Episode 6: Days in the Lives of eSports Pros - An Interview with Jack Chen

Episode 6: Days in the Lives of eSports Pros - An Interview with Jack Chen


An interview with Jack Chen of Team VGJ, an eSports Team Director, Chinese-English interpreter, and analyst. Learn why:

- Jeremy Lin is investing in eSports in China
- Team VGJ has teams in China and North America
- Eastern teams and Western teams train differently
- The Chinese government is embracing eSports
- China may lead the world in eSports
- Tencent’s ecosystem may threaten developers


Jack’s video of the Vici Gaming facility (You need to check this out)

Team VGJ

Jack’s Twitter


ChinaBytes: So first off, thanks so much for doing this. Since I started this project there have been a few names of people who have who have really jumped out at me in terms of doing really innovative things in China––really cutting edge things. I think you and your organization are part of that, so I'm super glad to just have this excuse to talk to you. 

I think The best way to start is just get a little bit about your background and what you're working on right now. So I guess walk me through your career in e-sports. I think you have a degree from from Columbia in journalism. I can't imagine that you had would have predicted this.

Jack Chen: Yeah I mean I think with any sort of industry that’s kind of Wild West nobody really predicts it. Because you kind of have to be in the the right place, right time really just follow your passions and what you love and the opportunity suddenly strikes and you get a chance to step into that. 

So for me, I and many of my generation grew up playing video games since we were children. From that came, some opportunities basically after school to write like contribute a little bit of my educational background to the scene. But then this opportunity came up to be a translator at one of the DOTA II tournaments. It’s a game that I’ve always played and always followed, and had originally done unpaid volunteer type of stuff for. And this came at the right time because this was when DOTA and other games began to grow as legitimate sports. Where you have a whole ecosystem where you have teams, professional players, tournaments and prize pools, you have this support structure for tournament organizers, staff, a real competitive environment for these types of games.

And so I was fortunate enough to be invited to a local tournament in New York City as a translator and from there I got to do more of that and some bigger events sponsored by Valve which is the main developer for DOTA.

From there on it’s been a bit of a whirlwind.I think a lot of people in esports have this experience where they do a lot of different things, like starting on the ground floor. There’s no set or defined positions or jobs. It's not a mature industry where say you go to school, get a degree and apply for something. It's kind of just some opportunity arises or you know somebody and you get a chance and you’re asked to do a lot of different things.

So from there I became more of an on-camera kind of translator and talent and caster for DOTA II. And this year I decided to take a bit of a different direction. I’ve tried to explore the industry, which is the kind of business, team, and player side. So now this season, I’ve been with Team VGJ.Storm

CB:  Yeah, it's absolutely incredible. Before we move on I just wanted to point something out that I learned from watching a couple of your other interviews: To be a translator in e-sports ,you may as well be a translator for for physics or something. The amount of domain specific vocabulary that you need to use like you have to translate things like “Phantom Assassin” into Chinese. Is is that the hardest part of translating or are there other challenges.

JC: Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head there. There’s just super specific jargon, you mentioned like a specific technical field where you have to learn not only official terms but also there’s a vernacular jargon that develops.

So people will never refer to a hero as its proper English name, there will be something in Chinese, maybe that goes back to the DOTA I days 10 or 12 years ago. There will be fun little nicknames and monikers. It really becomes its own culture. And that eventually includes a lot of the little memes around players and around teams. All that stuff kind of goes into what you have to learn to be able to do that. So it does become very specific. It's like It's almost like its own science. Not that extreme but you get the idea.

I'm just gonna stop us for Is there like a fan on the background on your end

CB: So that’s your origin story.  Can you explain to the audience what team VGJ is? 

JC: Sure! So basically Jeremy Lin has played DOTA II for a while and also grew up with the game, in college and afterward he played a lot with his friends. So for him, he was looking into starting an e-sports team or being involved in e-sports. And part of this was having a team for DOTA, his favorite game.

