Games and no play

With the ever-increasing popularity of esports, many are coming to understand that esports is not simply about playing games ... in fact, Kersten James Chircop, Managing Director at explains, there is so much more behind the industry


What is Playcon and why is there so much interest and exciting build-up to this event?

Playcon is Malta’s first Game Development and Esports Expo and the idea is to bring together the gaming community .

Playcon will be showcasing the best all industry stakeholders have to offer, all under one roof making it possible to discuss and engage the future of video games and esports. This is a new sector that is growing. The numbers are simply staggering. This value of the global music industry is $20 billion while the film industry is $43 billion. Gaming is valued at $138 billion. That means if you combine the music and film industry and double them, they still don’t reach the revenues seen in gaming.

Malta has a clear goal in these fields, becoming a central hub in the Mediterranean and in Europe for video game development and esports.
Playcon will provide a unique opportunity for both game enthusiasts and newcomers to experience this exciting chapter in video gaming, which will bring new opportunities for the economy and for young people, as well as contribute to the development of the local community.

What is esports? Do people actually pay to watch others play online?

Esports is the technical term used to describe video game competitions. In most of the popular titles, you have two opponents either a team or a player battling out with each other to achieve a particular objective based on the game genre to be able to win the match.

Esports is split in a lot of categories and one of them includes streamers and content producers. As of today, most of the people “pay” to watch these creators in the form of subscriptions which is the main way of supporting them throughout their career progression.

Most of the major esports tournaments are free to watch and they are broadcasted on popular live streaming websites such as, Facebook and YouTube and in certain countries, even on national TV

What types of games does esports include?

Esports mainly include games which have online multiplayer features. Main genres include:

  • First Person Shooters  (FPS) – Shooting games. Games like CS:GO, Call of Duty
  • MOBA – Multiplayer Online Battle Arena – Games like DOTA2 and League of Legends
  • Battle Royale – Games like Fortnite and PUBG
  • Fighting Games – Tekken, Street Fighter
  • Sports Games – FIFA, NBA

Why has esports grown so much in the past few years?

The main factor why esports has grown so much is the increase in the entertainment aspect of the competitions. Nowadays one can see very-high level productions taking place all around the world in venues which are commonly used for events like concerts and traditional sports.

One is taking place during Playcon this weekend – where 300 players are facing each other in a 50 PC set-up in Malta Royale, which is Malta’s largest Fortnite competition ever.

Young people have been born into a world where you consume entertainment online, and not TV. This is changing the way entertainment is consumed and executed.

Why should companies invest in esports?

In the past brands used to buy a newspaper advert and they would reach their audiences. Over the past years it was about creating good content. We believe that in the next generation we have to offer something even better to reach people, because they will tune out the boring stuff. Brands will be looking at providing experiences which they can combine with their message. This is what we have done with our corporate sponsors at Playcon – it might not be understood immediately by companies, but it is extremely effective.

Can anyone play esports, or does one require a particular skill set?

You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy esports, just like you don’t need to be a pro to enjoy football or tennis. It all depends how much time one is willing to dedicate to become better. It is a known fact that esports players have a particular set of skills which are above average than usual; skills such as reflexes, quick thinking and team work. These are all important skills to have to make you a better player and they certainly help. But this is true in traditional sports too.

How big is esports in Malta?

I would say, in its own way, it was always big in Malta but now we have much better organized communities and players are finding more opportunities to grow their skillset. A little known fact is that some of the best players in the world on FIFA are Maltese. They compete with the world’s finest and finish on top.

How often are tournaments held?

Different tournaments in different games are practically ongoing throughout the year. The level of tournaments is improving constantly, and more top players are coming to Malta to compete every year.

What do expect Playcon to achieve? Will this put Malta on the esports map?

I certainly hope it helps! I think Playcon can be a showcase for the industry where we get the community together and engage with other stakeholders from different tech industries and specializations. Playcon is being organized during the Delta Summit and this has given local esports and game development companies the opportunity to link up with stakeholders from other sectors and build a way forward together.

What should our readers look out for when they attend Playcon?

I think the Playcon Summit on Friday is a big draw because we have some really excellent global speakers who will be discussing the way forward in esports and game development.

On Saturday and Sunday the Playcon expo is open to the public and there’ll be plenty to see, and play, for all the family featuring a number of esports competitions of games like Fortnite, FIFA2020, Tekken7, CS:GO, Clash Royale, Brawl Stars and Hearth Stone amongst others.

During Playcon, young people will also have the opportunity to tour the Playcon expo whereby they will be learning more about the careers in video game development and esports, understand what courses are available in video game development by several education institutions, attend coding workshops games edition as part of the EU Code Week to get them excited about gaming and educational classes on mental well-being, dieting and what it takes to become an esport pro.

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