A close look at ESports
In his interview with Esports Insider, Jonathan Lyth of ES Broadcast starts off his interview by saying
“It’s safe to say that esports is the growth sector now. Audiences have grown by 50 percent in the past year, with almost one billion people around the world having watched esports. Growing that fast, it would be easy to overlook the need for esports leaders to get together and pool their resources in terms of discussing their common goals and challenges and sharing best practices.
It’s also an opportunity to explore how esports can learn from peers within the sector and can benefit from the expertise available from other industries – not just broadcast, but things like brand growth and market cross-over, compliance, and monetisation and investment. As a supplier, it’s a brilliant opportunity to continue to grow our awareness of the direction esports is taking, and to understand better how we can add real value to esports.”
Also, with most international sporting events delayed or cancelled due to coronavirus, could people turn to esports to get their sporting fix? Adrian Pennington investigates for IBC 365 - are virtual sports a poor substitute or the real thing? Current circumstances suggest we’re about to find out.
In this piece, Adrian touches on how the lines between esports and ‘actual’ sports have been blurring for some time as leagues and federations attempt to draw younger generations to their product with gamification.
These ‘Blurred lines’ were also touched on in this IBC 365 article where “MediaKind vice president of portfolio strategy Carl Furgusson added that the market would also get more professional and sophisticated technology wise which would enhance the viewing experience.”
With multi-device streaming requirements for at home-engagement, to more dynamic onsite live production across venues, projects at venues such as the Royal Opera House in London, providing live streaming of its productions to cinemas and homes, or the growth of Esports, led by such stadiums as Arlington Texas and Freaks 4 U in Europe, are beginning to see the value in using advanced control systems to support a high quality level productions.
Esports Stadium Arlington is the largest dedicated esports facility in North America. The facility serves as a turnkey solution for esports events and productions and was built to serve the unique needs and demands of the esports community. Recent events held at the facility include Esports Championship Series – Season 6, the Super Smash Bros. ULTIMATUM regional tournament, the 2018 Collegiate Rocket League National Championship and the Guns of Boom Pro Series – Season 2.
“We needed an advanced and user-friendly control system to transition between live hosts and various player cameras to help organise who should be live at each point of the event,” said Corey Dunn, VP of Broadcast for the stadium. “Operating with TSL’s advanced control system benefits both the production crew and on-camera talent. From the hosts at the desk transitioning from camera-to-camera to our production crew knowing who is live and when – the integration of TSL into our workflow doesn’t just impact camera operators, but the entire production.”
The stadium uses TSL Products’ advanced control to improve its workflow, especially with the multitude of camera angles required in esports productions. In addition to the sheer volume of inputs and potential places that the technical director needs to locate and select for preview/programme, the fast-paced and ever-changing “action movie” nature of the environment also lends itself to a dedicated advanced control system. Additionally, many esports workflows require interfacing both traditional broadcast as well as IT and COTS equipment to run properly. Using Virtual Panel Interfaces, the stadium can create an easily configurable process to customize these operations with intuitive, drag-and-drop controls.
“TSL helped solve our biggest challenge: integrating the many different types of equipment and technology we have at the facility,” continued Dunn. “The system provided us with the opportunity to put on smooth shows on a consistent basis. Our integrator helped us make the best possible selection for the facility, and TSL continues to deliver.”
TSL’s intuitive control interface enables users to establish seamless broadcast communication on a single, unified layer. The system was initially built as a tally system, and therefore had to be independent, universal, configurable and infinitely scalable. With over 2,000 installations worldwide, TSL can now manage complex control tasks, such as router control, studio failover and delegation.
With TSL, customers can achieve interoperability between equipment routed through analog, IP or hybrid networks, regardless of differing manufacturers and format specifications and bridges the gap between IP framework components and any broadcast or live presentation technical equipment.
“In traditional sports, the production has gameplay cameras - our gameplay cameras are our in-game observers,” Dunn added. “This could be a console, PC and even a mobile observer. We even have tally lights for our observers. TSL has allowed us to expand our storytelling capabilities with its ability to control and interface with third party devices, which in this case is mainly Grass Valley cameras and multi-viewers.”
For esports applications, it’s important for the observer to have an advanced tally and control system because its helps to tie in the entire production ecosystem. Esports productions are very similar to traditional sports, but the potential for exponentially more inputs and sources to choose from in the production control room creates an even greater need for advanced control. In addition, there is an additional workflow challenge when working with game servers and video game consoles acting as inputs. Advanced control and tally systems, such as TSL’s solutions, can help bridge the gap for production personnel in order to achieve a smooth broadcast or live stream.
Take Control With Virtual Panels
- Tally “TAKE ME” trigger for multiple instant game storytelling options
- Control simultaneous signal routes of game play to ISO record decks, IMAG screens, M/E’s and playout devices during fast paced game play
- Touch screen graphic user experience to stream line production workflow.
- In Game Virtual Camera Source Tally & UMD Management
- Automate multi-functional tasks to minimal or single button pushe