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  • An interview with serial entrepeneur and Esports Visionary, Sebastian Lager: TwogNation, Esports Growth as an industry and how it will impact the world of Esports Betting.

    Published on August 28, 2019 @egoddsofficial Written by Saul Yarm

    esports online, esports betting,Starcraft 2 esports betting
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  • Sebastian Lager is an industry veteran having 10+ years involved in Esports. He is a successful entrepreneur, event manager, business development leader, and was a professional esports gamer in the past. We managed to catch him for a few questions and to get his insight on what is in store for the forseeable future of Esports Betting.


    Interview questions

    1. Hi Sebastian, it is a pleasure to meet you. Please can you give me a bit of a background about yourself?

    Ugh I want to keep it short because most esports people in business know me anyway and for others it won't be too interesting. Mid 30s entrepreneur, who started with the first commerical events around 1999, including also a "pro" career, which meant absolutely nothing back then and is just a source of nostalgia these days. I am very widely interested and before esports became a real industry with respective opportunities I went through traditional education (political science, medicine, etc) before I finally did it all full-time.

    I always had projects and companies on the side, even in med school and due to my deep insights, a lot of the bigger names came to me to find out about the grassroots scene, HR, events, etc. I gave it a shot for a few years to work in bigger corporate entities but noticed fast that I am not someone who wants to have a boss - hence I turned full-time entrepreneur at the end of 2016 and it's unlikely that will change for the rest of my life.


    2. Please give a bit more information about your company Twognation?

    TwogNation is an esports holding, very much my dream of what I wanted to do as an entrepreneur but also the sum of all things I thought are missing. I had almost 2 decades of gaming/esports to look back to, what users want, what brands, teams, sponsors, investors want and if you all put this together in a big bowl, shake it, you'll recognized a lot of elements we're doing, innovating and in good parts try to revolutionize the often unfair deals and trades that happen between e.g. platforms and end-users or sponsors to events or ventures with investors.

    That means in essence, TwogNation contains various projects and companies under it's umbrella. TwogBiz - B2B esports agency, TwogTech - technology company specialized on gaming/esports solutions, TwogHub - our esports platform and various other projects and joint ventures.


    Our key focus is on technology respective application into business practices. Most of what we do flows directly into TwogHub, the center of the holding. TwogHub is currently 3 things. 1. esports first and only tournament aggregator (if you want, like a booking.com for esports) and that element we will enhance and expand also into other things we see too complicated to maneuver for the user 2. It's a tournament platform, which we mainly use for clients and partnered TOs - here especially we're innovating in services and tech provided to the TOs, but also things like revenue share, because to date all platforms in the space just take take take but never give anything back to those who bring the users. We are also providing gating technologies on events, so brands and TOs can control who is taking part via proof of action or ownership. This very part revolutionizes how sponsorship is done in esports.

    The "money for a logo"-type of engagement is archaic at best and we provide real, deep data and action based interaction between brand and user. The 3rd and last part are our Gamer's Passport and all the social elements around it like chat system, team management, friend system, etc.

    In essence, the passport is the accumulation of all the data a user has, static data like your date of birth, all your social media, statistics, teams, actions, donations, sponsors, seeking for jobs or gigs, game services and we are expanding the formats and filters currently by a lot more. So the passport you hold there is literally "you as a gamer" and technologically we build many things around such as APIs that allow you to log into other platforms or services, special application procedures e.g. for federations or fan clubs, etc.

    All of what we do in first and foremost for us of course, but we also develop everything in a way that things can be flawlessly integrated into any other website or platform - so more people can benefit from it without the need of massive development or partnerships. Lastly, of course, we provide most of our technologies also for others to benefit from and improve their systems - that's what a tech company does at the end of the day.


    3. There is still underlying disbelief that Esports is taken as seriously as any other competitive sport what are your views on this on a whole?

    Let them be disbelievers. It doesn't concern us. We are past the whole "fighting for mainstream recognition"-period. In the coming months and years esports will convince by numbers in both audience and revenues, as well as infrastructure that is getting built up by many stakeholders right now.

