Whether you are a professional gamer, a part-time player or an occasional punter, it’s time to get your game on, as all things eSport come to London ExCeL this February. With game demos, exhibitions, Ted Talks, and prize-money competitions, there is something for everyone to enjoy at ICE London 2023 and The ESIC Global Esports Summit 2023.
Whilst people can be forgiven for thinking that eSports is the new kid on the block, it can actually trace its history back to over fifty years ago, when Bruce Baumgart became the ‘Intergalactic Spacewar Champion of 1972’ at Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab in California. Winning himself a yearly subscription to Rolling Stone magazine, Baumgart was working on geometric computer vision modelling when he was joined by fellow engineers as they battled their way through the iconic space game. Event organiser, Stewart Brand, recalls the astonishment he felt watching the tournament, likening it to the gamers having an “out of body experience”, adding “their brains and their fingers were fully engaged. There was an athletic exuberance to their joyous mutual slaying. I’d never seen anything like that”.
Brand’s observations can be seen in action by anyone who has spectated a gamer in full flow or been lucky enough to attend an eSports tournament. Given the concentration, dedication, skill and sportsmanship required to excel at eSports, it is little wonder that the sector has exploded as both a spectator and player sport. Indeed, the latest trends, facts and insights put the global audience of eSports at 532.1 million and its value at $1.44 billion in 2023, rising to $5.48 billion by 2029. The top eSports earner is Johan Sundstein (N0tail), who is estimated to have a net worth of around $6.8 million.
This booming business has become a mass sector of growth within the iGaming community, and has garnered an all hands on deck approach as people clamber to get a slice of this deliciously lucrative pie. ICE London has long established itself as an industry ‘must attend’ event, as it allows developers and marketers to showcase their latest products, affiliates and providers to connect and network, and the general public a sneak peek behind the iGaming curtain. With over 35,000 gaming industry experts and fans, it is the ideal venue to extend the eSports sector.
ICE London 2020 was the inaugural year for eSports at ExCeL, where it focused its insights on how best gaming and betting companies could successfully monetise eSports. During the 2020 event, the ICE ESports Arena boasted a cool £250,000 prize pool and attracted over 12 million viewers online worldwide, with CS:GO teams “mousesports” and “Na’Vi” taking centre stage to battle it out in the finale.
Chris Evans, from affiliate marketing company, Casinos.win, says of the event: “Attending ICE is always an amazing experience. The networking opportunities are unrivalled and some of the exhibitions are extraordinary. ICE presents an opportunity for those in the industry to come together, share ideas, discuss the future, make new connections, and build lasting relationships”.
After a brief break for COVID, ICE LONDON returned in 2022, with its eSports game stronger than ever and the Allied Esports Hyper ESports truck, Big Betty, taking centre stage. A replica of Optimus Prime truck from the blockbuster Hollywood movie Transformers, unfolded in all its glory to welcome the Apex Legends team, Vexed, as they took on members of the public. The battles were live-streamed on Twitch.
If you are unfamiliar with the Esports Arena at ICE, then it is recommended that you watch the short interview with Morgan ‘Juxto’ Merrett, the host of the 2022 eSports Arena, to get a rundown of the attractions and competitors from last year, and a taste of what’s to come.
Hosted by Clarion Events, this year’s ICE ESPORTS ARENA, at ICE LONDON 2023, promises more action than ever. Visitors can expect educational Ted Talks, a FIFA eSports showcase, a Game Bar, and a Game Zone featuring VR where players can pit their wits against eSport pros.
There is also the opportunity to attend the second ESIC Global Esports Summit, to look at the challenges facing eSports and the growth the industry can look forward to in the years ahead. With over 250 delegates, 30 speakers and 150 brands in attendance, the ESIC Global Esports Summit will also feature a gaming pub quiz, sponsored by Red Bull, and a focused ‘deep dive’ by industry experts presented in the ‘Think Tank’. The main stage will host a variety of topics, including ‘Everyone wants a piece of eSports’, and ‘A wicked problem? ESports governance and its complexities’.
ICE London 2023 runs at ExCeL London from 7th – 9th February 2023 from 10 AM – 6 PM Tuesday and Wednesday, and 10 AM – 4 PM on Thursday. Tickets can be obtained from the ICE London website, and entry is free to all visitors. The ESIC Global Esports Summit takes place from the 9th – 10th February, with tickets available here.
Of course, ICE London 2023 offers more than just eSports, being packed full of all things iGaming. Visitors, presenters and delegates travel from across the globe to meet with studios, developers, producers, affiliate marketers and online casino owners. All attend to discuss the latest developments, challenges and products within the iGaming world, including online casino slots, land-based casino games, payment provider services, table games, and crypto.