Livegamers interviewed co-founder, CEO and creative director of Razer, Min-Liang Tan. He told us about Razer’s plans to head up towards Scandinavian e-Sports market.
Hey there! Thank you for this great opportunity to interview you. Could you introduce yourself to our readers and say a few words about you.
My name is Min-Liang Tan, co-founder, CEO and creative director of Razer. I’m an avid gamer myself, and I’m proud to say that Razer remains a company run by passionate gamers who strive to enhance gaming performance, experience, and culture.
How did you originally become interested in e-sports in Scandinavia?
Razer takes pride in pioneering e-Sports globally and Scandinavia has so much competitive talent, so helping the community realize its potential is a natural focus for us. Besides having great online infrastructure and one of the world’s most dynamic LAN scenes, Scandinavia has nurtured some of the most dominant pro-gaming individuals the world has seen.
I think there’s a lot to be said for the LAN café communities in Scandinavia: well-resourced, intimate settings where both amateur and professional players can come together and compete and give kids a taste of competitive gaming. These kinds of initiatives promote e-Sports at a grassroots level and are in many ways more accessible to the casual gamer looking to get into e-Sports than some of the larger events out there.
Do you think Scandinavian-wide tournaments would be possible?
I think this has always been an interesting idea for the region on a spectator and a player level and we think it’s possible to see both online and offline competitions like this. I’ve always loved the competitiveness of Scandinavian teams, which is easy to see at some of the region’s most high profile events, like hockey. You can’t beat a Sweden vs. Finland finals. The same rivalry and passion for competition is easily transferable to e-Sports, it’s just a case of creating them with the right support and motivation, and regional event organizers coming together to create something special that works for everyone.
How about platforms? Are you planning on keeping PC as the main platform?
While PC has a stronger competitive scene, we don’t see one platform as being more important than another and feel that all deserve equal attention when e-Sports is concerned. If people are playing games competitively, at an amateur or professional level, then expect to see us there.
You just released Sabertooth controller and The Razer Arcade Stick is on final beta phase. Are there any other products coming out for Xbox 360 in the near future?
Always assume that we have tricks up our sleeves to meet the most demanding requirements of gamers, including Xbox players. Razer is always innovating and looking to push the boundaries of technology and design. We will continue to listen to and respond to our community and pros. If they want it and we can make it, it’s on the table.
What’s your opinion on competitive gaming on Xbox 360? There were 120 participants in the most recent European Gaming League’s COD event. Do you think COD events could get even bigger – especially now when MLG plans to add the newest COD to their pro circuit?
Competitive gaming on console definitely has room for growth, and we support teams and tournaments to help them reach the next level. We’re already working with a number of organizations and tournaments for 2013, such as Pulse Esports, Caliber Gaming, UNiTE Gaming, eWin, and UMG, all of which are doing great things across the breadth of gaming.
Call of Duty has taken some of the biggest steps to see competitive gaming on the console reach new heights. A highly integrated social network, massive fan base, pro contest production and high-quality broadcast of contests contribute to Xbox’s relevance, which continues to grow. We’re big fans of Xbox, hence we created our Onza, Onza Tournament Edition, and Sabertooth Xbox controllers, as well as our Carcharias headset for Xbox and PC.
What and how are you planning on adding to the scene? For example, would you consider organizing show-case matches and streaming them?
We have a project already in the works that we’ll be launching later this year, which will incorporate streamed and casted show matches, tournaments and interactive fan content. We also have big plans for the Razer Academy, which is still in beta, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
From a wider perspective, we feel that concentrating on programs to bring e-Sports forward and positively change both the competitive gaming experience and culture as a whole, are in order. We hope that by investing on a greater financial and social level, we’ll encourage other companies to see the value of gaming as a global phenomenon and help Scandinavian e-Sports thrive as it should. This means supporting both amateur and professional organizations out there, developing e-Sports in Scandinavia as something that appeals to a wider audience. Working with LAN cafés, local tournaments and community websites is a key component to our plans for 2013 in the region.
Beyond that, we’re looking to have professional gamers worldwide take part in the creation and development of our products. It’s key that we support amateur and professional organizations alike. Our partnership in Sweden with LemonDogs is an example of doing both. We’ll be closely looking at every game and community type, supporting them where it makes sense for the fans, the players, the managers and our partners in gaming.
Do you plan supporting Livegamers´ competitive tournaments or organizing tournaments with us? Single player or team tournaments?
We’d love to contribute to the events and activities available to Livegamers’ readers, and we’d open our doors to anyone from the community that has any feedback or suggestions on what Razer can do to help the Finnish e-Sports scene develop and flourish.
There’s a once-a-year event called LANTrek with console tournaments on games like COD and Halo and other e-Sports events like Assembly. Have you thought about supporting them or organizing your own events?
We’re in touch with a ton of tournament organizers and partners with whom we’d like to cooperate on events like Assembly.
We’ve toyed with the idea of running our own offline events, but at this time we’re happier to support and invest in the guys out there who are already doing a fantastic job of putting on these events and giving gamers something to aspire to in their careers.
Will you make interviews of the best players/teams or some other way support them? How do you select teams which you support? Are you planning to support Scandinavian teams?
We absolutely plan to continue supporting Scandinavian teams, both amateur and professional, throughout 2013 and beyond. Specifically, we want to support more teams across a wider range of games and skill levels, all of which can contribute in some way or another to the growing e-Sports scene. Both ends of the spectrum deserve equal attention and each complements the other: professional players are able to share their experiences in competitive gaming, and amateurs want to know how to reach the top. Some of the plans we have for Team Razer in 2013 aim to better bridge that gap and help us work with competitive players to produce better content, such as interviews, videos, guides, and tournaments.
More specifically, we’re already working with some of the region’s best e-Sports press and news websites to help readers more readily access content from the best Scandinavian players. It’s important to us that relevant, interesting content reaches a reader effectively.
Historically, we’ve partnered with teams and organizations that are as passionate about gaming as we are and care about helping the e-Sports scene develop as it should. We invest heavily in programs that reward the world’s best performers, but also teams that require support to reach the next stage too. We urge all those teams out there, aspiring or accomplished, to apply via our website at http://team.razerzone.com.
Thank you for the interview. Any wishes to our readers?
We’d like to extend an open invitation to all Scandinavian e-Sports fans or players to reach out to us with their suggestions on how Razer can best contribute to growing and developing e-Sports in the region, whether it be advice about particular teams, games, events, products or content. We’d also like to encourage (and support) more professional Scandinavian League of Legends teams!