Beginning last year before I came on board, the kind of organization VGJ came about as a partnership between himself and Vici Gaming, which is a very large Chinese e-sports company that its own campus in Shanghai and has a number of different games. And last year was their first year of cooperation. They worked together and they had a team in China, which was just Team VGJ at the time. And then this year, things have expanded a little bit, we now have a team in North America and that came to be VGJ.Storm which I am involved with.

So basically, Jeremy just kind of, I would say, was getting his feet wet in the e-sports environment as many people are. And that’s what birthed the team and that partnership. 

CB: What's behind the logic of having a team in China and a team in the United States?

JC: So one of the big parts or cornerstones of the partnership is obviously the partnership with Vici Gaming, which is the “VG” in VGJ. Because they have so much experience and know-how in e-sports in China, where Jeremy has such a huge brand, it just became this kind of natural partnership. We can take their resources and know-how from China and help build an American team. And of course Jeremy's tremendously popular athlete all over the world in Asia as well as in the United States. So with that you try to build a brand that espouses some of his values and things that he's learned, and the already existing experience from Vici Gaming, to try to build a competitive, successful  team that has reach and has audience, that has a footprint in both hemispheres. 

CB: This next question is going to make me sound like a shill for you guys, but it's really just just curiosity. What's your pitch to potential corporate sponsors. Say if I were an American company and I was looking for exposure in China. What's the value that you can bring for someone?

JC: That’s a really good question. I would say that if you were looking into to China. E-sports is a global phenomenon, an international phenomenon. You see that across different games. And increasingly, with globalization and the influx of people and capital everywhere, you want to have a footprint potentially in as many places as possible.

So for our team with such strong eastern connections, with a team here in the west, with Jeremy––who is in many ways a global ambassador and a global icon, I would say that’s the advantage that we would have.

We're still fairly new. We're still kind of on the grassroots level, starting an organization, going through a lot of those challenges, but ultimately with the east and west, the goal is to have a footprint in both markets in both areas, through e-sports.

CB: It’s really struck me just how how global eastwards is compared to something like baseball where outside of a few countries in the world, nobody's going to care at all. I mean, you can probably find a DOTA fan in every country in the world. It's very interesting as an outsider looking in. What does it mean to be I guess your title now is the the team director for VGJ.storm is that right? So what does it mean to be the team director? What does do you do on a on a day to day basis.

JC: So as the year progressed I’ve been primarily involved on the team side of things, this is like the players for the DOTA team. On a daily basis that means I’m coordinating practice, making sure the players’ needs are met, making schedules, making sure everyone’s doing the right thing. And beyond that it includes things like you know, creating content, creating videos for sponsors, helping to promote our players, making sure the players are putting on a good image and presenting themselves well and the organization well. And trying to be this guide and make sure people are going the right direction.

Beyond that there’s the business side as well: interfacing with other teams, putting on events, or way to promote your team. For instance we put on an event at the Microsoft Store in NYC a few days ago. That’s an example of a community event, getting players out there, starting to see these opportunities come to our guys. And then trying to make sure that the brand and people are well represented for our sponsors. And then doing the right thing and keeping the good values in place. I’d say those are the main functions on a day-to-day basis.

And above any number of things: It could be something as specific as dealing with interpersonal conflicts among players, to longer-term things like planning roughly what our budget is going to be, what our competitive plans are––whether that be spending some time in China which we did a couple of months ago––and accompanying the team to actual events and tournaments. We competed in Asia for a month and a half, so I was there with the team to make sure that everything ran smoothly.

So it's involved a lot of different things. Again, like many things in e-sports, many of these things aren’t standardized. So a director of another team or a manager of another team might have a different role. But for this team, since we’re essentially a fairly new startup, especially in the North American sphere, it's involved a lot of different things on a day-to-day basis.

CB: So I guess my next question would be: What's life like for the players? Another thing that struck me is that the amount of hours that that your team members have to put in to become top tier players. What does a day look like for the team?

JC: Yeah, It's tough.

One of the things that we've done this season. For the most part one of the differences between Chinese teams and Eastern teams in general and Western teams, is how they train. So in China and Korea you have this more traditional team house model, where everyone lives in a house, there’s someone that usually takes care of their needs, food and laundry and stuff.

