Viktor Wanli is the CEO and Founder of Kinguin. The company was founded as a trading platform in 2013, and is heavily invested in esports with its own team (Team Kinguin) and with plenty more plans afoot.
Wanli is speaking on the Brand Ambassadors panel at Betting on Esports Conference next month (September 13-15, Kensington Olympia, London). He’ll be discussing the use, and potential use of, ambassadors in the esports space alongside ESP.bet CEO Scott Burton, Strive Sponsorship Managing Director Malph Minns and Win Technologies Betway Group Head of Esports Adam Savinson. Swipe Right PR Founder Kirsty Endfield is moderating.
Esports Insider: Tell us about your vision going forward for Kinguin
Viktor: We believe that everyone should have an access to a great gaming experience. We work to achieve this goal by building a worldwide ecosystem. This includes platforms, service and locations that supports the free economy and personal rights of players.
We first released Kinguin.net in 2013, this was an international marketplace for video games and related virtual accessories. Up till now it’s connected about 6,000 sellers with over 6,000,000 buyers. That’s why we’ve no doubt what a great gaming experience means to the whole world.
“As of right now we’re witnesses to an immense revolution in entertainment and a cultural shift”
By following gamers and audience communities we analyse market needs and we try to respond to them. It’s the reason for Kinguin’s engagement with esports activities which draws the attention of an ever increasing number of enthusiasts.
As of right now we’re witnesses to an immense revolution in entertainment and a cultural shift. It’s happening now. Esports is one of the fastest growing markets globally and we’d be foolish not to get involved.
“In the months to come, we will open the Team Kinguin Performance Center in Warsaw”
Our goal is to create Kinguin as a brand umbrella for sub-brands. It was for this reason we brought to life Team Kinguin; our professional esports team. In the months to come, we will open the Team Kinguin Performance Center in Warsaw. This will be a training and performance centre for teams around the world with dedicated spaces for rest, education and general day to day living.
Keeping in mind the ever-growing number of esports enthusiasts we developed the Kinguin Franchising System – gaming entertainment centers which will be a place for fans to come together and watch teams playing live. In these network of venues you will find everything required to deliver a great gaming experience: a bootcamp space for teams, a main hall for spectators, a Virtual Reality showroom, shops, bars, restaurants and even a professional studio for video content and streaming for fans online.
ESI: What is your opinion of betting operators coming in as team sponsors in esports?
Viktor: The increasing attention of gamers and the growing audience within esports is a sociological phenomenon which mirrors traditional sports.
“Betting on sports is as old as sports itself”
People want to play, they want to be in an audience, and investors obviously consider this trend as an opportunity to create new objectives in business terms. Betting on sports is as old as sports itself. Because the awareness of esports is becoming ever more widespread, as a ‘new discipline’ I am not at all surprised that it draws the attention of traditional sport betting operators.
Some of them now offer betting on esports in the same fashion and to the same degree as they do sports and, as such, it equalizes them as part of the same business. As long as esports betting is being done in a properly regulated fashion then it’s something we support, and it’s something that those that want to see the esports industry grow should get behind.
ESI: Why did you decide to speak at Betting on Esports 2017?
Viktor: I intend to make Kinguin brands present in all aspects of esport business and that is why I am still on the look-out for, and researching, new trends. Betting on Esports 2017 is a great opportunity to meet powerful people responsible for the development of this side of the business.
“I intend to make Kinguin brands present in all aspects of esport business”
Esports remain a relatively new family of competitive disciplines. That is why I am willing to share my gaming experience with them and learn more about activities associated with betting area.
ESI: Why did you decide to sign a PUBG team – you evidently see a strong future for the title?
Viktor: Honestly, it’s hard to see the future without this title. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has sold 4 million units in the three months since its launch. This effectively makes PUBG one of the best-selling games of 2017 so far. It is already the second most-watched game on Twitch.
“The big idea behind how esport tournaments will look in PUBG is really interesting and it might even lead it to a top spot in esports within 3 years”
From what I know, the big idea behind how esport tournaments will look in PUBG is really interesting and it might even lead it to a top spot in esports within 3 years. Who knows, but we really like to invest into innovative concepts and see where it can lead us. It’s just like anything else; what you want to be is the trailblazer.
ESI: How involved are you in the day to day of Team Kinguin? Which titles are most appealing to you right now in terms of signing a roster and commercial viability? Are you considering Overwatch for instance?
Viktor: Creating verticals in business requires investment and, perhaps equally important, a lot of commitment. I have been involved in Team Kinguin from the beginning till quite recently. Now the structure and core organisation goals are properly set up, I want to focus my work on a long-term strategic plan for the company as a whole. I want to take my time and identify the what, why, and how of merging all of the pieces together into one well-oiled machine.
I think the most interesting thing for us that is happening now is Valve’s announcement about the big changes coming to Dota 2’s tournament structure. We are already looking into that. Now we won’t have a limited number of Major tournaments that were organised by Valve each year, but the game’s publisher will choose more third-party tournaments that will directly sponsor and organise a two-tiered system varied by prize pools. We’re keen to see how it evolves as it looks very promising. For now we’re not considering Overwatch esports as one of the games that we would like to be part of, but we will be tracking the leagues and changes for sure.
ESI: What can attendees expect to hear about your involvement in the ‘Brand Ambassadors’ panel?
Viktor: It makes sense for me to take a part in a key event concerning betting on sports and esports and I’m aware that operators are always on the look-out for partners.
We don’t want to miss any opportunity in the esports business space. We consider it all as a part of an economic universe. Kinguin brands are a part of it too. Universe is going to exist and develop with our ecosystem in the center of it. Kinguin as a platform is building multiple backend technology platforms which may serve the current betting in esports ecosystem. To name a few: blockchain transactions, ICO cryptocurrencies, steam, CS:GO, PUBG skins backend B2C and C2C distribution platform and more.
Betting on Esports 2017 is taking place at the Olympia in London over September 13-15. It’ll have six esports panels with over 25 speakers and a dedicated esports exhibition zone. It’s a part of #boscon2017 which’ll have over 1,000 delegates in attendance.