Stephen Ellis (aka Snoopeh)

Ambassador & Consultant with 10+ Years in Esports. Previously competed in Asia, Europe & North America for League of Legends

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 26, 2016

Discussion

Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
Hey - I'm Stephen Ellis, otherwise known as 'Snoopeh,' in the gaming world. I've been involved in the esports industry for over 10 years and competed professionally for 4 years in League of Legends. My passion is to shape the future of the esports industry; currently advising start ups and consulting with; developers, investors, broadcasters, teams, players, et al. Looking forward to talking esports with you guys-- ask me anything! AMA OVER -- Thank you very much guys! I really appreciate you coming out and asking questions. Feel free to ping me on twitter @snoopeh or shoot me an email - iam@snoopeh.com - Have a great weekend!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Welcome, Stephen! How will esports change in the next decade?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@rrhoover I believe we will see an large influx of traditional media and entertainment conglomerates getting involved (we already are, but this is just the beginning) - The world is going to accept esports for what it is, regardless of if they think it is a sport or not. The biggest change is going to be the ability for esports to monetize - throughout the past 20 years that esports has been around it has been riddled with a financially weak backbone. Esports will have to monetize effectively to be a sustainable industry moving forward. Many game publishers/developers will use it as a continued market retention tool until it can be a self sufficient ecosystem.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What achievement are you most proud of so far?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@ems_hodge Despite competing on stages around the world - my proudest achievement isn't necessarily in my competitive accolaides. When you have a platform (regardless of how big or small it is) - you can really make a positive difference in others lives. A small message to a fan or follower in the community - can have a genuinely profound effect and I've seen that over the years.
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Hi Stephen! What do you think is distinct to the esports experience that makes it special compared to other recreational or fun sectors?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@lejlahunts One thing that is really unique to esports is the ability of the fan to emulate what their favourite star has done. Imagine you were able to watch Steph Curry play a game, through his eyes (or any camera angle you can imagine really..) - then watch him make that half-court shot .. then you could instantly jump into a game right after that and try replicate it. In traditional sports, that's much more of an inconvenience.. you need to go find 9 other guys, get to a court, get dressed etc. In esports, it's as simple as logging into the game and you can be matched with people all around the world - it's truely a globally connected phenomenon that is very accessible.
Madelaine Page@theblondedev · Software Developer @ ICF Olson
Hey Stephen - big fan, all the way back to CLG EU days! Although you are no longer playing games professionally, you're still heavily involved in the esports industry. Where do you see esports going in the next 5-10 years, and what advice would you give to those who want to enter this industry, not necessarily as a player, but as a developer, broadcaster, or investor based on your experiences?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@theblondedev thanks for the support all these years! I somewhat answered the 5-10 years question above with Ryan Hoover. In regards to those wanting to enter the industry, take the time to learn about it - there is many nuances to it which have developed over the years. Speak with people who have been involved in the industry for a while and perhaps even try get some voluntary work at a team or startup on the side just so you can learn how the ecosystem works a little more. There is a wealth of opportunity in esports right now, this is really just the beginning. All those businesses that sprung up around the sports and entertainment world are mostly all possible in esports. Also because we are on a socially engaged and digital platform.. there are even more possibilities! The limits are honestly your imagination and the time to build something in esports is now.
dj cronut@djcronut · djcronut
Hi Snoopeh! Huge fan of your online personality and loved watching your streams. What do you think about the possibility of scholarships for Esports in education?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@djcronut I believe scholarships will come for esports - however it's very much in it's infancy and there are only a few select schools offering it. I think there are major steps to be taken at universities and colleges around the world. Students need to work together to consolidate their clubs under one larger 'gaming' umbrella and then have esports (and other games) under that umbrella. Far too much fragmentation amidst college gaming clubs at the moment which is stifling progress.. (mostly because of politics / lack of leadership)
Seth Louey@sethlouey · 🙌 2017 & 2016 Maker of the Year Nominee
Thanks for doing the PH Live Snoopeh. I've been working alongside Riot for over 3+ years and have built a few eSports products related to LoL because I'm a huge fan (bronze 1... lol). What type of startups are you advising with? And has there been anything in the social space for an eSports community?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@sethlouey The startups I'm excited to be advising are Repable (Human Insights & Analytics for the Gaming Industry), Unikrn (esports wagering platform) from Rahul Sood, Vibby (fast-growing video platform that enables users to clip, share and discuss the moments that matter) - you should check them out. Love working with these guys. I wouldn't say there is anything reall;y prominent in social space for gaming yet - mostly reddit is the best source of discussion unfortunately! Twitter is where most of the day-to-day is and beyond that there have been some attempts at small slack/discord communities.