It’s basically a bootcamp, an extended, military-style bootcamp, where they play and train every day.

For a lot of Western teams, this is not the case. Whether it’s the need for personal space or cost and expense, usually players will practice at home. And they will find opportunities to boot camp before major tournaments. So for us, we are kind actually kind of more of an Asian approach and model for training this season.

We have an actual team house in New York City, where the players live and train. It’s somewhere between a gaming frat house and a gaming barracks. We’ve got the living room, the TV, the area to relax, and then we’ve got the double bunks where the players stay. And downstairs in the basement we’ve got all the computers set up where the players train and practice. And they’re here for most of the season. We do have breaks where they go home. And we have periods where we travel for tournaments, but this is where most of it happens.

CB: I watched some of your YouTube videos which include the house. It looks pretty fun. Honestly, I mean, I'm a lot of hard work too. But it looks like you guys are creating a pretty good atmosphere there at the very least, so I guess that that that sort of leads me into my next question, are there. What about from a competitive gaming perspective. Are there are advantages to having a presence in China and the US.

JC: Oh. So yeah, I would say that Tom. One of the main advantages we’ve had in this kind of partnership with Vici Gaming is, we went to Asia for a couple tournaments consecutively for a month and a half from May to June of 2018. In that time, instead of having to come back to the United States, we were able to visit the Vici campus. 

They have a large facility that I would call an e-sports campus and houses a bunch of different teams, youth teams, they have a living space. They have a cafeteria, media spot, a juice bar. It’s like what you would imagine like a high scale University sports athletic facility. That’s basically what it is.

So part of that was being able to just go there, train, there, work with some of our Chinese counterpart Chineses. So yeah, I would say that’s probably the main thing we got from a competitive perspective with that partnership.

CB: I watched that video as well that you posted at the VG gaming headquarters. I have to recommend that everybody watch that video as well. And I'll put a link in the notes. But it's truly an incredible facility. Does anything like that it exist in the United States or elsewhere in the world outside of China?

JC: it started to happen. I think you're seeing a lot of companies start to build their own training or boot camp facility. So Alienware and a few others have done that. I think some bigger e-sports teams and organizations are taking this approach. For instance Cloud Nine and Complexity are two really big names in North America who have this kind of campus approach.

A very centralized location put everybody together, so it's easy to see what different parts of the body are doing, so to speak. You're starting to see that approach in the western scene. But I mean in China, a lot of the stuff has grown so quickly and is a few steps ahead. In a sense, it's easier to centralize things in certain cities Shanghai, especially when you have a real genuine scene where it's the sports capital of China. So you have people from different games, from different teams living in the same city. You have blocks of areas where e-sports people are known to congregate and go. 

You're starting to have these home stadiums when it comes to League of Legends. It’s almost like traditional sports where you have a home arena. So not to get too far off topic, but you’re starting to see this kind of stuff develop in the western scene, but I think China still has a leg up right now.

CB: Absolutely incredible. Another thing I noticed from from the video of he gave me is that they have a youth program. So how does somebody end up in the Vici Gaming youth program?

JC: So for the different teams… Part of the maturing of the teams is that you’re going to see more dedicated and specialized staff for certain functions. So instead of starting off with one or two guys for everything, you’re going to end up with people who are scouts, who are coaches, who are very specialized in these roles. So for a lot of these guys they have a program where kids can just come in in the summer with their parents and just spend some time, see what the life of e-sports athlete is like and then they also have evaluators. 

Evaluators are looking specifically for talent. They'll be looking at guys and saying, “Hey, this guy's got promise. I played with this guy on some public games. He’s pretty good. Can we bring them into a youth team? Maybe for relatively low investment.” See if the guy can pan out and really become a major star. Put them into this so farm system––into the system––so to speak, where he has a chance to learn and compete in the best professional environment from an early age. 