    So that's the least of my concerns. However, I do appreciate every mainstream article, mentions, non-endemics joining. It certainly feels like a pat on the shoulder for doing the right thing, even if it's not needed for esports to succeed. I think the mentality that I portrait here is also important for some other people in esports to adapt, simply because a too strong desire to be acknowledged by the mainstream also means a much worse position in negotiations. A lot of players in the esports industry seem too eager and hence investors/brands will take advantage of it. Let there be one thing clear, we are esports, we are growing at an amazing rate and "they" will need us. Just like betting discovered esports as the next medium to flourish on, many others will too but they have to come at their time and pace, we have to be patient and confident of what we are in order not to undersell.


    4. How do you feel the way the industry is shaping up as a whole will affect the global betting community?

    I think betting companies joined at a good time. Some date back many years already. Some came and were disappointed with the results, however, they also didn't understand how the users work, not to mention data, games, IP rights, media licenses. Now in 2019, I think there is no "oblivious" betting company anymore. All have been briefed on what is the market, what is the growth and at least in some sense how to place themselves. May that be as a standalone esports betting company or a sports betting company offering esports as a new vertical.

    Would I say they are experts in what they do? Not by a long shot. Across the board, I'd say there are many things to improve on both technology, user incentives, community building, effective marketing campaigns, and many more aspects. I am a vivid attendee for Igaming, Casino and betting events across the world and every time I am reminded of 2 things. First - the betting/Igaming industry is old and very traditional, generally very slow-moving and often it takes a generational shift to start new things.

    Secondly, the readiness to learn and embrace methods from esports is still quite stagnant. As mentioned before, campaigns and technology is by far not optimized and the willingness not to just "whitelabel" traditional philosophies is very small. Not all, but many. However, I can also report that e.g. every year I attend ICE London - it gets a bit better and more esports is taking place, alone or in combination with very traditional names.


    5. 2019 has seen some unimaginable sized tournaments and audience viewership. How do you feel this will pave the way for the Betting Industry in the years to come?

    The more the merrier I'd say. The growth is a clear indicator that also rosy times for the betting part of esports are ahead. However like mentioned before, only those betting companies who know how to reach this specific audience will have success on a mass-market scale. It's a very competitive space and some players haven't even joined the fight over market share. Darwin will decide in the end as a general business rule, however, I also think due to the existing, sometimes massive funds available in the betting space many of the smaller, innovative ventures and ideas will be bought and consolidated into bigger projects quite quickly. That's a natural process and if both the tech and philosophy remains after the acquisition I think it can even be to the benefit of the end-user.


    6. Having been Esports expert for many years and seeing a huge evolution in the industry itself, what do you believe is the next step for global Esports and Betting?

    First of all, I believe there are no "experts". There are knowledgeable people with experience, smarts, and good execution, but in a space that hasn't really found itself entirely and innovates almost on a daily basis, there are no experts, just quick learners and veterans. Regarding what the future holds - I think betting and volumes around it will grow, proportionally to the general growth of esports or even a bit faster. That can be achieved by overcoming some of the bottlenecks I mentioned previously.

    More players will join, more game IPs and formats will be founded. We will certainly see a steady increase in integrity and infrastructure, which is a key pillar of betting. I also think we will diversify when and where betting is implemented - such as immersive into the streams, 2nd screens, overlays e.g. Twitch APIs, much deeper data extraction from games and games opening the ports/tech/apis to do so, instead of having to do the hard way. A lot more automation, potentially AI, fewer analysts and human data providers. Also a lot more flexibility around payments. That's just the tip of the iceberg of what betting providers can and will do in the years to come.

    The space itself is far from saturated or technologically explored. Many things to do…


    We would like to thank Sebastian for the insights and look forward to hear more from him along the line. We strongly recommend to visit Twognation and to further research about the industry, titles and other offerings available from such an exciting & evolving space here at E-godds.com. Make sure to check out our Live Odds Comparison section to maximise your potential profit.


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