Lukas Beunder@lukas_beunder
Which aspect or segment within esports could use some more development or growth? For example: Player Union/Assurances Board, New ways of monetization (any ideas?), Audience Participation/Activities or perhaps another type of game to go big in terms of esports to broaden the field of truly succesful and popular esports? All the best!
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@lukas_beunder While the other topics are really important (especially player protection, that is really close to my heart) - I would say that monetization is the most important step in the future of esports. We don't need more games to go big, we just need larger brands and developed revenue streams from (merchandise, broadcasting rights, advertising, endrosments etc)
Seth Louey@sethlouey · 🙌 2017 & 2016 Maker of the Year Nominee
With Rick Fox, retired NBA professional, purchasing and owning a League of Legends team and ESPN covering LoL, do you think that having more well known team owners and larger coverage source will push eSports into the next level of growth?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@sethlouey Not only has Rick Fox got involved in esports, it's also some of the owners in the sacramento kings - likewise Daniel Gilbert has expressed interest in the space with the launch of his new VC fund. Mark Cuban has openly been an advocate of esports and interest in getting involved. The relationship between the NBA and LoL/esports is really exciting and I believe we will see more traditional sports owners and figures getting involved in the space because there are a lot of similarities in how both industries operate. I'm most excited about how both can learn from each other as we shape the future of esports. We don't have to emulate traditional sports - we are creating a new kind of sport. We can take the good things sports has done over the past century and do it better.
orliesaurus@orliesaurus · Lasers handler
Who are some influential eSports ambassadors to follow on Twitter?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@orliesaurus Adam Apicella (VP events MLG), Michael Carmac(VP of esports ESL), Tobias Sherman (head of esports WME), Rod Breslau (journalist), Duncan Shields (journalist), Bryce Blum(lawyer), Richard Lewis(journalist), Dailydot Esports, ESPN Esports, Scott Smith(old school esports) - there are loads more people, but these are just some of them that I can give you off the top of my head. :)
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Do you have any regrets in your career at all? Is there anything you would change?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@ems_hodge I've certainly made some mistakes a long the way, but I don't think I can say I regret anything. I really wish we won the final of a prestigous korean tournamet when we were living in South Korea. We were 2-0 up in the finals (It was a Best of 5) and lost the next 3 games.. That was heart breaking. I maybe would have tried harder to convince my team to go out and make our own brand/team instead of relying on those we contracted with.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Have you changed your mind on something you used to believe recently?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@ems_hodge I used to think I was capable of doing or tackling everything. Working on quite a few projects at once, however I've recently learned that FOCUS is one of my main priorities as I progress in my career. It doesn't matter who you are or what you are doing - focus is paramount if you want to get anything done and do it well. I'm much more selective with people I work with now and that so far has been great for me personally and hopefully those I work with too.
Jered Odegard@jeredodegard · Design @ Redfin
Many professional athletes are looked towards as role models even outside of their sport. I saw you mention how your status is a platform to influence -- positively or negatively. How do you think this dynamic plays out in eSports? And what do you think the community needs to change here?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@jeredodegard So - it's an interesting one!Charles Barkley famously said in a Nike Commerical that he never asked to be a role model, he's just really good at basketball (
) - However I think once given that platform you have to realize how valuable it truely is. I never realized how important it was until the middle of my career, where I was slightly more mature. I would like esports athletes to understand whether they like it or not, hundreds of thousands of kids will look up to them and they carry that weight whether they like it or not. Use it, do good things with it.
Jered Odegard@jeredodegard · Design @ Redfin
@snoopeh Do you think professional age plays a factor here?
Daniel Kuster@dabeku · Indie game developer
In the past few months esports was often in the media because of cheating accusations. Some people say cheaters should be banned from tournaments. How do you think should be dealt with cheaters in professional esports?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@dabeku Cheaters should be dealt with similarily across all sports - it should face heavy consequences. One issue when there isn't as much on the line as for example an NFL or NBA player cheating; is that the consequences of an esports athletes actions might not seem so severe to them and may try get away with it. It's up to the teams to educate the players and the tournament organisers to put strict policy and practices in place to prevent cheating. One issue in esports is due to the fragmentation and the lack of a real governing body (other than the publishers) is that punishment can be very inconsistant across the board.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What do you think of Drone Racing?!