It reminds me a little bit––I  was actually just watching some documentary on AAU basketball––it reminds me a little bit of that. Where you have these mature academy systems for soccer or for basketball, or for whatever major sport, where they’re identifying talent at a young age and giving them a chance to compete in that environment very early on.

CB: So this makes me wonder. Chinese parents have a reputation of putting a lot of emphasis on on kids education. Is there, push back? What's the attitude toward e-sports among the generation that didn't grow up playing video games?

JC: That's a great question because it can be answered on so many levels. So when you think of the traditional values of productivity, maybe even giving back to your country, education and those were the pass for upward mobility for people to achieve and grow in society. 

Yes, there is some pushback in that sense. It was very easy for gaming to be seen in this category of senseless leisure. Is there a future from this? Are you being productive and creating value or simply enjoying yourself? It comes close to a sense of hedonism, based on some traditional Chinese values. At the same time though I think that China has been very good about accepting and incorporating this. For one it’s opportunity for a lot of people.

In a land where, you know, not that many people have such great opportunities. And so you start to see some of these guys or some of these kids. Hey, like this kid without education is able to go to e-sports make it big, and buy his family a house. You know, obviously––you’ll see this in the West as well––as soon as you start proving to your parents and the older generation that you can support yourself and even have a good life doing these things, you know, all of a sudden they’re going to become a lot more accepting. So I think where the frontier has really started to change is that the government in many ways is starting to recognize and embrace e-sports as well.

Where in the past they may have seen it as something approaching more of the hedonistic, idling, rich sons wasting their time––playboy activities, maybe. Or they might have seen it as these kids who drop out or don’t go to school. Now they’re a lot more accepting. 

You're starting to see it enter the education system in China, where there’s degree programs and training. You're starting to see more professionalized staff. These bigger organizations have more reach now. Not just beginning to grow some mainstream corporate acceptance in China, but also, I would say, in government, which runs a lot of sports and e-sports. The ministries are very involved in these things. They are starting to sanction and promote some of these into the mainstream as well. So you're seeing a growing acceptance of e-sports by the mainstream in China. And this includes the government which is obviously very influential in the mainstream.

So yeah, i think I think the ideas and acceptance of e-sports changed very quickly. It really went from this, “Oh, that's that's just what your kids do when they're blowing off school” to “Hey,this is a legitimate direction, a legitimate career path.” 

CB: There's a lot in there tthat I think it's really interesting. I mean, on the one hand you make this great point that e-sports are creating opportunities where there weren’t necess necessarily before. I think that's that's that's an excellent point And a great argument in favor of e-sports and this is a country where we're console gaming was you know––You couldn't buy a console in China, but now it's it's an embrace of e-sports and the opportunities that are are coming out of it.

JC: There’s another point there as well! Exactly what you just talked about. If you look at if you look at how entertainment was in China… China is a country that in many ways had to grow up super fast. They’re still going through growing pains. But They’ve grown so fast. And if you look at how entertainment works, like you mentioned about having consoles––If you look at, for instance, television, how underdeveloped or how simple or how aligned with government that stuff was. Compared to the United States where I would say for decades, you have this growth of growth of great television entertainment: specialized shows, networks. There was this whole culture and ethos of entertainment that grew in this society that had a leisure time and resources to dedicate themselves to.

In China, I would say because things have exploded upwardly so quickly, that stuff didn't really grow and exist. So instead of having a generation that would have to slowly mature or transfer in some ways from this television and cable culture to one of streaming, and access, and e-sports, you have this generation that came very directly into that. Where all of a Sudden you know Chinese people are well off. They have money, they have resources, they have time and leisure in abundance, that they can put into entertainment. 

And at the same time, with internet and opening things up, they go straight to that. Instead of the middle, TV phase. I would say they kind of skipped the phase, to this generation. It’s not just about e-sports. E-sports is a big part of it, but you know in terms of some of the things that you mentioned, with the streaming and all different kinds of channels. They’re a step ahead in that as well. Because there was no transition. They had to jump pretty much immediately right into that phase.

