There’s no denying the fan power of streamers and brands in the esports industry. Razer is one of those brands with a fanatic-like following. The company is so famous for its RGB products that there’s even a fan-made page calling for a Razer Toaster—something the company has alluded to many times but never confirmed.
The obsession is about more than the RGB for esports fans, though. This week, Razer announced the Inaugural Southeast Asian Invitational—a three-game tournament set to follow the Southeast Asian Games. The event will bring together 10 top teams from SEA nations in a bid to help them prepare for the SEA Games in 2021.
Following this announcement, Dot Esports talked with David Tse, the global esports director at Razer, about what motivates Razer to continue supporting the esports community and the company’s plans for the future.
What games are you watching and playing at the moment?
Tse: I consider myself just a casual gamer, primarily to blow off some steam after work, or as a way to connect with my boys. I’m loving the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless. Freedom without wires. I believe with the development of Bluetooth standards, there is little or no difference in performance and daresay it might be even better than the wired experience. My favorite esport is CS:GO—I find the fast-paced action very exciting to watch.
Recently, Razer has been thinking bigger than gaming and has started supplying countries with the resources and supplies required to combat COVID-19. What motivated that decision?
In my opinion, there is a natural passion and strong spirit within the gaming and esports community to support each other. Esports is probably the only sports that are not completely shut down at the moment. It (esports) continues to be a means of entertainment and engagement, either individually, as a family, or as part of the community during these challenging times when we spend most of our time at home.
As Razer, we represent the community, and through the leadership of our CEO, Min-Liang Tan, we are able to do more to support many countries and our community.
How do you carry that motivation across to esports?
Team Razer, consisting of top teams and individual esports athletes globally, are seen as representatives to the esports community. Our esports athletes are a motivation to many in the community, and we have gathered 36 of them as advocates of Razer’s “Stay Home and Game On” campaign.
In addition, we have also launched new online initiatives for Team Razer athletes to engage with their fans, like our Training Mode: Virus Edition mini-game, and a Pro tips series of videos that features tips and tricks by Team Razer athletes to help improve fans’ gaming performances, keeping them safe and entertained at home.
Your career has taken a very entertainment-focused trajectory, what excites you about esports vs the more traditional entertainment industry?
I would not call the current entertainment industry to be strictly traditional, with the growth of Netflix, new entrance of Disney+, and online content accessibility, engagement is more important than ever to every consumer in the world at home or on the move.
From my last role in Netflix Asia, we believed that the real competition on entertainment is not from fellow competing content providers, but from gaming or esports. And I believe there is so much more potential out there to bring esports to a new level of being a new form of entertainment, engaging users like never before.
What are some of the challenges you face in esports, that you didn’t face in previous industries?
The challenge of esports can also be seen as an opportunity of the industry. Every part of the ecosystem, from players, team owners, event/tournament organizers, publishers and products and services providers like us, need to understand and continue to evolve on the very fundamental element that content is what drives viewership, and that content needs to drive consumption in and beyond tournament. It needs to appeal to audiences beyond just the usual tournament seasons, keeping them constantly close and engaged.
There is good growth in this area by many great organizations, but I believe there is more to be done. The maturity of many key players to understand the needs, allocate the right resources, and eventually to monetize, will create a more stable ecosystem.
How do you transform these challenges into success?
We have defined how these contents are able to drive from awareness to actual impact on our business, by creating content that will establish Team Razer as top of mind to our fans and esports audiences.
We have proven such content has indeed impacted our key focused peripherals for esports, like our fastest selling mouse, Viper, which was advocated by our Team Razer athletes, along with engaging stories. I believe such content will take into progressive forms that will help us to broaden our target audiences and widen our market size.
What do you think it is about Razer that has created such a loyal fan base?
For Gamers. By Gamers. We are authentic and passionate about what we do, and our priority is always about the community.
Everyone who works at Razer is a gamer in some capacity, which means we understand the community. We are able to create products and content that really speaks to gamers and are committed to providing what they like and want to the best of our abilities.
You could say the loyalty runs vice-versa: we stay loyal to our fans and they in turn stay loyal to us.
How do you think you can translate the fanbase you have into helping grow esports?
The fan base will need to be constantly engaged and we focus on keeping them close, bringing consistent, exciting, and authentic content through Team Razer to engage the core fans. I believe that by telling amazing stories on esports and Team Razer, we will appeal to broader audiences, growing overall esports.
You have been long time supporters of Legacy Esports, and congratulations on their first OPL title. What kind of decisions are made when choosing the right teams or content creators?
We look for people who are passionate about Razer’s products and services, who can also understand Razer’s strategic focus and be extremely collaborative in our partnership.
We are not only looking at champions in their tournaments but champions in their esports journey.
What are your goals for esports in both Oceania/SEA and Globally?
We are aiming for thought leadership in esports, an example being Razer establishing the first medal esports event in the world with the 30th SEA Games in 2019. We want to be at the front of minds through our global top esports professional teams, Team Razer.
The SEA Invitational will kick off on June 22, 2020, featuring PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG Mobile), Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2), and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB).
You can find out more about the tournament, as well as information on how to compete, through the Team Razer Facebook page.