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@bentossell I think Drone Racing is... AWESOME! haha. Things like http://thedroneracingleague.com/ - are super cool. I'd love to try it out sometime, even though I think my piloting skills will be very sub optimal :) I wonder... does that count as an esport? :P
Simba@yvngsmba
Hey Stephen! Been able to chat with you a few times and been a huge fan of late, wanted to hear your opinion on the introduction of other brands into the eSports realm? How do you think brands from fashion to music will fit into the space? Do you think it's still too early or do you find brands being able to adopt to the eSports realm in a similar sense as they have to other, more conventional sporting realms?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@yvngsmba We've already seen some prominent music artists enter the world of esports; from deadmau5, imagine dragons, crystal method and more. I think these worlds will collide very soon; over the next 2 years I see alot more of them coming onboard. It will be really interesting to see how the TBS (Turner Broadcasting) and WME joint venture plays out - I'd love to see some significant brands partner up with the E-LEAGUE to create a ripple effect across the industry. As a brand, the 18-33 year old demographic which is most prominant in esports is someone I typically find very hard to connect with. These are very engaged users, but they are also very savvy users. You really have to listen to them and be authentic or they can push you out of the space. Authenticity whether in music, fashion or any brand is extremely important for this space.
orliesaurus@orliesaurus · Lasers handler
Hi Snoopeh, I loved the "get fit with snoopeh" idea back in the days! I have a few questions hope you can answer AT LEAST one of them! If you were the owner of a team or a major investor in one: what would be the best way, from your experience, to make a profit from a thriving young esports team? Do you foresee a public (as in anyone can buy shares) team as a possibility? Are you considering ever going back to eSports as a player (not necessarily on League of Legends)? How long do you think League of Legends will be able to maintain its number 1 spot as MOBA and most online played game before falling off? Do you think mobile multiplayer games will be able to take-over PC / console in eSports once more countries join in (looking at the B.R.I.C. specifically)? Thank you for doing the LIVE, good luck with your new career and don't feed IRL :)
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@orliesaurus "Best way to make a profit" - You won't make a profit of teams right now, it's an investment - the monetisation is really lacking. Some people see it emulating traditional sports in the next few years, personally I think the monetisation will take alot longer than that to catch up - however that's what these early investors are looking to. If you make a team - make players want to play in it, give them really good infastructure/support. Public Team - I think a model like the Greenbay Packers is very much possible and due to how big a fan the internet and gaming community is of crowdfunding... this might come sooner than we think! Returning to Playing - I don't ever see myself returning to playing, although.. you always get that occasional itch ;) Far too much of a time commitment to be the very best! League #1 Spot - I think it will continue to dominate for the coming years; Riot Games has really done something magical which few other games have even come close to. It's amazing that even though their growth is slowing.. it's still growing after 6-7 years. I think Mobile Games will eventually take over, they aren't there yet. I'm personally not a huge fan of mobile gaming (guess I'm a bit of an elitist), but I'm not naive to think that will prevent it from becomming one of the more prominent competitive platforms. My problem is with the limited inputs from the user a mobile game can provide - there isn't significant enough depth in comparison to other platforms like the PC. What's really exciting in the future is VR :)
orliesaurus@orliesaurus · Lasers handler
@snoopeh You're awesome for answering them all! Thank you very very much!
Feyyaz Alingan@freshfey · Focused. 🤖
Hey Stephen, thanks for doing this! We see energy drinks at every eSports event - How much do you think will health training and focus on diet/fitness play a role in eSports in the coming months/years? I'm looking to work with a few pro gamers to show that (just like with other sports) everything from reaction time to awareness can increase when you're also optimizing diet/fitness. Thoughts?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@freshfey It's going to be a really important topic and pro gamers, as well as teams are becoming increasingly aware that they must be mindful of their health. That doesn't necessarily mean they have to be athletes in peak physical shape, it's not a requirement of their sport - but having a balanced and active lifestyle is actually really good for their mental stimulation. I'm also a strong believer that it will increase the short career spans at present when they start doing various stretches to prevent things like RSI/Carpal.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
How does someone start a career in esports?
Stephen Ellis@snoopeh · Esports Ambassador & Consultant
@ems_hodge You start. There is a wealth of different opportunities in the space - whatever area you are passionate in, there will be a way to get involved. If it's being involved with a team.. volunteer to help with their social - it might not be your end goal.. but it's where you can start. If you want to build a startup in esports.. the time is now, BUT make sure you listen to the audience you are building for. Networking (as with any industry..) is extremely important too.