CB: So one of the things that I did speculate in the last episode is that traditional sports don't necessarily have a place in in business in China. I mean, there's a professional soccer league and professional basketball league, but to me it seems like being a professional gamer is at least as attractive as being a pro soccer player in China. Do you have a sense that––Am I off base or am I on target there?

JC: I think you're largely on target there and I think there are a number of reasons. For one just culturally, a lot of countries obviously have a lot of national pride. And for China, sometimes it can be as simple as, “Hey, you know, in these e-sports and in these other games, we can do our country proud. We can make everyone proud and our friends and family proud. Because we can be the best. We have a head start and we can be the best in the world at what we do.” 

Whereas if you look at these traditional sports––something like basketball or soccer––they're not really the best in the world. People like it, but it can be seen also as kind of a prestige sport, where like––oh––it's cool to like that stuff because foreigners were so famous or so popular or so good it. So there's a bit of an undertone of that as well. These teams will bring in these very high priced foreigners to play in China. So you can see it from that lens as well.

Also, just for traditional sports, the system's––this is kind of a separate discussion––but in China traditional sports became very tightly regulated and controlled under government programs, so they spent a lot of resources to do that. So the path to becoming this kind of professional athlete and playing these things is a bit different. It’s a lot harder. I would say that you have to sacrifice a huge part of your life a lot earlier on to go into that system, that academy system that produces high level players.

So that’s not to say that it’s not popular there. But it’s also a little bit different. Because with e-sports, with these gamers. A lot of these guys are really just kids going after school to PC cafes to play with friends, and this is something that they love, and it can become something overnight that can be life-changing.  

So there's a difference there as well. But yeah, there's certainly a lot of national pride involved as well, as there is for many countries.

CB: Let's take this in a little bit of a different direction. I want to talk about something that I heard you say in in another interview that I was fascinated by. II guess this also has to do with a big difference between traditional sports in e-sports. Something you talked a little bit about was the ability for players to make money live streaming. How does that affect an e-sports organization in terms of the the players’ incentives?

JC: That’s a great question, because in the DOTA scene specifically, there are a lot of conflicting incentives. There can easily be conflicting incentives at times when you have a not-entirely-mature industry.

So, for instance, just as example in China, you would see instances when people had these huge streaming deals and contracts. And that was more than they were getting paid by teams. So there are instances of players saying, “I may not be able to practice or may not be able to do what I need to do with the team until I finish my streaming obligations.” So that's a very extreme but natural conflict of incentives. 

So just because there are such big stream deals and incentives, that can very easily get in the way of trying to build an organization or a team where a player has responsibilities to others.  Because I mean, if you take a very economic view, people generally follow the incentives. 

So I think that that's also a possibility anywhere, but it may be less of a factor in western e-sports. Because you have people who, generally speaking, tend to be more “streamers” and better streaming personalities, and people who tend to be more focused on the competitive end.

There are people who are crossovers in between and they tend to be the most popular people in the field of e-sport. It varies game-to-game and person-to-person.

CB: There's a psychology case study in there, looking at at those players who are able to both be great teammates and be great live streamers. Those  strike me as not necessarily going to come in the same package.

JC: Yeah, it's tough. Just being in a team… There are so many pressures. I can’t overstate how much pressure the players have to deal with. When you’re living in close proximity… I mean just imagine a situation where you're living everyday with your coworkers.  I think we’ve all been in that situation where you decide to be roommates with your buddy. Or you decide to live with them, and you’re like “Wow, it's really not the same.”

So in this case, You need both very strong social skills and the ability to still kind of keep that distance and stay professional. It's very hard to find people who are able to deal with and handle those troubles and pressures in a sustainable, healthy way.

There's a tremendous amount of pressure at least from my perspective, from a MOBA e-sport perspective, to be able to balance those things.

So now you're talking about, say, someone who’s a streamer versus team responsibilities and you only have so many hours in a day, you only have so much energy and creativity and industry that each person can have. That’s also a very difficult balance.

CB: I’m sure that makes it tough for the team director as well.

JC: It can be.

