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New Industry starts at the bottom

New industry and Technology Virtual Reality Game

E-sport race competition with virtual reality glasses. guys playing virtual car race championship and displays behind them showing game to public. concept illustration of future gaming technologies

Just imagine – a new Sport –a new Industry.  The future is with us now. A new Industry (sport) is emerging. It is innovation.

It is always a surprise if you are not leading it!

In a recent Blog Strategy –Learning –Innovation –a window on the future. 

I documented my  discovery of a new Industry. There was such a Sport as International Computer gaming. As I indicated it was a complete surprise to me and it continues to surprise me.

On Monday as I was flying to Sydney flicking through the entertainment system I discovered a Documentary – the rise of the ESport Hero. A documentary about this new Industry.

WOW they actually make Documentaries about this stuff! Naturally, I watched it.

Imagine my surprise. This is a serious new Industry – E Gaming – A Sport?

Some was more learning:

  • There are leagues.
  • There are professional players
  • There are team owners
  • They poach players

Each team is a business with a defined structure

  • Owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • Player Managers
  • Marketing (PR)
  • There are Training centres not unlike our sporting academy system
  • There are National and International Tournaments
  • Players can train up to 12-14 hours per day in their early career ( young men and women spend 12-14 hours a day training developing skills)
  • There are multiple tournaments with serious prize money.

As a relative “newbie” to the technology world, I am finding it fascinating to discover the breadth and scale of this new sport and/Industry. In South Korea it apparently has more followers than baseball.

Just imagine an Australia where EGaming has more followers than AFL or Soccer, or Rugby League, Rugby  Union. We might scoff and ridicule the thought but there are precedents.

  • Air Travel was only something birds did (or Gods)
  • Landing a Man on the Moon was inconceivable
  • Uber and AirBnB came out of nowhere
  • Mobile Technology

As we approach the future with anticipation there are many inconceivable possibilities:

  • Driverless Cars
  • Drone Delivery systems for food et al
  • Whole business systems managed by Robots and Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
  • A cashless society
  • Travel to Mars

These are just a few.

In the move Eye in The Sky the young defence force staff who go to work in a container on a base in the desert somewhere – their job was to fly the drones in Afghanistan. Their BIG decisions controlled by people on the other side of the world. This was beyond comprehension not so long ago.

Why not an EGaming Industry that surpasses our existing sports in scale and value.

Check out the earnings of the top 100 players in 2016

Given that most sport is now entertainment it really is the same industry. In a quick web search, I discovered a whole range of references and articles. A snapshot of the industry is outlined below:

Seven snippets about eSports

  • The origins of eSports can be traced to 1980 when Atari launched a Space Invaders tournament, which drew 10,000 participants in the US.
  • Riot Games’ League of Legends is the top eSports globally in terms of prize money, audience and players (67 million registered). Other popular eSports games are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, HearthStone and World of Warcraft.
  • The most lucrative event is DOTA 2 The International, with a purse of $17.1 million, dwarfing the Tour de France.
  • This biggest live attendance was 100,000 people over the three-day Intel Extreme Masters in Poland last year.
  • The number one gamer in the world, Lee Sang-hyeok, goes by the name Faker. He reportedly earns a salary of between $100,000 to $150,000 and north of $1 million including prize money and endorsements. Chinese telcos have offered $1.7 million in transfer fees and salaries to defect.
  • The number one ranked country of gamers is South Korea.
  • Australian professional Derek Trang tells AdNews the scale and level of investment doesn’t yet exist in this country for him consider giving up a career in law. He trains 60 hours a week and also coaches budding gamers how to improve on League of Legends.

The emergence of this Industry below my radar has been a real awakening for me. I suspect there are many Business leaders who are all over this but there are many who are not. So what is the consequence for their business?

My friends might be surprised by my interest in this and my response is – this is the future. I have eleven grandchildren and this is their world. Whole industries will emerge using this technology. The future of the world is in the imaginations of these next generations.

What does the imagination look like formed by these technologies. It is both wonderfully exciting and a little scary.  I suspect it has been like this for all generations.  The future is wonderfully exciting and a little scary.

To create a business context I have added a story which I have used before but it is magnified in its importance in my mind as I reflect on the new learnings.

Is there sufficient foresight in Australia business culture? The evidence is not good.

A story on Foresight:

Industry foresight requires a curiosity that is as deep as it is boundless.  Gaining enough insight into potential discontinuities to actually draw conclusions about what to do – which alliances to form, how much to invest, what kind of people to hire – demands a significant expenditure of intellectual energy by senior management.  The half-day or day-long planning review meetings that typically serve as forums to debate the future are totally inadequate if the goal is to build an assumption base about the future that is more prescient and better-founded than the competitors’.

 Recently one of us spent a day with the top officers of a well-known U.S. company. 

The question put to these managers was simple: 

What are the forces already at work in this industry that have the potential to profoundly transform industry structure?  A heated discussion followed, and a dozen discontinuities were identified. 

One of the potential drivers was picked at random, and the top team was asked, “Could you sustain a debate for a full day, among yourselves, about the implications of this trend to your company and the industry? 

Do you understand how fast this trend is emerging in different markets around the world, 

  • the specific technologies that are propelling it,
  • the technology choices competitors are making,
  • which companies are in the lead,
  • who has the most to gain and the most to lose,
  • the investment strategies of your competitors vis-a-vis this trend,
  • and the variety of ways in which this trend may influence customer demands and needs?” 

The top team agreed that it simply didn’t know enough about this critical driving force to answer these questions, and certainly couldn’t keep a detailed, intelligent debate going for a full day. 

A few people suggested that these questions weren’t really fair.

 They were then asked, “Could you sustain a debate for eight hours on the issue of how you allocate corporate overheads, set sales targets, and manage transfer prices?” 

Now this was a fair question. 

“On this we could keep going for eight days, no sweat,” replied a senior executive. 

Suddenly the point hit them:  This group of managers was not in control of their company’s destiny.  They had surrendered control of that destiny to competitors who were willing to devote the time and intellectual energy necessary to understand and influence the forces shaping the future of the industry. 

The CEO’s first response to this painful realisation was typical: “I’ll set up a couple of days when each of my divisional vice presidents can come in and pitch their view of the future.”  Back came our argument:  It takes more than two days to develop industry foresight; building foresight is not about “pitching” and “reviewing”, but about exploring and learning.  To really understand the future, to have the courage to commit, top management must get more than just a fleeting glimpse of the future.  The required effort is measured in weeks and months, not in hours and days.

Competing for the Future, Hamel and Prahalad 2002

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