.  I truly believe that this is an important issue, especially the projects, because I believe only they can help.  Maybe there should be some kind of topic in schools how to fight with the hate speech, how to fight with the gaming addiction.  I truly believe that there should be some program in the public sector to help with it.

>> Thank you very much.  I mentioned the public sector, how this topic applies to the public sector.  We have a representative.  Please answer my question.  Should gaming industry dealing with this problem, maybe public sector or maybe you see this not a problem at all?

>> It's part of mental health, but I don't believe that government should somehow regulate this market.  For example, if you can see in China, they are limiting to about three hours a week, I think it couldn't work in western civilization as freedom is one of our basic values.  If government could ‑‑ would actually limit the hours of games that young people play, the next day you could see I believe every city is playing a game.  It's difficult for that.  What I can see is that we are going to in a different direction.  We can see games among lectures, among the obligated books.  It used to be books, but now there are books and games that you can play to pass your exams.  The first time in the work history we can see E‑sports at the Olympic games, so we could see E‑olympics.  So I believe that works around the world trying to really appreciate the gaming culture.  Not limited.

>> Mandatory games in school.  I think it's a great idea.  I also am afraid it's going to be a huge argument which games should be mandatory, which is the legacy of gaming you cannot just forget about.

The next question I will address to Mr. Opielski.  Personal sports have a series of gadgets, clothes, accessory, et cetera.  But after the expansion opportunity for E‑sport and the gaming industry are ended, is the market full or is this still a place for not only teams and organizations, but new branches of legacy industry that gaming can go into and promote their products with the brands, with the names, et cetera.  Please answer for this.

>> Maciej Opielski: First of all, if it's going for E‑sports or gaming, there's always plenty of space on everything.  Either it's no investments or no kind of promotion.  I prepared myself with a few collaborations and few topics that, first of all, a game developer or organization, the last year showed us that you had collaboration gaming with fortnight in promoting a way to show those young players that there is something else other than gaming.  So they promoted those specific games.

Fortnite also showed collaboration with Marvel, so they showed collaboration with movie theaters or movies specifically.  They search for a certain culture.  Like I said before, Marvel or DC or movies like Batman.  They start promoting both the organization and the company that they're cooperating with and showing that they can work with each other and get ‑‑ they both gain from the corporation in that sense.

>> I would like to ask you to prepare some questions.  I've got my question and I wanted to give the microphone to you.  The microphone is in the middle, so please prepare for it.  My last question, I would never think that a China domestic policy would be involved in talk about gaming, but here it is.  Please ‑‑ because government of people's republic of China has restricted the possibility of playing for teenagers and kids.  As he said, it is three hours a week.  How do you view this typo --

>> Michal Bialek: Our business relies on the average type the user spends on the Internet.  Of course, this is the first rule about it.  It's all about mental and physical problems that the game is doing.  And just at the start of the talk, I think what we need to know is that the average time spent on gaming in China is smaller than 12 hours while in states it's around 8.  And another stat that's also important is that the number of young players below the age of 18 in China is one of 110 million.  It's just a number, but when we see it as a number comparing to the population of Poland, which is 38 million, we see this is a huge, huge problem that the Chinese government has to deal with.  We all think that this is the physical and mental issue, but I also want to pay your attention that this is not only ‑‑ my opinion it's not only about it.  Games are also values.  They are promoting some kind of values.  I truly believe the values that are promoted are not the values that the communist party relies on.  This is a huge problem.  I mean, when we see the media in China, we see that the pop idols, the gaming idols, their skin is too soft, the men are too feminine.  This is a huge problem which I believe China is trying to deal with.  They are trying to blow the market to protect their values so that you're not going to be un‑American in China in this way.

>> Do we have any opposition to this?  Okay.

>> I'll make one remark.  It's useful to differentiate the play you can have, especially when we're talking about kids.  Let's say one let's call it the passive one, when you are just ‑‑ I would even say wasting your time.  You are so addicted you are playing and playing without any goal or task for yourself.  You could be a passive recipient of Dopamine to mention the previous question.  That's one which I assume worries some governmental organizations.  For example, those in China.

We can compare it to mold two which we cannot discard, because mold two is the active one.  It gets a lot of bigger and bigger attention in younger players.  When we have online gaming where there is a competition between players and when in the mold one, it's all about relaxing yourself, just having a little fun.  In mold two, there are a lot of young people actually playing really competitive hard games which are not really fun.  I think there is some truth in a popular joke that the most popular online game, it's not fun.  It's a job.  It will tire you.  It will deprive you of your emotion during a great session of gaming.  I think it's worth emphasizing that the mold two promotes big active developing yourself, setting yourself a goal and try hard.  That's really important that maybe it's even something on educational systems can learn from gaming that how games make young people try over and over to overcome challenges, for better rank, to make higher win ratio, to be better.  It creates some values.  It creates some hard work and being tough in a positive sense.  So I think it's important to governments to eventually target maybe the mold one, which is the passive one, and see if mold two can be useful for actually modeling how we can actively spend our time and develop how we can ‑‑ because, for example, sports, we are looking at mold two.  We are thinking of doing sports is another waste of time.  It's developing a character of a sportsman.  I think there are parts of gaming that actually promotes the same values as the sport.

>> Developing discipline in a hard working environment and can be used not only for E‑sport, but for every way of life.  In the meantime, do we have any questions?  Anybody want to ask about something?  I highly encourage you for this.  Okay.  Thank you very much for this talk.  Our guests today.

>> Thank you.

>> Michal Bialek: Thank you very much.

>> Maciej Opielski: Thank you very much.

>> I would like to thank in the name of dialogue with young generation to make this talk happen and for ‑‑ I would like to thank on behalf of regional sense of international debate in Katowice who are partners of this talk.  Thank you very much.