CB: So I think just just a few more questions here. I guess one thing that I would be interested to learning is is how the industry has changed since you got started, particularly in China, but in general as well.

JC: I think the main thing is changed since I––I’m going to mark the period of when I got started as when I actually started to receive income from doing e-sports.

CB: What year was that?

JC: Well It’s hard for me to delineate, but let’s say 2015-2018. I would say the biggest change that I've seen and probably similar in China and in the west. Is that e-sports now has attention of a lot more of the mainstream.

So in the western scene it’s like professional teams. You see all these NBA, NFL teams coming in, whether it’s an Overwatch league or elsewhere. Just professional athletes coming in to try and invest in e-sports as the next big thing. In China, you’re starting to see, you saw that as well, although it was mostly very rich scions who were doing it.  

But in China the equivalent would I guess be some of the government organizations starting to get these things added to Olympic-style events, the Asian Games, giving government and official legitimacy to these kinds of activities and sports, and trying to promote them that way, which is a very huge step of acceptance and cultural integration. So I think that's the biggest change that I’ve seen in the few years that I’ve worked in this scene. Where things are really starting to come into the mainstream and it’s not just necessarily this kind of dirty word that people give you a sideways glance when you talk about. It’s almost like a hot button topic now instead. 

CB: When you meet someone In China, or you meet someone United States, and you say, Oh, I work in e-sports, who is more shocked by that. The average American or the average Chinese that you're meeting?

JC: That’s a good question. I think it is actually, after the last year or two, it’s actually the average American. I would have said average Chinese a year or two ago, because most of the people I knew at that point when I was in China were relatives or older generation, so they’d say––”What? Video games for a living?” And they might go over and talk to my parents or grandparents and say, “What’s Jack doing with his life?” and stuff like that.

But I think the last year or two, once I’ve been at more events and got to know more people on the ground floor or fans.

It’s probably, in America people are very fascinated by this sort of thing because it hasn't taken up as much of the consciousness, especially of the younger generation. But they're starting to be starting be aware of it. They’re starting to hear about it.

So I would say actually in China again, where if somebody goes wins a world championship, you know, they're on the mainstream news outlets and in the media. Or if someone does really well, this kind of stuff,just explosive growth, it grew so quickly and would capture so many people's consciousness because of social media and streaming. It would be pretty common for people that I encountered to know or have some idea was going on.

But in the U.S. it was actually a little bit more behind in a sense. But i think i think It's it's catching on.

CB: I wonder if if there's any tie between that that trend in China and the rise of this game honor of Kings arena valor that has grown to, to be immensely popular in China. Have you have you tried playing that game before?

JC: I have not played it, but  that's another big step that was taken. Because instead of people having computers and playing these complicated, competitive games, now you can do that with the ease and accessibility of your phone. So it’s able to reach a huge base of players. It may not take that much time––the level of accessibility and convenience is just so much higher now.

Everybody's going to have a phone. People may not have been good gaming computers or peripherals or good internet. But for the most part people are going to have phones. So that’s going to reach a large number of people. 

So yeah, that is definitely another step where you see the kind of growth and people trying to reach more markets, more players, more customers and therefore more of a scene.

CB: What's the most interesting thing that you that you're seeing right now, either in DOTA or e-sports in general?

JC: I would say, Well, I mean, I think what's near and dear to me the most, as a person who came up with DOTA and works in DOTA is “how will DOTA mature as an e-sport.” I think other e-sports, you mentioned Tencent, and Riot, and organizations––or developers, rather––take a very front-and-center, involved approach in managing and growing their games and their scenes. And that has created a very stable ecosystem for a lot of players and teams and organizations.

DOTA might be at a crossroads at this point. You're starting to see that Valve has a very different approach, more of a hands-off approach to managing their game as an e-sport. There are pros and cons to every approach.

What’s interesting to me is that DOTA is kind of at a crossroads. It’s very player-focused and player-centric, but that may make it tough for organizations and these other investors, and therefore sponsors to get involved. So there's going to have to be probably some changes to help make that transition better and make it more sustainable and make the ecosystem more survivable.

