The E-sports market is establishing itself as a sport not limited to specific game users or fans. With E-sports being officially included as an official Olympic sport in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, it marked a new change in the sports paradigm that traditionally involved physical movement.
In Korea, there are dedicated esports broadcasts such as OGN and MBC Game and an increase in content that involves live streaming, commentary, or analysis through platforms like AfreecaTV. In 2019, 12 esports associations in Europe came together to establish the European E-sports Federation, and there has been the founding of professional e-sports teams. The e-sports industry is also gaining attention in the Middle Eastern markets such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Savvy Gaming Group has merged with ESL, the world’s largest esports organization, and acquired the online esports platform ACEIT, forming the ESL FACEIT Group. In addition, they hosted the e-sports event ‘Gamers 8’ in Riyadh in July, offering a total prize pool of $15 million. They are actively making moves to attract international esports competitions.
Indeed, the e-sports fandom market is also experiencing growth. According to the ‘Games market revenue estimates and forecasts by region and segment for 2023‘ by the global e-sports market research firm newzoo, the global e-sports industry’s scale and viewership are anticipated to be increasing. Various content catering to esports fandom is emerging, and platforms related to esports are also on the rise to meet the demand.
We met with Mr. Jo Man-su, the representative of Pitch Interactive, which is developing the ‘Global Sports Entertainment Platform’ PIE(P.I.Extension) for esports fans in Pangyo Techno Valley, the mecca of the gaming industry.
Q. Could you introduce Pitch Interactive?
I am Jo Man-su, the representative of Pitch Interactive. With over 20 years of experience in the fields of sports and e-sports, I am currently working with a talented team to develop a service that allows interactive enjoyment of sports content. We aim to create a new paradigm in the industry.
Currently, our service operates as a browser extension, functioning on internet browsers such as Chrome. Regardless of the platform, whether it’s YouTube, AfreecaTV, Twitch, or others, users can access our service. Through our service, we aim to facilitate deeper interaction with customers, enabling various activities through overlays. We strive to create a service where users can engage in communication while watching live matches together.
Revolutionizing Player and Organization Support: The New Era of Direct Donation Platforms
Q. What differentiating technologies does your service offer compared to traditional communication or game broadcasting?
Pitch Interactive’s biggest pride lies in that, unlike conventional services that communicate through separate platforms or apps from live broadcasts or related videos, our service allows communication and participation within the same space where actual broadcasts are viewed.
While watching live matches, users can view desired data, directly donate to players, and engage with friends and subscribers through document sidecasting without broadcaster registration. We are actively developing a service that enables these interactions and communication during the game.
Moreover, in the current phase, as you may observe in broadcasts or sports transmissions, there is often a surge in donations when BJs (Live streamers) score goals, hit home runs in baseball, or achieve kills in games. We plan to create a new business model channel where these donations can be directed directly to players or teams rather than BJs.
Q. Is PIE limited to esports, or is it possible to expand to traditional sports too?
Before starting this venture, I worked in the sports industry, where I founded teams and gained experience in various fields such as basketball, baseball, golf, fencing, and more. I have a solid understanding of the systems within this market, including broadcasting rights, operational rights, and data management. This understanding has led us to develop our service in a direction that is not limited, considering aspects related to broadcast companies, including rights, operations, and data management.
PIE can be applied to any desired platform or sport without limitations. Whether it’s Coupang TV, Spotify Now, or any other platform where you want to overlay, we just need to port it. In the long run, our service offers the advantage of being able to make donations to sports teams and players, making it applicable not only to esports but also to other sports such as volleyball and baseball.
Q. The esports market is rapidly growing on a global scale. What are your plans for international expansion?
Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other Asian markets are also significant. Local investors have shown interest, so our initial strategy is to enter and establish a presence in Asia. Additionally, we are receiving various support for Asian and global expansion through the Global Accelerating Program operated by the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation.
Transforming the Game: A New Paradigm in Sports Entertainment for Players and Teams
Q. What’s Pitch Interactive’s ultimate goal?
When BJs(Live streamers) generate content, it is natural for them to earn revenue, but the revenue structure for sports teams and athletes through gameplay has been lacking. I would like to hear the story of how you changed this structure and transformed the paradigm of the sports market by directly providing ‘donations’ to teams and players as a new business model.
Additionally, we want to create a culture where fans can directly communicate with teams and players online. One of our slogans is to create a service where you can support and cheer online even without going to a baseball or soccer field. Until now, the extent of participation has been communicated through chat, and the donation culture has been limited to BJs. We aim to implement a service that facilitates immersive interaction and donations online, similar to cheering at the stadium, by connecting directly with supporting teams and players.
In the future, we also plan to add avatar services to create a service where people can support together online. Through these initiatives, we aim to create a sports economic culture where sports teams stabilize financially and sustain long-term circulation.
For inquiries and connections with Korean tech companies mentioned in this article, contact us at [email protected]. We’re here to facilitate valuable partnerships.
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