CB: Yeah, one, one thing that struck me as very interesting and this this is probably getting a little bit too domain-specific for my intended audience here, but the fact that data is outside of the Tencent ecosystem, certainly will affect its future in China. Right. At least I have to imagine that it will.

Yeah there's varying level of concerns about this. I mean, I've heard whispers I've certainly heard people say legitimately that with its broad influence Tencent may be a threat to games outside of its sphere of influence. That’s the bleaker look at that from China. 

And then I mean just because they're so involved and organized and integrated at every level, you mentioned WeChat and those things that are proprietary to them. It’s total integration across you’re seeing across different levels. So that's definitely an advantage. 

It certainly has affected DOTA in China, I would say. Just looking at how games are promoted and how accessible they are to the average player. It’s definitely had an effect, but you know some of that stuff is––I don't know––it's interesting. It’s almost like this “shadow war,” to some extent, between developers and companies.

So yeah, it certainly has the potential to affect other games, I mean it makes sense right? They want to protect their interests. And that moves e-sports into kind of a different realm. Because then you know you go from this vision of your kid being able to pick up a basketball in his local park, and then kind of realize that dream, to becoming this kind of war for mindspace and attention. It’s like––the kid never even gets to play those games because his developer is not able to compete with Tencent somehow! I don’t know. It becomes a crazy new world.

CB: Let's not go down that road right now. Maybe maybe next time we chat, we can do that one. Well, great. Is there anything else that you'd like to add this has been an amazing conversation for me and extremely enlightening. I'm really glad we connected here. I know this is probably the busiest time of year for you with The International around the corner. 

What would you like to add what should everybody know about e-sprots or DOTA or China or Team VGJ?

JC: I would say what actually one of the things I'm most concerned about is that I hope e-sports doesn’t become a case too much too soon.I feel like, you know, it's very easy for things to be the next big thing. And it gets really hyped. A lot of things don't grow either organically or healthily. You see a lot of all kind of the bad parts of the Wild West. So I urge people, I hope people are both patient and open minded for the growth of this industry.

II would say if people are looking to invest or sponsor, make sure you do your homework. Make sure you look into things very carefully. Don't try to clump e-sports into a broad broad. A lot of games and environments are very different. So make sure that you’re patient with that. There are going to be examples where I think things will flop, where things wwill not meet the hype and expectations, but e-sports is definitely here to stay.

This whole generation of people playing games just like they did for traditional sports decades ago. And so that's that's what gives it its legitimacy and its popularity. That’s not going to go away.

Whether those things mature and grow in the right direction and how different games go, that's something that will take patience and a lot of understanding and maturity to reach the level that we all want.

CB: Right. I think that's a great, I love that observation regarding too much too soon because when I was looking at the numbers of the money that's getting poured into EA Sports and tournament money. It's like, you know, the only other place that I can remember seeing that kind of growth while doing this research is like cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. So I think you have some some great insight there. So last question: Where can people find you online? Team VGJ, email, Twitter, website? And where can we watch you in The International?

JC: So there will be direct streams at DOTA2.com for The International, so you’ll be able to see my team there, VGJ.Storm. Please feel free to support us on Twitter at Team_VGJ. You can find me on Twitter at KBBQDOTA, that’s Korean Barbeque DOTA, and then you’ll be able to watch the stream and see us compete.

Our website is TeamVGJ.co. We occasionally post blogs and content there, but for the most part you probably want to check our Twitter to see what we’re up to.

Yeah, this is our first year, many of the headaches and difficulties and hardships of a startup, but we’ll see what course it takes us next year. And see what other kinds of games and other things we want to get into. We’re going to need to grow and expand.

CB: Awesome. Okay, thanks so much Jack. This has exceeded my expectations. I'm super happy we're able to connect. Good luck in the international.

Episode 7: The People's Currency - Cryptocurrency in China

Episode 7: The People's Currency - Cryptocurrency in China

Episode 5: Gaming and eSports

Episode 5: Gaming and eSports